Kickoff: Monday, November 22nd at 8:15 PM ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
Betting Odds: TB -11.5, 50 total via Oddsshark
Writer: Bryan Sweet (@FantasyFreakTN on Twitter, @bsweet0us on Reddit)
New York Giants
Daniel Jones (Sit)
It could be argued Daniel Jones is in the midst of the best season of his career because of the challenges he’s faced with personnel at the skill positions. Jones has completed passes to 15 different receivers so far this season and has completed more than 10 passes to 10 of those players. Jones has struggled with TDs this season (8 TDs through 9 games) but is on pace to set a career-high in passing yards and a career-low in INTs. Coming out of the BYE, the Giants are going to be at nearly full health except for Sterling Shepherd who looks to be at least one more week away from returning. QBs have seen success against Tampa Bay but Jones’s struggles throwing TDs keeps his upside in check. Jones is just outside the QB1 ranks for me this week but could have his best game of the season if the game remains competitive. A large spread indicates this likely won’t be the case, but fantasy managers with injury concerns at the QB position have the luxury of knowing Jones plays on Monday night so they can plug him in if one of the questionable QBs is declared out close to game time. If you have other healthy options, I’d recommend them over Jones but he’s not a terrible backup plan for Week 11.
Saquon Barkley (Start, RB2), Devontae Booker (Sit)
All signs are pointing to Saquon Barkley returning to the starting lineup this week for the Giants and there should be very few limitations on his workload in his return from the ankle injury suffered against the Cowboys in Week 5. Up until about three weeks ago, Barkley would likely have been no more than a Flex option against a stout Tampa Bay defense but both Washington and New Orleans have found success running against them the last two weeks. Barkley is New York’s best player and possesses a high enough floor that he’s almost a must-start every week. Fantasy managers should temper their expectations a bit with Barkley seeing his first game action in weeks, but he is involved in the passing game and still can break big runs. Look for RB2 value with RB1 upside this week.
Devontae Booker did an admirable job filling in for Barkley during his absence but if Barkley is at or near 100% health it’s hard to see Booker getting enough snaps to warrant further consideration from fantasy managers as a viable option for their lineups. Before Barkley’s injury, Booker saw a total of 10 touches over three games and while he might see a slight uptick this week to give Barkley time to reacclimate to the game, it likely won’t include double-digit touches. It was fun while it lasted, but keep Booker on your bench in Week 11.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Kenny Golladay (Start, WR3/Flex), Darius Slayton (Sit), Kadarius Toney (Start, WR3/Flex), Evan Engram (Sit)
As a Lions fan, I empathize with Giants fans when it comes to Kenny Golladay and his absences as a result of leg injuries. Golladay returned last week after missing three games with a hamstring injury but played in over half of the team’s offensive snaps and had the BYE week to further recover. All signs point to him returning to his pre-injury role as the team’s #1 WR and a matchup with a defense that has been susceptible to big games from WRs this season. Golladay has yet to find the end zone this season, but Jones has struggled to throw TD passes so that is a concern with regards to Golladay’s ceiling. Golladay should be expected to see 6-8 targets as he did before his injury but can’t be trusted to post elite numbers given the struggles of New York’s offense this season. Golladay should see enough volume to return WR3 or Flex results, but fantasy managers expecting more might be left disappointed.
It was an auspicious start to Kadarius Toney’s NFL career as the youngster was troubled with drops and concentration concerns throughout training camp and the preseason. Toney saw little action through the first few weeks of the season but was asked to take on a bigger role with Golladay and Shepherd struggling with injuries. In Week 5 against Dallas, Toney showcased the skills and playmaking ability that made him a first-round pick with 10 receptions on 13 targets for 189 yards and, surprisingly, no TDs. Golladay’s healthy return should take some of the pressure off of Toney to be the team’s #1 WR and open up some of the field for him to showcase his speed. The offense holds him back some, but Toney could provide WR3 or Flex value for fantasy managers Monday night against Tampa Bay.
Darius Slayton has been the direct replacement to Shepherd lining up on the outside opposite Golladay (when healthy) but has been no more than a body on the field for most of the season. Slayton has seen one or two targets in half his games this season and just hasn’t provided the spark he did at times the past two years. I don’t expect his usage to change drastically this week and fantasy managers can safely avoid Slayton this week.
We’ve discussed three players in this section and those players have combined for ZERO TDs so far this season. Evan Engram is the only Giants player to have more than one receiving TD this year with two and those two TDs have come over the past two weeks. Engram has some appeal this week given his recent production, but if Engram doesn’t find the end zone his fantasy stats simply aren’t up to TE1 standards given the struggles of the passing game. Engram has enough going for him to give him starting consideration, but there are about 15 guys I have ranked ahead of him this week. I’d suggest benching Engram in a tough matchup unless you have no other options.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady (Start, QB1)
While the argument is not 100% in his favor, the vast majority of football fans would agree that Tom Brady is the best ever. To add to that lore a little, heading into this week we witnessed something that had only happened 12 times before in Brady’s career – back-to-back losses. That’s right, over 310 career games, Brady has lost back-to-back games just 13 times in his career. His longest losing streak is just four games, but I suspect we’ll end this losing streak at two as Tampa Bay is a big favorite this weekend. Brady did have two of his worst games of the season the last two weeks but still accounted for 595 yards and six TDs although he also tossed four INTs over that same span. The Giants have held their own against two strong passing attacks the past two weeks against Kansas City and Las Vegas but did surrender 553 yards and seven TDs to the Cowboys and Rams in Weeks 5 and 6. I think Brady and the Bucs get back on track this week and Brady returns to elite QB1 status against the Giants.
Leonard Fournette (Start, RB1)
There aren’t many teams with a workhorse RB, but Leonard Fournette is just about as close to one as there is in the NFL. Fournette has logged 114 carries on the season while the rest of the team has a combined 80 carries. Fournette is also a trusted component of the passing game and is third on the team in targets (48), receptions (38), and is fourth in receiving yards (284). He’s on a high-powered offense in an expected blowout and should see plenty of opportunities to produce excellent fantasy stats against an overmatched opponent. Fantasy managers who took a chance on Fournette later in drafts can continue to ride him as a solid RB1 this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Mike Evans (Start, WR1), Chris Godwin (Start, WR1), Tyler Johnson (Sit), Rob Gronkowski (Sit), Cameron Brate (Sit)
There are two alphas among the Tampa Bay WRs and they are Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Godwin is pacing the team in targets (77), receptions (57), and receiving yards (717) while Evans has more than doubled everyone else with nine receiving TDs and is second to Godwin in the other statistical categories. Despite the perceived blowout, both of these players are legitimate WR1 options because of the play calling implemented by Bruce Arians and Byron Leftwich. If Tampa Bay is going to cover a double-digit spread, there are likely to build a big lead through the passing game and then lean on the running game to salt away the clock and ensure the victory. Both Evans and Godwin are on the field for almost 100% of the offensive snaps and are the primary components in Tampa Bay’s passing attack. Fantasy managers can rest easy with either in their lineup as a WR1 this week.
Tyler Johnson has been Tampa Bay’s third WR while Antonio Brown works on getting back on the field but he can’t replicate AB’s production for your fantasy team. Johnson has seen no more than a handful of targets in the last two games in which Tampa Bay has been forced to throw as they’ve been behind, so I can’t believe he will suddenly become a trusted target for Brady in a game that might be over by halftime. Skip Johnson as an option for Week 11.
Arians indicated earlier this week that Rob Gronkowski is likely “a week or two away” which sounds pessimistic for his chances of suiting up this week. You’ve got to think the team is going to be extra cautious with Gronkowski considering they would want him healthy for an eventual playoff run. Even if Gronkowski plays, it’s hard to envision a scenario in which he gets a full complement of snaps, making him untrustworthy for fantasy managers this week. Hopefully, the decision to sit him will be made well before Monday, but I’d lean towards him not playing and finding a suitable replacement before Monday.
Unfortunately for fantasy managers, a suitable replacement likely doesn’t come from Gronkowski’s backup this week either. Cameron Brate has started in Gronkowski’s absence but hasn’t been able to put together any games of note as it relates to fantasy football. Brate did score his first TD of the season last week, but it was his only reception of the game and was just six yards. I don’t think the Giants can keep this game close long enough for Brate to become an integral part of the offense and he should not be starting for your fantasy team this week.