The Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ fantasy preview wonders aloud if Chris Godwin can bounce back, while the Indianapolis Colts‘ fantasy football outlook lays out the case for Jonathan Taylor as an elite option.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts
- Spread: Colts -2.5
- Total: 43.5
- Buccaneers implied points: 20.5
- Colts implied points: 23
Baker Mayfield: If you need to go down the board at the QB position, Mayfield is your Week 12 streaming option. He has five QB1 finishes this season (four straight before the Week 11 dud in San Francisco) and has thrown at least 37 passes in four of his past six games.
The Bucs have acknowledged who they are: a team that can’t run the ball. So why try? Volume isn’t a concern for Mayfield and this defense is vulnerable through the air, the game script is almost always in his favor.
Mayfield is my QB16 this season and isn’t for the faint of heart. But I do have him ranked over Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson, and Will Levis if you’re skimming the waiver wire for help at the position.
Gardner Minshew: Unlike Mayfield, Minshew has a running game that is more than capable of doing the heavy listing. The Colts have no real reason to put the ball in his hands with regularity (under 30 pass attempts in three of his past four games), a usage pattern that has had him finish each of his past three games outside the top 15 at the position.
I made the case on the Waiver Wire podcast this week that Minshew could be a deep league and/or DFS option. The argument there was more about the spot and less about Minshew – getting an extra week to prepare for the third-worst pass defense that allows over 75% of opponent yards to be gained through the air seems advantageous.
You have my blessing to go in that direction if forced: that isn’t likely the case with no teams on a bye this week.
Rachaad White: I don’t want to say he is the most bulletproof RB2 that we’ve seen in some time, but with 20 carries or six catches in five straight games, the usage is truly unique when compared to non-stars.
Let me put that into context for you. He’s on pace for 240 carries and 70 catches, a season stat line that isn’t that different from Christian McCaffrey’s 244-carry 85-catch 2022 season. White is not overly efficient but with a below-average opponent aDOT, the Colts’ defense is likely to give him those extended handoffs, making his eighth top-20 finish of the season a likelihood.
Jonathan Taylor: He’s back. It took us nearly three months, but you’re locking in Taylor weekly and not thinking twice about it, regardless of the matchup. He has been a usable RB in five straight games, with a pair of top-10 finishes sprinkled in there.
You rolled the dice on JT in August, and it’s time for your loyalty to pay off in a major way!
Zack Moss: This is the tough part of fantasy — Moss’ average positional finish through five games this season was RB10 and now you can feel fine about cutting ties if you’re in a roster pinch.
For me, holding onto Moss fits into how I approach this time of year, but I certainly understand if you need immediate impact options during your playoff push. I build roster depth by way of upside, with the thought being that if my team suffers a significant injury that requires me to go to my bench, I’ll be willing to roll the dice.
At this time of year, my bench is full of clear-cut handcuff RBs like Moss and high aDOT receivers (Rashid Shaheed and Michael Wilson types).
Mike Evans: For the third time in four years, we are looking at another 14+ yards-per-catch, double-digit-TD season from Evans. The stat line at the end of the season always looks somewhat similar, but the week-over-week consistency is a concern.
- Four top-15 finishes
- Three finishes outside of the top 25
With a score in four of five games and a matchup against the lowest-blitz defense in the league (thus giving Evans time to navigate his way down the field), Evans deserves to be locked into lineups and has a real shot at returning WR1 value (my WR11), you just need to remember that the floor is low and structure your starting lineup accordingly.
Chris Godwin: In November, Godwin’s average positional finish is WR51.
We entered this season assuming that Godwin would have a nice floor with some spike weeks. What we’ve gotten through 11 weeks is a nice floor with a ceiling that is non-existent. He has 4-6 receptions in seven of 10 games this season with just one score to show for his efforts.
Remove the Week 4 win in New Orleans, a game in which Evans left early, and Godwin’s 17-game pace is 79 catches for 844 yards. That’s Diontae Johnson or Drake London from last season.
On a loaded fantasy team, that production is valuable, but without much upside, he’s sitting outside of my top 35 receivers this week (in the same tier of those two comparisons I just laid out).
Michael Pittman Jr.: After a slow start to the season that saw Pittman finish as WR30 or worse in four straight games, he has rattled off five straight top-25 games (eight catches or a score in each of those games).
The Buccaneers’ secondary can be had, and with a target expectation flirting with double digits, Pittman is a rock-solid WR2. I don’t think his ceiling this week is as high as you want it to be (the Bucs own the league’s best red-zone defense), but he’s a good bet to reach expectations and keep your team competitive.
Josh Downs: Downs is a good player capable of producing low-end Flex numbers (three straight top-30 finishes in Weeks 5-7), but I need him to prove full health before I entertain the idea of him as an option.
Could that happen this week against the second blitz-heaviest defense that is trying to cover up for a struggling secondary? It could, and that makes him a live DFS option, but in season-long leagues where you have every healthy player at your disposal, I have a hard time believing that you don’t have three or four safer receivers than Downs.
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When dealing with nagging injuries at this point in the season, I’m going to be a week late rather than a week early in trusting them. I can win a week with a big performance on my bench, but winning with a goose egg in my starting lineup is pretty difficult to overcome.
Cade Otton: For a player that doesn’t come off the field (95.8% of the snaps and 90% route participation last week, just another day at the office) on an offense that can’t run the ball, one 50-yard performance is damning.
Otton has one good game on his résumé this season. Where is the room for growth? He can’t be on the field more. He can’t run more routes. He’s just not capable of earning targets at a level that has my interest.
With a lack of a running game, he does carry some scoring equity as Tampa Bay reaches the red zone, but there’s no floor to save him from putting you behind in your matchup, and that fact has him outside of my top 15 at the position.
Should You Start Rachaad White or Derrick Henry?
The likelihood of Derrick Henry getting the game scripted out this week isn’t good, making him a strong play – and yet I still prefer White! The floor that is created by a 93.2% catch rate is tough for more of a two-down running back to top.
Henry’s carry floor is lower than in years past (five games with under 15 totes) and that puts enough doubt in my mind that I would prefer White in this spot.
Should You Start Tank Dell or Chris Godwin?
Tank Dell has established himself as a weekly threat (last three games: 319 yards and four touchdowns), while Godwin is playing himself out of lineups (one touchdown this season, under 70 yards in nine of 10 games).
The matchup for Godwin isn’t intimidating and may serve as a good get-right spot for the veteran, but Dell’s upside trumps any reasonable expectation for Godwin this week.
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