Here's the good news, in statistical form: 12 catches, 176 yards, two touchdowns, 20.5 fantasy points per game (PPG).
That is the stat line the Houston Texans defense has allowed to opposing tight ends in the first two games of the seasons. Only two teams have given up more fantasy points to the position, one of them being the Steelers, who gave up four TE TDs in Week One.
The bad news: Bucs TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ranked fifth in fantasy points for tight ends this season) has been ruled out for the game due to a shoulder injury.
To go along with that theme of potentially missing players, we can add Houston's RB Arian Foster and WR DeAndre Hopkins to the list. They could very well not make it onto the field Sunday either.
If so, then what?
One of the keys to a successful fantasy football franchise is to know how to act in the face of injury. Whether or not you own said injured player, knowing which sleeper could come in and take advantage of the now-unassigned carries or targets can be huge. So let's move right along into…
Obviously, on the field, the Buccaneers would turn to another TE, putting Brandon Myers, Luke Stocker and/or Cameron Brate in his place. However, none of the three have a strong history as fantasy performers. In fact, they are owned in 0.1% of ESPN leagues as we speak. Sure, they will likely pick up a few targets along the way, but reliable plug-and-play fantasy starters they are not.
The more likely scenario is that the two other 6-5 pass-catchers on the team will get more looks their way in this matchup. Vincent Jackson leads the team in targets (16) and shares the lead in catches (7) with ASJ. He has shown an early rapport with rookie QB Jameis Winston and should play as a solid Flex starter this week.
Mike Evans should see much more playing time than he did last week in his first game back from a hamstring injury. His fantasy owners are certainly down on his zero-point performance last week, but don't be too hasty to stick him on the bench. With more time and more targets coming his way, this could be his "Welcome to 2015" game.
Houston has allowed the third-fewest points to opposing receivers, but that could have more do to with their competition (KC and CAR) than it does their dominance on defense. Both Ted Ginn and Philly Brown, not exactly fantasy standouts, managed to score last week, so it is easy to imagine the towering Buccaneers WRs doing the same.
…DIGGING DEEPER IN HOUSTON
The allocation of targets is not as simple on Houston's side of the ball if Hopkins is out or limited in this game. Instead of strictly dividing his targets among two 80+% owned receivers, you need to get a bit more creative. In doing so, you get some solid sleeper potential, but probably nothing worth gambling on for your standard league lineup. Keep in mind though, that if Hopkins does miss, these options could have incredible value in daily contests.
Barely behind Hopkins in targets this year is Cecil Shorts (owned in just 6.8% of ESPN leagues). Shorts has 20 targets this year, but just eight fantasy points (18 in full-point PPR leagues) to back them up. If Hopkins misses any time, it is likely Shorts that sees the ball coming his way more often.
The second option would be Nate Washington who has more fantasy points than Shorts this year, but is behind on targets and ahead in dropped passes. With limited data, it does appear that Shorts is the one QB Ryan Mallett trusts more of the two.
Of course, if Hopkins is cleared and does play, this lessens the fantasy impact of the two and Hopkins should be in all lineups as the Buccaneers defense allowed 16 receptions for 208 yards last week to opposing receivers.
RELATED: BUCS VS. TEXANS INJURY REPORT
Also listed as questionable coming into this game is All-Pro running back Arian Foster and one of his early-season fill-ins, Jonathan Grimes. Reports assume that Foster will miss this one and Grimes has been the leading RB scorer in his absence, largely as a pass-catcher.
Without Foster in the lineup, Houston's backfield has been entirely by committee. Grimes, Chris Polk and Alfred Blue have combined for 15 points in standard leagues, scoring six, five and four respectively. Despite the Buccaneers allowing the fifth-most points against opposing running backs (21 RB points per game), none of the three are optimistic plays.
…VALUE AT QUARTERBACK
QBs Ryan Mallett and Jameis Winston (owned 4.0% and 25.9% respectively) are not gracing many standard fantasy starting lineups this week, but each comes into this one with a certain degree of upside. Because there are no bye weeks for them to fill in it is likely that you have a more projectable, reliable player. However, with a few key injuries (Brees, Cutler) you could make a case for either player being high-risk, high-reward in deep or 2QB formats.
We start with Ryan Mallett, who is making just his fourth professional start. In six quarters of action, he has 26 fantasy points coming by way of 342 yards, two passing TDs, one rushing TD and one interception. Those numbers have come on a staggering 71 pass attempts (Houston leads the league with 105 pass attempts). With frequency alone, he has a lot of opportunities to pile up yardage and points. The Buccaneers defense ranks 20th in points allowed, giving up five passing TDs so far this year.
Jameis Winston showed fantasy owners what he is capable of last week when he put up 18 fantasy points on a 207-yard, 1-TD, 1-fumble day. Winston also rushed one in. The Texans have given up the second-most points to opposing quarterbacks this year, which makes Winston a favorable play. Alex Smith and Cam Newton managed a combined 438 passing yards and five passing touchdowns. While Winston is not the rushing threat that Newton is, it is worth pointing out that Carolina's QB gained 76 yards rushing with a score.
Both quarterbacks have potential in deep leagues and especially daily ones, with an advantage going to Winston from a statistical standpoint.
And to leave you with one bonus note: DO NOT IGNORE YOUR KICKER. They are not nearly as exciting a position as the rest of your players and owners have a bad tendency to draft one and never touch them again the rest of the year. (For example, Adam Vinatieri has all of zero points over two weeks of play and is started in 67.5% of leagues.) Meanwhile the league's best fantasy kicker, Chicago's Robbie Gould is OWNED, in a mere 26.9% and the Buccaneers Kyle Brindza had the second most kicker points last week (16) and is owned in just 1.8% of leagues. There are 28 kickers owned in more leagues than Brindza. He's outscoring 21 of them.