NFL Game Previews: Buccaneers-Giants Preview

NFL Game Previews: Buccaneers-Giants Preview

This article is part of our NFL Game Previews series.

Tampa Bay at N.Y. Giants (+10.5), o/u 46.0
Monday, 8:15 p.m. EDT

The Bucs bandwagon has left the station already, but you might be able to sprint down the tracks and hop on if you hurry. Tom Brady and company have scored at least 38 points in three of their last four games, while the defense has allowed 20 or less in five of the team's last six, which is a pretty decent formula for success. It's ridiculous to think they're about to add Antonio Brown too, but Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have had trouble being healthy at the same time this season, so it might work out without someone getting antsy about their target volume. Winning has a way of papering over those concerns anyway. Even on the road, there's no reason to think facing the one-win Giants is going to get Tampa Bay to lose focus. While Patrick Graham's defense has been decent, Jason Garrett's offense has managed to score more than 21 points only once all year, and that was against Dallas so it hardly counts. Daniel Jones has taken a big step backward in his second campaign, and without Saquon Barkley to take the pressure off him, the QB could be in for a very long night in prime time.

The Skinny

TB injuries: WR Godwin (out, finger), WR Scotty Miller (questionable, hip), TE Rob Gronkowski (questionable, shoulder), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (questionable, knee), S Antoine Winfield (questionable, shoulder)

NYG injuries: RB Devonta Freeman (questionable, ankle),

Tampa Bay at N.Y. Giants (+10.5), o/u 46.0
Monday, 8:15 p.m. EDT

The Bucs bandwagon has left the station already, but you might be able to sprint down the tracks and hop on if you hurry. Tom Brady and company have scored at least 38 points in three of their last four games, while the defense has allowed 20 or less in five of the team's last six, which is a pretty decent formula for success. It's ridiculous to think they're about to add Antonio Brown too, but Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have had trouble being healthy at the same time this season, so it might work out without someone getting antsy about their target volume. Winning has a way of papering over those concerns anyway. Even on the road, there's no reason to think facing the one-win Giants is going to get Tampa Bay to lose focus. While Patrick Graham's defense has been decent, Jason Garrett's offense has managed to score more than 21 points only once all year, and that was against Dallas so it hardly counts. Daniel Jones has taken a big step backward in his second campaign, and without Saquon Barkley to take the pressure off him, the QB could be in for a very long night in prime time.

The Skinny

TB injuries: WR Godwin (out, finger), WR Scotty Miller (questionable, hip), TE Rob Gronkowski (questionable, shoulder), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (questionable, knee), S Antoine Winfield (questionable, shoulder)

NYG injuries: RB Devonta Freeman (questionable, ankle), WR Sterling Shepard (questionable, shoulder), LG Will Hernandez (out, COVID)

TB DFS targets: Leonard Fournette $4,900 DK / $5,900 FD (NYG 32nd in passing DVOA vs. RB), Tyler Johnson $3,500 DK / $5,200 FD (NYG 32nd in DVOA vs. WR3)

NYG DFS targets: Evan Engram $4,400 DK / $5,600 FD (TB 22nd in DVOA vs. TE)

TB DFS fades: none

NYG DFS fades: Daniel Jones $5,200 DK / $6,900 FD (TB first in passing DVOA), Wayne Gallman $4,400 DK / $5,400 FD (TB second in rushing DVOA, first in YPC allowed, first in rushing yards per game allowed), Darius Slayton $4,800 DK / $6,200 FD (TB first in DVOA vs. WR1)

Key stat: NYG are 31st in red-zone conversions at 33.3 percent; TB is t-11th in red-zone defense at 57.9 percent

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the high 30s, 12 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Ronald Jones runs for 90 yards and a TD, while Fournette adds 70 combined yards and a score. Brady throws for 250 yards and two touchdowns, finding Miller and Johnson. Gallman leads the NYG backfield with 40 yards. Daniel Jones throws for less than 200 yards but does hit Engram for a TD in garbage time. Buccaneers, 34-13

Pittsburgh (+3.5) at Baltimore, o/u 46.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

The Steelers bounce from one marquee matchup to another. After handing the Titans their first loss of the season last week, they now face the 5-1 Ravens for bragging rights and a leg up in the battle for the division crown. Meetings between these clubs are basically the Platonic ideal of an AFC North game, as both prefer to run the ball and play tough, physical defense. The Steelers do have an edge in the depth of their receiving corps, though — the Ravens have a deep secondary, but no group of DBs is deep enough to account for every threat in an offense where Chase Claypool and his four-TD game are arguably No. 4 on the depth chart when everyone is healthy. Baltimore also comes into this one a little more banged up, though Pittsburgh has the biggest absence in linebacker Devin Bush, and even if Mark Ingram is sidelined, it might only serve to give rookie J.K. Dobbins his first chance to shine.

The Skinny

PIT injuries: none

BAL injuries: RB Ingram (doubtful, ankle), CB Jimmy Smith (questionable, Achilles)

PIT DFS targets: Steelers DST $3,600 DK / $4,200 FD (first in sack rate, BAL 27th in sack rate allowed)

BAL DFS targets: Marquise Brown $6,100 DK / $5,900 FD (PIT 30th in DVOA vs. WR1, 30th in DVOA vs. deep throws), Willie Snead $3,400 DK / $4,700 FD (PIT 31st in DVOA vs. WR3)

PIT DFS fades: James Conner $6,400 DK / $6,900 FD (BAL third in rushing DVOA), Chase Claypool $5,200 DK / $6,000 FD (BAL third in DVOA vs. WR3)

BAL DFS fades: Lamar Jackson $7,400 DK / $8,300 FD (PIT first in rushing yards allowed to QB), J.K. Dobbins $4,600 DK / $5,100 FD (PIT first in rushing DVOA, second in YPC allowed, second in rushing yards per game allowed), Mark Andrews $5,800 DK / $7,000 FD (PIT first in DVOA vs. TE)

Key stat: PIT is 15th in red-zone conversions at 62.5 percent; BAL is 30th in red-zone defense at 76.9 percent

Head-to-head record, last five years: 6-4 BAL, average score 23-22 BAL, average margin of victory eight points

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the high 50s, 13 mph wind, 0-10 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Conner grinds out 60 yards. Ben Roethlisberger throws for 250 yards and TDs to Diontae Johnson and Eric Ebron. Dobbins leads the BAL backfield with 50 yards and a touchdown. Jackson throws for 200 yards and runs for 40, finding Brown for a score. Steelers, 20-17

L.A. Rams at Miami (+4), o/u 46.0 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

The Rams finally beat a real (i.e. non-NFC East) team last week in the Bears, or at least a team with a real defense, and their schedule luck might continue here as they get to face Tua Tagovailoa in his first NFL start. Darrell Henderson seems to be settling in as the team's top back, with Malcolm Brown still seeing a healthy workload as well, but Cam Akers has to be wondering why they burned a second-round pick on him if they weren't going to give him a chance. The timing on coach Brian Flores' decision to make a switch at QB seems odd — at 3-3, Miami was in the wild-card race in the AFC — and it's impossible to say from the outside whether it was motivated purely by a desire to put the best team on the field, but given how Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert have been lighting it up, starting the clock on Tua Time was probably warranted no matter how well Ryan Fitzpatrick was playing. There's another, under the radar job battle potentially brewing on the Dolphins as well, though. Adam Shaheen outperformed Mike Gesicki in the last game before the team's bye, scoring a TD for the second consecutive game. While Shaheen's inability to stay healthy might be rearing its head again, it's easy to forget the guy was a second-round pick of the Bears in 2017, the year before Gesicki was a second-round pick of the Fish. Both guys possess great size and elite athleticism, and Flores was on the staff for the Patriots in the heyday of their two-TE attack a decade ago, so Tagovailoa could be at the helm of a very different sort of passing game than Fitzpatrick was in the second half if Shaheen continues to blossom.

The Skinny

LAR injuries: TE Tyler Higbee (questionable, hand)

MIA injuries: TE Shaheen (questionable, shoulder) 

LAR DFS targets: Darrell Henderson $5,900 DK / $6,100 FD (MIA 32nd in rushing DVOA, 30th in YPC allowed)

MIA DFS targets: DeVante Parker $5,700 DK / $6,100 FD (LAR 23rd in DVOA vs. WR1)

LAR DFS fades: Robert Woods $6,300 DK / $7,000 FD (MIA third in DVOA vs. WR2)

MIA DFS fades: Preston Williams $4,300 DK / $5,200 FD (LAR third in DVOA vs. deep throws)

Key stat: MIA is 22nd in third-down conversions at 40.0 percent; LAR are t-fourth in third-down defense at 34.5 percent

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the mid-80s, less than 10 mph wind, 0-10 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Henderson zips for 110 combined yards and a receiving touchdown, while Brown vultures a short-yardage score. Jared Goff throws for 270 yards and a second TD to Cooper Kupp. Myles Gaskin manages 60 yards. Tagovailoa has a decent debut, throwing for 250 yards and a touchdown to Parker while also running in a score. Rams, 24-17

N.Y. Jets (+19.5) at Kansas City, o/u 49.0 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

The Jets got a little less competition for Trevor Lawrence this week when the Falcons actually managed not to cough up a late lead Thursday, but there are still a few one-win teams hot on their heels for the first overall pick (well, two teams hot on their heels in the Jags and Vikings, one in the Bengals who are an extra half-game up thanks to a tie and just found their new franchise QB anyway, and one in the Texans who'd hand the top pick over to the Dolphins because Bill O'Brien's incompetent specter is still haunting that franchise like a Scooby-Doo villain) in next year's draft. Fortunately, they probably don't have to worry too much about accidentally falling into a victory against the defending champs. Sam Darnold looked awful in his return from a shoulder injury last week, and whether that was due to him not being 100 percent healthy or just the Jets jets-ing it up around him is hard to say. Darnold has posted a YPA less than 6.0 in four consecutive games (and his high-water mark for the year is 6.1 in Week 1) heading into a matchup against a defense that ranks in the top 10 in YPA allowed, and he could be without his top two wideouts. Eep. As if scoring points wasn't a big enough problem for the Jets, coach Adam Gase's crew could also be facing a genuine revenge game from Le'Veon Bell in his second outing for his new club. The running back averaged a mere 6.5 yards a carry on limited work in his Kansas City debut, and while rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire continues to make his case to keep the starting job, it wouldn't be a surprise if coach Andy Reid put Bell in a position to pop. If all that wasn't enough, the Jets' secondary is also the worst in the league by DVOA against deep throws (more than 15 yards downfield). If only Kansas City had anybody who could burn a defense over the top ... Patrick Mahomes' biggest challenge Sunday might be deciding whose turn it is to get the big gain.

The Skinny

NYJ injuries: RB Frank Gore (questionable, hand), WR Jamison Crowder (doubtful, groin), WR Breshad Perriman (out, concussion), K Sam Ficken (doubtful, groin)

KC injuries: WR Sammy Watkins (questionable, hamstring), RT Mitchell Schwartz (questionable, back) 

NYJ DFS targets: La'Mical Perine $4,300 DK / $5,300 FD (KC 31st in rushing DVOA)

KC DFS targets: Tyreek Hill $6,700 DK / $8,100 FD (NYJ 32nd in DVOA vs. deep throws), Kansas City DST $4,500 DK / $5,000 FD (second in takeaways, NYJ 30th in sack rate allowed)

NYJ DFS fades: Sam Darnold $4,800 DK / $6,500 FD (KC second in QB rating against)

KC DFS fades: none

Key stat: NYJ are 32nd in third-down conversions (29.8 percent) and red-zone conversions (25.0 percent), and have made the fewest red-zone trips in the league with 16

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the mid-40s, 11-13 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Perine leads the NYJ backfield with 70 yards. Darnold throws for less than 200 yards and gets picked off twice, one of which Bashaud Breeland returns to the house. CEH leads the KC backfield with 100 combined yards, but Bell gains 70 yards and two TDs, one rushing and one receiving. Mahomes once again doesn't need to do much, throwing for 230 yards and two more touchdowns to Hill and Mecole Hardman. Kansas City, 41-6

Minnesota (+6.5) at Green Bay, o/u 52.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

The Vikings had a one step forward, two steps back start to their year, capped by an ugly home loss to the Falcons, but maybe they were able to get some things figured out over their bye. The defense's collapse (27th in yards per play allowed, to pick one of many possible statistical examples) has forced Kirk Cousins to try to do too much, and while that's been pretty good news for anyone with Adam Thielen or Justin Jefferson shares, the team's 1-5 record highlights just how ill-equipped it is to play a gunslinging style of football. Dalvin Cook at least will be back in the lineup, but coach Mike Zimmer's ground-and-pound philosophy doesn't work when it's his defense taking the pounding. That's exactly what Aaron Rodgers did to the Vikings in Week 1, racking up 364 yards and four TDs — the fifth time in his career he's tossed four or more touchdowns against them, most of any NFC North rival. Aaron Jones has also made something of a habit of tormenting Minny with 408 rushing yards and five TDs in his last four games against them, but he's not available. Rodgers, plus whatever the backfield combo of Jamaal Williams and AJ Dillon can supply, will probably be more than enough, especially with the Vikings secondary potentially missing its top three corners and relying on the wind to help cover Davante Adams. As I write this, linebacker Todd Davis' positive COVID test doesn't seem to be enough to postpone this game, but who knows how things will develop over the weekend.

The Skinny

MIN injuries: RB Cook (questionable, groin), CB Cameron Dantzler (questionable, COVID), CB Holton Hill (out, foot), CB Mike Hughes (IR, neck)

GB injuries: RB Jones (out, calf), LT David Bakhtiari (questionable, chest), K Mason Crosby (questionable, calf), CB Kevin King (out, quad), S Darnell Savage (questionable, quad)

MIN DFS targets: Justin Jefferson $6,500 DK / $6,600 FD (GB 26th in DVOA vs. WR2)

GB DFS targets: Aaron Rodgers $7,600 DK / $8,400 FD (MIN 29th in QB rating against, 29th in YPA allowed), Davante Adams $8,800 DK / $9,100 FD (MIN 31st in DVOA vs. WR1), Marquez Valdes-Scantling $3,800 DK / $5,100 FD (MIN 31st in DVOA vs. deep throws)

MIN DFS fades: none

GB DFS fades: none

Key stat: MIN is 28th in third-down conversions at 37.7 percent; GB is 17th in third-down defense at 41.8 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 5-5-1, average score 22-21 GB, average margin of victory nine points. GB has won three straight meetings

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the mid-30s, 25-26 mph wind, 0-10 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Cook returns with 120 scrimmage yards and a TD. Cousins throws for 240 yards and a touchdown to Jefferson. Williams gains 80 combined yards, while Dillon bangs in a short-yardage score. Despite the conditions, Rodgers throws for 270 yards and three TDs, finding Adams once and Robert Tonyan twice. Packers, 28-20

Indianapolis at Detroit (+2.5), o/u 50.0 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

Finally, the game I've been waiting for ever since I built my backfield in the RotoWire Steak League around two top rookie RBs: the Taylor-Swift Bowl. I hammered y'all with T-Swift references in last week's Detroit preview and nobody flinched (or noticed, more likely), so I'll just have to remember to link them this time. Jonathan Taylor still hasn't had that big breakout, but it seems like it could happen any time now, and a matchup against a Lions defense that's coughed up six TDs to running backs in its last three games is as good a time as any. On the flip side, D'Andre Swift hasn't been able to fully escape coach Matt Patricia's compulsion to use a committee, but if Adrian Peterson is less than 100 percent healthy, Swift could finally become The Man for the Lions, and send AP into exile. Knowing Patricia, though, it's more likely Swift gets bottled up by a stingy Colts defense and has to watch Peterson take way too many carries yet again in Week 9 as punishment.

The Skinny

IND injuries: TE Mo Alie-Cox (questionable, knee), C Ryan Kelly (questionable, knee)

DET injuries: LT Taylor Decker (questionable, shoulder), DE Everson Griffen (out, COVID intake), CB Desmond Trufant (questionable, hamstring)

IND DFS targets: Jonathan Taylor $6,600 DK / $7,300 FD (DET 23rd in rushing DVOA, 26th in rushing yards allowed per game, t-23rd in rushing TDs allowed)

DET DFS targets: Kenny Golladay $6,600 DK / $7,600 FD (IND 19th in DVOA vs. WR1)

IND DFS fades: none

DET DFS fades: Matthew Stafford $6,400 DK / $7,200 FD (IND first in QB rating against), Marvin Jones $4,200 DK / $5,500 FD (IND first in DVOA vs. WR2), T.J. Hockenson $5,300 DK / $6,000 FD (IND third in DVOA vs. TE)

Key stat: DET is 26th in third-down conversions at 38.2 percent; IND is 15th in third-down defense at 40.5 percent

Weather forecast: dome

The Scoop: Taylor rumbles for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Philip Rivers throws for 260 yards and TDs to T.Y. Hilton and Marcus Johnson, but he also tosses a pick-six to Jeff Okudah. Swift picks up 70 combined yards and a score. Stafford throws for 230 yards and a TD to Golladay. Colts, 31-24 

Las Vegas (+2.5) at Cleveland, o/u 52.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

The Raiders have yet to establish any kind of identity in their first season in Las Vegas. They've beaten Kansas City and the Saints but lost to the Bills and Bucs; their offense has, at different times, leaned on the Josh Jacobs-led ground game, a high-volume, high-percentage passing attack that peppers Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow with targets, or even bombs to Henry Ruggs. They've even won more games on the road than at home in 2020. Flexibility is nice, but coach Jon Gruden would probably prefer it if his crew found one thing it was good at and could rely on during crunch time. If they do find that one thing, it almost certainly won't be on defense. They've given up at least 30 points five times in six games and just coughed up 45 to Tom Brady, which could be bad news heading into this one with Baker Mayfield coming off perhaps his best game as a pro. The Browns have been nearly as erratic as their Week 8 foe but have still compiled a 5-2 record thanks to a softer schedule, with their losses coming to the Ravens and Steelers. Mayfield's supporting cast seems to thin out every week, though. Nick Chubb is still sidelined for at least a couple more weeks, Austin Hooper just had his appendix removed, and now Odell Beckham is lost for the season. Other players keep stepping up in their place — Kareem Hunt, Harrison Bryant, Rashard Higgins — but at some point that talent drain could catch up to them, especially during a game played in lousy conditions.

The Skinny

LV injuries: WR Bryan Edwards (questionable, ankle)

CLE injuries: WR Beckham (IR, knee), TE Hooper (out, appendix), RG Wyatt Teller (out, calf)

LV DFS targets: Josh Jacobs $6,200 DK / $7,800 FD (CLE t-23rd in rushing TDs allowed, 28th in passing DVOA vs. RB), Hunter Renfrow $3,800 DK / $5,100 FD (CLE 28th in DVOA vs. WR3)

CLE DFS targets: Baker Mayfield $6,100 DK / $7,200 FD (LV 29th in passing DVOA)

LV DFS fades: none

CLE DFS fades: none

Key stat: LV is t-fourth in third-down conversions at 50.0 percent; CLE is 21st in third-down defense at 47.1 percent

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the low 40s, 22-25 mph wind, 45-60 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Jacobs racks up 130 scrimmage yards and two TDs, one rushing and one receiving. Derek Carr throws for 220 yards and a second score to Ruggs. Hunt gains 90 combined yards and a score. Mayfield throws for 240 yards and a touchdown to Jarvis Landry. Raiders, 24-20

Tennessee at Cincinnati (+5.5), o/u 53.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

After some narrow escapes to begin the season — wins over the Broncos, Jaguars and Vikings by a combined six points, getting taken to overtime by the Texans — the Titans' luck finally ran out last week against the Steelers, though they showed heart after falling into a 24-7 hole in the first half. While Tennessee features one of the best offenses in the league, the defense has been vulnerable, though it's compensated for a bottom-10 ranking in yards per play allowed with 12 takeaways through six games. Both those things play right into Joe Burrow's wheelhouse. The rookie has been very impressive at times, with last week's 406 yards and three TDs being his flashiest showing to date, but he's also thrown a pick in four consecutive games, and only six NFL teams (well, three NFC East teams and three real teams) have given the ball away more often than the Bengals. Missing three starters along the offensive line doesn't help, either. With Joe Mixon still on the mend, Burrow's once again going to be asked to carry the load and/or run for his life, which could lead to more pinball numbers on the scoreboard.

The Skinny

TEN injuries: none

CIN injuries: RB Mixon (out, foot), LT Jonah Williams (out, neck), C Trey Hopkins (out, concussion), RT Bobby Hart (out, knee)

TEN DFS targets: Derrick Henry $8,000 DK / $9,500 FD (CIN 28th in YPC allowed, 28th in rushing yards allowed per game)

CIN DFS targets: Drew Sample $3,400 DK / $4,600 FD (TEN 28th in DVOA vs. TE)

TEN DFS fades: none

CIN DFS fades: Tee Higgins $5,600 DK / $6,000 FD (TEN first in DVOA vs. WR3)

Key stat: TEN is second in red-zone conversions at 80.0 percent; CIN is 26th in red-zone defense at 72.0 percent

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the mid-40s, 17-18 mph wind, 0-15 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Henry thunders for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan Tannehill throws for 280 yards and two TDs, finding Adam Humphries and Jonnu Smith. Giovani Bernard picks up 80 combined yards and a score. Burrow throws for 320 yards and two touchdowns to Tyler Boyd and Sample but gets picked off twice. Titans, 34-24

New England (+3.5) at Buffalo, o/u 42.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

Fun fact: the last time the Bills won a game in this rivalry was the last time they faced a Patriots team that didn't have Tom Brady under center, as they shut out a Jacoby Brissett-led squad 16-0 in Week 4 of 2016. Bill Belichick can be forgiven if he's having flashbacks to that time — New England's offense has been pitiful lately, failing to score more than 12 points in three consecutive games, and it's not entirely clear what they can do to turn things around. Cam Newton remains a threat on the ground, but the rest of the offense has been about as dangerous as this little guy. Newton will also have to make do without his top two wideouts in this one, though losing N'Keal Harry could be addition by subtraction, and it's not like a hobbling Julian Edelman had been able to do much lately anyway. It'll be up to the defense to try to keep this one close, a task that seems a bit easier now than it might have a month ago. Josh Allen has cooled down after his blistering start to 2020, failing to account for a TD for the first time all year in last week's win over the Jets, and he hasn't topped a YPA of 7.1 in Buffalo's last three contests. The two-headed backfield hasn't done much either, as Devin Singletary's 3.8 YPC only looks good in comparison to Zack Moss' 3.6, but the Bills' offense could make up in volume what it loses in efficiency if the Pats remain unable to move the ball.

The Skinny

NE injuries: RB Damien Harris (questionable, ankle), WR Edelman (out, knee), WR Harry (out, concussion), LG Joe Thuney (questionable, ankle), RG Shaq Mason (questionable, calf), CB Stephon Gilmore (questionable, knee)

BUF injuries: TE Dawson Knox (out, COVID), LG Cody Ford (out, knee), LB Matt Milano (questionable, pectoral), CB Josh Norman (out, hamstring), S Micah Hyde (questionable, concussion)

NE DFS targets: Damiere Byrd $3,700 DK / $4,900 FD (BUF 28th in DVOA vs. WR1)

BUF DFS targets: Josh Allen $7,000 DK / $8,200 FD (NE 31st in YPA allowed), Stefon Diggs $6,800 DK / $7,100 FD (NE 32nd in DVOA vs. WR1), Bills DST $3,300 DK / $4,500 FD (NE 32nd in INT% allowed, t-30th in giveaways)

NE DFS fades: none

BUF DFS fades: Tyler Kroft $3,500 DK / $4,800 FD (NE second in DVOA vs. TE)

Key stat: BUF is second in third-down conversions at 52.4 percent; NE is ninth in red-zone defense at 37.7 percent

Head-to-head record, last five years: 9-1 NE, average score 25-15 NE, average margin of victory 13 points. NE has won seven straight meetings

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the low 40s, 15 mph wind, 70-80 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Rex Burkhead leads the NE backfield with 70 combined yards, but Harris scores a TD. Newton throws for less than 200 yards and runs in a touchdown. Singletary picks up 70 yards, while Moss adds 50. Allen throws for 230 yards and a TD to Diggs while running for 50 and a score, and Tremaine Edmunds returns a Ryan Izzo fumble to the house. Bills, 27-17

L.A. Chargers at Denver (+3), o/u 44.0 – Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EDT

It took a few tries, but Justin Herbert finally got his first NFL win last week, and all it took was a matchup against a one-win Jaguars squad. The rookie has been dynamite, throwing for at least 300 yards or at least three TDs (or both) in all five of his starts, and while it's easy to throw shots at coach Anthony Lynn for not giving the kid the starting job right away, in this case the lack of a real preseason or training camp probably gives the coach a pass — given how he looks now, Herbert almost certainly would have been a Week 1 starter had he had a real chance to prove himself beforehand. At 2-4, the AFC West crown is probably out of reach, but as they seem to do every year the Chargers could still make a second-half run at a wild-card spot. The defense just got Melvin Ingram back (unless he gets traded next week) and the offense will eventually have Austin Ekeler in the backfield again, and their remaining schedule isn't daunting aside from a Week 17 rematch with Kansas City. The Broncos have an identical record, but their outlook seems a lot bleaker. Drew Lock has been awful in two games since returning from a shoulder injury and isn't looking like a long-term solution, though when Tim Patrick is your top receiver, it's going to be tough to make a real impact. Denver's passing game still has a lot of upside down the road —  Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler could be one of the best WR trios in the league in 2021 — but in the here and now, the rookies aren't popping and Sutton is rehabbing from knee surgery. It's no wonder Lock's college tight end Albert Okwuegbunam has been one of his favorite targets since his return to action, but that's not a formula for sustained success.

The Skinny

LAC injuries: RG Trai Turner (out, groin), RT Bryan Bulaga (questionable, back)

DEN injuries: RB Phillip Lindsay (questionable, concussion), WR Patrick (questionable, hamstring), RG Graham Glasgow (out, COVID), RT Demar Dotson (questionable, COVID)

LAC DFS targets: Chargers DST $4,000 DK / $4,300 FD (eighth in pressure rate, DEN t-30th in giveaways, 25th in sack rate allowed)

DEN DFS targets: Albert Okwuegbunam $2,800 DK / $4,700 FD (LAC 26th in DVOA vs. TE)

LAC DFS fades: none

DEN DFS fades: none

Key stat: DEN is 30th in red-zone conversions at 47.1 percent; LAC are eighth in red-zone defense at 52.6 percent

Head-to-head record, last five years: 7-3 DEN, average score 18-18, average margin of victory nine points. Seven of the last nine meetings have been decided by a single score; DEN is 6-1 in those games, while LAC are 2-0 in the games decided by 14 or more points

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the mid-60s, less than 10 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Justin Jackson leads the LAC backfield with 70 yards, but Joshua Kelley bangs in a short TD. Herbert throws for 310 yards and three touchdowns, hitting Mike Williams twice and Jalen Guyton once. Melvin Gordon gains 80 yards and a score. Lock throws for 240 yards and a TD to Noah Fant. Chargers, 31-17

San Francisco (+3) at Seattle, o/u 53.5 – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EDT

Given all the players they've lost to injury, it's kind of remarkable the Niners are keeping their heads above water at 4-3. Of course, that record is only good for fourth place in the NFC West, but staying within striking distance until they get healthier would still be a remarkable achievement. The backfield is down another body in Jeff Wilson, but Tevin Coleman seems poised to come off IR to replace him. His time in San Francisco has been disappointing, but at least Coleman could help keep Jerick McKinnon's workload manageable. The Seahawks are coming off their first loss of the year, in overtime to the Cardinals, as Russell Wilson finally staggered under the weight of carrying his team. Seattle has depth issues of its own in the backfield, as DeeJay Dallas could find himself starting Sunday, but it's the defense that remains the biggest weakness. The Seahawks have given up more than 500 yards three times in six games this season, and no less than 415 in all six, but Wilson's heroics have been answer enough so far.

The Skinny

SF injuries: RB Wilson (out, ankle), WR Deebo Samuel (out. hamstring), LB Kwon Alexander (doubtful, ankle)

SEA injuries: RB Chris Carson (questionable, foot), RB Carlos Hyde (doubtful, hamstring), RB Travis Homer (questionable, knee), LG Mike Iupati (doubtful, back), CB Shaquill Griffin (out, concussion), S Jamal Adams (questionable, groin)

SF DFS targets: Jimmy Garoppolo $5,400 DK / $6,600 FD (SEA 30th in passing DVOA)

SEA DFS targets: David Moore $3,100 DK / $4,900 FD (SF 24th in DVOA vs. WR3)

SF DFS fades: none

SEA DFS fades: Tyler Lockett $7,100 DK / $7,200 FD (SF second in DVOA vs. WR1)

Key stat: SEA is first in red-zone conversions at 83.3 percent; SF is third in red-zone defense at 46.7 percent

Head-to-head record, last five years: 8-2 SEA, average score 26-17 SEA, average margin of victory 11 points. Both SF wins have come in the last two seasons

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the high 50s, less than 10 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop: McKinnon leads the SF backfield with 80 yards and a score, while JaMycal Hasty adds 50 yards and a receiving TD. Garoppolo throws for a season-high 300 yards and a second touchdown to Brandon Aiyuk. Dallas leads the SEA backfield with 60 yards and a TD. Wilson throws for 330 yards and three scores, finding DK Metcalf, Moore and Will Dissly. Seahawks, 31-21

New Orleans at Chicago (+4), o/u 43.5 – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EDT

The Saints have won three straight to keep pace with the Bucs in the NFC South, and their Week 1 win against Tampa Bay is starting to loom large as the two teams pull away from Carolina and Atlanta. Even so, New Orleans' success still seems tenuous. Michael Thomas' inability to get back on the field has left a big hole in the offense that's now exacerbated by Emmanuel Sanders' positive COVID test. It's the defense that really needs to get its act together if the Saints are going to be any kind of real threat for a deep playoff run, though. While yardage stats suggest they haven't been terrible, opponents have scored on a massive 47.5 percent of their drives against coordinator Dennis Allen's crew — 25th in the league, behind the likes of the Falcons and Giants and very slightly better than hapless units like the Seahawks and Texans. Good as he still is, Drew Brees is no longer at the stage of his career where he can cover up for that kind of leak on a consistent basis. The good news? This week they face an offense that has punted more often, and gained fewer yards per play, than anybody except Washington and the Jets. Nick Foles has not been the answer at quarterback, and while the Saints still have Alvin Kamara while Thomas has been sidelined, Chicago's offense has nowhere else to turn if Allen Robinson can't suit up. The defense has somehow gotten this team five wins, and the weather Sunday could effectively be a 12th man, but points still have to come from somewhere.

The Skinny

NO injuries: WR Thomas (out, hamstring), WR Sanders (out, COVID), WR Marquez Callaway (out, ankle)

CHI injuries: RB Cordarrelle Patterson (questionable, quad), WR Robinson (doubtful, concussion), C Cody Whitehair (out, calf), OLB Khalil Mack (questionable, ankle), S Eddie Jackson (questionable, knee)

NO DFS targets: none

CHI DFS targets: Nick Foles $5,800 DK / $6,700 FD (NO 30th in QB rating against, 32nd in TD% allowed), Darnell Mooney $3,500 DK / $5,200 FD (NO 32nd in DVOA vs. WR2)

NO DFS fades: Drew Brees $6,300 DK / $7,600 FD (CHI third in QB rating against, first in TD% allowed), Alvin Kamara $8,200 DK / $9,000 FD (CHI second in passing DVOA vs. RB), Tre'Quan Smith $4,700 DK / $5,300 FD (CHI third in DVOA vs. WR1)

CHI DFS fades: David Montgomery (NO fourth in rushing DVOA, third in YPC allowed)

Key stat: CHI is 29th in red-zone conversions at 47.6 percent; NO is 32nd in red-zone defense at 86.4 percent

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the mid-30s, 22-23 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Kamara manages 80 combined yards. Brees throws for 220 yards and a TD to Austin Carr. Montgomery ekes out 50 yards. Foles throws for less than 200 yards but does hit Mooney for a touchdown. A pick-six by Tashaun Gipson is the difference. Bears, 17-10

Dallas (+7.5) at Philadelphia, o/u 43.5 – Sunday, 8:20 p.m. EDT

So, when I first pulled spreads for this week on Wednesday afternoon, there was a huge theoretical window for hitting a double on this game, assuming the site I use had accurate reports: some books had PHI -3.5, while others had DAL +7.5, which basically meant you could cash both bets if the Eagles win this game by between four and seven points. Now? It's Philly by double digits everywhere you look. That's a lot of movement, but the Cowboys will come into this one with no defense to speak of, no reliable members of the offensive line aside from Zack Martin, and in all likelihood a seventh-round rookie making his first NFL start under center. Can Ben DiNucci be the next Gardner Minshew? Sure, it's possible, but Dallas would take the next Trevor Siemian (the most recent seventh rounder to start a game) at this point. If DiNucci can find enough time to throw, he does still have an excellent set of targets at his disposal. A victory for the Eagles would get them to three wins though, giving them a potentially insurmountable lead in the NFC East, and the front seven (third in sack rate, 10th in pressure rate) isn't going to go easy on the kid. The problem with expecting a blowout is, well, the Eagles themselves. The only teams they've beaten are an injury-ravaged Niners squad and the Giants, and they're far from 100 percent healthy too. Still, the offensive line is closer to full strength and Dallas Goedert is back, so if Carson Wentz doesn't get turnover-happy again they should be OK. 

The Skinny

DAL injuries: QB Andy Dalton (doubtful, concussion)

PHI injuries: RB Miles Sanders (out, knee), WR Alshon Jeffery (out, calf), WR DeSean Jackson (IR, ankle)

DAL DFS targets: CeeDee Lamb $5,600 DK / $6,000 FD (PHI 29th in DVOA vs. WR2)

PHI DFS targets: Boston Scott $6,000 DK / $6,800 FD (DAL 31st in YPC allowed, 32nd in rushing yards per game allowed, t-30th in rushing TDs allowed), Travis Fulgham $5,900 DK / $6,300 FD (DAL 31st in DVOA vs. WR2), Eagles DST $3,500 DK / $4,600 FD (third in sack rate, DAL 32nd in giveaways)

DAL DFS fades: none

PHI DFS fades: none

Key stat: PHI is t-14th in third-down conversions at 43.4 percent; DAL is 30th in third-down defense at 51.7 percent

Head-to-head record, last five years: 6-4 DAL, average score 21-20 DAL, average margin of victory 12 points. Four of the last five meetings have been decided by a single score

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the high 40s, 15-18 mph wind, 5-50 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Ezekiel Elliott gains 80 yards and a touchdown. DiNucci throws for 230 yards and a score to Lamb but gets sacked five times. Scott piles up 120 combined yards and a TD, while Corey Clement also scores. Wentz throws for 260 yards and touchdowns to Goedert and Fulgham. Eagles, 31-20

Atlanta (+2.5) at Carolina, o/u 51.0 – Thursday, 8:20 p.m. EDT

Now we know the Falcons' switch at head coach didn't take away their ability to lose games in the strangest, most ridiculous ways possible. Last week, it was Todd Gurley's turn — he scored a touchdown when he didn't mean to, and left too much time on the clock for Matthew Stafford to answer. The team is still playing better, or at least harder, under interim head coach Raheem Morris, but at 1-6 it should already looking ahead to the draft. Matt Ryan's also in a bit of a TD drought, having thrown one score or less in four of his last five games, but he tossed four in the fifth and has 709 passing yards in his last two, so he should be fine. The Panthers come into this one having lost consecutive games, but losses to the Bears and Saints by a combined 10 points is still pretty good for a rebuilding team missing its biggest star. Christian McCaffrey is doing everything he can to prove he can play Thursday, but if (as seems likely) the training staff elects to give him one more week off to heal his ankle, the offense will just have to rely on Robby Anderson and DJ Moore again. The dynamic duo is on pace for more than 2,700 receiving yards between them, and while Mike Davis has been solid in place of CMac, it's Carolina's passing game that's powering the offense. Moore and Anderson combined for 12-205-1 on 17 targets against the Falcons a few weeks ago, and while they might not be quite as productive this time around in wet conditions, Atlanta's secondary has shown little sign of improvement since.

The Skinny

ATL injuries: DE Takkarist McKinley (out, groin)

CAR injuries: LT Russell Okung (doubtful, calf), RG John Miller (questionable, ankle)

ATL DFS targets: Todd Gurley $6,500 DK / $7,100 FD (CAR 28th in rushing DVOA, 29th in YPA allowed, t-28th in rushing TDs allowed, 29th in passing DVOA vs. RB)

CAR DFS targets: Teddy Bridgewater $6,400 DK / $7,300 FD (ATL 31st in passing DVOA, 31st in QB rating against, 32nd in YPA allowed), DJ Moore $6,200 DK / $7,000 FD (ATL 30th in DVOA vs. WR2)

ATL DFS fades: Matt Ryan $6,300 DK / $8,000 FD (CAR first in YPA allowed)

CAR DFS fades: none

Key stat: CAR is 27th in red-zone conversions at 52.0 percent; ATL is 28th in red-zone defense at 73.1 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 8-3 ATL, average score 25-19 ATL, average margin of victory 15 points. ATL had won five straight meetings before losing 23-16 in Week 5

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the low 70s, 9-10 mph wind, 30-60 percent chance of rain

The Scoop: Gurley piles up 120 combined yards and a score. Ryan throws for 250 yards and a touchdown to Julio Jones. Davis starts and gains 80 yards and a TD. Bridgewater throws for 260 yards and touchdowns to Moore and Ian Thomas. Shaq Thompson also scoops up a Gurley fumble and returns it for a score. Panthers, 31-17

Last week's record: 10-4, 10-4 ATS, 5-8-1 o/u
2020 regular-season record: 65-39-1, 54-49-2 ATS, 40-62-3 o/u
2019 regular-season record: 157-98-1, 123-125-8 ATS, 127-122-7 o/u
Lifetime record: 858-521-6, 647-686-52 ATS, 533-573-23 o/u (o/u not tracked in 2015)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Siegrist
Erik Siegrist is an FSWA award-winning columnist who covers all four major North American sports (that means the NHL, not NASCAR) and whose beat extends back to the days when the Nationals were the Expos and the Thunder were the Sonics. He was the inaugural champion of Rotowire's Staff Keeper baseball league. His work has also appeared at Baseball Prospectus.
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