This year, the Philadelphia Eagles have played in five games. The average total points for both teams in those games: 58.8. The average total points in a Buccaneers game: 28.5. Something's got to give on Sunday when these teams square off on Sunday.
Of course, those in-game points translate into points for your fantasy football roster. Below is a chart of the average fantasy points scored per game per offensive positions for the Eagles, the Bucs, and their respective opponents.
As we can see, the average Eagles game results in nearly 220 total fantasy football points: 102 for Philadelphia, 116 for their opponents. And, with the drastically lower score in Buccaneers' games, we see drastically lower fantasy output: 57.5 for the Bucs, 84.3 for their opponents. Just for fun, the average fantasy points per NFL game is 190.1.
It would seem that one of these varying styles of play will need to win out in Sunday's contest. Philadelphia's offense has been strong all year, and their defense has shown a tendency to give up high fantasy totals. This, with the Buccaneers bye week, would point to the game skewing more toward a Philadelphia-style scoring bout. This, of course, is very good for fantasy owners of players on both the Eagles and the Buccaneers.
1. Scoring Through the Air
Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams each saw their best fantasy football day against the New York Jets in Week One. Jackson hauled in seven passes for 154 yards and Williams accounted for 4 grabs, 52 yards and a score. Since, however, neither has given their fantasy owners as much as they'd like. In their other three games they are averaged 6.6 and 8.6 fantasy points per game, respectively.
Despite that trend, it will be very difficult to keep either player on your bench this week, considering their more-than-promising matchup. Be careful, however: Williams is questionable on the injury report so you will need to check the inactives after they're announced at 11:30 on Sunday.
To put it frankly, the Philadelphia Eagles' defense has been just plain bad when it comes to defending wide receivers. They are ranked 32nd in fantasy football at points allowed to opposing WRs, giving up an astonishing 55.6 fantasy points per game to the position. That is not only 21.7 more points per game than the average team, but also a jaw-dropping 10 more points per game than the 31st-ranked Buffalo Bills defense.
The Eagles have given up 20+ receptions in three of their five contests and 249 yards or more to WRs in four. They have also allowed multiple touchdowns to receivers in four games, totaling a league-high 11 touchdown passes to receivers. Last year against the Eagles, Jackson had 131 yards and a score. Williams saw just three receptions for 18 yards, but also found the end zone.
Jackson and Williams have had two weeks to work with their rookie quarterback, Mike Glennon, who will be making his second career start this week. While that may not be the ideal amount of time to build a rapport with your quarterback, all signs point to a significant week for the receiving duo.
The Eagles' standout fantasy receiver, DeSean Jackson, is fourth in the NFL in yards per game with 105. With three touchdowns and 28 receptions, this makes him the sixth-highest scoring WR in PPR leagues this season. The Buccaneers defense ranks ninth in the league in fantasy points allowed to receivers, and it wouldn't be surprising to see Darrelle Revis lined up across from him for most of the afternoon.
Two sleepers emerge from the Eagles' offense as well in this matchup. With Jackson potentially spending much of the day basking on Revis Island, the Eagles' second receiver, Jason Avant, becomes an interesting fantasy sleeper. Avant has been hot and cold this year, putting up 19 points in Week Three, but just a single point in Weeks One and Four.
The second sleeper lines up at tight end. While the Buccaneers defense has been a major strength this year, tight end has proven to be a susceptible spot. Eagles' TE Brent Celek has only 10 receptions so far this season, but two have gone for touchdowns. While he is only the 22nd ranked TE in fantasy so far, he has shown in past seasons that he can be a force and put up big numbers. Against the Buccaneers defense that ranks 23rd against the position, Celek could become a favorite of the Eagles' QB.
2. Getting Your Money's Worth at RB
Entering the season, Doug Martin was widely selected with one of the first five draft picks. However, through five NFL weeks, Martin ranks 19th among running backs in standard leagues. His lack of receptions drops him to 23rd in PPR leagues.
Martin certainly hasn't performed poorly this season. His 85.5 rushing yards per game is third in the NFL behind Adrian Peterson and LeSean McCoy. However, when it comes to compiling fantasy points, a lot rests on touchdowns and receptions. Martin has just one score this season and six receptions.
Like his wide receiver counterparts, Doug Martin has a strong opportunity to break out during this game. He has been consistent through his first four games, putting up 12, 14, 12 and 8 points in PPR leagues, his best performance coming at home against the Saints where he ran for 144 yards.
Martin should see a bounceback performance this week. The Eagles have allowed four rushing touchdowns this year. They have not given up a single 100-yard performer, but if Martin can involve himself in the passing game, he could top the century mark in all-purpose yards. Last season when the Bucs faced the Eagles, Martin put up 128 yards and a score, along with three receptions. If Martin can be a safety valve for Mike Glennon, and Glennon can open the run game by showing that he can hit his receivers, expect Martin to put up a top-five performance this week.
Across the ball, the Philadelphia Eagles start LeSean McCoy, who ranks second in the NFL with 103 rushing yards per game, and leads the league with 140 yards from scrimmage per game. This Sunday, he goes up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that is allowing the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs.
McCoy has 20 or more fantasy points in four of five games this year, so he certainly retains his must-start status. The Buccaneers front four will need to corral him at the line, while the linebackers and safeties must find him in passing situations. McCoy could find his points in yardage and receptions, but he is facing the only defense in the NFL to not allow a rushing touchdown this season.
3. Buccaneer Linebackers for IDP
Individual Defensive Player (IDP) leagues are an interesting monster. And unless you know what you are doing and keep up with your own stats, an IDP team can be difficult to manage. The big fantasy football platforms support IDP, but don't exactly dig deep to give you matchup information or point projections. Because of this, many teams just stick to who they took on draft day, and don't pay much attention to the position.
Of course, that should be avoided. And should you have a starting linebacker on his bye week, or you have been starting someone that can be classified as an underperformer, it is worth looking at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacking corps this week.
Scoring systems in IDP leagues tend to vary, but the standard is generally 2 points for a solo tackle or forced fumble, 1 point for an assist or pass defended, 4 points per sack, 5 points per fumble recovery or interception.
Using that scoring system, the Eagles give up the second most IDP fantasy points to opposing LBs. That is certainly not a bad thing for the Eagles, it means that their offense, particularly LeSean McCoy and a running Michael Vick can get to the second level, making linebackers make plays. This is also evidenced by the Eagles giving up the fewest points to opposing defensive linemen.
According to IDP Guru, linebacking corps facing the Eagles put up an average of 61 points per game. That spells good news for the owners (or potential owners) of the two Bucs LBs who have made names for themselves this fantasy football season.
Lavonte David (owned in 61.7% of leagues) and Mason Foster (48.9%) have been consistent all season long, and are in line for a big game this week. This season, David had 29 combined tackles, one interception and three sacks. Foster has 28 tackles, one interception, two sacks and one touchdown. Based on their matchup alone, both linebackers could end up in the top-20 scorers at the position.
As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense has yet to hit its stride this season, the low scoring transitions to the other side of the ball as well. The Buccaneers give up the 11th-fewest points to opposing defensive linemen, ninth-lowest to linebackers and 13th-fewest to defensive backs.