Coming into the season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders were popular picks as teams that might turn the corner in 2016. So far, the Raiders are 5-2, winning all four of their road games, and the Buccaneers sit at 3-3, a half-game out of first in the division and on a two-road-game win streak.
Both teams boast high-powered offenses that can pile up the yardage and points, something that certainly excites fantasy owners who own young Tampa Bay and Oakland stars. Both also continue to feel some growing pains on defense, which, for fantasy purposes is just another plus for those who drafted Buccaneers or Raiders over the summer.
With the potential for plenty of fantasy points to go around in this game, here are some of the players that you should be putting in your lineup.
READ: 5 Buccaneers to Watch Against OaklandA Big Day for WRs
There are two wide receivers in the NFL that have six touchdowns this season, and they will be squaring off on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. Coming into this game, Mike Evans is second among WRs in fantasy points per game in standard leagues. He has 40 catches for 545 yards and six touchdowns in six games this year.
The other receiver to find the end zone six times is Oakland's Michael Crabtree. What makes this somewhat surprising is that he does not lead his team in receptions or receiving yards; that would be Amari Cooper. The two have combined for 79 receptions, 1,075 yards and seven touchdowns.
Both Oakland receivers rank in the Top 15 in fantasy points per game this year, but both have also caused considerable frustration for their fantasy owners. Crabtree has been the more consistent of the two, thanks to his touchdowns, but he did post only one fantasy point two weeks ago against the Chiefs. Cooper has three games this year with more than 12 fantasy points, but four games with seven or fewer. Perhaps more maddening for Cooper owners, his average draft position was 31.2, Crabtree was 89.9.
It is no surprise that Evans is a must-start here. He'll be going up against a Raiders defense that is allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing WRs. Adam Humphries and Russell Shepard are interesting names to consider with six teams on bye this week. Humphries has just one game with 10+ points this year while Russell Shepard had a big 77-yard, 1-TD performance last week. Either would be a considerable gamble, but bonus points for those who look at Shepard as he is owned in 0.0% of ESPN leagues.
Looking at their rankings, you can't put either Cooper or Crabtree on the bench this week. They should make your lineup if you have them, but there is an interesting note about their competition. The Buccaneers defense has been lights-out against opposing receivers over their last two games. Carolina's receivers managed just six fantasy points in Week Five while the 49ers receivers had just two. The NFL weekly average points per game is 21.5.
READ: Series History- Buccaneers vs. RaidersWhen Oakland Has the Ball
Derek Carr was the 17th quarterback drafted on average in ESPN leagues this year. Those who pulled the trigger have been rewarded with 17.3 fantasy points per game, tied for sixth-most in the league. The Buccaneers are allowing 0.2 points per game above the league average and haven't allowed a QB to post more than 16 points since Week Two. Still, Carr is a good starting option in most matchups he'll face this year.
After missing two games, Raiders starting RB Latavius Murray returned to action last week and found the end zone twice, leading to 17 fantasy points, his highest total this season. He could see an even higher percentage of snaps this week, which give his owners something to smile about. The Buccaneers are allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing RBs this season, so Murray should also be started across the board.
The Rest of the Bucs
An advantage for starting Evans was that the Raiders defense allows the eighth-most points in the league. That is an argument that can be made for most Buccaneers fantasy stars as well.
Against opposing QBs, the Raiders are allowing the seventh most fantasy points per game. That number has varied pretty heavily through five games as Oakland has allowed 12 or fewer points in three contests, but 21 or more in four. Jameis Winston's numbers have been up-and-down as well, with three games of 14 or fewer and three games of 20 or more. With a favorable matchup and a must-win feel at home, Winston is a solid starting option this week in standard or weekly leagues.
The Raiders defense is allowing three points per game higher than the NFL average to opposing running backs. After tallying up 255 rushing yards and 27 fantasy points over the last two weeks, it would be hard to keep Jacquizz Rodgers out of your lineup for this one. If you are looking for a flex starter, he is your man.
Finally, the Raiders are allowing the sixth-most points to opposing tight ends. That could bode well for Cameron Brate, but he is a risky start at best this week. Brate put up 16 fantasy points in Week Three against the Rams, but has just 15 points in his five other games combined.