TNF Fantasy Preview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Chicago Bearsby Mike Fanelli October 8, 2020 0 comments
Thanks to Covid-19, we got two games on Monday night. While neither was a nail biter, it was nice to have two games on Monday. Hopefully, the NFL realizes we don’t need seven or more games in the early afternoon window and moves one to Monday night starting next year. However, it’s now Thursday, and that means it’s time to set your fantasy lineups.
Last week the recommendations were mostly on point. Aside from Melvin Gordon and a surprising performance by Tim Patrick, the Broncos offense scored did what was projected. Unfortunately, Noah Fant left the game early with an ankle injury, causing him to finish with just 8.5 fantasy points. The most surprising part of last week’s game Sam Darnold. After scoring 29.8 fantasy points in the first three games combined, Darnold scored 23.6 on Thursday, in large part thanks to a career-high 84 rushing yards. He finished the week as the QB7, ahead of guys like Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson, and Deshaun Watson. Hopefully, the recommendations this week are just as good, if not better, than last week’s. Without further ado, let’s dive into it.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Quarterback – Tom Brady
The 2020 season got off to a rocky start for Brady, as he threw just six touchdowns compared to four turnovers in the first three games. Then on Sunday, without Chris Godwin and Leonard Fournette, Brady put the team on his back, throwing for 369 yards and five touchdowns, totaling 32.5 fantasy points. While Brady played well last week, he faces a tough matchup tonight against the Bears.
They have given up the second-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks (11.6 per game), giving up just three passing touchdowns this season. Furthermore, the Bears have given up more than 11.5 fantasy points to the position just once, but Brady is the best quarterback they will face so far this season. As long as Brady has Mike Evans active tonight, he is a low-end QB1 this week. However, if Evans is a last-minute inactive, Brady needs to be benched in all season-long lineups.
Yesterday the Buccaneers ruled LeSean McCoy with an ankle injury while Fournette is unlikely to play because of an ankle injury. With the mini bye, the Buccaneers will likely not play Fournette with a Week 6 matchup against the Green Bay Packers. With both out of the picture, Jones has another shot at a featured role game. Last week he a career-high 20 carries for 111 yards. He also pulled in six of his nine targets for 17 yards. Jones scored a career-high 18.8 fantasy points last week and has scored 10 or more fantasy points in three of four games this season.
Meanwhile, the Bears have given up about the league average in fantasy points per game to running backs, giving up 24.1 per game. However, they have given up an average of 4.3 yards per carry and four rushing touchdowns this season. Furthermore, they have allowed opposing running backs over 100 rushing yards in three of their four games. With a feature role and a solid matchup, Jones is a mid RB2 this week with a safe floor.
After not playing an offensive snap in the first three games of the season, Vaughn got on the field last week with Fournette out. Vaughn played on 25 percent of the snaps and was productive with his touches, especially in the passing game. He had two catches for 22 yards and one of Brady’s five touchdowns. Vaughn finished the game with 10.6 fantasy points, and with McCoy and Fournette out tonight, Vaughn should have a role in the passing game. The question is, will it be enough to be worth playing in season-long leagues? The answer is no, but he is a great value in DFS. On DraftKings, Vaughn is priced at just $1,000, and given the situation, he should be in every one of your lineups.
Both Godwin (hamstring) and Justin Watson (chest) are out for tonight’s game. Meanwhile, Evans (ankle) and Miller (hip/groin) are questionable but should play. Other than in Week 1, when he dealt with a hamstring injury, Evans has scored at least 14 fantasy points in every game this season. Furthermore, he has scored five touchdowns and has a target share of 17.3 percent this season. Despite a tough matchup against Kyle Fuller, fantasy owners shouldn’t bench Evans this week. However, they should temper their expectations a little if they expect anything more than expect a high-end WR2 finish this week.
With Godwin in and out of the lineup this season, Miller has stepped up. He has scored 11 or more fantasy points in three of four games this season, seeing at least five targets in each of those three games. Furthermore, Miller had a career-high five catches on seven targets for 83 yards and his first touchdown of the season last week against the Los Angeles Chargers. However, the Bears have given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season, giving up an average of 28.7 per game. Furthermore, they have yet to give up a receiving touchdown to a wide receiver. While the volume will be there with Godwin and Watson out this week, Miller is a risky mid WR3 that should be on your bench.
Unfortunately, O.J. Howard tore his Achilles last week and will miss the rest of the season. This leaves Gronk and Brate to hold down the position. However, neither has given fantasy owners much to feel good about them this season. Brate has a total of two targets this season and didn’t score a single fantasy point till last week, though he caught one of Brady’s five touchdowns. Meanwhile, Gronkowski has played on 81.5 percent of the snaps but has scored just 17.8 fantasy points on the season. Furthermore, Gronkowski has seen more than three targets in only one game this season and is dealing with a shoulder injury on a short week.
Meanwhile, the Bears have given up just a tad over the league average in fantasy points per game to tight ends. However, they have given up three touchdowns to the position so far this season and at least 14 fantasy points in three of the four games. Despite the positive matchup, neither Gronk nor Brate should be in your season-long lineups this week. However, for DFS players, Gronk is $5,800 on DraftKings, while Brate is just $3,800. Of the two, Brate is the better value as he is cheaper and just as likely to end up in the end zone.
Not many would believe this, but the Buccaneers D/ST is currently the second-highest scoring D/ST this season. Furthermore, over the last three weeks, they have scored at least nine fantasy points in every game and averaged 12 fantasy points per game. Meanwhile, D/STs are averaging 4.8 fantasy points per game against the Bears. However, the Bears have faced just one good defense this season. With a short week and their success this season, fantasy owners should view the Buccaneers D/ST as a top-five option this week.
Quarterback – Nick Foles
In his first start of the season, Foles struggled. He completed just 61.9 percent of his passes for under 250 yards, only one touchdown, and 11.9 fantasy points. Unfortunately for Foles, things don’t get easier tonight against the Buccaneers. So far this season, they are giving up an average of just 14.2 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, third-fewest in the league. However, after giving up only three passing touchdowns over the first three weeks of the season, the Buccaneers gave up three to rookie Justin Herbert last week. In one quarterback leagues, Foles shouldn’t be in your lineup, but in super-flex leagues, he is a mid QB2 with some upside as the game could turn into a shootout.
Running Back – David Montgomery
Montgomery has to be one of the more frustrating running backs to own in fantasy. Just when you think he’s going to be good, he averages under 3.5 yards per carry and scores less than 12 fantasy points. Furthermore, Montgomery has failed to score a rushing touchdown this season and has just one receiving touchdown after scoring seven total touchdowns last season. However, with Foles under center, Tarik Cohen out for the year, and an easy schedule coming up, things are looking up for Montgomery. Unfortunately, that doesn’t start till next week as he has a tough matchup with the Buccaneers tonight.
The Buccaneers are giving up about the league average in fantasy points per game to the running backs but have gotten better recently. Over the last two weeks, they have held running backs to a total of 26 fantasy points, giving up an average of 2.3 yards per carry and zero touchdowns. Fantasy owners should consider him a high end RB3 and hope he falls into the end zone this week. The good news is Montgomery’s schedule gets better starting next week against the Carolina Panthers, who have given up the second-most fantasy points per game to running backs this season. He is a buy-low trade target with a closing window.
Aside from the fluky Week 2 game against the New York Giants, Robinson has scored 12 or more fantasy points in every game this season. More importantly, in the two games that Foles has played, Robinson is averaging 25.7 fantasy points per game. He has seen 23 targets over the last two weeks while going over 100 yards and scoring a touchdown in both games. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers are giving up around the league average in fantasy points per game to wide receivers. However, over the last three weeks, they have given up an average of 35.9 fantasy points per game to the position and three touchdowns. With his volume and role, Robinson is a weekly safe low-end WR1, and that shouldn’t change this week.
Besides Robinson, is there a Bears wide receiver worth owning? That’s a question yet to be determined. Miller has been extremely hot and cold this season. In Weeks 1 and 3, he averaged 5.5 targets per game while scoring 13 or more fantasy points and found the end zone in both contests. However, in Week 2 and 4, Miller averaged four targets per game, while scoring 4.6 total fantasy points. Ironically, Mooney averaged 5.4 fantasy points in Weeks 1 and 3 but averaged 11.3 in Weeks 2 and 4. Maybe the strategy is to roster both and play Miller on odd weeks and Mooney on even weeks.
Putting all joking aside, between the two, Mooney seems like the better option to play tonight as he has been the more consistent wide receiver. Mooney has scored within 20 percent of his fantasy point average range twice this season and scored over it once. Meanwhile, Miller has failed to score within 20 percent of his fantasy average but gone over it twice. In simple terms, Mooney is a safer play, while Miller is a boom or bust play. That said, both wide receivers are risky WR4 this week. However, between the two, Mooney is the better option as he is safer and has seen four more targets than Miller over the last two weeks.
Tight End – Jimmy Graham
While Graham hasn’t turned back into the old version of himself in New Orleans, he has been surprisingly good for fantasy owners this season. He has seen at least five targets in three of four games this season, including 15 over the last two weeks. Graham has scored at least seven fantasy points in three of four games this season and has three touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the Buccaneers have given up about the league average in fantasy points per game tonight ends; however, that number isn’t completely accurate. In Week 2, the Panthers targeted their tight ends just once. Removing that game, the Buccaneers are giving up an average of 14.7 fantasy points per game, which would rank 10th most in the league. Furthermore, they have given up at least 50 receiving yards to the tight end position in every game except in Week 2 this season. Given his success with Foles so far this season and the matchup, Graham is a low-end TE1 this week.
Despite having a reputation as a great defense, the Bears D/ST hasn’t been very good this season. Aside from scoring 13 fantasy points against an awful Giants offense, the Bears D/ST has scored a total of six fantasy points in their other three games. They have totaled just four sacks and two turnovers in those three games. Now they face a Buccaneers offense that scored five touchdowns last week. Furthermore, D/STs are averaging 5.8 fantasy points per game against the Buccaneers. However, over the last three weeks, D/STs have scored a total of six fantasy points against the Buccaneers. Under no circumstance should fantasy owners start the Bears D/ST this week.
Brady: Low-End QB1
Jones: Mid RB2
Vaughn: DFS Only
Evans: High-End WR2
Miller: Risky WR3
Brate: DFS Only
Buccaneers D/ST: Top-Five Option
Foles: Mid QB2
Montgomery: High-End RB3
Robinson: Low-End WR1
Graham: Low-End TE1
Bears D/ST: Avoid
Check us out on our socials:
Follow Mike Fanelli on Twitter @Mike_NFL2
Main Image Credit:
Embed from Getty Images