New Orleans Saints (7-2, 3-1 Away) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6, 1-3 Home)
Time: 1:00 pm EST
Date: Sunday, November 17th
New Orleans Saints
After an unexpected loss last week, the Saints look to bounce back. The Buccaneers have been surprisingly good in terms of run defense this year, but lucky for Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, they are extremely bad when it comes to covering the pass. In the last five games, the Bucs are allowing 29.3 fantasy points to opposing QBs with no evidence to that changing anytime soon. In those five games, they have allowed an average of 37 passing attempts and 287.2 passing yards. With a duo like Brees and Michael Thomas, and an outstanding pass catching running back in Alvin Kamara, the Saints will look to air it out in what should be a high-scoring game.
I believe the only two pass catchers you can and should rely on are Michael Thomas and Jared Cook, who will both see a ton of work this week. In the last five games, the Buccaneers are allowing a league-high 52.3 fantasy points to opposing WRs and, for a receiver seeing guaranteed double-digit targets every week, it seems almost too easy to lock Thomas in as the WR1 on the week. The last two receivers to see double-digit targets against this secondary were Christian Kirk and Tyler Lockett, and they both were easily the WR1 on the week, with 40.2 points and 37.8 points, respectively. Cook also has a nice matchup this week, as Tampa is allowing 17 fantasy points per game, in the last five games, to the opposing TEs. With a weak TE landscape on the week, I think Cook is a top-5 play. Cook saw a season-high 10 targets last week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
You are probably thinking that the Buccaneers don’t have any good matchups when you look strictly at the numbers, but there is one key “ingredient” that is playing into me loving the Bucs this week, and that is that Marshon Lattimore is “week-to-week” and will not be playing in this game. Lattimore, the cornerback that shutout Mike Evans a couple weeks ago, is one of the main reasons for the success of the Saints pass defense. A negative game script is only going to favor Jameis Winston this week, as Bruce Arians must let Winston do what he does best and air out the ball. In the last five games, the Saints are allowing only 15.4 fantasy points to opposing QBs, but they are allowing an average of 35.6 passing attempts in those games, showing that the opportunity is there.
Without Lattimore I think Winston is a solid streamer this week. Newly-named workhorse Ronald Jones had a fantastic game last week and was featured heavily in the passing game, and I expect that to continue this week. In the last five games, the Saints are only allowing 16.9 fantasy points to opposing RBs, but Brian Hill was able to put together a nice game last week. Jones should be a solid flex with RB2 upside due to volume and a high point total.
Now, with Lattimore out, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin both have outstanding matchups. The Saints, in the last five games, are sitting around the middle of the league in points allowed and that was with Lattimore, but due to the expected game script, both air yard machines will see tons of work and should both finish as weekly WR1s. O.J. Howard has a tough matchup this week, as the Saints are allowing only 8.6 fantasy points per game in the last five games. I know that Howard had a good game last week, but that was against the Cardinals, who make every TE seem great.