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Can you trust Mike Evans for fantasy on Thursday Night Football?
TAMPA, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 20: Rasul Douglas #24 of the Carolina Panthers tackles Mike Evans #13 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium on September 20, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Fantasy Football

Can you trust Mike Evans for fantasy on Thursday Night Football?

The most crucial decision in your fantasy lineup today may come down to Mike Evans, who is trying to play while injured for the second straight week. Evans, who would typically be a must-start in fantasy football, enters the game with a massive question mark over his availability. If you have Evans on your fantasy team, can you trust him if he plays on Thursday Night Football against the Chicago Bears?

Tom Brady won’t have a ton of weapons to throw to tonight against the Bears, as the injury report for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is brutal. From top to bottom, there will be a severe lack of wide receiver depth for the Buccaneers. That begs the ultimate question – which Buccaneers wide receiver can you trust against the Bears? But first, let’s talk about Mike Evans.

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Mike Evans leads the list of injured players for the Buccaneers 

Taking a glance at the Buccaneers’ injury report heading into Thursday Night Football, you begin to understand the severity of the issue for the team. 

  • WR Chris Godwin (Hamstring/ Out)
  • RB LeSean McCoy (Ankle/ Out)
  • WR Justin Watson (Chest/ Out)
  • RB Leonard Fournette (Ankle/ Doubtful)
  • WR Mike Evans (Ankle/ Questionable)
  • WR Scott Miller (Hip, Groin/ Questionable)

Managing your roster is hard enough; it is even harder on a short week, condensed due to playing a game three days earlier than usual. Both Mike Evans and Fournette have yet to practice this week. Miller was a limited participant on Wednesday. 

Featured | If active, is Scotty Miller a fantasy must-start on Thursday Night Football?

Evans suffered an ankle injury last weekend against the Chargers. He managed to return in the first half and put on a show, hauling in seven passes for 122 yards and a touchdown. You could tell on some routes that he was not playing at his top level and was held back from the injury, but it did not stop him from putting up 25.2 PPR fantasy points, WR5 on the week.

When Evans is on the field, especially in games where Godwin is out, he needs to be started. However, when there is a preexisting injury coming into the game, caution needs to be exercised as a flair up in warmups will cause a player to miss a game; Evans is no different. 

Even if at full health, the Bears are a sneaky hard matchup for wide receivers

I don’t know about you, but I am continually learning, whether it is about the NFL or even fantasy football. Here is something I learned while researching this article.

Did you know that the Chicago Bears, even though they have allowed 81 points through Week 4, have yet to allow a receiving touchdown to a wide receiver? They have given up just three passing touchdowns on the year.

Related | Is David Montgomery a starting fantasy RB against the Buccaneers?

In Week 1, a 4-yard TD to tight end T.J. Hockenson. In Week 2, they allowed zero passing touchdowns. During their miracle win over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3, Austin Hooper caught a 1-yard TD in the first quarter. And lastly, in Week 4, a 13-yard TD to TE Mo Alie-Cox.

They have just as many interceptions (three) as touchdowns allowed. Jaylon Johnson and Kyle Fuller have shut down every wide receiver they have come across, and it makes me worried about Evans’ fantasy ceiling, especially when not at full strength.

Can you trust Mike Evans for fantasy on Thursday Night?

Trust might be a strong word. I don’t know if there is any player who you can fully trust playing their second game in five days on a bad ankle. However, we know the type of player that Evans is and that in any week, he could put up a top-five performance (see Week 4). Evans undoubtedly will see the majority of targets from Tom Brady, who will be reliant on Evans and a banged-up Miller to carry the passing offense.

I would recommend, regardless if you choose to lock Mike Evans into your staring fantasy roster to make sure you have a backup plan and closely monitor the reports before kickoff. While it’s been announced that Evans will play, this can change at any moment, including after the first drive of the game. 

Even if you want to stay in this game, guys like Miller, Anthony Miller, or Darnell Mooney are all available in over 75% of leagues and could be a quick fill-in if you don’t trust Evans to have much of a fantasy impact on Thursday Night Football.

Want more fantasy football analysis and news?

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @PFN365 to stay up to date with all things around the NFL and the 2020 fantasy football season. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis while also visiting our fantasy football section for more coverage and up-to-date rankings.

Tommy Garrett is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.

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