Kickoff Sunday, Sep 26th 4:25pm Eastern

Bucs (
27.5) at

Rams (

Over/Under 55.0


Key Matchups
Buccaneers Run D
11th DVOA/5th Yards allowed per carry
Rams Run O
7th DVOA/8th Yards per carry
Buccaneers Pass D
15th DVOA/24th Yards allowed per pass
Rams Pass O
10th DVOA/3rd Yards per pass
Rams Run D
20th DVOA/16th Yards allowed per carry
Buccaneers Run O
29th DVOA/32nd Yards per carry
Rams Pass D
22nd DVOA/27th Yards allowed per pass
Buccaneers Pass O
15th DVOA/6th Yards per pass


BY Hilow >>
  • In MLB DFS, the percentage solution is “great pitching beats great hitting and poor hitting beats poor pitching”; in the NFL we can think of this as “great defense beats great offense and poor offense beats poor defense”
  • That said, this game has a wide range of outcomes with two great offenses matching up with two great defenses
  • Even wider range of potential individual outcomes considering a large portion of Tampa’s fantasy prospectus hinges on how the Rams choose to deploy Jalen Ramsey, knowing Antonio Brown is likely to miss
  • The weakness of the Buccaneers defense is over the intermediate to deep middle of the field, primarily from opposing slot receivers; all of Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Tyler Higbee play heavy slot snaps in bunch formations


Tampa’s situation-neutral pass rate through two weeks sits at 72%, just one percent lower than the Jaguars for tops in the league. They have averaged 43.0 pass attempts per game to start the year. Their defense has allowed just 57.5 rush yards per game against yet have allowed almost 400 yards of total offense against per game. It’s fairly evident how Tampa would like to win games (which shouldn’t come as a surprise after the second half of last season).

The backfield work has been “dominated” by Leonard Fournette to start the season but the snap rates tell a different story. Fournette has running back opportunities of 16 and 15 with snap rates of 65% and 49% to start the year, while Ronald Jones II holds opportunity counts of four and nine on 9% (early fumble) and 41% of the offensive snaps and Giovani Bernard holds opportunity counts of three and two (all targets) on 26% and 10% of the offensive snaps. The big picture though is this team prefers to attempt to win games with the ball in Tom Brady’s hands. The lofty net-adjusted line yards metric of 4.9 is almost immaterial considering the 17.5 average rush attempts per game over the first two weeks. The proverbial money is made from this offense through the air and things get a little more interesting considering the likely absence of wide receiver Antonio Brown. The biggest influence to the prospective fantasy goodness of Buccaneer pass-catchers hinges around how the Rams choose to deploy Jalen Ramsey, who has previously been used as a shadow on Mike Evans (4/40/0 in their last meeting). Looking at the target frequency of the Los Angeles secondary tells us everything we need to know: Ramsey and David Long have been targeted a combined 15 times in primary coverage while Darious Williams has been targeted a whopping 20 times in primary coverage. If we assume Antonio Brown misses and Jalen Ramsey shadows Mike Evans, it leaves a large expected target share to Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski, and, to a lesser extent, the combination of Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson. The problem is we don’t exactly know precisely how the Rams will deploy Ramsey (who has routinely traveled into the slot while in shadow coverage), due to the emergence of perimeter corner Darious Williams, who led the team in pass breakups and interceptions a year ago. I could make a clear case for Ramsey to stick to Godwin with Williams and safety help over the top of the higher-aDOT Mike Evans, which would make this offense tilt towards Gronk and the tertiary receiving options. Again, we just don’t know at this time how the Rams are preparing for this matchup knowing that Antonio Brown is likely to miss.

HOW Los Angeles WILL TRY TO WIN ::

The Rams have injuries of their own that could greatly affect how they attack this game. Borderline workhorse running back Darrell Henderson, Jr. missed practice Wednesday with what is being called a rib cartilage injury. Rib cartilage injuries typically do not run the risk of further injury but are extremely painful to play through, particularly for a running back who is being hit in the torso on almost every snap (obviously with the ball in his hands, but also in pass protection and rubs). If he misses here, it would likely be Sony Michel stepping into an almost every-down role. Regardless, the matchup is very much a strength-on-strength matchup, yielding a net-adjusted line yards metric of 4.185 primarily held down by Tampa’s elite 3.27 mark.

We’re unlikely to see the Rams attack heavily on the ground, particularly if Sony Michel is charged with a workhorse role. If we played this slate out 100 times, Michel would hit a handful of times in this spot, but it is not a spot I recommend attacking heavily. I searched for varying angles to bet on with respect to the Rams running back situation but continually came up empty. The largest detractor is the complexity of their run-blocking scheme paired with the fact that Sony has only been with the team for three weeks. It is much more likely that Sean McVay turns to the air in this spot.

Opposing perimeter corners Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis have allowed a combined 5.0 yards per attempt in coverage value, the lowest in the league through two weeks amongst cornerback duos. Fill-in slot corner Ross Cockrell has allowed 10 of 12 targets to be completed in just over one game’s worth of work, for 103 yards and two touchdowns. To say he is the weak link in this vaunted defense is quite the understatement. While Cooper Kupp is sure to garner the most ownership, it is well worth noting that both Tyler Higbee and Robert Woods play heavy slot snaps. The bunch formations and multiple-slot alignments make this more of a crap-shoot than the field will likely think (based on expected ownership). Van Jefferson plays primarily a perimeter role with a high aDOT and is the pass-catcher least likely to succeed in this spot.


As previously mentioned above, there are really two likely scenarios with about the same chance of transpiring here. Both teams have the personnel and scheme on defense to be able to slow the other and both offenses hold the pieces to be able to break through. It is far less likely that one team clearly takes control and maintains that position for the duration of the game, so the best way to attack this game is to build for two very clear game scripts: a slugfest or a back-and-forth, high scoring affair. A slugfest would indicate a failure by each team to sustain drives over the course of the game, making one-offs “just okay” considering the salary of the pieces and expected ownership. A shootout makes game stacks extremely appealing from what should be highly concentrated offenses (assuming Brown and Henderson each miss the contest). That said, I expect the majority of exposure to this game to primarily be of the one-off variety and not full game stacks, something to keep in mind when building this week.

DFS+ Interpretation ::

By LexMiraglia10 >>


  • LAR won 27-24 in this matchup last year
  • LAR have changed far more than TB since, with DC Brandon Staley & several starting defensive backs being the biggest defensive differences, and Stafford being the biggest offensive difference
  • Goff & Brady threw 51 & 48 times respectively in the 2020 matchup
  • The teams combined for just 79 rush yds, 1 TD on 38 att in the 2020 matchup

Matthew Stafford:

  • With a stifling rush defense over the past three seasons, TB has consistently faced one of the highest pass rates in the league
  • So far, Stafford has thrown just 26 and 30 times in games LAR have rushed 18 & 26 times
  • Dak & Ryan have thrown 58 & 46 times vs TB to start 2021
  • Stafford is still averaging 300 yds through two games despite the low att totals
  • TB allowed 6 QBs over 300 yds in 20 games last year
  • TB has allowed both Dak & Ryan to throw for 300+ yds in 2021


  • Kupp has been Stafford’s #1 through two weeks, racking up 16 rec for 271 yds, 3 TD on 21 targets vs CHI & IND
  • Kupp has 36% of LAR intended air yds in 2021
  • Woods trails Kupp by 8 targets, but did jump to 9 in W2 after just 4 in W1
  • LAR WRs vs TB in 2020: Kupp (11:145) // Woods (12:130:1)
  • WRs vs TB in 2021: Cooper (13:139:2), Lamb (7:104:1) // Ridley (7:63:1)

Tyler Higbee:

  • Higbee dropped from a 5:68 W1 to a 1:8 W2 (6 targets to 1 target)
  • Higbee has run a route on 50 of 59 Stafford dropbacks
  • TB allowed 9:65 to Jarwin/Schultz and 5:73 to Pitts
  • TB has allowed 14.2 & 14.0 DK pts/g to TEs in two Bowles seasons


  • Darrell Henderson is questionable // All 10 of Michel’s rush att came in the 4th quarter after Henderson’s departure
  • No team allowed fewer rush yds than TB in 2020, with the next closest team allowing nearly 200 yds more; 2019 TB allowed the fewest by 100+ yds as well
  • In 20 games, Kamara, CMC, & Cook were the only RBs to break 20 DK pts vs TB, and AK & CMC both needed 2 TDs to get there
  • Gurley & AK were the only two RBs to break 20 DK pts in 2019 vs TB, and they combined for 17 rec in those 2 games
  • Zeke, Pollard, & Davis were held in check, but Patterson had a nice day vs TB thanks to 2 TDs and 5 rec for 58 yds through the air
  • Michel has 26 career receptions with a game-high of just 3

Tom Brady:

  • Dalton & Wentz offenses were only able to score 31 combined pts vs LAR
  • Since the shellacking TB took vs NOR on primetime, TB has scored: 46 // 24 // 24 // 26 // 31 // 47 // 44 // 31 // 30 // 31 // 31 // 31 // 48
  • Nine straight 30 point games
  • The 2020 Rams were one of the last teams to hold Brady’s Bucs under 30
  • Brady is averaging 3 TDs/g over those last 13 games
  • Brady went 216:2:2 in the 2020 matchup
  • The Rams have 3 INT vs Dalton, Wentz, & Eason to start 2021
  • 30 QBs vs LAR since Ramsey arrived are averaging just 15.58 DK pts, with the only QBs over just 20 DK pts being Dalton (London), Lamar, Kyler, Allen, Jimmy, & Rodgers
  • 6/30 QBs vs Ramsey’s Rams have topped 20 DK pts, and only 3/30 over just 24 DK pts (36.3, 36.2, 25.5), while 18/30 have finished below 15 DK pts
  • Brady has topped 30 DK pts in both games to start the year vs DAL & ATL


  • Top WR score in games Brady scored 20+ DK pts since adding AB: 19.7 // 20 // 20.3 // 43.1 // 39.8, 33.3 // 20.9 // 7.4 // 19.6 // 13.2 // 27.5, 26.7 // 24.5
  • TB WRs times leading/tied for lead in targets w/ AB: Evans (7), Godwin (6), Brown (5)
  • TB targets in 2021: Godwin (14, 5) // Evans (6, 9) // Brown (7, 3)
  • Mike Evans has just four games of 20+ DK pts with Brady, two before adding AB (26.4, 28.1) and two after (43.1, 24.5)
  • Godwin has just three games of 20+ DK pts with Brady (23.8, 33.3, 27.5)
  • Brown has just three games of 20+ DK pts with Brady (20.3, 39.8, 26.7)
  • Each of Brown’s & Godwin’s best games came in the same ATL game that Evans left early with injury
  • Elite perimeter WRs vs LAR in 2020: Cooper (10:81) // Diggs (4:49:1) // McLaurin (3:26) // ARob (4:70) // Metcalf (2:28; 6:59; 5:96:2) // Evans (5:49:1) // Hop (8:52:1; 4:35)
  • LAR held ARob to 6:35 in W1, but did allow 8:123 to Pittman in W2
  • In the 20 games since 2020, LAR have allowed 32 WRs to surpass 40 rec yds, but just 13 above 60 yds: Cooper (81), DJax (64), Davis (81), Beasley (100), Deebo (66), ARob (70), Lockett (66), Deebo (133), Crowder (66), Metcalf (96), Lazard (96), Adams (66), Pittman (123)
  • So of the 32 WRs to reach 40 yds vs LAR, 19 of them finished between just 40-60 yds
  • Only WRs over just 15 DK pts vs LAR since 2020: Deebo (27.3) // Metcalf (26.6) // Hopkins (19.2) // Beasley (19) // Cooper (18.1) // Deebo (18) // Lazard (19.6) // Adams (21.6) // Pittman (23.3)

Rob Gronkowski:

  • Gronk’s last three games: 8:90:2 // 6:67:2 // 4:39:2
  • TB’s margin of victory in Gronk’s 10+ pt DK scores in TB: -3 // +2 // +18 // +22 // +23 // +25 // +28 // +40 // +2 // +23
  • Kmet & Doyle have produced 42 & 64 yds on 7 & 8 targets vs LAR in 2021
  • Gronk went 2:25 in this matchup last year


  • RoJo only scored above 20 DK pts three times in 2021, and Fournette played 0 snaps in two of them
  • RoJo was benched vs DAL after fumbling and got just 6 carries in W2 vs ATL
  • Fournette touches so far: (9 att, 7 tg) // (11 att, 4 tg)
  • Only three teams allowed fewer RB DK pts than LAR in 2020 (6th fewest RB rush yds), despite one of the highest rates of light boxes faced in the NFL (Staley is now gone, but Donald is still superhuman)
  • In 2021, Montgomery went 16:108 & Taylor went 15:51 with the biggest difference being a 40 yd run by Montgomery