Kickoff: Sunday, September 25th at 4:25 PM ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Betting Odds: GB +1.5, 42 total via Oddsshark
Writer: Ryan Kruse (@ryanpkruse on Twitter)
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers (Start-able, QB2)
I’m ranking Aaron Rodgers and TB12 right outside the line between QB1 and QB2 this week. We all know these are two of the undisputed GOATs of football, but the fact is that neither of these future Hall of Famers has put up many fantasy points these first two weeks.
The standard for our QB1 tier at QB List is an expectation of 20+ fantasy points, and while I believe Rodgers can certainly achieve that, I’m not expecting it. The over/under for this game is a bit lower than I anticipated and that’s likely due to the defensive quality and lack of proven receiving threats for both teams.
The Buccaneers’ defense has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and the eighth-fewest passing yards so far this year. I believe AR12 will have a decent performance, but I’m not expecting a massive fantasy week.
Aaron Jones (Start, RB1), A.J. Dillon (Start, RB2)
After head coach Matt LaFleur admitted they needed to get the ball in Aaron Jones’ hands more, the star running back went from 10.6 fantasy points in Week 1 to a whopping 32 last week. Fellow back A.J. Dillon has received more carries (28) than Aaron (20) so far, but Jones will have the higher weekly upside due to his passing-catching ability. Although I’m ranking Jones as an RB1 this week, I’m putting him at the very end of that tier due to what could be a tough match-up this week. The Buccaneers have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs in the 2022 season.
A.J. Dillon should continue seeing enough touches to keep him in the RB2 discussion in Week 3. That said, he could easily wind up at the low-end of the RB2 tier if his fantasy performance hinges on a touchdown. The Buccaneers haven’t allowed a rushing touchdown yet this year.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Allen Lazard (FLEX), Sammy Watkins (Sit), Christian Watson (Sit), Romeo Doubs (Sit), Robert Tonyan (Sit, TE2)
Allen Lazard returned from injury last week and certainly passed the eye test. It looks like Lazard could be Rodgers’ go-to receiver as the season progresses. He only saw three targets (more on that later) but one of them was for a touchdown, and his lone drop was another end zone target. Allen was on the field for 81 percent of Green Bay’s offensive plays last week. The potential for consistent fantasy production is there; we just need to see a substantial target share for Lazard first. It will be a tough week to bet on Allen’s breakout game, considering he’s going up against a stingy Bucs defense that’s allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers in 2022.
I have to sit everyone else because it appears Aaron Rodgers will spread the ball around plenty this year. Last week’s split was impressive. Sammy Watkins led the team with four targets, while Allen Lazard, Christian Watson, Randall Cobb, and Romeo Doubs all saw three targets. It remains to be seen which of these receivers will separate themselves from the rest of the pack so it’s best to remain cautious for now and keep them on the bench. Sammy Watkins is worth keeping an eye on over the next couple of weeks. He has the second-highest snap count among Green Bay receivers over the last two weeks and should continue to be heavily involved in this offense.
Robert Tonyan hasn’t been productive enough to warrant much consideration lately. He will likely remain a risky touchdown-dependent TE2 streaming option for most of the season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady (Start-able, QB2)
As previously mentioned in the Rodgers blurb, I’m putting both of these titans of the NFL just barely outside of QB1 range. Both are capable of reaching that tier, but the last few weeks haven’t been too encouraging from a fantasy standpoint.
I’ve heard arguments that the Saints are Tom Brady’s kryptonite, but he only put up one more fantasy point in Week 1 than in Week 2. I’ve seen people reasoning away Tom’s disappointing first weeks with statements like, “Brady always starts slow,” which hasn’t been true for quite a few years now. From 2015 to 2021, TB12 averaged 23.4 fantasy points per game in his first two games of the season. He’s at 9.9 in 2022. It could be due to Brady’s lack of receiving options lately, but there’s a good chance that situation isn’t any better in Week 3. I’m tempering expectations considering the Packers’ defense conceded the sixth-fewest passing yards in 2021 and has allowed the fourth-fewest air yards so far this year.
Leonard Fournette (Start, RB1)
Leonard Fournette had a lackluster showing last week against the Saints, but fantasy managers should keep the faith. The entire Buccaneers team struggled against the Saints last week. Fournette still has one of the highest ceilings among all fantasy running backs. He led the league in carries last week and had the fifth-most carries in Week 1. The points will come.
Although the Packers’ defense allowed the 10th fewest rushing yards last year, they have struggled a bit this year, conceding the sixth-most ground yards over the first two weeks. The decent match-up paired with Lenny’s expected volume puts him in the RB1 discussion for Week 3.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Mike Evans (Sit, Suspended), Julio Jones (Low-end FLEX if active), Chris Godwin (Start-able FLEX if active), Scotty Miller (Sit), Russell Gage (Sit), Breshad Perriman (Sit), Cole Beasley (Sit), Cameron Brate (Sit), Cade Otton (Sit)
Mike Evans is suspended for one game after his fight with multiple Saints defenders last week. That opens the door for more opportunities and targets for Julio Jones, but Julio brings plenty of uncertainty to the table himself. The veteran receiver had a decent showing in Week 1 with 11.6 fantasy points on six targets, but Jones didn’t suit up last week due to a knee injury. Experienced fantasy managers know all too well that Julio is infamous for seemingly always carrying a questionable tag and it seems this week will be no different. Keep an eye out for Julio in the injury report this week. He’s going to be a risky Flex option even if he plays.
The term “banged up” doesn’t begin to describe the receiving corps in Tampa, making it all the more difficult to predict which player will be the most valuable for fantasy. That said, Chris Godwin could be in line for a decent Flex performance with plenty of upside if he’s the best healthy Bucs receiver this week. But he will still need to compete with Scotty Miller, Russell Gage, Breshad Perriman, and brand-new signing Cole Beasley for targets. Fantasy managers will need to monitor the injury reports if they want to start Godwin this week. He did not practice on Wednesday.
No way am I trusting Scotty Miller after he couldn’t catch a cold in Week 2. Tom Brady murdered a Microsoft Surface tablet because Miller dropped a catchable deep ball. I haven’t seen enough from Gage on this team to trust him in fantasy. His best catch this year was for ten yards. Breshad Perriman had 13.5 fantasy points last week, but his touchdown accounted for nearly half his fantasy total. If Perriman steps up again this week with a respectable fantasy performance, he could be worthy of more start consideration, but I’m not trusting him against a capable Packers secondary that’s allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to receivers so far this year.
And to make my job even more difficult, Cole Beasley signed with the Buccaneers and is expected to be elevated to the active roster before this week’s game. It’s an intriguing signing, but you would be foolish to even consider Beasley without even a week of experience with Brady and this offense.
Cameron Brate and Cade Otton each saw two targets last week against the Saints. That isn’t nearly enough usage to put either of them in the start-able conversation. They’re splitting snaps pretty evenly as well. Brate has seen 57 percent of Tampa’s offensive snaps, while Otton has been on the field 49 percent of the time.