Although he finished 2019 as WR15 in full-point PPR leagues, Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans’ performances vs. the NFC South left fantasy players wanting much more. With divisional opponents making up 38% of his games played, it was undoubtedly a low light for the man who averaged 17.9 points per game last year. Against the NFC South, fantasy players saw that average drop to 10.1 points.
Mike Evans vs. the Carolina Panthers
With Panthers cornerbacks Donte Jackson and James Bradberry giving up seven and four inches to Evans, respectively, it seemed on paper like a matchup that would feature the Texas Tech alum frequently. While Evans shined in their Week 6 meeting catching 9 of 17 targets for 96 yards, he fell flat in their first meeting in which he only managed 4 receptions on 8 targets for 61 yards.
As it seemed to be the case all of last year, teammate Chris Godwin had far superior games. In Week 2, Godwin hauled in 8 catches on 9 targets for 121 yards. Then in Week 6, he caught 10 of 12 targets for 151 yards. Evans was heavily utilized in each game; it just came down to quarterback Jameis Winston’s inconsistency to find Evans deep.
Evans vs. the Atlanta Falcons
Both Evans and Godwin missed the season finale at home versus Atlanta. That final game certainly helped Breshad Perriman land a new contract with the New York Jets. Yet, in their Week 12 meeting, Evans was healthy but only managed 4 catches for 50 yards on 8 targets.
Again, Godwin saw the better end of the matchup catching 7 of 8 targets for 184 yards and 2 touchdowns. Sometimes it seems possible to argue the defenses were paying attention to Evans, who was the long-established threat in the league. But with this game happening in Week 12 after four previous 100+ yard performances (this game was his 5th), it was clear Godwin was not a flash in the pan.
Evans vs. the New Orleans Saints
Anyone who played Evans last year in their Week 5 lineup sorely remembers the three-target, zero receptions performance against the division rival Saints. Evans against cornerback Marshon Lattimore had previously been growing into a must-see matchup over the previous years.
For fantasy players, Evans still left some meat on the bone catching 4 of 8 targets for 69 yards in their second matchup in Week 11. This was the only divisional week where Evans out-produced Godwin as the latter was only able to muster 3 receptions on 6 targets for 47 yards. However, a touchdown grab still gave Godwin the better fantasy day.
Consistency should return with Tom Brady at QB
In 2019, Evans’ fantasy production looked good on paper when you check the end of the season stat line. Yes, a 1,000-yard receiver with 8 touchdowns should put up multiple games that helped fantasy players. However, only three games played against the New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, and Tennessee Titans, accounted for half of his fantasy points last season.
A talented receiver that is certainly more than just a boom or bust option on the field, Evans has new quarterback Tom Brady to try and help restore faith in him on a week-to-week basis. Last year seemingly came down to Winston not being able to support two fantasy-relevant WRs. Taking advantage of what should be enticing divisional matchups with the future hall of fame QB in the NFC South will go a long way towards establishing him as an every-week option again.