Kickoff Sunday, Oct 31st 4:25pm Eastern

Bucs (
26.25) at

Saints (

Over/Under 48.5


Key Matchups
Buccaneers Run D
11th DVOA/5th Yards allowed per carry
Saints Run O
13th DVOA/31st Yards per carry
Buccaneers Pass D
15th DVOA/24th Yards allowed per pass
Saints Pass O
20th DVOA/22nd Yards per pass
Saints Run D
25th DVOA/22nd Yards allowed per carry
Buccaneers Run O
29th DVOA/32nd Yards per carry
Saints Pass D
11th DVOA/23rd Yards allowed per pass
Buccaneers Pass O
15th DVOA/6th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By hilow >>
  • Bucs rank first in the league in rushing yards allowed per game and third in the league in yards allowed per rush attempt; Saints rank first in the league in yards allowed per rush attempt and third in the league in rushing yards per game.
  • Bucs rank second in situation-neutral pass rate on the season at 66% but “just” 13th in the league over the previous four weeks (a 59% rate over games against the Patriots for Tom’s return to Foxboro, a Dolphins team they beat by 28 points, the run-funnel Eagles, and the run-funnel Bears).
  • We should see each team tilt pass-heavy here, with clear paths for the expected pass volume to flow.
  • Although we have a wide range of potential outcomes regarding the Saints, the two most likely game flows place high emphasis on Alvin Kamara, Chris Godwin, and Rob Gronkowski (if he returns).

How tampa bay Will Try To Win ::

The Tom Brady led Buccaneers rank second in the league in situation-neutral pass rate over the full season and 13th in the same metric over the previous four weeks. The opponents and respective game environments can largely explain the drop in pass rates over that time, with Brady’s emotional return to Foxboro, a game against the Dolphins in which they beat them by 28 points, a game against the run-funnel Eagles, and a game against the run-funnel Bears making up their last four contests. That said, Brady has a season-low in pass attempts of 36 (last week in a blowout win and Week 2 against Atlanta in a blowout win) with all other games checking in with a minimum of 41 pass attempts. The two neutral to negative game script games were in the Week 1 narrow victory over the Cowboys and their only loss of the season versus the Rams; these games led to 50 and 55 pass attempts. It is clear the Buccaneers will remain aggressive for as long as it is deemed necessary by both Brady and head coach Bruce Arians. Their matchup with the Saints this week hints at a return to a more pass-heavy game plan against a defense stout against the run (second in DVOA against the run and third in rushing yards allowed per game), with the ceiling in pass attempts dictated by game flow and how many offensive plays the Bucs can run from scrimmage and score on the scoreboard.

Week 7 marked the triumphant return of Ke’Shawn Vaughn to Tampa Bay’s rushing matrix (I kid) in a game the Buccaneers had in hand at the half. On a standard week, we should expect Leonard Fournette to reside in the 60 to 65% snap rate range, which has ballooned his running back opportunity levels over the previous four weeks to 25, 17, 28, and 19. We already covered why we think the Bucs have shown a lower propensity to pass over the previous four weeks, which is less likely to be the case against the Saints. Boosting Fournette’s weekly floor and ceiling is a strong pass game involvement (four to seven targets in six of seven games, with the “outlier” game checking in at three targets), keeping him in the weekly “tier below bell cow status” range of running backs. His four touchdowns on the season have all come in the team’s last three games, which stands as the biggest detriment to his expected range of outcomes. Expect Ronald Jones to continue to operate as the primary change of pace back, with Giovanni Bernard forcing his way onto the field in obvious passing situations and the two-minute offense. The matchup on the ground yields a below-average 4.11 net-adjusted line yards metric against the top-rated run defense in the league from an adjusted line yards perspective.

It appears likely the Buccaneers will remain without Antonio Brown for Week 8, who continues to deal with a “tricky ankle sprain located near the heel.” The good news for the team is the likely return to action of tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has missed the previous four games with fractured ribs and a pierced lung. What took him so long to make his way back onto the field? I mean, he did finish the game in which he broke the ribs. All kidding aside, the addition of Gronkowski could not come at a better time, as Saints standout corner Marshon Lattimore has completely owned Mike Evans over the years. Lattimore has typically been held to shadow matchups on wide receivers that profile as Evans does (think your prototypical, big-bodied “X” receiver). The presence of Chris Godwin has kept Gronk in-line for the majority of his snaps this year (128 of 151 offensive snaps in-line, or 84.8%), and Tampa Bay’s heavy 11-personnel (70%) and 12-personnel (19%) rates paint a clear picture of how the pass offense likes to operate. Gronk played 88% and 81% of the offensive snaps in his two fully healthy games prior to missing a few series in Week 3, but it remains to be seen how often he would see the field in his first game back. Considering the relative lack of production seen from the tight end position in the absence of Gronk, I’d expect him to play as many snaps as his health will allow should he return this week. OJ Howard played over 50% of the offensive snaps in each of the last four games but saw more than three targets only once, while Cameron Brate saw 55% or more of the offensive snaps in three of the last four games but caught only six of the 15 targets over that span. For comparison, Gronk caught 12 of his 13 targets over the first two games of the season and scored four touchdowns. Tyler Johnson delivered on my expectation for him to almost directly step into Antonio Brown’s vacated role, which could see a level of uncertainty introduced this week with the potential return of Scottie Miller.  

How new orleans Will Try To Win ::

Note: Mark Ingram has been traded to the Saints but this doesn’t change much with regard to Kamara’s expected usage.

The Saints represent one of the most interesting studies when trying to analyze how they will try to win this game. We’ve seen both “good Jameis” and “bad Jameis” this season. We’ve seen the Saints open up the offense a bit over the previous two weeks against opponents best attacked through the air, and we know head coach Sean Payton is one of the better game planners and game managers in the league. This creates a wide range of potential outcomes for the Saints, considering the Bucs are so very clearly best attacked through the air (fewest opponent rush attempts per game, first in yards allowed per carry to opposing running backs, 18th in DVOA against the pass). We could see Payton come out firing, with a game plan designed to take the game to the Bucs. We could see Payton rely on Kamara heavily, as he’s done over the previous four weeks – both on the ground and through the air. And we could see the game plan rendered useless with “bad Jameis.” Although a seemingly small transition, the Saints hold a situation-neutral pass rate increase of 9% over their previous two games when compared to their seasonal average. That’s a pretty drastic increase, and it directly correlates to competitive games against teams best attacked through the air. I don’t think it’s farfetched to project Jameis for his highest pass attempts of the season here, which should land in the 36-38 pass attempt range.

The ground game has run almost entirely through Alvin Kamara, but the matchup yields a startling 4.02 net-adjusted line yards metric against an opponent that leads the league in opponent rushing allowed. The interesting part comes in the form of Kamara’s pass game usage over the previous two games, games where it made sense that he saw increased usage. This week presents another matchup that would make sense for him to see increased pass game usage (19 targets over the previous two contests). In total, we should expect between 25 and 30 running back opportunities for Kamara against an opponent filtering the third-most targets to opposing backfields. 

Through the air, the primary answer is once again Alvin Kamara, who leads the team in targets as well. The matchup very clearly tilts the expectation towards a pass-heavy attack for the Saints here, but the extent of that increase remains up to Sean Payton’s game plan, the effectiveness of Jameis, and the game flow. The Bucs are reeling on the back end with injuries and ineffective play, presenting an opportunity for one of the ancillary pass-catchers (yes, everyone not named Kamara is an ancillary pass-catcher in this offense) to assert themselves here. Marquez Callaway and Adam Trautman see the field the most, but Trautman has run a staggeringly low 62 routes this season and Callaway holds a disgusting 57.1% catch rate on the season. Each can hit in an aggressive game plan, but the respective floors are low here. Behind those two, the return of Tre’Quan Smith led to a near-even split in snaps with Kenny Stills, each of whom remained largely ineffective.

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

Based on the analytics and tendencies shown by each team up to this point, we’re likely to see both tilt more pass-heavy here. That could spell trouble for the Saints considering the borderline bipolar stat lines exhibited by quarterback Jameis Winston this season: two games of 70% completion rate or better, two games that he combined for nine touchdowns, but three of six games with a 55% completion rate or worse, three of six games with one touchdown pass or fewer, and only two of six games with more than 23 pass attempts. The wide range of outcomes associated with the quarterback of the Saints leaves us with a game environment that has the greatest chance of being driven by the Tom Brady-led Bucs, who are likeliest to return to a pass-heavy approach against a defense that is nails against the run. This would, in turn, force increased pass attempts from Winston and the Saints, leading to more opportunities for both splash plays and mistakes.

At the same time, I wouldn’t completely rule out Sean Payton and the Saints coming out firing against what should be their stiffest test of the season. The term “measuring stick” is a bit misleading and overused, but this game carries a fairly direct correlation for how we can assume the Saints are viewing their Week 8 opponent. If that ends up being the case, and the Saints come out firing aggressively through the air, this game would have all the makings of a true shootout-style matchup.

Finally, when two of the top defenses in the league meet, there is always the possibility we see a slugfest, but I would consider that the lowest probability chance of happening here. The two highest likelihood game flows involve the Saints coming out firing through the air and finding success, or the Bucs taking an early lead and forcing the Saints into increased aerial aggression as the game progresses.



DFS+ Interpretation ::

By LexMiraglia10 >>


  • Payton is 6-2 vs Arians: 31-7, 19-31, 48-41, 31-24, 34-17, 34-23, 38-3, 20-30
  • That’s combined totals of: 38 // 50 // 89 // 55 // 51 // 57 // 41 // 50
  • Payton won the only matchup of the 8 without Brees 31-24 behind 4 Teddy TDs
  • Tampa is favored by 5.5 pts in New Orleans
  • NOR has only been home dogs of 4+ pts twice since 2014, losing both to the eventual SB runner-ups (‘15 CAR // ‘17 NE)
  • TB is the defending champ and current SB favorite

Tom Brady:

  • Arians’s (1 OC, 6 HC) offensive point totals vs Allen (DC): 23, 34, 24, 17, 23, 3, 30
  • QB pass yds vs NOR: 201 // 305 // 270 // 402 // 248 // 167
  • Brady’s pass yds: 379 // 276 // 432 // 269 // 411 // 297 // 211
  • NOR has faced the 10th most pass att/g at 37.8 per game
  • Brady’s pass att: 50 // 36 // 55 // 43 // 41 // 42 // 36
  • NOR has allowed 6 QB TDs to 9 INT and ranks 6th in def pass DVOA
  • Brady has 21 TDs to 3 INT


  • Mike Evans career vs Lattimore Saints: 1:13 (6 tg) // 5:55 (13) // 7:147:1 (7) // 4:86 (6) // 0:0 (3) // 1:2:1 (4) // 4:64 (6) // 1:3:1 (3)
  • Godwin vs NOR with Arians: 7:125:2 // 3:47:1 // 6:79 // 4:64 // 4:34
  • #1 WRs vs 2021 NOR: Adams (5:56) // Moore (8:79:1) // Meyers (9:94) // Golladay (6:116) // McLaurin (4:46) // Metcalf (2:96:1)
  • Only BUF has faced a higher WR target rate than NOR
  • NOR has allowed the 8th lowest success rate to WRs
  • Eight WRs have 70+ yds vs NOR this season
  • TB tg 2021: Godwin (58) // Evans (59) // Brown (42)
  • TB tg without AB: Godwin (7, 11) // Evans (10, 10) // Johnson (6, 2) // Brate (5, 4)
  • Rob Gronkowski vs NOR in 2020: 2:11 // 1:2 // 1:14

Leonard Fournette:

  • Fournette rush att: 9 // 11 // 4 // 20 // 12 // 22 // 15
  • Fournette targets: 7 // 4 // 3 // 5 // 5 // 6 // 4
  • Fournette tot touches: 16 // 15 // 7 // 25 // 17 // 28 // 19
  • Fournette rush yds: 32 // 52 // 8 // 92 // 67 // 81 // 81
  • Fournette rec yds: 27 // 24 // 26 // 47 // 43 // 46 // 9
  • Fournette tot yds: 59 // 76 // 34 // 139 // 110 // 127 // 90
  • NOR ranks 2nd in defensive rush DVOA, but has allowed the 7th highest yds/att to RBs through the air (16th in def success rate)
  • Lead RB rushing vs NOR: Jones (5:9) // CMC (24:72:1) // Harris (6:14) // Saquon (13:52:1) // Gibson (20:60:2) // Collins (16:35)
  • The best RBs vs NOR thus far were CMC, Saquon, Gibson, and they still combined for just 184 yds on 57 att in 13 quarters
  • RBs to score 20+ DK pts vs NOR since 2018: Saquon (22, 29.6) // Latavius (20.5) // Zeke (25.6) // CMC (34.3, 22.8, 26, 24.7) // Mostert (24.9) // Dalvin (28.0) // Sanders (32.6) // Fournette (21.7) // Gibson (21.2)
  • That’s 13 RB scores of 20+ DK pts allowed in the last 59 games
  • 13/13 scored a TD /// 6/13 scored 2 TDs /// 9/13 had 5+ rec /// 12/13 had 6+ DK rec pts
  • Of the four without 5 rec, one had 82 yd TD, one caught a deep WR pass TD, one had 28 rush att, and all four scored 2 TDs
  • 2021: CMC & Saquon combined for 10 rec, 29.9 DK rec pts vs NOR
  • 2021: CMC, Saquon, & Gibson combined for 5 TDs vs NOR
  • Fournette has 4 TDs in the last three games

Jameis Winston:

  • Jameis Winston has thrown the ball just 20, 22, 21, 23, 30, 35 times
  • He’s been throwing more lately with back to back 30 att games, and now faces a TB def facing the 2nd most pass att/g at 40.6
  • Brees pass att vs Bowles TB def: 35 // 30 // 32 // 34
  • QB pass yds vs TB: 403 // 300 // 343 // 275 // 275 // 115 // 184
  • TB has forced 10 INT in seven games
  • Winston has thrown just 3 INT in six games so far
  • TB blitzes at the highest rate in the NFL
  • Jameis on 42 blitzed dropbacks: 23/38 for 233 yds, 4 TD, INT, 3 sacks
  • Winston’s big-time-throw rate (PFF) drops vs blitz, and his turnover-worthy-play rate (PFF) jumps


  • WRs with 60+ yds vs TB: Cooper (13:139:2), Lamb (7:104:1) // Ridley (7:63:1) // Kupp (9:96:2), Jackson (3:120:1) // Meyers (8:70) // Williams (3:60) 
  • With the Saints low pass volume, the only WRs over 70 yds have been Harris (2:72:1 // 1:72:1) & Callaway (2:74 // 4:85:2)
  • Tre’Quan Smith finished with 1 rec for 11 yds in his first game of the season
  • Smith & Stills both left big plays on the field vs SEA, as NOR has been more frequently dialing up shots downfield than in the most recent Brees years
  • Targets last week with no Deonte & with Smith: Callaway (7) // Smith (3) // Stills (3) // Trautman (3)
  • Callaway has 5+ tg in 3/6 games: 2 // 4 // 5 // 2 // 8 // 7

Adam Trautman:

  • Trautman has 43 & 36 yds in the last two games
  • NOR is expected to trail and be forced to pass more vs TB
  • TEs vs TB: Jarwin/Schultz (9:65) // Pitts (5:73) // Higbee (5:40:1) // Henry (4:32:1), Jonnu (3:14:1) // Gesicki (4:43) // Ertz (4:29:1) // Kmet (5:43)
  • TB allowed 14.2 & 14.0 DK pts/g to TEs in Bowles first two TB seasons
  • TB is allowing 16.2 DK pts to TEs through seven games

Alvin Kamara:

  • Kamara’s rush att: 20, 8, 24, 26, 16, 20
  • Kamara’s targets: 4, 6, 4, 0, 8, 11
  • Kamara’s total touches: 24 // 14 // 28 // 26 // 24 // 31
  • Kamara’s main backup Tony Jones is on IR
  • 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
  • Through seven 2021 games, TB has allowed three 20+ DK pt scores to RBs, with Patterson, Gaskin, & Herbert combining for 20 rec & 4 TDs in those games
  • Patterson (7:11:1, 5:58:1) // Gaskin (5:25, 10:74:2) // Herbert (18:100, 5:33)
  • TB allowed the most RB rec in 2020; 7.4 rec/g allowed so far in 2021
  • Kamara has 15 rec for 179 yds, 2 TD in the last two games
  • Kamara vs this Bowles TB defense::
  • Rushing: 16:62 // 13:75 // 12:16:1 // 9:40:1 // 18:85
  • Receiving: 6:42 // 10:47 // 5:51:1 // 5:9 // 3:20


  • Saints leading DK scorers against Arians/Bowles TB::
  • Thomas (44.2) // AK (16.4) // Cook (14.1) // Ginn (11.6)
  • Thomas (28.4) // AK (22.2) // Cook (11.3) // Ginn (9.4) // D/ST (17)
  • AK (23.7) // Cook (13) // Sanders (10.5) // D/ST (17)
  • AK (15.9) // Sanders (13.8) // Trautman (12.9) // Thomas (10.1) // D/ST (16)
  • Tre’Quan (23.5) // AK (13.5) // Sanders (10.8) // Cook (5.8)