Coming into a short week, the last thing a team needs is any lingering injuries due to the compressed window for recovery. Unfortunately for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, that is precisely what they are facing. With early reports that the team is facing a multitude of injuries, fantasy football managers have to wonder which wide receivers and skill players are going to step up for the Buccaneers on short notice.
Nearly every critical offensive playmaker is carrying an injury designation for the Buccaneers
Several reports came out earlier in the day that several players did not participate in Tuesday’s practice. This afternoon, the team released their full injury report. It is chalked full of massive fantasy names.
- WR Mike Evans – Did Not Participate
- WR Chris Godwin – Did Not Participate
- WR Scotty Miller – Did Not Participate
- WR Justin Watson – Did Not Participate
- RB Leonard Fournette – Did Not Participate
- RB LeSean McCoy – Did Not Participate
- TE Rob Gronkowski – Limited Participant
- TE O.J. Howard – Placed on IR (Achilles)
They are scheduled to play the Chicago Bears in two days. While some players will suit up, it sounds like they will be missing some players come Thursday night.
Bruce Arians said he doesn’t see any way that Fournette will be able to play on Thursday, and it’s looking bleak that Godwin will be ready to go either after being out Sunday with that hamstring injury.
The more you look at this injury report, the more you realize how banged up this team is. Mike Evans played through his pain and was definitely not at 100 percent on Sunday, and the Bucs could very well be without him now.
Even if some of these guys can suit up, we shouldn’t expect that they’ll be at 100 percent for the game. If they all can’t, who will step up for the Buccaneers? And who can also be a sneaky value play for fantasy managers?
Mike Evans will have to gut out another game for Tom Brady to be successful
Evans played through an ankle injury in Sunday’s win and will likely try to do the same Thursday night. It was pretty clear on some plays, especially one of his deep targets, that Evans was not healthy. However, it did not stop him from having his best game of the season. Evans caught seven of his eight targets for 122 yards and a touchdown. If Godwin misses Week 5, which is the current thought, Evans has to be the team’s focal point if they expect to win their fourth game in a row.
Behind Evans, Scotty Miller is the next likely target who will step up similarly as we have seen in previous weeks. Miller filled in this past Sunday versus the Los Angeles Chargers, going for five catches (on seven targets) for 83 yards and one touchdown. Miller is still available in 15.4% of leagues and could be well worth the waiver claim. Miller has averaged 11.6 fantasy points per game and would be well worth a start as a flex play.
Buccaneers wide receivers Evans and Miller may be the only fantasy options you want
Outside of Evans and Miller, options are murkier. Justin Watson (0.3%) and Tyler Johnson (0.4%) are out there in leagues; however, neither is likely to be worth starting. Watson has caught seven of his 11 targets for 94 yards, and Johnson has yet to see a target.
If anyone takes another step up in the offense, we could see guys like Cameron Brate help out now that O.J. Howard is on the IR, and even Ke’Shawn Vaughn could see more work. Vaughn logged the first five touches of his NFL career this past weekend, including a receiving touchdown.
Vaughn played on 19 snaps overall (25%) with Fournette (ankle) sidelined for the contest and McCoy exiting Sunday’s game early with an ankle injury of his own. With the Buccaneers on a short week ahead of a Thursday night road matchup against the Chicago Bears, Vaughn may be called on to continue serving as Ronald Jones’ primary backup for that contest.
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