Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Tom Brady and the Buccaneers are locked into the four-seed in the NFC.
- The Falcons have long been eliminated from postseason contention.
- Carlton Davis, Julio Jones, Logan Ryan, Donovan Smith, and Vita Vea have yet to practice this week for the Bucs, and considering their playoff situation, it would make sense that all five primary contributors rest in Week 18.
How tampa bay Will Try To Win ::
First off, the Buccaneers are locked into the four-seed in the NFC. Head coach Todd Bowles indicated that his starters would start in Week 18, but the team is also expected to carry third-string quarterback Kyle Trask as active on game day, which should serve as our indication that the team is likely to rest as many primary contributors as possible at some point during the game. The problem is we don’t know exactly how long the starters will play, introducing some level of uncertainty regarding any fantasy utility to come from this side of the game. What we do know is that the Bucs have been at or above league average in pass rate over expectation (PROE) in all but three games this season, play at an elevated pace of play (first overall, second with a lead of seven or more points, first second half), and average 44.8 pass attempts per game this season. With the team having only so many inactive spots available on game day, expect veterans like Tom Brady, Leonard Fournette, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin to have their snap rates limited in some capacity in a meaningless game.
Leonard Fournette let it slip on social media that he has been dealing with a Lisfranc injury that “makes it hard to push off,” making it extremely likely that he is one of the first players off the field once Todd Bowles has seen enough from his typical starters. The team has typically kept four running backs active on game day with Giovani Bernard a special teams contributor, making it highly likely we see Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Bernard get some additional reps out of the backfield this week. Along the same lines, I find it highly unlikely that Rachaad White would see additional opportunities as a primary contributor. All things considered, this is a great spot to give Vaughn an extended run as a back that would be entering the fourth year of his rookie contract in 2023. The matchup on the ground yields an above average 4.55 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Falcons defense ceding 23.4 DK points per game to opposing backfields this season.
With reports out of Tampa Bay that the team will carry three quarterbacks on the active roster for game day, it is difficult to project the distribution of snaps amongst both the quarterbacks and pass-catchers this week. That said, Julio Jones has yet to practice this week and would make sense as a game-day inactive, likely leaving Scotty Miller, Breshad Perriman, and punt/kick returner Deven Thompkins as the wide receivers to join Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Russell Gage on the active roster for Sunday. I wouldn’t expect Evans or Godwin to play beyond when Brady does, opening up an interesting scenario where Russell Gage is almost required to play the entirety of the game. If that is the case, there is upside to be had at his $4,400 price tag against a Falcons team allowing the ninth most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers.