Kickoff: Sunday, October 1st, 12:00 PM CDT
Location: Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Betting Odds: NO -3.5, 40.5 total via Odds Shark
Writer: Steve Bradshaw (@SteveBradshawFF)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baker Mayfield (Sit,)
Baker Mayfield has been a serviceable quarterback this season, but I’m not expecting a bounce back from a rough Week 3. So far, Mayfield is averaging 14.8 PPG, and he should return to QB2 status after this week. My main issue with Mayfield in Week 4 is that he’s not a great quarterback, and this looks like a defensive battle. Odds Shark has this game with an over/under of 40.5 points, which is one of the lowest-scoring games of the week. Mayfield will likely have another disappointing week in a game where the Buccaneers won’t throw the ball much.
Rachaad White (Start, RB2), Sean Tucker (Sit)
Even after another rough week, you need to be starting Rachaad White due to his involvement in this offense. White only scored ten points last week, but he saw 91% of the snaps in this backfield. In a game that should be rather low-scoring, White will see an increase in carries and targets near the line of scrimmage from week three. Even if the efficiency hasn’t been there yet, you need to start one of the only true bellows in the NFL.
Sean Tucker is someone you’ll never be starting outside a White injury. If White is seeing 91% of the snaps, there’s clearly no room for Tucker. Until something changes, Tucker isn’t fantasy-relevant because of his lack of involvement in the offense.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Mike Evans (Start, WR2), Chris Godwin (Start, WR3), Trey Palmer (Sit), Deven Thompkins (Sit), Cade Otton (Sit)
I’m not confident calling Mike Evans a WR1 this week because of how low-scoring the game environment should be, but it’s hard to drop him lower than a WR2. Right now, Evans is averaging a remarkable 21.6 PPG and has commanded 9.3 targets per game. Evans is the clear alpha, and he’s facing a Saints defense that has given up 24.43 points to wide receivers this year.
Chris Godwin has had a rough start to the season, averaging 9.7 PPG so far. Mayfield is clearly favoring Evans, which is a massive blow for Godwin supporters. Typically, Godwin is able to draw a ton of targets and volume, but right now, Evans is ahead of him in this aspect. While Godwin shouldn’t have a tough time against these Saints corners, he shouldn’t be ranked higher than a WR3 based on the game script and lack of volume.
In a low-scoring game like this, you want to start as few Buccaneers players as possible. Of course, you should start your stud–i.e. Evans–but that’s about it. That said, in what should already be a low-scoring game with not a lot of volume to go around, these other wide receivers provide no value. Trey Palmer and Deven Thompkins haven’t been fantasy-relevant all year, and that won’t change in Week 4.
Cade Otton had a 10.1-point performance in week two, but he hasn’t scored more than five points outside of that. Otton is not a fantastic talent, and this one solid week looks like an outlier. Even if tight ends don’t get a ton of volume like Otton, they can be valuable based on touchdown upside. However, the Buccaneers are an average offense at best, and this will be a low-scoring game.
New Orleans Saints
Jameis Winston (Start, QB2)
After an injury to Derek Carr in Week 3, Jameis Winston has been named the Saints starting quarterback. While Winston isn’t great from a real-life perspective, his ability to air it out allows him to score a ton of fantasy points. I’m still cautious of Winston since the game script doesn’t fit his strengths, but having him lower than a QB2 is hard.
In his career with the Saints, Winston has averaged around QB2 numbers with 16.8 PPG in year one and 14.6 in year two. The Buccaneers have only allowed 13.67 points to quarterbacks this year, but Winston should still air the ball out to a degree, allowing him to exceed these expectations.
Alvin Kamara (Start, RB2) Kendre Miller (Sit)
Alvin Kamara is finally back, and he should be viewed as a low-end RB2 in this low-scoring contest. It’s tough to figure out what we should expect from Kamara, but in this highly depleted Saints backfield, he should see most of the work. The Saints should be forced to run the ball a lot in Week 4, and Kamara still looks to be the passing down back in this offense.
After Kendre Miller scored 4.4 points last week, I have no hope for him this week. While Miller was an intriguing prospect, it doesn’t look like he’ll be fantasy-relevant anytime soon. Miller could be an interesting play near the end of the season if he progresses, but I have no interest in him for Week 4.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
Chris Olave (Start, WR2), Michael Thomas (Start, WR3), Rashid Shaheed (Flex), Juwan Johnson/Foster Moreau (Sit)
Chris Olave may benefit from having Winston as his quarterback this week, but again, this game should limit these pass catchers’ upside. Olave has looked incredible so far, but in a rough matchup, I’m not predicting he’ll be a WR1 this week. This season, Olave is averaging 17.4 PPG, and Winston should hound him with targets, helping him stay in the WR2 range.
As long as Michael Thomas is on the field, I’m good with him being my WR3. Clearly, Thomas isn’t the same player he once was, but right now, he’s averaging 8.7 targets per game. Winston typically likes to target his receivers further down the field, which is a knock to Thomas, but he will still have a role in this offense every week.
Rashid Shaheed has been a massive surprise this season, averaging 9.8 PPG through three weeks. Although his play has come back down to earth, I have Shaheed as a flex play based on his upside. The clear, deep threat on this team matched with Winston is a perfect combo. Shaheed doesn’t need to win deep down the field to be fantasy-relevant, but that’s where his big week one came from.
While this should be a low-scoring game, Shaheed has shown me enough of where you should be starting him based on his upside. Even if Shaheed doesn’t have a big play, it’s worth noting that he has 10.3 points in week three, showing he can be relevant in other ways.
Juwan Johnson finished as a TE2 with the Saints last season, averaging 8.4 PPG, but this has shot down to 4.4 in 2023. Johnson isn’t a fantastic player, and he’s seeing around 4-5 targets most weeks. This is average for a tight end, but this Saints offense doesn’t give him any touchdown upside, which kills his value.
Unfortunately, Foster Moreau is a sit as well this week. Moreau has never averaged over 6 PPG, which makes it a no-brainer to sit him. The Saints offense will never have the elite passing volume and quarterback play you need to support two fantasy-relevant tight ends.