Kickoff: Sunday, October 2nd, 8:20 PM ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Florida
Betting Odds: TB +1.5, 44.5 O/U total via oddshark.com
Writer: Dustin Ludke (Twitter: theDunit13)
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes (Start, QB2)
You are starting Patrick Mahomes pretty much no matter what. He has shown some of the things you expect from Mahomes through three games this year. This week, he gets a tough matchup against the Buccaneers. The Bucs just held Rodgers to 255 yards and 2 touchdowns and also got an interception. While those numbers were enough to win the game, they weren’t great for fantasy. They are in line with what Mahomes has done the past two weeks where he finished outside of QB1 production. The Buccaneers are allowing only 10.25 points to the QB position so far this season. You start Mahomes always due to his ability to do what he did in Week 1 when he had 5 touchdowns. As he and the wide receivers build their chemistry and timing, things look to improve for Mahomes and his fantasy outlook.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Start, Flex), Isiah Pacheco (Sit) Jerick McKinnon (Sit)
Let’s start with the matchup. The Bucs are allowing a league-low 7.23 fantasy points to the running back position. It will be a matchup against a very tough defense that just held the dynamic duo of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon to under 70 yards combined and neither had more than 40. In Week 4, we see the KC running backs come in off a disappointing Week 3. Clyde Edwards-Helaire had seven carries but zero yards. He saved his fantasy day by scoring a receiving touchdown. Combine that with his 5 catches and 39 receiving yards he was a solid RB2. He hasn’t received over 10 carries in any of the games this season and facing a very tough defense I don’t expect him to all of a sudden see a massive increase. He was tied with Jerick McKinnon in Week 3 with seven carries. It’s become a low-volume rushing offense which should have been expected given they have one of the best quarterbacks in the league behind center. C.E.H. has salvaged his fantasy days with his pass-catching work. Rookie Isiah Pacheco has been nonexistent after week one. He is probably droppable.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
JuJu Smith-Schuster (Start, WR3), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (Sit, Flex), Mecole Hardman (Sit, Flex), Skyy Moore (Sit), Travis Kelce (Start, TE1)
So it’s still Travis Kelce‘s world and the rest of the wide receivers are just living in it. He continues to be the team leader or tied for the team lead in targets every week. He has over 50 yards in each of the three games this season which is enough to make him a viable fantasy tight end. Combine that with him scoring in two out of three weeks he is in the conversation as one of the top tight ends in the league. While Kelce has been dominating the rest of the wide receivers have been frustrating. Juju Smith-Schuster has been up and down so far this season. He started the year with 8 targets catching six of them for 79 yards. He followed that up with a stinker in Week 2, going 3 out of 3 for 10 yards. He then continued the pattern with a 5 out of 8 for an 89-yard day in a Week 3 loss to the Colts; he was tied with Kelce for targets. One receiver behind them was Marquez Valdes-Scantling with seven targets. It’s the second straight week for M.V.S. having seven targets. What’s frustrating is that he hasn’t had over 50 yards in any game this season. You are starting Kelce every week and you can throw JuJu in your lineup and hope for one of the bigger days for him. It’s a very tough matchup going against a Tampa defense that has allowed only 21.3 points to the wide receiver position. You can’t start M.V.S. or guys like Mecole Hardman and Skyy Moore. Moore and Hardman aren’t seeing opportunities to make them fantasy relevant, making us question whether they are even worth a roster spot.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady (Start, QB2)
Tom Brady has struggled this season so far. He hasn’t had a multiple touchdown game yet and has only one game over 250 yards. He has struggled with his wide receiving weapons being in flux all year. It’s been a revolving door, but hopefully, he will get some consistency in Week 4. He doesn’t get the greatest matchup going against the Chiefs. Besides the fact that this could end up being a game where points will need to be scored, KC’s secondary is pretty solid. They are a top-ten-rated coverage team by PFF. They have been giving up 20.62 points to the quarterback position and just let the other NFL old man Matt Ryan throw for 222 yards and two touchdowns. If Brady can get his receivers back and healthy, he should be able to start to right the ship. In a season where there have been very solid performances from waiver wire quarterbacks, you may not be in the must-start Brady camp anymore with other options available. He should be a QB2 in Week 4. If I’m a Brady manager, I’m already looking for someone off waivers in case Father Time has finally caught up to him.
Leonard Fournette (Start, RB2) Rachaad White (Sit)
Handcuff? We don’t need any stinking handcuff. Leonard Fournette has been the guy and the only guy in the backfield in Tampa. He received all the running back carries in Week 3 at 12, which was the lowest total he has seen all season. In the first two weeks, he saw over 20 carries in each. He hasn’t been super effective with those attempts, averaging under 3 yards per carry in 2 of the 3 games. What is exciting for Fournette owners is his involvement in the passing game. He is averaging four targets per game and has seen his target number increase every week. His target numbers could come down as the wide receivers come back into the fold after missing time with injuries and suspensions. Facing the KC defense looks good for Fournette. They are giving up 16.53 points to the running back position which puts them at 17th in the league. They are also middle of the road based on rankings from PFF.com. If the Bucs can stay in the game and keep rushing as part of the game plan, then Fournette should see plenty of opportunities. Given his inefficacy and what looks like his receiving work coming back down, he will be a solid RB2 against the Chiefs. Rookie Rachaad White hasn’t done much despite looking good in the preseason.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Mike Evans (Start, WR2), Julio Jones (Start, Flex), Chris Godwin (Sit), Scotty Miller (Sit), Russell Gage (Start, Flex), Cole Beasley (Sit), Cameron Brate (Sit)
Mike Evans will be back in Week 4 after serving his one-game suspension for fighting. It’s a big boost of hope to his owners and Tom Brady. He will resume his role as the lead WR on a team that hasn’t had its full complement of receivers since Week 1. Kansas City does not have great starting corners so there should be room for Evans to get open. He will be helped out if either Chris Godwin or Julio Jones can make it back into the lineup; both missed Week 3. Godwin hasn’t practiced at all, and his hamstring injury may keep him out another week. It’s worth monitoring his practices this week as they did not place him on short-term IR, which would have meant he would miss four games, and this would be week #3 he has missed. Julio Jones is expected to be back as he was reported to be healthy enough to play in Week 3 but was kept out as a precautionary measure. With Julio back, it’ll leave every other receiver in the lineup to fight for targets. Russell Gage was the big winner in Week 3: He capitalized on the three main weapons being out and saw 13 targets, catching 12 of them for 87 yards and a touchdown. It’s what Gage drafters have been wanting to see all season. It’s a sign that he may be more involved going forward and play in three-wideout sets while Godwin is out. Gage played on 80% of the team snaps which tied with Scotty Miller. Miller took a large step up in snaps jumping to 80% from his previous 43%. What hurts him is he only caught one of his five targets for four yards. He might have played himself out of the rotation especially with newly signed Cole Beasley catching three of his four targets. Beasley was brought in to play the Julian Edelman/Wes Welker-type role. It’s a position that holds value in a Tom Brady-led offense. I will wait to see what Beasley’s snap share looks like with Evans and Jones back in the lineup before I try to start him. The tight end position in Tampa has finally shaken out, and it looks like Cameron Brate is finally getting his time to shine. He was tied for the team lead in routes run with 38 on 44 passing plays. If he continues to see that level of opportunities, he could provide some bye week fill-in help. Even against a good matchup in the Chiefs who are giving up the 8th most points to the tight end position with 14.8, I want to see it again from Brate before I feel comfortable starting him.