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NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Denver Broncos

Commissioner’s Corner: Week 4 Fantasy Football Start ‘em or Sit ‘em

Who should you start or sit in Bucs vs. Chargers

Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans pulls in a touchdown agains the Denver Broncos
| Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Hey fantasy football fanatics, it’s your Commissioner again bringing you yet another edition of “The Commissioner’s Corner.” I’m switching things up for week 4 strictly focusing on the Bucs at home against the Los Angeles Chargers. I actually think this is the first game with true fantasy value on both sides.

The Bucs come home to Raymond James Stadium coming off of two big wins. They were big in the sense that they were absolutely needed for this team to confirm they are the real deal. Last week’s win against the Broncos should’ve been a lot better for the Bucs offense. They should’ve scored more points and ran the ball a ton more to manage the clock. The only success they had was they played turnover-free football and dominated on defense.

I am now elevating the Buccaneers defense (DST4) to must-start status week in and week out. If you have them, keep them in your lineup. The only time you would consider benching their defense is during weeks 6 and 12 when they face Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes, respectively.

Let’s kick things off for week 4 with our starter recap as we always do.

Starter Recap

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

“LET RUSS COOK!” is the new mantra coming out of Seattle. Russell Wilson (QB1) had yet another stellar performance in week 3. He ended up with 42 FPTS with only a 67.5 PCT, throwing 27/40 against the Cowboys. This week was actually his lowest completion percentage of all 3 weeks, but his highest fantasy point score. How is that? Well, he threw for 315 yards and 5 touchdowns, no interceptions and ran for 22 yards. He will continue to dominate and as long as he remains healthy and not on a bye week, you keep him in!!

I started Joshua Kelley (RB33) of the Los Angeles Chargers last week. Sometimes as an analyst, the numbers and the match up on paper can be so convincing some times, but unfortunately it doesn’t always net the expected results in real life. This is an “oh well!” moment for me, but don’t completely sleep on the rookie though.

Kelley is skilled and he will definitely continue to get the ball, but I think we’ll have to wait until Taylor gets back under center. You’ll read more below, but there appears to be a pairing going on - Taylor/Kelley and Herbert/Ekeler. This week, don’t bother playing Kelley though. Not only are they playing the Bucs, but it’s away and Ekeler is expected to tote the rock more.

My week 3 starting wide receiver was Calvin Ridley (WR1). Don’t kick yourself for not picking him up sooner. Thomas, Jones and just about every other WR1 was the better value prior to the draft. Ridley was getting drafted about the fourth round in most leagues. For those that drafted him, you got a huge value pick. He’s been lights out all three weeks so far.

Ridley ended last week with 5/13 completions for 110 yards. Although it wasn’t his best performance, he still brought in 16 FPTS. I’m going to put Ridley owners on notice though. The reason he’s been so successful is due to Julio Jones injury. Yes, there’s chemistry between Ryan and Ridley and there’s no doubt he’ll continue to do well, but Jones will eventually get back to his WR1 form, but at the absolute worst it only bumps Ridley down to WR2 or at worst WR3/Flex status.

My starting tight end was Darren Waller (TE6), Las Vegas Raiders. I’ve been saying it for a few weeks now. Waller is a baller! He was my week 1 and week 3 starter. Now, I completely realize the Raiders did not utilize him very much against the Patriots. He only scored 2 FPTS with 2 receptions, and laying a goose egg for those in non-PPR leagues. Do not drop him though. If anything, use him as a trade token.

This was yet another match up that looked good on paper heading into last week. Let’s also not forget he was nursing a minor knee injury as well. The Raiders kept him out of practice Wednesday and Thursday prior to last Sunday’s contest, likely as precautionary but the lack of reps and game prep certainly showed.

Regardless, Waller should remain a considerable starter each week. Only Kelce, Andrews, Kittle or Higbee are better options. I think he’ll rebound nicely against the Buffalo Bills that allowed the 24th most points to opposing tight ends. Gesicki raked in 27 FPTS in week 2, and he’s not even in the vicinity of Waller’s abilities.

As I previously mentioned, I’m trying something different. I’m going to focus this week’s Start/Sit advice for the Buccaneers game against the LA Chargers. Here we go......

Quarterback

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Denver Broncos Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Start: Tom Brady (QB13), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. LA Chargers)

In last week’s starter recap, I said Brady is a QB starter moving forward. He’s gelling with his receivers and he will continue to spread the ball around allowing for yardage and touchdown opportunities. Owners have only begun to reap the benefits.

The Bucs only put up a meager 28 points against a decimated Broncos defense, when they should’ve put up 54. Regardless, Brady’s conservative play benefited him. He’s displaying good chemistry with his receivers. He’s getting Gronk out in the open field, and he’s not turning the ball over.

Brady scored a fairly impressive 27 FPTS last week. He threw for 297 yards and 3 touchdowns with a 65.8 PCT completion. According to ESPN, he’s projected 16 FPTS but that’s extremely conservative, and you could easily count on an additional 10.

The Chargers don’t have Melvin Ingram III (IR) and other key defensive players, but they do have Joey Bosa on the edge. The Chargers DST have scored less than 10 FPTS in their last two outings against Kansas City and Carolina, and Carolina’s offense has not been impressive at all. I’m going to say we have the advantage with this one.

Sit: Justin Herbert (QB27), Los Angeles Chargers (@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

This is simple. You bench Herbert at all costs this week. If you don’t have any other options on your roster, then go scour the waiver wire. Todd Bowles is really happy where his defense is right now.

The Bucs can argue that they have one of the best defensive lines in the league. They also have one of the best linebacker duos in the game. Don’t forget the significant improvements made in the secondary, including their potential rookie of the year candidate Antoine Winfield Jr.

You’re probably really hyped on this kid, and I totally get it. He was amazing in his debut against the Chiefs. He then came out and thew for another 300+ yard game against the Panthers. Don’t be misled though, Anthony Lynn has made it clear that the job still belongs to Tyrod Taylor. Herbert definitely has value as long as Taylor is out, but not this week against a really strong Tampa Bay defense.

Running Back

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Chargers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Start: Austin Ekeler (RB6), Los Angeles Chargers (@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Just as I do every week, I scan the web and look at where other analysts have players. Some I agree with, and some I don’t. Such as last week, I had Brady starting and Fournette sitting but Adam Rank of NFL Network had the exact opposite. Who was right there?

This week, I’m going to agree with Adam on the starting running back pick from this game. Ekeler seems to be really good with Herbert under center. As I mentioned earlier, there seems to be a pairing going on in LA. Ekeler is averaging 7.5 targets with Herbert. He scored 30 FPTS last week with 12 carries and 11 receptions for 143 TOT YDS.

Don’t expect the same against a much better Bucs defense. Ekeler will do well in the passing game, so PPR league owners should flourish with targets ranging in the vicinity of 12-15. I’ll also give him 1 touchdown in the air.

Sit: ALL Tampa Bay Buccaneers Running Backs

The running game for Tampa Bay was completely non-existent last week. None of the running backs were heavily involved with the passing game either. Each only catching 2 receptions a piece.

Ronald Jones II was the primary rusher scoring 9 FPTS rushing for 53 yards. Fournette was the expected closer and ran for 15 yards on 7 carries scoring 3 FPTS. We did see Shady get involved a little more, but he ended the game with only 4 FPTS with his 2 receptions for 24 yards.

Jones’ value might have an uptick if Fournette (ankle) is out for week 4. If he is out, then you could consider Rojo for a low end Flex option.

Wide Receiver

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Start: Mike Evans (WR19), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)

This is certainly reminiscent of years past when you just never benched Mike Evans in your fantasy rosters. This year has been different, hasn’t it? He’s no longer getting 12 receptions a game anymore. I think many of us knew this was going to happen, but it was certainly fun to see how it unfolded.

Evans has proven to be a go-to target for Brady after working on communication issues between weeks 1 and 2. Leftwich is giving Evans a few different looks as well, even putting him in the slot, which I really like to see.

The biggest reason Evans is on my start list this week is because Godwin is out. When Godwin was out in week 2, Evans scored 23 FPTS hauling in 7 catches for an impressive 104 yards and 1 touchdown. Brady threw 2 more touchdowns Evans’ way last week. No yardage on those passes, but still got him 14 FPTS in PPR leagues.

Godwin being out, better communication with Brady, dependency in goal line situations and four games into the season.....It’s a recipe for success and owners should be really pleased with his success this week.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Chargers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Start: Keenan Allen (WR7), Los Angeles Chargers (@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Keenan Allen is my second starter for obvious reasons. He’s a WR1 no matter how you spin it. He gets into open field, and he has an astronomical ability to reel in catches.

The Bucs secondary is getting really good, but I didn’t like the cushion they were giving the Broncos last week. They will need to tighten up against a much better offensive team. Herbert will likely be hurdling the ball a lot more this game, and they’ll take advantage of Sean Murphy-Bunting (hamstring) being out as well.

Allen has scored 53 TOT FPTS for the season so far. 30 of those points came from last week’s game against Carolina. He has 265 TOT YDS for the season and is heavily favored by the rookie quarterback.

Sit: Scotty Miller (WR53), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)

Don’t think for one minute that if Godwin is out that Scotty will be able to come in and put up his numbers. Yes, he’s the clear choice as the Bucs no. 2 slot receiver, but he’s just not as prolific as Evans and Godwin are.

Expect Brady to spread the ball thin. Miller will absolutely get his catches, but even when Godwin was out in week 2 he only brought in 2 catches for 11 yards. Gronk will probably take on more of the load along with Howard, Watson and maybe even Tyler Johnson.

Tight End

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Start: Rob Gronkowski (TE31), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)

FINALLY!! I actually didn’t think I would see the day that I would start Rob Gronkowski in my 2020 fantasy lineup. I’m just relieved that he’s finally fantasy worthy.

Tom Brady will spread the ball around, but he’ll look to once again hit his favorite target in week 4 across the middle, in the end zone and in the flat. Gronk led the team in receptions last week with 6/7 completions for 48 yards.

He scored a modest 10 FPTS, but could’ve been more if that pass in the corner of the end zone was just a tad bit more underthrown. Look for week 4 to possibly be a breakout game for no. 87.

Sit: Hunter Henry (TE8), Los Angeles Chargers (@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Henry is arguably one of the best tight ends right now, and most owners got him at a really great value. I actually think he’s perfectly ranked at TE8 knowing who’s ahead of him. He hasn’t been impressive in years past, but not sure if that’s the assortment of receiving options or how the game plan is dictated.

Despite how badly Henry has done in the past (fantasy-wise), he’s been bringing in consistent tight end points each week this year. He has a total of 36 TOT FPTS for the season through 3 weeks. He scored 10 FPTS against Carolina on 5 receptions for 50 yards. He’s typically a starter, but just put the reserve sign on him this week and pick up someone like Jimmy Graham off of waivers who’s only on 41% of rosters.

The spin is, the Bucs have only allowed 8.6 fantasy points per game against opposing tight ends. Henry happens to be a really good blocking tight end, too. With as strong of a defensive line as the Bucs have, and with such good edge rushers, the Chargers are going to need to give Herbert as much protection as possible to give him time to get the ball down the field.

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