What We Saw: Giants at Buccaneers

Saquon's back but that didn't really matter in this game

Giants @ Buccaneers

Final Score: Buccaneers 30, Giants 10

Writer: Corey Saucier (@Deputy_Commish on Twitter, /u/Lights_Kamara_Action on Reddit)

 

Monday night brought us the long-anticipated returns of both Giants’ RB Saquon Barkley and Bucs’ TE Rob Gronkowski – and while neither one of them lit up your fantasy lineups in their return, both appeared to be healthy and ready to carry on with the season. We anticipated that Barkley would have it tough finding room to run against the Bucs’ front, but his managers have got to be thrilled to see him back in real game action either way. The Bucs had no troubles with the Giants on Monday. Even on Tampa Bay’s first offensive drive, they sliced through the Giants’ defense like a hot knife through butter. While neither team ran the ball particularly well on Monday night, we did see a surprise RB Ronald Jones, Jr. TD run late in the first half – just his second of the season and his first since Week 4. Bucs’ QB Tom Brady didn’t light up the stat sheet by any means, but other than an early second-quarter INT that bounced off the hands of WR Mike Evans, Brady was a solid option this week. On the other side of the ball, Giants’ QB Daniel Jones was far from a solid option. Jones’ first four weeks of the season were absolutely solid, but since then he’s mostly struggled and the Giants’ offense has looked awful. How did the rest of the night look for your fantasy team? Were you able to pull off a Monday night miracle? Let’s dive into what we saw:

 

New York Giants

 

Quarterbacks

 

Daniel Jones: 23/38, 167 yards, TD, 2 INT | 3 carries, 10 yards

 

I don’t want to say that Giants’ QB Daniel Jones is awful. He isn’t. He has shown flashes of greatness – he’s athletic, he can extend plays with his legs, he has a huge arm, we know these things. But for whatever reason, most of the time he struggles to put it all together on the field. It didn’t help his cause that Tampa Bay was consistently able to get pressure while rushing 3 or 4 linemen, but it really felt like Jones was running for his life all night. His lone TD came on this ‘trick’ play to eligible LT Andrew Thomas:

 

 

 

Running Backs

 

Saquon Barkley: 6 carries, 25 yards | 6 targets, 6 receptions, 31 yards

Devontae Booker: 3 carries, 15 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 5 yards

 

The long-awaited return of Giants’ RB Saquon Barkley may not have lived up to the hype on Monday night, but it could have been predicted seeing how Tampa’s run defense has been strong against fantasy RBs this season. Saquon’s 12 touches were modest but that could have been expected in a game where New York was playing from behind the entire night. RB Devontae Booker was relegated to his backup role – seeing only 4 touches on the night.

 

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Kadarius Toney: 12 targets, 7 receptions, 40 yards

Darius Slayton: 7 targets, 4 receptions, 37 yards

Kenny Golladay: 2 targets, 1 reception, 12 yards

Evan Engram: 5 targets, 2 receptions, 12 yards

 

With Daniel Jones’s struggles continuing, the Giants’ pass-catching group also failed to put up much fantasy relevance on Monday night. Rookie sensation WR Kadarius Toney paced the group in targets, catches, and yardage, but was forced out of the game in the 4th quarter with a thigh injury. Toney also attempted a deep pass to WR Darius Slayton that drew a flag initially for defensive pass interference, but the refs ultimately decided the contact was incidental and picked up the flag. WR Kenny Golladay has yet to make a splash for the Giants after his big contract in the offseason. After missing most of 4 games with an injury and coming off the Giants’ bye week, Golladay entered Monday night’s contest with Tampa Bay without an injury designation – yet he still drew only 2 targets. Giants’ TE Kyle Rudolph contributed a big play with a 28-yard grab but was also knocked out of the game with an ankle injury.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

Quarterback

 

Tom Brady: 30/46, 307 yards, 2 TD, INT | 1 carry, 10 yards

 

It wasn’t the most impressive of performances for Buccaneers’ QB Tom Brady on Monday night, but he led his team to an easy win and contributed a worthwhile fantasy performance in the process. This deflected INT was the lone blemish on Brady’s night:

 

 

Brady capped the Bucs’ opening drive with a 13-yard TD strike to WR Chris Godwin, and also found WR Mike Evans midway through the 3rd quarter for this red-zone TD:

 

 

This TD was number 72 of Evans’ career, giving him the all-time Bucs’ TD record over RB Mike Alstott. And while we all remember how quick Mike Evans gave away Brady’s record-breaking TD ball, he thought better of it this time:

 

 

But outside of the TD passes, I would have to argue that the most impressive play of the night for Brady was this explosive 10-yard run:

 

 

Clearly, Brady was pretty hyped about it.

 

Running Backs

 

Leonard Fournette: 10 carries, 35 yards | 6 targets, 6 receptions, 39 yards

Ronald Jones, Jr.: 8 carries, 33 yards, TD

 

With Brady throwing 46 pass attempts on the night, the Bucs’ RBs had a light workload as a result. RB Leonard Fournette has asserted himself as Tampa Bay’s lead back this season – dominating the number of touches and snaps compared to a more even split last year with RB Ronald Jones, Jr. While Fournette hasn’t scored a TD since Week 7 against the Bears, his involvement in the passing game has provided him with a safe floor. On Monday night, however, it was Jones who found the end zone:

 

 

Jones’ 8 carries were his most since Week 7 (10) and his second-most of the season. It will be interesting to see if Jones’s TD in Monday’s performance will earn him more of Fournette’s workload moving forward.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Mike Evans: 11 targets, 6 receptions, 73 yards, TD | 1 carry, 10 yards

Chris Godwin: 6 targets, 6 receptions, 65 yards, TD | 1 carry, 7 yards

Rob Gronkowski: 8 targets, 6 receptions, 71 yards

 

Buccaneers’ TE Rob Gronkowski returned to action on Monday night having missed all but six snaps since Week 3. And to nobody’s surprise, Gronk ended up with the longest reception of the night for either team – this 35-yard bomb:

 

 

We took a look at Mike Evans’ TD grab earlier, but I wouldn’t want to leave out his buddy WR Chris Godwin getting on the board first to cap Tampa Bay’s 75-yard opening TD drive:

 

 

It’s worth mentioning that Godwin also had a 34-yard gain that was wiped off the board due to an offensive holding penalty. All three of Godwin, Evans, and Gronkowski finished the night with 6 catches apiece, and while both Godwin and Evans have benefitted in fantasy production from WR Antonio Brown‘s extended absence with an ankle injury, it will be interesting to see how the dynamic will change with Gronk back in the mix.

 

Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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