TNF Fantasy Preview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Philadelphia Eaglesby Mike Fanelli October 14, 2021 0 comments
Tonight, Week 6 of the 2021 NFL season kicks off with a matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Philadelphia Eagles. While everyone loves Thursday Night Football, fantasy owners struggle with which players they should put in their starting lineups. To help them decide which players they should start and which they should sit, let’s dive into this week’s Thursday Night Fantasy Preview.
All stats are base on four-point per passing touchdown and PPR scoring.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Quarterback – Tom Brady
Despite playing with a thumb injury, Brady threw for 411 yards, five touchdowns, and scored 37.7 fantasy points against the Miami Dolphins last week. More importantly, Brady has averaged 26.9 fantasy points per game, scoring 27.2 or more in all but one game, good for the QB1 on the season. Meanwhile, the Eagles have held quarterbacks to only 17 fantasy points per game this season, but that number doesn’t tell the complete truth. In their matchups against Matt Ryan, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Sam Darnold, the Eagles surrendered an average of 11 fantasy points per game. Against Dak Prescott and Patrick Mahomes, the Eagles gave up an average of four passing touchdowns and 25.9 fantasy points per game. Even with the thumb injury on a short week, Brady is a top-five quarterback option.
Running Back – Leonard Fournette, Giovani Bernard, Ronald Jones II
Entering the season, the Buccaneers’ backfield was a fantasy landmine that many wanted to avoid. However, if you read last week’s Starts, Sits, Sleepers article, you would have started Fournette en route to a 21 fantasy point performance, finishing as the RB14 on the week. More importantly, Fournette is the RB14 for the season, averaging 13.4 fantasy points per game, including 19 per game over his past two contests. Behind Fournette is Bernard, who has earned the passing game role after a slow start to the season. Over his past two games, Bernard has averaged 5.5 catches for 32.5 receiving yards, a receiving touchdown, and 15.8 fantasy points per game. With Fournette and Bernard splitting most of the workload, Jones has shown little fantasy appeal so far this season.
Five games into the season, Jones has finished with under seven rushing attempts and nine fantasy points in every game this season. Furthermore, Jones has averaged only 3.8 yards per carry this season, scoring 2.4 fantasy points per game when he doesn’t score a touchdown. Until something changes or Fournette gets hurt, Jones belongs on the waiver wire. Meanwhile, the Eagles have been destroyed by running backs this season, giving up an average of 122.4 rushing yards and 26.9 fantasy points per game to the position. Furthermore, the Eagles have allowed over 100 rushing yards to running backs in 80 percent of their games this season. Fantasy owners can start Fournette as a high-end RB2 with confidence this tonight, and Bernard is a flex option in PPR leagues.
Wide Receiver – Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown
All three Buccaneer wide receivers finished last week with at least 14 fantasy points against the Dolphins. Brown led the way with 31.4 fantasy points and two touchdowns, while Evans finished right behind with 29.3 fantasy points and two touchdowns. Godwin finished third with 14 fantasy points but had a team-high 14 targets. More importantly, all three wide receivers finished with at least six receptions and 70 receiving yards against the Dolphins. Meanwhile, the Eagles have held wide receivers to the fourth-fewest fantasy points this season, surrendering only 28.3 fantasy points per game. They have also held wide receivers to under 29.5 fantasy points in all but one game this season. However, that number doesn’t tell the complete truth.
In their matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Eagles gave up 225 receiving yards, three touchdowns, and 58 fantasy points to their wide receivers. In their other four games, the Eagles have held wide receivers to an average of 95 receiving yards and 20.8 fantasy points per game, surrendering only two touchdowns in those contests. However, none of those games were against an explosive offense like the Buccaneers. Fantasy owners should treat all three wide receivers as low-end WR2s this week against the Eagles, with Godwin as the best option in PPR and Evans in non PPR. On a play-to-play basis, expect Brady to avoid whichever wide receiver is matched up with Darius Slay after he finished with two interceptions last week against the Carolina Panthers.
Tight End – Cameron Brate, O.J. Howard
The Buccaneers will be without Rob Gronkowski tonight because of a rib injury. With Gronkowski missing the past two weeks, the duo of Brate and Howard has failed to fill his shoes. In those two games, the duo combined to catch only five of their 11 targets for 60 receiving yards, zero touchdowns, and 11 total fantasy points. Meanwhile, the Eagles have given up an average of 15.9 fantasy points per game this season to tight ends, giving up at least 13.5 fantasy points in 80 percent of their games. Furthermore, the Eagles have given up an average of 1.3 touchdowns and 20 fantasy points to tight ends over the past three weeks. However, despite the juicy matchup, neither Brate nor Howard belong in your season-long lineups.
Over the first three games of the season, the Buccaneers D/ST scored negative three fantasy points twice. However, the Buccaneers D/ST has averaged 9.5 fantasy points per game over the past two weeks, scoring at least eight fantasy points in both contests. Furthermore, they have two turnovers and at least three sacks in both games, giving up only 17 points both weeks. Tonight, they take on an Eagles team that has been very friendly to opposing D/STs recently. Over their past three games, D/STs have averaged 6.3 fantasy points per game against the Eagles, scoring 10 or more in two of those contests. While they have struggled at times this season, the Buccaneers are a mid D/ST1 this week.
Quarterback – Jalen Hurts
While Hurts hasn’t been the most consistent passer this season, his fantasy production has maintained the same level every week. Hurts is averaging 24.4 fantasy points per game, good for the QB6 on the season. More importantly, Hurts has scored at least 20.5 fantasy points in every game this season, finishing with two or more total touchdowns in four of five games. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers have allowed quarterbacks to average 21 fantasy points per game this season, giving up over 27 fantasy points in 40 percent of their matchups. They have also given up an average of 2.6 passing touchdowns per game, surrendering at least two in every game this season. Between Hurts’ rushing ability and the matchup this week, fantasy owners can start him with confidence as a mid QB1.
Running Back – Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell
Tampa Bay has one of the best run defenses in the NFL, giving up only three yards per carry to running backs. More importantly, the Buccaneers have held running backs to under 15 fantasy points in three of five games this season. In those games, they have given up only 38.7 rushing yards and 13.5 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, running backs have scored only one rushing touchdown against the Buccaneers this season. However, where the Buccaneers have struggled against running backs is in the passing game. They have given up the most catches, fourth-most receiving yards, and third most receiving touchdowns this season to the position. Last week the Buccaneers gave up a career-high 10 catches for 74 receiving yards, two touchdowns, and 29.4 fantasy points to Myles Gaskin in the air.
Meanwhile, Sanders has averaged 18.8 touches per game, while Gainwell has averaged seven per game. Sanders has also played 66.5 percent of the snaps this season, while Gainwell has played on only 32.6 percent. However, despite the uneven split in snaps and touches, both running backs have produced the same for fantasy owners. Sanders has averaged 10.1 fantasy points per this season compared to 10 per game for Gainwell. The difference in their production has been the touchdowns. Sanders hasn’t found the end zone this season compared to two rushing touchdowns for Gainwell on only 21 rushing attempts. Between the matchup and the split backfield, fantasy owners should avoid both running backs if possible. Both running backs are flex options, with Sanders offering a safer floor than Gainwell this week.
Wide Receiver – DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Quez Watkins
Despite the Eagles having one of the youngest wide receiver trios in the NFL, the rookie Smith has stepped up like a seasoned veteran. Smith is the WR32 on the year, averaging 12.5 fantasy points per game. He has scored 14.7 or more fantasy points in 60 percent of his games this season, including two straight. More importantly, Smith is 19th in the NFL with 39 targets, averaging 7.8 per game, more than any other rookie wide receiver. Over the past two weeks, Smith has been the WR16, averaging 17 fantasy points per game. Meanwhile, Reagor and Watkins have been inconsistent this season. Both are averaging under eight fantasy points per game this season and sit outside the top-60 wide receivers on the year.
The difference between Smith and the other two Eagle wide receivers this season is the target share. Smith has at least six targets in every game, while Reagor and Watkins have three games combined with six or more targets this season. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers have allowed the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season, giving up over 46.5 fantasy points per game. The Buccaneers have given up seven receiving touchdowns to wide receivers this season and at least 34.5 fantasy points to the position in all but one game this season. Reagor and Watkins are options in deeper leagues but ideal options in DFS tonight. Meanwhile, Smith should finish have this third straight game with at least seven catches tonight and end the week as a top-20 wide receiver.
Tight End – Zach Ertz
After Dallas Goedert tested positive for Covid-19, Ertz will have a featured role against the Buccaneers. Despite playing 12 percent fewer snaps than Goedert, Ertz has 24 percent more targets, including six more targets over the past two weeks. While Ertz has more targets than Goedert this season, he has averaged almost five yards per target less and has half as many touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends this season, giving up over 17 fantasy points per game. They have given up at least 15 fantasy points to tight ends in every game this season. Furthermore, the Buccaneers have surrendered three touchdowns to tight ends over the past three weeks. With Goedert out tonight, Ertz is a mid TE1 with top-three upside.
Last week the Eagles D/ST scored a season-high 14 fantasy points against the Panthers, thanks to three interceptions from Darnold. However, the Eagles D/ST averaged only 3.3 fantasy points per game before last week’s game against the Panthers. Furthermore, the Eagles D/ST has averaged only 1.3 fantasy points per game in their previous three games before last week, giving up at least 35 points in two of those contests. Unfortunately for them, tonight’s matchup might be the toughest they face this year long. D/STs have scored the second-fewest fantasy points against the Buccaneers this season, averaging negative 0.4 fantasy points per game. More importantly, D/STs haven’t scored positive fantasy points against the Buccaneers since Week 2. There is no reason why the Eagles D/ST should be in any lineup tonight.
Brady: High-End QB1
Fournette: High-End RB2
Bernard: PPR Flex Option
Evans: Low-End WR2
Godwin: Low-End WR2
Brown: Low-End WR2
Buccaneers D/ST: Mid D/ST1
Hurts: Mid QB1
Sanders: Flex Option
Gainwell: Flex Option
Smith: Mid WR2
Reagor: DFS Only
Watkins: DFS Only
Ertz: Mid TE1
Eagles D/ST: Avoid
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