bathrobeDFS here with your Thursday Night Football breakdown. I will work through the game, analyzing any and all relevant data I can muster with regards to how players will perform in a DFS capacity.
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OFFENSIVE INJURIES TO MONITOR
TB – Ron Gronkowski (TE) – OUT
PHI – Dallas Goedert (TE) – COVID-19 List/QUESTIONABLE (?)
TB Buccaneers (4-1) at Philly Eagles (2-3)
Kickoff is Thursday, 820pm EST.
Tuesday – 51.5 – TB 29.25 – PHI 22.25
Wednesday – 52.5 – TB 28.75 – PHI 22.75
With Brady carrying no injury designation this week, the Bucs have a good chance of scoring another 40 points, most of which will come through the air.
To start, Rob Gronkowski will be out. He is still nursing his broken ribs and he had stated that the reason for his previous retirement was rushing back from injuries. That means something significant – when he plays, he is going to be damn near 100%, so don’t go light on the ownership or keep him on your bench. He will have some of the highest upside for any TE that week regardless of team. What he has with Brady is magic. It just won’t be this week.
With Gronk out, Cameron Brate has had 4.9 and 2.2 DKP in back-to-back weeks. He is probably too expensive to be anything but a GPP play in this showdown. OJ Howard got 0 DKP 2 weeks ago, but went 2 for 3 for 19 yards and 3.9 DKP last week, which, for 1400, I am fine with taking a chance on. I’m sure, with no Gronk, he has a shot at a TD and double digit DKP (even if those odds aren’t great).
But, really, we’ve seen the work Gronk was getting get absorbed by the WRs.
The Eagles have some CBs that have been performing decently so far this season in Nelson, Slay, and Maddox. But I don’t think any of them are elite (anymore), and I don’t think they can keep up with Brady and the talent he has at this position. Chris Godwin is coming off an “off” week, where he was, by far, the worst performing of the big 3 WRs here, getting you “only” 7 catches on 11 targets for 70 yards, and 14 DKP. I wouldn’t be shocked if he was the weakest of the 3 options yet again, but I think this is a situation where you can pick 2 of the pass catchers and expect them to go off any given week. And who those 2 are will be somewhat random. Without Gronk, the pool of “players who could go off” is reduced by one, though, making the odds better.
I wouldn’t mind attacking Philly on the outside, which bodes well for Mike Evans and Antonio Brown, both coming off scorchers – Evans getting 6 catches for 113 yards and 2 TDs (32.3 DKP), and Brown getting 7 catches for 124 yards and 2 TDs (34.4 DKP). Brady, Evans, and Brown were all in the million dollar winning lineup, and for good reason. It’ll be expensive to play all 3 in a showdown, but it has been worth it too many times already this season.
Either way, I am happy with starting a majority of your lineups with Brady and 2 of these 3 WRs.
Brady likes throwing so much, you can also go a little deeper here – Tyler Johnson is only 1000, and wound up going 3 for 3 for 42 yards and 7.2 DKP last week. He missed his 2 targets in week 4, sure, but he went 3 for 6 for 63 yards and 9.3 DKP in week 3. With Scottie Miller out, he is the clear WR4 on this team, and he’s been well outperforming his price point lately.
I am not the biggest fan of the run game because Brady passes it so much, but you really can’t argue with the results. Against the monstrous Rams D in week 3, Leonard Fournette got you 6.4 DKP. Since then he’s been on fire, getting you 16.9 DKP in week 4 against the Pats (in a game the Bucs only scored 19) putting up 92 yards on the ground on 20 attempts, adding 3 catches for 47 yards; and 21 DKP in week 5 against the Dolphins, getting you 67 yards and a TD on 12 attempts, adding 4 receptions for 43 yards.
So far, this Eagles team has been 11th overall defensively, but have shown you some real splits. They are 10th against the pass and only 23rd against the run. With the Bucs projected to win by a touchdown, it would make sense that the Bucs run the ball a decent amount, and that means success for Fournette.
Gio Bernard has had some decent TD luck that I don’t expect to continue, and I don’t like his 5200 price tag. That seems like way, way too much. I mean, he is gonna be used in the pass game more (which is why he got 9 receptions and a TD on 10 targets for 51 yards in week 3 against the Rams, getting you 20.1 DKP, while only having 6 receptions, 7 targets, and 42 yards in the other weeks combined). He had 3.6 and 3.2 DKP in weeks 1 and 2 when he didn’t get a lucky TD, and that’s where I expect him in this game.
Going into the season, Ronald Jones was expected to split lead back duties with Fournette and has not lived up to those expectations (to say the least). But, because of that, he’s only 1800. The only time he surpassed 5 DKP this season, Bernard was out and he got a lucky TD. Other than that, you’re lucky to get more than a handful from him, and less than 1 DKP isn’t out of the question, even in blowout wins.
On the Philly side, they’re facing a TB defense that has, so far, been fantastic against the run and worse than average against the pass. But, then again, they’ve been destroying teams regularly enough that, most of the time, they’re forcing other teams to pass against them. So the numbers are gonna be a little skewed. Still, I think it’s clear that, when it comes down to it, we are gonna wanna attack TB through the air here.
That means taking a good look at Jalen Hurts, who has gotten between 22 and 32 DKP in every game so far this season. As I’m sure you know, he can do it with his arms and his legs, giving him a nice floor and a decent ceiling, especially considering the talent he has around him.
My favorite of those pieces is Devonta Smith, which shouldn’t be too big a surprise. His price of 8800 is a little higher than I would like (especially compared to those TB WRs), but he has the most talent and upside. The only issue is that Hurts hasn’t been looking for him in the end zone. I mean, on the season, Smith has 1 TD, as many as Jalen Reagor and Zach Ertz, and 1 less than Dallas Goedert and Greg Ward. He is the team leader in yards, though, with 314 (Quez Watkins is 2nd with 267, Goedert is 3rd with 216).
With Goedert almost certainly out with a positive COVID test, my 2nd favorite play here is going to be Ertz, especially at his price. But don’t think that 100% of Goedert’s catches will go to Ertz (though I’d guess a majority of his end zone looks go that way). Goedert’s absence should open the door for Quez Watkins to get a bunch more work, and he could be in line for a big day.
As far as the Philly run game goes, I am a lot more hesitant. Like I said before, TB has been top 3 against the run so far this season, partially because their personnel are so fantastic, and partially because they score so much, so quickly, that other teams can’t afford to run the clock down, literally. So, when you have Miles Sanders at 6600, getting 6.9, 8.5, 7.7, and 10.1 DKP in his last 4 weeks, I am gonna go under the field there and keep my ownership occasional.
Kenneth Gainwell, however, is only 2400 and, although he only got you 3.4 DKP last week, he had 20.9 DKP in week 4, including 6 receptions on 8 targets – something he may be called on to do again for an Eagles team that should be in pass formation constantly.
My Captain Plays (in no particular order – with CPT pricing):
Tom Brady (18600) – I would pay 20000 for him with how he’s been playing so far this season. He had 3 games between 30-32 DKP in weeks 1-3, and he got you 40.74 DKP last week, throwing for 411 yards and 5 TDs. Philly shouldn’t have enough to stop him. I wanna stack him with 2 of his 3 elite WRs
Jalen Hurts (17700) – Hey, you. Person reading this. First of all, thank you! I really appreciate it. And I am very grateful. Second of all, let me ask you a serious question – if you have 50000 salary and you are given the chance to spend 17700 for Jalen Hurts, or spend 900 more dollars (1.8% of your salary) to get Tom Brady, what are you going to do, seriously? If you aren’t an Eagles fan, your answer is going to be to play Brady, like, every time, right??? That is way not enough of a gap between the two. That’s why Hurts is the GPP play captain today. Cause you can downgrade, like.. Ronald Jones to Greg Ward and save enough salary to get Brady instead. And almost everyone is going to do that, leaving Hurts underowned for his potential.
Leonard Fournette (11700) – This is a lot deeper of a CPT GPP play, but, with how weak Philly has been against the run, I am fine taking a chance on Fournette having his 3rd consecutive fantastic week (if not surpassing his previous outings). TB should have a decent lead through this game, which leads to more work for Fournette and, if the Bucs wind up having a couple of their pass catchers go down at the 5, Fournette is the most likely candidate to capitalize on the TD.
OTF (Over The Field) Plays
Two of Brady’s Three Elite WRs – That means, of course, Antonio Brown (8200), who, if you wanted to play him as a captain, I’m game. He should see some of the easiest coverage the most often in this game, which is insane to think about. He has 26.7 and 34.4 DKP games so far this season. Him and Tom Brady are best friends and Brown would run through a wall for him. And it shows; Mike Evans (10200), who is the most expensive WR option, which may make him the lowest owned. That’s a mistake given his recent performances of 32.3, 21.6, and 24.5 DKP, and his TD upside; and Chris Godwin (9400), who should continue to see as many targets as the other guys, but needs to have some broken coverage/TD luck since he plays the slot and, generally, sees shorter passes.
Devonta Smith (8800) – I wish he was cheaper, but he has the highest non-QB upside on this team. Especially if he winds up getting a TD (or two). Easily has the talent to get the best of Jamel Dean and Richard Sherman.
The Kickers – I wouldn’t be surprised if Jake Elliot (4400) and Ryan Succop (4200) both get you double digit DKP here, in what should be a relatively fast paced, high scoring game. I prefer my kickers to be in the 3000s price wise, but they still give you enough salary relief to be worth it.
Zach Ertz (3200) – Had already started getting more looks in the end zone recently. With Goedert out, Ertz could be in for a gold mine here. Like I said before, we shouldn’t expect 100% of Goedert’s work to go to Ertz, but we could expect a majority of his end zone looks to go to there.
Kenneth Gainwell (2400) – The Eagles like to use him in the passing game, and have no problem using him to get TDs. Had a 20.9 DKP outing 2 weeks ago. Given the opponent (and the potential gamescript), Gainwell could see another 8 targets this week. He’s not priced anywhere near where he should be.
Tyler Johnson (1000) – Maybe my favorite of the deep punts – with Scottie Miller out, Johnson should see a non-zero number of targets and, as he showed you last week, he has the potential to get you an easy 7x value on that price point, even without a TD, and even with a blowout.
Jalen Reagor (5000) – Like Smith, also has the talent to get the best of Jamel Dean and Richard Sherman. He just hasn’t been getting the looks (or doing anything with the looks he’s getting). I mean, he had 2.5 DKP in week 2, 3.1 in week 4, and 5.4 in week 5. He’s a little more expensive than I’d like, but he has the upside, has a nice enough matchup, and the gamescript is certainly in his favor (especially with Goedert out).
Quez Watkins (4600) – Has been doing decently this season, and I like him to eat up some of Goedert’s work as well. I am not completely sold though – he should face the toughest CB the Bucs have this week. On top of that, he has 1 double digit DKP performance so far this year, and that was a flukey 16.7 DKP from a 91 yard reception – not something you can count on every week. Which should be obvious, since he got more fantasy points for that one play than he got in every other week this season. Still, no Goedert means the Eagles will run 3 WRs out there more often, which is good for Quez here.
Bucs D (3800) – So far this season, Hurts has thrown 7 TDs, but 3 INTs. He’s also been sacked 10 times. Even if Philly puts some points on the board, there is a decent chance the Bucs can get 3 or 4 sacks, with a fumble recovery, an INT or two, and a possible TD.
Ronald Jones (1800) – I don’t like him. But he’s 1800, and he has had two 4.6 DKP outings, and one 8.5 DKP outing this season. I don’t expect anything out of him any week. But the price is too low not to keep him in your pools, especially if you want a lot of those expensive dudes (you do).
OJ Howard (1400) – With Gronk out last week, he went 2 for 3 for 19 yards and got 3.9 DKP. 1400 isn’t enough for that. And I wouldn’t be surprised if he passed that production today. I also wouldn’t be surprised if he got you 0 DKP. I mean, he’s 1400. You can’t be too picky, can you?
DEEP GPP – Greg Ward (800) – Three weeks this season, Ward had 0 targets and 0 DKP. Two weeks this season, Ward had 1 reception for 15 yards. Those 2 receptions were both touchdowns, though, getting him 8.5 DKP both weeks. Is he used a lot? Oh no. Could he see a couple extra targets due to Goedert’s absence/junk time? Absolutely.
UTF (Under the Field) Plays
Miles Sanders (6600) – He just hasn’t been doing it this season, and I doubt this is the game he breaks out. I’ll be on Sanders one of these weeks and, hopefully, his price and ownership will keep falling during this gauntlet the Eagles have faced.
Gio Bernard (5200) – While he might have surpassed Jones as the RB2, he’s still way too expensive, and won’t keep getting a TD every game.
Cameron Brate (4800) – People keep thinking that, because Brady has a history of tremendous success with Gronk, that whoever his TE1 is will have the same level of success. This is a massive fallacy. Brate proves that almost every week.
Players I am Fading (if I was playing one lineup):
- Eagles D (2800) – I mean, the Bucs could beat the Eagles worse than KC did, and the Chiefs got 42 points, netting the Eagles D a DKP of -1.