Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2, 3-5 ATS) at Washington Football Team (2-6, 1-7), 1 p.m.
Brolley’s Buccaneers Stats and Trends
The Buccaneers beat the Football Team 31-23 in the Wild Card Round last season, but Heinicke and the Football Team got the cover as 10-point home underdogs.
Tampa Bay has failed to cover in its last four road games.
Tom Brady’s struggles against the Saints’ defense spilled into the 2021 season. He’s now thrown seven INTs in four games against the Saints compared to 13 INTs in his other 24 games since joining the Buccaneers last season. He’s still leading the league in TD passes (25) coming out of his bye, and he’s topped 24+ FP in 6-of-8 games. The Football Team has allowed 24+ FP in 6-of-8 games. Brady posted 381/2 passing in this matchup in the postseason last season.
Mike Evans is the only healthy receiver coming out of their bye, and he’s scored four TDs in his last two games and six TDs in his last four contests. Washington is giving up the second-most touchdowns per game (1.4) to WRs, but they did keep Courtland Sutton in check last time out with just 2/40 receiving.
Chris Godwin (foot) is missing practice coming out of their bye, which is a bummer since he’s coming off his two best fantasy performances with 8/111/1 receiving and 8/140/1 receiving in Weeks 7-8. He’s also seen 11+ targets in three of his last four games after posting seven or fewer targets in three of his first four games. Washington is giving up the third-most catches per game (15.1) to WRs.
Antonio Brown (heel) and Rob Gronkowski (back) are more on the doubtful side this week. Tyler Johnson (26 routes) and Cameron Brate (28) ran the third- and fourth-most routes in Week 8 with both players out of the lineup. Scotty Miller (toe, IR) could return this week and O.J. Howard is also in the mix after running 16 routes in Week 8. The Buccaneers are averaging a league-best 327.5 passing yards per game while Washington is giving up an NFL-high 286.8 passing yards per game, so these secondary receivers have a chance this week if AB and Gronk miss.
Leonard Fournette had scored 16+ FP in four straight games before he ran into the Saints’ buzzsaw run defense, which limited him to 8/26 rushing and 3/17 receiving. He’s still seen 60% of the snaps or more in four of his last five games. Lenny has another tough matchup against a Washington defense that’s giving up just 3.5 YPC and 106.7 scrimmage yards per game to RBs. Fournette hung 19/93/1 rushing and 4/39 rushing against Washington in the Wild Card Round last season.
Brolley’s Football Team Stats and Trends
Washington comes out of its bye as one of the league’s biggest disappointments with just two victories and one backdoor ATS cover through eight games.
The Football Team has dropped four straight home games ATS.
Washington has scored just 33 points in its last three games combined.
Taylor Heinicke has fewer than 14 FP in three of his last four games after posting 21+ FP in his first three starts. He completed 24/39 passes for 270 yards (6.9 YPA), one TD, and two INTs in Week 8, and he added just 1/10 rushing against the Broncos. The Buccaneers are facing the third-most pass attempts per game (40.2), but they’re giving up the sixth-fewest YPA (6.4). Henie posted 306/1 passing and 46/1 rushing in this matchup in the Wild Card Round last season.
Terry McLaurin has fallen below nine FP and 50 receiving yards in three of his last four games, but he’s also topped 25+ FP in 3-of-7 games with Henie at quarterback and he owns a 29% target share this season. McLaurin posted 6/75 receiving on seven targets in this matchup in the postseason with Heinie leading the offense.
Logan Thomas was initially given a four-week timeline to recover from his Week 4 hamstring injury, but he’s battling some soreness in practice this week. He could need an extra week to return or he could be on a snap count if his soreness doesn’t subside. Thomas posted 9.5+ FP in each of his first three games and he ran a route on 93% of Washington’s dropbacks. The Buccaneers are giving up the second-most catches per game (6.6) to TEs.
Antonio Gibson hasn’t played more than 42% of the snaps in his last three games, and he’s coming off season-lows in snap share (33%) and carries (8) against the Broncos in Week 8. UDFA rookie Jaret Patterson had just nine carries entering Week 8, but he left Denver 11/46 rushing on a season-best 23% snap share. J.D. McKissic has posted 16+ FP in three of his last five games, and he’s seen his three highest snap shares in the last three games (61%, 64%, 46%). He’s looking like the best option in this backfield this week with Washington entering as nine-point home underdogs. Tampa is giving up the second-fewest rushing yards (55.9) but the third-most receptions per game (7.3) to RBs this season.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 27.6 (15th)
Plays per game: 70.4 (7th)
Pass: 67.9% (3rd) | Run: 32.1% (30th)
Pace: 26.7 (6th)
Plays per game: 66.3 (19th)
Pass: 60.5% (17th) | Run: 39.5% (16th)
Brady and the Bucs’ come out of their bye in the easiest matchup they’ll have all year. Tampa might be down a few of their weapons, but this still projects as a pass-heavy plan here. Tom Brady is passing at the highest rate above expectation (+9.2%) and gets to face off against the No. 2 defense in pass rate above expected (+7%) and 32nd in passing yards allowed as a result (300.3 YPG). Overall, this is the fourth-best game of the Week 10 slate between these two fairly quick offenses. And, as double-digit dogs, Washington is going to have to throw and play fast to keep up with the Bucs’ scoring pace – which has been a common theme in Tampa’s games. At the halfway mark, Tampa’s contests are averaging 55.4 combined points scored and 6-of-8 have gone over 50 total points.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
I know, I know. J.D. McKissic has been extremely volatile this season. In the negative-numbered weeks, he’s averaged 4.5 FPG. In the positive-numbered weeks, he’s posted 18.4 FPG. And this will be a positive-numbered week so… all of that means absolutely nothing. Purely coincidental. What does matter is that in three of his four good performances, he faced a defense (Giants, Falcons, and Chiefs) ranking in the top-10 in the most pure receiving FPG warranted. It makes quite a bit of sense for the back averaging the seventh-most pure receiving FPG (9.0) to do well in matchups across from defenses vulnerable in that domain. And, while the Buccaneers are closing down ground production to the fewest in the league (6.8 FPG), they are allowing the third-most through the air (15.3).
The GOAT collected 381 passing yards and 23.2 FPs against Washington in a Wild Card victory last season. And that defense Tom Brady faced has been far more lenient during this calendar year.
Additionally in that game, Leonard Fournette assembled 132 yards and — one of John Hansen’s favorite references — one TUDDIE on 23 touches in that playoff matchup. Montez Sweat’s absence will impact the run defense as much as it will the Washington pass rush.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
In a twist from the typical, the Bucs are coming out of their bye more banged up than going into it.
We knew it seemed like a longshot for Antonio Brown (ankle) and Rob Gronkowski (back) to play… but Chris Godwin emerging with a foot injury after two huge games headed into the bye was a surprise. Godwin is a game-time decision, the other two are out.
“Evans averages 8.1 targets and 19.4 FPG over his last 7 games. If we exclude Week 6 (shadowed by Darius Slay) and Week 8 (shadowed by Marshon Lattimore), he averages 9.8 targets and 23.7 FPG.
So, minus those two bottom-3 matchups, he’s been putting up more FPG than any player in fantasy minus Cooper Kupp. And now he gets a top-3 matchup against a Washington defense which ranks: worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing WRs (+8.8), 4th-worst in FPG allowed to opposing outside WRs (25.6), and 3rd-worst in FPG allowed to opposing WRs on deep passes (10.9).
Oh, and none of Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, and Rob Gronkowski were able to practice on Wednesday. So, he should be in line for a lot more volume (especially near the end zone) as well. Yeah, he’s going to go nuclear this week.”
The Bucs are expecting to get WR Scotty Miller (toe) back from IR this week if you’re dying for a deep WR option; as Brolley mentioned above, this is a glorious matchup and I still think it’s a big spot for Tom Brady. And with the Bucs sizable favorites, you know you’re excited to get Leonard Fournette back.
The major storyline I’m watching coming out of the bye for Washington is in the backfield — they went full-on rotation in Week 8, with Jaret Patterson leading them in carries as Antonio Gibson (shin) is clearly limited. In Weeks 1-5, Gibson’s snap rate was 59% (which ranked 21st among RBs). Over the last three games, Gibson’s snap rate has slipped to 38% (which is 41st among RBs).
If Gibson isn’t feeling well coming out of the bye, then he’s probably not going to be close to 100% the rest of the way. Unfortunately, he also has an awful matchup this week.
Here’s Scott again:
“Gibson is dealing with a stress fracture in his shin. This is something that is only going to get worse (not better) and he’s going to have to fight through this injury for the remainder of the season. Granted, maybe he’s a little healthier after the team’s Week 9 bye, but he still feels too tough to trust after what we saw in his last game. In Week 8, Gibson’s already declining snap share fell to just 33% (from 42%), and he was out-carried by the team’s other RBs 14 to 8, and out-targeted 9 to 3.
And this feels like a J.D. McKissic game anyway. Tampa Bay is favored by 9.5 points, and they rank best in rushing FPG allowed (6.2), but 5th-worst in receiving FPG allowed to opposing RBs (13.2). McKissic has seen 24 targets over Washington’s last three games (to Gibson’s 8), and his snap-share jumps to 61% when trailing by multiple scores.”
What about Taylor Heinicke, whose play has slipped in recent weeks? Many recall that he played well against the Bucs in the playoffs last year, but Buc coach Bruce Arians seemed to indicate the element of surprise got them.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians to Tampa reporters yesterday on Taylor Heinicke's game and that they expected Alex Smith to start January's playoff game. pic.twitter.com/jxfclk9yfN— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) November 11, 2021
Still, Graham thinks this could be a spot to stream him.
“I know, I know. Trusting Heinicke is impossible, but this could not possibly be a better spot for his volume. The Bucs’ are very rarely run on because of their stout front-seven and it’s resulted in their secondary facing the third-most pass attempts per game (40.3). Heinicke has failed us in similarly easy spots (182 yards / 1 TD vs. Chiefs) and came through in others (290 yards / 3 TDs vs. Falcons), so he certainly isn’t without risk. But the reward outweighs the floor here. Heinicke scored 24.8 FP while throwing it 44 times in his spot start against Tampa in the Wild Card round last season and this is a very similar setup here as Washington is 10-point underdogs.”
For some housekeeping, it looks like there will be at least another week of Ricky Seals-Jones filling in for Logan Thomas (hamstring). Thomas might not be particularly close to returning if he isn’t healthy out of the bye.