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Buccaneers Fantasy Corner: Week 10

Posted Nov 9, 2013

The Dolphins roll into Raymond James Stadium to face the Bucsthe final matchup of the NFL's 10th week...Which primetime players will bring in the last-minute points to put your team over the top?

If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Week Nine game in Seattle didn’t confirm that the Buccaneers are still a solid fantasy football force, then perhaps nothing will. With a rookie quarterback in charge, an undrafted rookie tight end emerging as a prime target, a rookie running back starting for the injured Doug Martin and a starting receiver and guard on the shelf, the Bucs still put up a strong fantasy football performance against a Seahawks team widely considered among the league's best teams.  And all of this took place in one of the most difficult stadiums for opposign teams to operate in. Let’s take a look at the highest scoring quarterback, running back and tight end from each game against Seattle this season, in terms of fantasy points. Seattle home games are noted in bold.

OPP

Quarterback

Running Back

Tight End

CAR

Cam Newton, 12

DeAngelo Williams, 7

Greg Olsen, 5

SF

Colin Kaepernick, 5

Frank Gore, 2

Vernon Davis, 2

JAX

Chad Henne, 5

Maurice Jones-Drew, 11

Marcedes Lewis, 0

HOU

Matt Schaub, 18

Arian Foster, 22

Garrett Graham, 12

IND

Andrew Luck, 17

Donald Brown, 9

Coby Fleener, 1

TEN

Ryan Fitzpatrick, 5

Chris Johnson, 5

Delanie Walker, 2

AZ

Carson Palmer, 10

Rashard Mendenhall, 8

Greg Housler, 5

STL

Kellen Clemens, 3

Zac Stacy, 13

Jared Cook, 3

TB

Mike Glennon, 15

Mike James, 19

Tim Wright, 11


Buccaneer QB Mike Glennon has the third highest fantasy score against the Seattle defense this year, and the highest inside CenturyLink Field. In fact, his point total from Sunday matches what all three other QBs have scored combined in Seattle this season. Second fun fact: You have to go all the way back to Week 6 of 2012 to find a QB with a better performance on the road against Seattle, when some guy named Tom Brady put up 19 points.

Arian Foster is the only running back with more points against the Seahawks this year than Mike James. Again, Foster's performance came in a Seahawks road game, making James the highest-scoring opposing RB to play at CenturyLink. You have to go back to Week 9 of last year when Mr. Adrian Peterson put up a 34-point performance to find one better in Seattle.

Bucs rookie TE Tim Wright had 11 points last week. The other opposing TEs to face the Seahawks in Seattle (Davis, Lewis and Walker) combined for just four. TE Tom Crabtree had a score of his own, making the Bucs' tight end total for the game 17 points.

Combine that with the continued fantasy prowess of Vincent Jackson (not including last week's blip), and you’ve got a pretty formidable – and hugely underrated – group of fantasy football players lining up for the Buccaneers. Jackson is the only Buccaneer owned in 100% of leagues. Mike James’s performance put him on the fantasy radar, but he is still available to pick up in nearly 70% of leagues. And despite multiple top-10 fantasy performances over the last four weeks, Mike Glennon and Tim Wright are owned in just 1.8 and 5.1 percent of leagues, respectively.

-- RB M. James has been added by many fantasy teams in recent weeks
Of course, while last week put a lot of Buccaneer potential on display, our topic is the fantasy outlook for this week. So let’s get to how Bucs and Dolphins players will affect your lineup on Monday Night Football.

1. Buccaneers Points Through The Air

Glennon is in for another tough test this week. The Miami Dolphins rank sixth in points allowed to opposing quarterback . In fact, over the last four weeks, no defense has been tougher to put points on through the air than the Dolphins, who have held their last four opposing quarterbacks (including Flacco, Brady and Dalton) to under 10 fantasy points.

However, Glennon has shown he is up to the task with four straight games with at least 15 fantasy points, his last one coming against the Seattle defense, ranked second in points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. His yardage totals haven’t been astronomical, but he has seven touchdowns in the last four games and only one interception. His steady pace and game management make him one of the most consistent plays in the league. As usual, he is a solid QB2 here, while it would still be a bit risky to start him in smaller leagues. Considering Aaron Rodgers’s injury in the Thursday night game, now might be a good time to put your mind at ease by picking up a backup quarterback, and Glennon is an ideal candidate because of that consistency.

Again, he will be without his second receiver, Mike Williams, who is now on IR, but other weapons have stepped up in his absence. Vincent Jackson will continue to be his favorite target (only one NFL receiver has had more passes thrown his way this season) and retains his must-start status. He had just two catches for 11 yards last week, but in the previous three weeks, he had 331 yards and four touchdowns, good for 26 fantasy points per game.

With Jackson’s quiet day last week, two pass-catchers stepped up into bigger roles. The expected playmaker was TE Tim Wright, who is quickly becoming one of the most reliable fantasy tight ends in the league. Since the bye week, Wright has three games with 15 or more fantasy point. In that time span, he is the second most targeted Buccaneer player. In fact, the combo of Jackson and Wright accounts for exactly 50% of Glennon’s passes since the Week 5 bye. The Dolphins gave up six touchdowns to tight ends in the first four games of the season, but since have kept players at the position out of the end zone. Still, with Wright’s targets and the trust he has gained with his quarterback, he should find himself in more starting lineups each week.

The less expected fantasy player to step us was WR Tiquan Underwood, he had just two catches for 29 yards, but made a great move to get open for a touchdown, ending the day with 10 fantasy points in Seattle. Over the last two weeks, he has five catches for 76 yards. With Miami likely taking notes from Seattle’s defense, Vincent Jackson could see extra coverage on his side of the field, giving Underwood more chances to get the football. While it is quite unlikely for him to make any starting lineups, he is a person to keep on your radar since he has moved into the WR2 position for Tampa Bay and is worth adding in deep leagues.

2. Dolphins in the Passing Game

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill hasn’t necessarily been a fantasy football juggernaut, posting just one 15+-point game this season; however, the Buccaneers on paper are one of the best matchups he’s had this season. The Bucs were stout to begin the year, holding Geno Smith, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Carson Palmer to under 15 points apiece. But in the last four weeks, the lowest point total they have allowed is 21, to Russell Wilson last week.

The Buccaneers' defense might be able to turn that around this week. No team has allowed more sacks this season than the Dolphins, and Tannehill will be playing without two of his usual starting linemen. This could open up more holes for the Bucs' pass rush and force Tannehill into committing turnovers, which makes the quarterback a questionable play this week. The Bucs have allowed at least two passing TDs in five of their last six games, but the potential turnovers and energy of a Monday Night game in the Bucs’ stadium is enough to avoid Tannehill this week.

That also adds some question marks to the possible effectiveness of WR Mike Wallace. Things have recently been turning around for him from a fantasy standpoint, with three of his last four games going for 13+ points in PPR leagues. Wallace has averaged 10 targets in the last four games. Again, the offensive line woes of the Dolphins trickle down from Tannehill to his receiving corps, and to make it more difficult for Wallace, he will be facing Darrelle Revis, who was very solid in man coverage last week. He should still find your starting lineup if you own him, as he always is a risk to break a big play, and with the number of passes going his way, he should at least have a good point total coming from receptions alone, unless Revis Island proves particularly lonely this week.

The “sleeper” candidate for the Dolphins aerial game is Brian Hartline. He hasn’t been an incredibly effective fantasy receiver this year, but he has at least three receptions in each game, and should benefit from the attention being paid to Wallace. The Buccaneers have had trouble against slot and second receivers this year, which could work in Hartline’s favor. Again, if the Bucs can get pressure in Tannehill’s face, it could be a long day for the Dolphins, and their fantasy owners.

>3. Renewed RB Fantasy Life

While James deserves a shout-out after last week’s performance, it is also necessary to touch on a big fantasy football rebound performance from the Dolphins.

Miami RB Lamar Miller came into the season with a lot of hope behind him and promptly began the season with a 1-point Week-One performance. He found the end zone in Weeks Two and Four (his only times this season), but managed little else, posting a single-game high of 69 yards, and another sub-20 yard performance. He has found this stride since the Dolphin’s bye week, however, rushing for 237 yards in three games on 43 carries, good for 5.5 yards per carry. It would make sense to see his touches rise to between 20 and 25 this week, which would put him on pace for roughly a 100-yard game if he can maintain that per-carry pace, which would be his second in a row. He’ll have to do so against a Bucs defense that has allowed just one rushing score to a running back this year. The Bucs have held RBs to under 80 yards rushing in five games, but have surrendered more than 135 in the other three. Miller is a solid start this week.

Buccaneer RB Mike James has been picked up in more than 20% of leagues this week alone. This comes off of a very impressive performance in Seattle where he racked up 158 rushing yards and even added his mark in the passing game, throwing a TD to Tom Crabtree on  a trick play.  That touchdown pass won't be duplicated, but he saw more handoffs last week than he received in the last two games combined, and that stat is definitely not misleading.  Also likely affecting his owned percentage status is the unfortunate announcement that last year’s standout, RB Doug Martin, has been placed on IR and will miss the rest of the season.

Last week, James was going up against a top-10 defense in stopping running backs and he put up the best visiting running back performance in CenturyLink Field in a calendar year. This week he has the benefit of home field advantage, a crowd and national audience that now know his name, and a defense lining up across from him that has allowed the third-most points to opposing RBs.

In the last four games alone, the Dolphins have allowed seven running back touchdowns and 123 rushing yards per game. That amounts to 111 fantasy points to RBs, one fewer than the 10th-ranked Bucs defense has allowed to RBs all season. If the Buccaneers continue their focus on the ground game, and keep feeding James, he should be in for another great game against this defense, and this time next week we’ll be saying he’s owned in much more than just 30% of fantasy leagues.