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Buccaneers Fantasy Corner: Week 13

Posted Nov 30, 2013

In the final game of most fantasy football regular seasons, which key players in the Buccaneers vs. Panther matchup will secure your spot in the playoffs?

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tampa Bay's offense has evolved significantly since its Week Eight meeting with Carolina
  • The status of RB DeAngelo Williams and CB Darrelle Revis could significantly affect QB Cam Newton's value
  • Buccaneer players have some favorable matchups during the fantasy football playoffs
For most fantasy football participants, Week 13 in the NFL means the final game before the start of the playoffs. Congratulations to those out there who have already locked up postseason spots and better luck next year to those who are already eliminated.  As for those teams still fighting to secure their spots in the playoff dance, every lineup decision will be critical this week. Some of those decisions may involve players in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Carolina Panthers on Sunday in Charlotte; let’s see how that matchup will affect your starting lineup as you make your final regular season push.

Much has changed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since they faced the Panthers in Week Eight. Along with winning three of the four games during that time span, the Buccaneers as a unit have improved statistically in nearly every fantasy-relevant category.

Weeks 1-8

Category

Weeks 9-12

7

Games

4

317.6

Yards per game

335.0

71.6

Passer rating

120.5

1

Pass TDs/Game

2

0.75

INTS/Game

0.25

10.5

Yards per reception

12.5

1

Rushing TDs

3

14.3

Points per game

27.8


Of course, that means a lot of improved fantasy performances for Buccaneer players, and even some emerging fantasy standouts. QB Mike Glennon’s total number of passes has gone way down since Week Eight, leading to fewer passing yards per game, but he has seven touchdowns and just one turnover over that time span, leading to a slight jump in fantasy points per game, 13.75 to 14.

The last matchup with the Panthers was the first Bucs game without Doug Martin, meaning Mike James shouldered the load with 10 carries for 39 yards. Since, he has also found himself on IR, giving Bobby Rainey and Brian Leonard the split on the ground. In the three games since James’s injury, Rainey has 51 fantasy points, while Leonard has 16.

At wide receiver, the Buccaneers no longer have Mike Williams starting, again due to a trip to IR. WR Tiquan Underwood has stepped up next to Vincent Jackson in the starting lineup. Jackson has had just one double-digit game since facing Carolina, but it was a big one with 10 receptions, 165 yards and one score. Underwood has 11.75 fantasy points per game since Week Eight with a huge two-touchdown game last week in Detroit.

So, there has certainly been big changes in Tampa Bay since they last met their division foe. Time to see how they could translate and affect your lineup when they face a hot Carolina Panther team that has won seven straight.

1. Tampa Bay's Offense Strikes Back

Mike Glennon put up a solid fantasy performance vs. Carolina in Week Eight against one of the best defenses in the NFL, scoring 15 fantasy points. His 275 passing yards remain the highest number that he has reached all season, he also managed a fourth-quarter touchdown to add to his point total. However, that was put up on 51 total passes in a game in which the Bucs abandoned the run.

-- Tampa Bay's defense has been racking up turnovers lately, but Carolina QB Cam Newton is still a good fantasy start
Sunday, it makes sense to expect a more balanced attack against the Panthers, who rank first in the league in defending opposing quarterbacks. They have held QBs to 10 or fewer fantasy points in six games this season. However, this is not enough to count out Mike Glennon, one of the most consistent fantasy players this season. Glennon averages 239 yards, two scores and 17 fantasy points per game with no interceptions in the last two games. At the same time over those weeks, the Panthers have allowed 13 and 17 points to opposing QBs.

As previously noted, Glennon will be without WR Mike Williams this week, but he has found a rapport with Jackson and TE Tim Wright and a budding confidence in Underwood. Jackson had just two catches in the last game, but Glennon only attempted 21, so that is not a major cause for concern. The week prior, Jackson went off with his second 10-catch game of the season. In the previous matchup with Carolina, he had 12 fantasy points and in the memorable matchup in Carolina last year, Jackson left the stadium with six catches, 94 yards and a score, plus a two-point conversion that sent the game into overtime.

Underwood has caught the attention of some with his stellar performance last week. He had three receptions for 47 yards the first time the Bucs faced the Panthers, and has matched that catch total twice since. He is a risky option here, but could reward a fantasy team greatly if he does get loose. He has 21.1 yards per catch this year, so a three-catch game could yield nine-plus points. If you have a shallow receiver corps, he could be worth a shot at flex.

Tim Wright was quiet for two straight games before another big showing last Sunday. After adding eight catches for 75 yards in that game, Wright is second on the team in targets, receptions and yardage. He had 15 fantasy points in his first go-round with Carolina and stands a good chance of putting up his fifth double-digit game of the year.

The Panthers stuffed the running game of the Bucs in the first matchup. The Bucs ran the ball just 14 times for 48 yards, the second fewest the Bucs have gained this season, behind last week’s game in Detroit. Prior to the Lions game, the Bucs success on the ground was key in their offensive surge, so expect the team to attempt to establish the run game early. Bobby Rainey has taken most of the workload in recent weeks, carrying the ball 48 times for 198 yards in the last two game as compared to Brian Leonard’s five carries for 19. Leonard does have five receptions in those games.

The Panthers rank 10th in points allowed to opposing running backs. They have only allowed one rushing TD and one 100 -yard game over their seven-game win streak. Considering that he is starting in place of two injured running backs and facing a defense on a defensive tear stopping the rush game, Rainey does come with a bit of a risk here, but with the Bucs looking to get a ground game going, and with lingering memories of his explosive Week 11 performance, he should find some starting lineups.

2. Panthers Passing Game With or Without Revis Island

Buccaneer CB Darrelle Revis will be a game-time decision this week due to a groin injury, and his status could have a big effect on the fantasy numbers of the Panthers’ receiving corps. The Week Eight matchup saw Ted Ginn Jr. as the Panthers’ leading receiver with five catches for 80 yards. Steve Smith saw a lot of Darrelle Revis and managed four catches for 42 yards. RB Mike Tolbert and TE Greg Olsen had the only receiving touchdowns.

If Darrelle Revis does play, Smith is another risky start. Revis has been limiting number one receivers all year when facing them one-on-one. Seattle’s Golden Tate had three catches for 29 yards, Miami’s Mike Wallace caught four for 15 yards and Atlanta’s Roddy White was limited to just three catches for 36 yards, much of that coming after the starting defense was pulled. If Revis is at full strength, expect Cam Newton to focus his energy and targets elsewhere. Should Revis be limited or out for the game, Smith will likely see a lot of rookie CB Johnthan Banks. Banks has allowed more yards this year, but did a solid job defending the NFL’s best receiver, Calvin Johnson, last week.

Against a Buccaneers defense that ranks 21st in points allowed to opposing receivers, both Ted Ginn and Brandon LaFell are decent options in this game if you are looking for someone to fill in.

The Bucs have been very stout against running backs over the last few games. Miami totaled zero rushing yards against the unit and the strong run team of Detroit gained 98 yards but was kept out of the end zone. Atlanta had solid rushing numbers in Week 11, but that was largely in the fourth quarter with backups. The Panthers boast a four-headed rushing attack with DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert and QB Cam Newton. Between them, they have given Carolina the ninth-most rushing yards this season with 11 touchdowns, but choosing which back will have the big game can be difficult as they all share time.

All three running backs are listed as questionable this week but it appears that DeAngelo Williams has the lowest chance of suiting up. But with both Stewart and Tolbert also banged up, the running game of the Panthers might be one to avoid. If they both play, it is likely they will share time to spell each other. This will be Stewart’s fifth game this season and he has yet to break nine fantasy points. Tolbert is a risk as he has only exceeded 10 carries once this season, but he did have a big game against the Bucs last time with 15 fantasy points and a receiving touchdown.

Finally we get to quarterback Cam Newton. With all of the injury questions around the running game and another injury concern on the opposite side of the field, Newton might be less of a sure-thing than he has been in past weeks, but is still a must-start based on those past performances. The Buccaneers rank 23rd in points allowed to opposing quarterbacks and Newton had his third-highest fantasy scoring game against the Bucs this season. He is a good start with the matchup. It is noteworthy though that he has four interceptions in his last four games and the Buccaneers intercepted Matt Stafford four times last week, their ninth interception over the last four weeks, but that's not enough to bench Newton.

3. A Look Ahead to Fantasy Playoffs

Finally, for those of you that already have a lock on a playoff spot, and for those who win your way in this week, let’s revisit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' strength of schedule throughout the fantasy football playoffs.

In the chart below, the number for each matchup is the opponent’s ranking against the noted position, meaning the higher the number, the better the matchup.

 

vs. Bills

vs. 49ers

@ Rams

@ Saints

QB Mike Glennon

15

4

12

3

RBs Bobby Rainey & Brian Leonard

4

20

29

12

WRs Vincent Jackson & Tiquan Underwood

29

7

18

8

TE Tim Wright

4

2

1

5

Buccaneers Defense

22

9

14

2


Good luck in Week 13.