Bucs vs. Eagles Fantasy Takeaways: Leonard Fournette, Zach Ertz, and Antonio Brown impress

What are the fantasy implications and takeaways following the Bucs vs. Eagles matchup on Thursday Night Football in Week 6?

Week 6 Thursday Night Football is in the books, as the Bucs (barely) took care of business.  But the fantasy football implications are just beginning to take shape. Here are some of the most important fantasy takeaways from Thursday night’s Bucs vs. Eagles matchup.

Bucs vs. Eagles Fantasy Takeaways

How did signal-callers and RB committees change (or enhance) their narratives on TNF?

Quarterbacks

Tom Brady won his first Super Bowl in the 2001 season. And yet, 20 years later, heading into last night’s game, he was the No. 1 fantasy QB. Nevertheless, from a fantasy perspective, Jalen Hurts won their Week 6 QB battle, as he produced his sixth straight 20-plus-point performance.

On the field, neither had their sharpest game. Perhaps Brady’s thumb issue mattered.  Perhaps Hurts’ errant throws will be ironed out as he continues acclimating to the league (this was, after all, only his 10th NFL start).

The biggest takeaways at QB are that, as we have seen repeatedly over the years, Brady can be down one future Hall of Fame tight end, while a top-20 NFL receiver can be shut down by a cornerback … and he still has enough weapons to give fantasy managers no worse than streaming value. His floor is simply tremendous.

As for Hurts, it’s scary to think how good he can be if he continues developing as a pocket passer. I can’t remember the last time a quarterback threw for less than 125 yards with a sub-50% completion rate yet still produced elite QB1 numbers. With his next games coming against the Raiders and Lions, Hurts realistically could replace Brady as fantasy’s No. 1 QB heading into Week 9.

Running Back

Leonard Fournette’s grip on the RB starting job is as firm as ever. Ronald Jones has not exceeded 7 touches in any contest this season. While Fournette has never been a highly efficient runner (4.0 career yards per carry), his sky-high passing-game usage is reminiscent of 2019, when he shocked the fantasy world with 76 catches and finished as the league’s RB7. Given the scoring ability of this team, Fournette is quickly approaching set-him-and-forget-him status.

Meanwhile, fantasy managers who heeded Pro Football Network’s repeated warnings about Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell escaped harm last night. Among highly talented RBs, Sanders is quite possibly the least utilized. It is both inexplicable and unsurprising.  He is a weekly fringe RB3 who needs 5+ receptions or a touchdown to deliver, while Gainwell remains merely a desperation dart throw for deep-leaguers.

Bucs vs. Eagles Fantasy Takeaways

How did the pass-catching groups stake their claim on TNF?

Wide Receivers

How good is Antonio Brown? Regarding points per game in 2019, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans were the No. 2 and No. 4 fantasy WRs. Last year, Brown’s arrival helped push Godwin and Evans outside the top 14. This year, Brown is the WR10, while Evans is WR15, and Godwin is WR22.

Essentially, the seemingly ageless Brown has replaced two elite receivers atop the WR pecking order. For a guy whose average overall draft position this summer was 93, Brown has proven to be one of the biggest WR bargains.

For the Eagles, DeVonta Smith flopped. I pushed him hard heading into Thursday night.  Credit Tampa Bay’s rag-tag secondary — or blame Hurts for not being able to find him.  Either way, Smith was severely underutilized in a winnable game. He will no doubt rebound these next two weeks and resume his place as a top-30 WR. Beyond him, Jalen Reagor continued to struggle as a fantasy contributor, while Quez Watkins solidified his role as the team’s No. 2 wideout.

Tight End

O.J. Howard had 4 receptions heading into Thursday but exited the field with 6 more on 7 targets. Howard was a pleasant surprise Thursday night. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about it as fantasy managers, as Rob Gronkowski could return by Week 7. If he doesn’t, then Howard (or the lower-upside Cameron Brate) would be an interesting streamer for the TE-needy among us.

And with Dallas Goedert sidelined, Zach Ertz stepped up as expected. With Ertz now traded to the Cardinals, we’ll help you to make sense of the fantasy repercussions. Understanding the implications of player movements is key to fantasy success.

BJ Rudell is the Fantasy Football Director for Pro Football Network. You can read all of BJ’s work here, listen to him on PFN’s Fantasy Football podcast, and check out his contributions in PFN’s free fantasy newsletter. Give him a follow on Twitter: @BJRudell.

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