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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fantasy Football Weekly: TB vs. KC

Offering up some facts and what they mean to your fantasy football team, including reasons to be confident in Doug Martin and Mike Evans this week.


Andrew Norton is our resident fantasy football expert, but since Andrew is currently on his honeymoon, I'll be filling in this week. Which begs the question: If you're on your honeymoon, do you dare set your fantasy lineups on Thursday and Sunday?

I'm saying no. Not only is this just fantasy football (apologies to those for whom that is blasphemy) but it's just one week of fantasy football. That's not worth risking decades of marital bliss. Besides, Andrew's the type who probably had all his lineups set ahead of time.

Unfortunately, he couldn't write this edition of "Fantasy Football Weekly" early and have it remain timely, so you're stuck with me. I should point out that, in the one league in which both Andrew and I are competing, I'm 7-3 and in third place (out of 14), while Andrew is 6-4 and in fourth. That means you're getting better fantasy advice this week, right?

Maybe. What it definitely mean is that it will be different. I'm going to eschew Andrew's usual set-up for a list of facts about the Buccaneers and Chiefs, and what they might mean to you and your fantasy team. I'm also going to assume that you know to start Mike Evans, Spencer Ware and the Chiefs defense if you have them on  your team. These are a "dig a little deeper" fantasy ideas. Let's get right to it.



A look back at all of the match-ups between the Buccaneers and the Chiefs.

Fact:** In Kansas City's last three games, Tyreek Hill has been targeted 24 times by Chiefs QBs, the most of any player on that offense.

Fact: Tyreek Hill ran a 4.24 40-yard dash at his West Alabama Pro Day last spring.

Fact: As a team, the Chiefs are sixth in the league yards after the catch (YAC) and the Bucs' defense is 15th in allowing YAC.

What This Means to You: Tyreek Hill is available in 82.8% of ESPN fantasy leagues. If you've got receivers like Julio Jones or Demaryius Thomas on a bye this week and you're scouring the waiver wires for lightning in a bottle, Hill is worth a look. Tampa Bay's defense has given up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this year.



Fact:** The Buccaneers have run the ball on first down 53.5% of the time so far this year, despite having a rotating cast of tailbacks in Doug Martin's absence.

Fact: Doug Martin is back.

Fact: Kansas City has allowed 51.5% of opposing rushes to gain at least four yards, the worst mark in the league, and their 4.8 yards allowed on first down carries is fourth-worst in the NFL.

What This Means to You: If you've been sitting on Doug Martin all year as he has recovered from a Week Two hamstring injury, unwilling to give up on your first or second-round pick, you were ecstatic to see him return to action (and the end zone) in Week 10. Still, you might be a little nervous about putting him in your lineup this week against a defense with a reputation as good as Kansas City's. However, the Chiefs have had some troubles against the run and Martin should be better in his second week back. Start him with confidence.


Fact: Since Week Five, the Buccaneers' defense has forced 13 turnovers, the most in the NFL that span despite playing only five games while eight other teams have played six.

Fact: Since Week Six, Tampa Bay's defense has sacked opposing quarterbacks 12 times, tied for the eighth most in that span despite playing only four games while 12 other teams have played five.

Fact: Tampa Bay's defense is owned in only 8% of ESPN leagues.

What This Means to You: Look, we get it. It has been too risky to play the Buccaneers' defense so far this season. Despite some promising moments, the Bucs have just given up way too many points to be a viable week-to-week fantasy play. Plus, Tampa Bay has had some pretty scary matchups. But if, like a lot of people, you're streaming defenses week to week at this point, the Bucs might be worth a shot. Kansas City ranks 23rd in the league in offensive scoring, but has pumped up their totals with four non-offensive TDs. If the Bucs can avoid that and continue racking up the sacks and turnovers, you might get a nice 12 to 15-point game out of the Tampa Bay defense this week.


Fact: According to Football Outsiders, the Kansas City defense is only 19th-best at covering opposing team's #1 wide receiver. Sure enough, in five of the last six Chiefs games, the opposing team's season leader in receiving has posted big fantasy numbers, particularly for PPR leagues (catches-yards-TDs): Carolina's Kelvin Benjamin (7-84-0), Jacksonville's Allen Robinson (7-76-1), New Orleans' Michael Thomas (10-130-0), Oakland's Amari Cooper (10-129-0) and Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown (4-64-2).

Fact: On that same FO chart, you'll see that the Chiefs have been quite good at stopping "#2 WRs", "Other WRs," "TEs" and "RBs."

What This Means to You: If you're worried about starting Mike Evans against a team that features interception-master Marcus Peters, don't be. I mean, go ahead and be worried, because there is risk to everything in life, but remember that this is just fantasy football (sorry again). You should start him with confidence this week. On the other hand, if you're on the Cam Brate Train, which is understandable, be cautious, and if you're thinking of trying out Adam Humphries, this might not be the very best week.



Fact:** Kansas City's defense leads the league with 22 takeaways, but what is particularly remarkable about that is where many of them have occurred. Six of those 22 were on plays that were snapped in the red zone, four of them on plays that started inside the 10-yard line and – amazingly – three on plays from the five-yard line and in. All of those totals are also NFL bests.

Fact: The Buccaneers have not given the ball away inside the 10-yard line, and in fact they have had the league's most efficient goal-to-to offense. The Buccaneers have scored touchdowns on 12 of 13 such situations for an NFL-best 92.3% TD efficiency. Tampa Bay is 12th overall in red zone efficiency but are on a roll in the last month, with TDs in 12 of their last 17 tries.

What This Means to You: ???? It looks like strength on strength, doesn't it? I offer it as a note of caution if you're on the fence about starting Jameis Winston this week. Winston has 19 touchdown passes this year, which is seventh in the league and which has made him fantasy relevant. He's had at least two touchdown passes four games in a row, which is the type of consistency you want for your team. But 10 of his 19 TD tosses have gone for 10 yards or fewer. That's an indication of how well Winston has played around the goal line, often improvising well on scramble plays. But Kansas City's defense has been so opportunistic in that area that it should at least be more difficult for Winston to succeed in the red zone this week.

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