Kickoff: Sunday, December 5th at 1:00 PM ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Betting Odds: TB -11, 50.5 total via Oddsshark
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady (Start, QB1)
Tom Brady has been a bit underwhelming lately. He’s averaging just 14.5 fantasy points per game over his last three. Still, everyone knows it’s just a matter of time until Brady bounces back. TB12 is still the overall QB4 on the season thus far. The Falcons are allowing the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, so I like Brady’s chances for an impressive “get right” game this week.
Leonard Fournette (Start, RB1), Ronald Jones (Sit)
Leonard Fournette had a monster four touchdown, 44.1 fantasy-point performance last week, and is in line for another big day in Week 13. Fournette will face a Falcons rush defense that has allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs this year. For reference, Leonard had his huge game last week against a Colts defense that’s been allowing the sixth-fewest points to running backs. Atlanta is also top-10 in rushing yards allowed per game. I believe Fournette should be capable of another RB1 performance.
Ronald Jones doesn’t belong in the start conversation, but he likely deserves a roster spot as a handcuff for fantasy managers with Fournette on their teams.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Chris Godwin (Start, Low-end WR1), Mike Evans (Start, Low-end WR1), Antonio Brown (Sit), Rob Gronkowski (Start, TE1)
Both Chris Godwin and Mike Evans had slow days last week against Indy with only five targets each. Godwin and Evans (the overall WR11 and WR12 respectively) have been neck-and-neck in fantasy production this year. Only three-tenths of a point separates their overall fantasy totals. With how evenly these two have been playing, it seems silly ranking one ahead of the other.
Atlanta has been a middle-of-the-road in passing yards allowed this year, but they are currently top-10 in fantasy points conceded to wide receivers. I believe both Godwin and Evans should be ranked in low-end WR1 territory this week and should both have solid bounce-back fantasy performances.
I believe Antonio Brown was not practicing on Wednesday, so it seems like he will be inactive once again this week. Fantasy managers will need to monitor his status if they need Brown this week.
In a surprise to absolutely no one, Rob Gronkowski bounced back from his injury and immediately produced impressive fantasy numbers. The veteran tight end put up 123 yards on seven catches last week. Plus, he’s averaging nine targets per game the past two weeks. Gronk should be in line for another impressive TE1 performance.
Matt Ryan (Sit, Low-end QB2)
Matt Ryan has been seriously struggling lately. He’s averaging just 4.3 fantasy points per game over his last three. Ryan’s been so fantasy irrelevant lately that I’m not so sure this week’s match-up matters much at this point. Keep Matt on the bench for now until we start seeing some consistent fantasy production.
Cordarrelle Patterson (Start, RB1), Mike Davis (Sit)
Cordarrelle Patterson had yet another spectacular performance last week with two touchdowns and 108 rushing yards. It will be a challenge going up against Tampa’s stout defensive front, but Patterson’s pass-catching skills should keep him in the RB1 conversation. Cordarrelle should be locked into all starting lineups anyway.
Mike Davis hardly deserves a mention at this point. Keep him on the bench for now.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Russell Gage (Sit, Low-end Flex), Tajae Sharpe (Sit), Olamide Zaccheaus (Sit), Kyle Pitts (Start, TE1)
Russell Gage had his best fantasy performance of the season last week against Jacksonville with 18.2 points, but his total was helped by a touchdown (Gage’s second TD of the year). Gage is the de facto number one wide receiver in Atlanta, but his fantasy output has been too inconsistent to trust. Gage isn’t much more than a desperation Flex fill-in for truly desperate fantasy managers. There’s a reason the guy is rostered in roughly 21 percent of leagues.
Neither Tajae Sharpe nor Olamide Zaccheaus has had enough consistent fantasy production to warrant any start consideration.
Kyle Pitts has struggled a bit lately. He’s failed to reach TE2 territory for two weeks in a row now. The rookie tight end may be drawing extra coverage from defenses with Calvin Ridley gone. Since Ridley took time away from the NFL for personal reasons, Pitts has only reached double-digit fantasy production once.
Still, fantasy managers are well aware that the tight end position is one of the most difficult to field and Pitts has shown he can put up impressive numbers. The Bucs are conceding the seventh-most fantasy points to tight ends this year, so Pitts should have a shot at TE1 production.
-Ryan Kruse (@ryanpkruse)