It took a second or two, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offense is starting to click, and that means it is also starting to pay off for those who took Buccaneer stars in their fantasy football drafts.
Over the last two week Mike Glennon has 33 fantasy points, Vincent Jackson has 23, Doug Martin has posted 17, Louis Murphy and Mike Evans have combined for 30 points, even kicker Patrick Murray is seeing a boost in starting lineups after putting up 20 points in Weeks Four and Five.
This week, they will have home-field advantage on their side. They will host the Baltimore Ravens, who gave up their fair share of fantasy points in their two previous road trips to Cleveland and Indianapolis (QB-35 total points, RB-29, WR-47, TE-16).
The Ravens do boast a few fantasy surprises of their own so far this season with WR Steve Smith, RB Justin Forsett and TE Owen Daniels all in the top 12 at their positions. The Bucs rank 30th, 22nd and 24th in points allowed to those positions, respectively.
Given those samples, this could turn into a solid fantasy game that NFL fans across the country will be paying attention to when it scrolls across the bottom of their TV screens. Let's break it down by position matchups this week and see which BALvsTB stars will be the biggest producers tomorrow afternoon.
Mike Glennon vs. Joe Flacco
Neither name comes to mind when you think of lights-out fantasy stunners, but both have proven productive and safe bets so far this season (or since Week Four, in Glennon's case). Flacco is owned in 35.7% of ESPN leagues, started in just 12.7% of them. Glennon is still largely unowned at just 0.4%.
Joe Flacco's 14.2 points per game (PPG) ranks him as the 14th highest-scoring quarterback so far this season. Last week was his lowest mark with just seven fantasy points, zero touchdowns and one interception. This came one week after his three-TD, 327-yard, 25-fantasy point performance against Carolina.
The Buccaneers have allowed
Steve Smith is coming to town again, this time as a Raven, but he may have a hard time putting up his usual strong numbers against the Bucs if Alterraun Verner is at the top of his game.
at least 300 passing yards in each of their last three games and eight touchdowns over that span. Despite a season-high 371 passing yards allowed, the Bucs held Drew Brees to 16 fantasy points last week thanks to three interceptions. So while Flacco, could put up some sizable numbers, the Bucs are finding ways to create turnovers that could spell trouble.[
Glennon stories](http://www.buccaneers.com/news/article-graphics/Data-Crunch-Mike-Glennon/e12d360a-65ec-41c8-bbd1-ce8f41af8e80) have been popping up all over Buccaneers.com over the last few weeks, and that analysis has been reflected in his fantasy production. He is averaging 16.5 points per start, only nine NFL quarterbacks are averaging more than Glennon through the first five weeks.
The Ravens defense is conceding just 14.4 points per week to opposing QBs with an NFL-best four passing touchdowns allowed. Glennon did produce, however, against a tougher fantasy matchup in the Steelers and again, that game was on the road.
There are only two teams on bye this week (quarterbacks Alex Smith and Drew Brees), but it is still possible that you're usual starter is sitting on your bench. Flacco is a good option as a replacement in deeper leagues. Glennon, while consistent, still needs to have his fantasy breakout before he can be called a safe sleeper play, but he should be on the verge of a starting role in any two-QB leagues.
Doug Martin vs. Justin Forsett
Forsett has been one of the biggest running back surprises of the season. He is eighth in RB fantasy points (56) in the standard leagues and moves up to fifth place in PPR leagues, having 23 catches on the year.
Forsett is shockingly owned in just 48.8% of ESPN fantasy leagues, but has proven he should be making most lineups every week. He should be in all lineups this week as well against a Bucs defense that has allowed the 22nd most RB fantasy points. While the Bucs have shown that they can stop the run game, it is Forsett's ability in the passing game that could yield the most points for him this week. The Saints running backs combined for 12 receptions, 104 yards and two receiving TDs against the Bucs last week.
Doug Martin has yet to make the splash that fantasy owners expected of him when they picked him up in the first or second round. This week he'll go up against the defense allowing the fourth-fewest RB fantasy points, just 10.6 per game.
In each of the last two weeks, Martin
Get familiar with these key opponents before the Buccaneers take on Ravens Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
has seen 14 carries, totaling 95 yards and 17 touchdowns. He is taking most of the carries for the Bucs, but there are 14 NFL RBs averaging more than 14 carries per game. If the Buccaneers attempt to establish the run early, and Martin's touches increase, he could very well see a jump in fantasy output, especially considering Baltimore's run defense on the road. Last week @IND, they allowed a season-high 105 rush yards. Two weeks prior @CLE, the Browns scored two TDs on the ground. Because of his workhorse status, he should still be starting as RB2 or FLEX in all leagues.
It is worth noting that both teams have backup running backs that have been adding points this season. Baltimore's Lorenzo Taliaferro saw his carries drop last week, but did have two TDs and 26 fantasy points in Weeks Three and Four combined. Doug Martin is, of course, spelled by Bobby Rainey who had just six carries last week, but did find the end zone.
Vincent Jackson vs. Steve Smith
Jackson goes into Sunday with a questionable designation after practicing on a limited basis this week. Fortunately for Jackson owners, the Buccaneers play in the first round of games, giving you a chance to replace him if news breaks that he can't go. If that is the case, they will be missing out on the recent production that they've been enjoying from Jackson. He caught eight passes for 144 yards last weekend. He also has two touchdown receptions on the season, both from Mike Glennon.
The Ravens are allowing 22.4 fantasy PPG to WRs this season, with a significant amount going to number-one receivers.
As always, if Jackson can play, he should be making your starting lineup. WR Mike Evans is also questionable for the day's game. He is a decent flex start even if Vincent Jackson plays, and a must-start if Jackson misses the game. Should either Jackson or Evans not play on Sunday, Louis Murphy is a sleeper play, but should be reserved for deeper or weekly leagues.
Cumulatively, Steve Smith will become the leading receiver against the Buccaneers in franchise history. Smith needs 12 yards to eclipse Cris Carter's mark of 1,416 against the team. However, Sunday will be Smith's 23rd game against the Buccaneers, meaning his yards have come at just 63.8 per game. Plus, he has only scored against the Bucs six times. It is a respectable eight fantasy PPG, but well below the (roughly) 9.3 fantasy PPG he has scored over his career.
The Buccaneers have allowed plenty to WRs this season. Here is how the Bucs' D is stacking up against opposing number one receivers.
Smith has been Flacco's go-to target every week and should be started as usual, being the sixth-highest scoring WR in fantasy football at this point. WR Torrey Smith owners have been disappointed so far this season, getting only 22 points over five games, but he did lead the team in targets last week and could get his first big statistical game this week against the Bucs' 30th-ranked defense vs. receivers.
Bucs vs. Ravens Fantasy Defenses
Neither are looking like great plays this week.
The Baltimore defense is 14th in fantasy points, and looks like a great matchup as the Bucs have allowed the 30th-most fantasy points to opposing defenses. However, look a little further and you'll see that they allowed just three points against Pittsburgh and four points against the Saints. A mark of 3.5 points allowed per game would make them the fifth-toughest in the league.
The Buccaneers defense has posted eight, seven and six over the last three weeks, having forced eight turnovers and scored twice. The turnovers in recent weeks should put them on fantasy owners' radars as they are just a few PPG allowed from being a starting fantasy defense.