The Bucs are coming off of their worst performance so far this season. Heading into the short week last week, we had high hopes for the defense and we had every reason to believe Brady would pull apart the Chicago Bears defense, even with Godwin out. Well, unfortunately none of that happened.
We’re going to get down and dirty with this week’s starter recap and get straight into our start ‘em or sit ‘em for week 6, which will include some notable players that may still be available on your waiver wire.
Not one Buccaneer scored higher than 15 FPTS last week (insert wide-eyed emoji here). The only player that did score 15 was Mike Evans. He managed to get 41 yards receiving and 1 touchdown. Tom Brady scored owners 13 FPTS, and Ronald Jones II and Ryan Succop were tied with 14 FPTS a piece. Yikes!
We expected Ronald Jones to carry the rock a lot, and he did. He ended the game with his second 100+ yard showing on the ground. I think we’ll start seeing that more regularly, but with a spattering of Leonard Fournette in there for relief and fourth quarter. He went 106 yards and 19 receiving yards with no touchdowns.
Ryan Succop ended up the hero of the day. If it weren’t for his leg, the Bucs 20-19 loss to the Bears would’ve been a lot more. He was perfect on the day 4/4 FGs with 1 beyond 40 yards out (for those of you with built-in bonuses). The Bucs likely could’ve relied on his leg to win the game had they not missed a down, as they were only one solid catch away from decent field position.
Scotty Miller and Rob Gronkowski were absolutely duds in week 5. This was shame since all signs pointed toward both of them being heavily relied on, given they were considered Brady’s trusted connections. Evans and Rojo aside, if I were to tell you that all the other key players were out of the game besides Miller and Gronk, wouldn’t you think they would have a field day?
There’s really no excuse. They tried to get Brate more involved in the absence of O.J. Howard, but that failed to come to bear any fruit just as much as Gronkowski. Actually, Miller ended up laying a big goose egg. Brady didn’t even bother targeting him. Maybe we can blame injuries, but who knows.
Here’s what his analysis was on ESPN’s fantasy site:
On paper, Miller was in a great spot for last Thursday’s matchup with the Bears. Unfortunately, he failed to deliver, going the entire game without a look, though perhaps he was hindered due to residual back and groin soreness.
Matt Johnson of Sportsnaut.com recently ranked all 32 team defenses and had this to say about the match up last week.
Khalil Mack is ridiculous. He made it a rough Thursday night for Tom Brady, sacking him twice and recording three quarterback hits.
One area of concern, Chicago’s defense was gashed repeatedly by Ronald Jones.
Well, now that we got that out of the way, let’s take a look across the NFL at some other players you can lean on to start during some really tough bye weeks.
The injury to Dak Prescott was horrendous to the say the least. I don’t think anyone would want to wish that on their worst enemy. Luckily Jerry Jones was smart enough to acquire a strong backup should just the occasion arise.
“The Red Rifle” is not that far removed from fantasy relevance, and he should be able to prove it once again with his new team.
Dalton entered the game after the Prescott injury and stumbled a bit including a fumble in an exchange with his rookie center. Regardless he still got the ‘W’ for the Cowboys. Granted it was against the Giants, but it showed he has poise and can be the No. 1 QB for the remainder of the season with an increase in reps.
Granted, I wouldn’t start him over a lot of the other must-start QBs, even if they have unfavorable matchups, but he is a great value to pick up off of the waiver wire and play if your QB1 is on a bye or perhaps injured (or if you had Dak).
He’s currently only on 33% of the rosters, and has weapons at his disposal. Unfortunately, I didn’t see Prescott being highly effective with those same weapons, but he did have some good fantasy production as of late, so I expect Dalton to produce the same results.
The Cardinals have not broken 10 FPTS all season long. They allowed 31 points against a similar skilled quarterback in week 4 against Teddy Bridgewater and the Panthers; they allowed 26 points to the Lions in week 3. So, there’s upside that Dalton could march this team down the field this week and in doing so rack up some fantasy points.
Brady had a really tough outing last week against a really decent Bears defense. I don’t think a lot of people gave the Bears D the amount of respect they deserve, but they were able to get to Brady and stop any real forward momentum.
Three issues plaguing Brady right now - 1. continuity and consistency with key players due to injuries; 2. lack of pass protection; and 3. penalties!
Penalties kill offenses, especially the constant holding and offsides that pushes the offense even deeper into their own zone. You can’t make progress when you’re hurting yourself in the process.
There was a whole highlight reel of Donovan Smith getting pushed into Brady, including several that resulted in sacks last week. And poor Wirfs had to contend with Khalil Mack all night. There is still some obvious improvements needed on the O-line.
I know I said Brady is a solid QB2 starter from here on, but I would just temper expectations this week. Many, including myself, had this game listed in the ‘L’ column at the beginning of the season. He is definitely a starter and should be rostered, which he is (90% rostered), but let’s sit back and let the offense get their feet back under themselves again. Week 7 - 10 look like really good matchups to put him back in as your QB1.
Start: Mike Davis (RB7), Carolina Panthers (vs. Chicago Bears)
I kinda look at this offense and wonder where this guy came from. I can’t believe Davis has been riding the bench handling 3rd down situations all this time. They likely could’ve had a nice one two punch with both him and McCaffrey active. I know the Panthers have a lot invested in McCaffrey, but this guys has been hauling the rock pretty effectively and racking up “Run CMC” numbers.
Davis has been fantastic during his time serving as Christian McCaffrey’s relief. He scored 29 FPTS last week against Atlanta with 89 rushing and 60 receiving yards. He got one touchdown and no fumbles. He’s been putting up 20+ digits since week 3 against the Chargers.
Take advantage of him now while McCaffrey is out, because once he returns off of IR, Davis will immediately lose his current fantasy value.
Sit: Darrell Henderson (RB19), Los Angeles Rams (@San Franscisco 49’ers)
On paper, Henderson did not look attractive before last week from a fantasy perspective. Malcolm Brown was expected to be the primary ball carrier with more snaps, and Cam Akers was back as well, whom was expected to be ahead of Henderson in the depth chart.
That clearly wasn’t the case, and Henderson went gangbusters against the Washington Football Team with 21 FPTS. He toted the rock 15 times for 38 yards, caught 3 receptions for 30 yards and scored 2 touchdowns. He’s now been bumped up to the top of the depth chart.
But......I have to agree with Adam Rank of NFL.com. The Niners have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. It’s a running back-by-committee and obviously we don’t know who’s getting the nod on any given Sunday. Whoever has the hot hand and hot feet. Keep him on your roster, but bench him at least. You could definitely use him as a trade token, especially in deeper leagues.
So, I’m going against my man Adam Rank on this one. He wants to sit him, but I say start him. With DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery and Jalen Reagor all remaining out with injuries, he’s easily claimed the No. 1 receiving duties.
The Eagles are craving a win right now. Fulgham stepped up last week and showed he can definitely be among the WR2 contendors in most fantasy lineups.
If you picked Fulgham up last week to replace Jackson or Jeffery, and you played him, then you struck gold! He caught 10/13 passes for 152 yards and scored 1 touchdown for 31 FPTS. I mean.....that’s next level points! He’s only on 40% of the rosters, so if you’re constantly getting let down by injuries or fights in the locker room like I am, then pick him up at a good value.
I think he’ll continue to be in the game plan, even when Jackson, Reagor and/or Jeffery return. This week should bode well for him since I think the Eagles will be fighting the same uphill battle coming from behind and passing the ball a lot against a really good Baltimore team.
Sit: Scotty Miller (WR47), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Green Bay Packers)
Everyone was really high on Miller coming into last week with Godwin out, Howard done for the season, and Fournette sidelined all game. He was arguably the best to come in, fill Godwin’s role, and catch a lot of balls. Him and Brady have worked out a lot together, in which they’ve both been very vocal about their connection.
I had him in as my starter last week, but never even recorded a target let a lone a reception. Now, maybe its because the plays he was going to get the ball Brady ended up getting sacked or rushed and he had to check down quickly. Maybe it’s because Brady never felt comfortable in the pocket to perform his progressions away from Evans. Who knows.
All I know is that I’m forced to temper my expectations this week against a really tough opponent for the Bucs. Especially since Godwin is making his way back into the lineup this week. I have Scotty in one of my fantasy lineups, so I’ll hang on to him as long as Godwin and Evans remain injury risks.
What’s funny is that someone sensed my frustration over Thomas in my other league, so they offered Miller and Henderson in a 2-for-1 trade offer. I wasn’t that desperate to get rid of Thomas, but I actually considered it. Bench Miller this week, but maybe hold onto him as a bye week replacement. He’ll still get his share of receptions, and may have other games like he did in week 5, but we can’t ignore the connection he has with Brady.
Start: Jimmy Graham (TE7), Chicago Bears (@ Carolina Panthers)
Holy bazooka joe Batman! Graham is a top 10 tight end again? Did we ever think we’d see the day? All kidding aside, Graham has been extremely under utilized since he left the Saints back in 2015. He went to play for the Seattle Seahawks for 3 seasons where he was fairly effective before moving to Green Bay where he became almost obsolete.
Chicago acquired him this off season, and it seems to be paying off for them. He’s been firing on all cylinders, especially in the red zone. The “Jimmy of Old” is back and scoring touchdowns and making fantasy owners very happy once again.
He did have a little stumble in week 2 against the Giants with only 3 FPTS, but since then he’s averaged 14 fantasy points per game. He’s a bit touchdown dependent given the 30% of red zone targets, but with a decent Carolina secondary possibly locking down Allen Robinson II and Anthony Miller, Foles could pick up on that and check down to Graham a bit more frequently.
Sit: Tyler Higbee (TE11), Los Angeles Rams (@ San Francisco 49’ers)
Higbee was one of the most hyped up fantasy tight ends before the season began. I think they had him ranked around No. 5 at the beginning of the season just behind Mark Andrews. I actually don’t want to say that hes not, but he’s fading.......fast.
He’s only averaged 5 FPTS excluding his one and only fantasy breakout game against the Eagles in week 2. He only caught 2 receptions last week against Washington. It’s just been a lackluster season for Higbee with a lack of targets and receptions.
I don’t want to completely give up on him on though. I’m just not going to have too high of expectations until I see Goff get him more involved. Right now Gerald Everett is the go to tight end target. We’ll see how this one plays out as the season progresses. With Everett getting the targets, it may be time to either trade Higbee or prepare to put him out to be claimed. The 90% of fantasy owners that have him just need to keep an eye on him from week to week.