Last updated: November 13th at 5:08pm ET.
Team Totals: Saints 28.5, Bucs 22.5
Caught post-bye sleepwalking in last week’s home loss to Atlanta, the Saints should rebound in Sunday’s trip to Tampa Bay. By far the NFL’s most pass-funnel defense, the Bucs have buoyed high fantasy floors by surrendering top-15 finishes to seven straight quarterbacks, including top-four outcomes to Daniel Jones (QB2), Jared Goff (QB4), Teddy Bridgewater (QB4), Russell Wilson (QB1), and Kyler Murray (QB4) during that span. In this high-totaled potential shootout, Drew Brees-to-Michael Thomas stacks warrant popular DFS ownership. Even in an outdoor road game where his track record isn’t the best, Brees should be viewed as a high-floor, high-ceiling QB1 play. … Saints skill players were Week 10 failures largely because they rarely had the ball. New Orleans was clocked 34-to-26 by Atlanta in time of possession, a blip unlikely to repeat itself since Sean Payton’s team ranks No. 4 in possession time over the course of the year. Alvin Kamara’s deployment was more promising than his box-score results with a season-high 45 routes run, 79% playing-time clip, and ten targets, all representative of high-end PPR RB1 usage. While Latavius Murray earned a bigger workload in games where New Orleans is nursing a lead, Kamara is the Saints’ obvious go-to back in neutral- and comeback-script scenarios. Kamara should also dominate work when the Saints face run-tough defenses like the Bucs. Kamara remains a locked-in RB1 and Murray a touchdown-reliant flex play at Tampa Bay.
Brees’ 2019 target distribution: Michael Thomas 39; Kamara 18; Murray 17; Jared Cook 15; Ted Ginn 13; Taysom Hill and Josh Hill 6; Tre’Quan Smith 5. … This is an obvious destruction spot for Thomas, who is on pace to break Marvin Harrison’s single-season catches record and teed off on the Bucs for 11/182/2 in Week 5. The Bucs are so discombobulated in the secondary they cut CB Vernon Hargreaves even after losing slot CB M.J. Stewart to a 3-4 week knee injury. … Evan Engram (6/113/1), Jonnu Smith (6/78/1), Greg Olsen (6/110/0, 4/52/0), George Kittle (8/54/0), Gerald Everett (5/44/1), Anthony Firkser (3/43/0), Cook himself (4/41/1), Tyler Higbee (4/41/0), Josh Hill (3/39/0), and Jacob Hollister (4/37/2) have all met or beaten PPR expectations versus the Bucs. With 70-plus yards and/or a touchdown in three straight games, Cook should be locked back into fantasy lineups as an undisputed TE1 whose outlook is enhanced by Sunday’s premium draw. … For sleeper seekers, this is how Saints pass-catcher routes run worked out in Week 10’s post-bye loss to the Falcons: Thomas 50; Smith 43; Ginn 40; Cook 39; Hill 13. While New Orleans’ target allocation is clearly narrow with Thomas, Kamara, and Cook in alpha roles, deep leaguers may want to take a stab on Smith, who played a year-high 83% of New Orleans’ Week 10 snaps and has big-play potential with 4.49 speed.
Jameis Winston is a compelling Week 11 DFS-tournament play facing a Saints defense expected to be without Mike Evans kryptonite CB Marshon Lattimore (hamstring) and that’s more often than not allowed high-floor games with top-15 fantasy results permitted to 6-of-9 quarterbacks faced. Beginning with most recent, Winston’s last three finishes against Saints DC Dennis Allen’s unit are QB14 > QB10 > QB3, never with the benefit of Lattimore missing. … Ronald Jones kept Week 10 lead back duties with 19 touches plus season highs in targets (8), routes run (24), and receiving production (8/77/0), yet Peyton Barber touched the ball 12 times and vultured a fourth-quarter goal-line score, while Dare Ogunbowale siphoned a 27% playing-time clip. Jones lost an un-touched fourth-quarter fumble that may jeopardize his job security. Even as he’s probably still Tampa’s lead back, Jones remains entrenched in a committee and now faces a stout Saints defense that’s limited enemy backs to 161/604/3 (3.75 YPC) rushing and the NFL’s sixth-fewest receiving yards (278). The Bucs’ backfield looks like a Week 11 fade.
Update: On Wednesday, coach Bruce Arians indicated Ronald Jones‘ fumble is forgiven and his passing-game role will continue to increase. “His route tree is growing,” Arians said. While it’s reasonable to remain skeptical of Jones against this particular opponent, lead rushing duties combined with significant receiving usage would give Jones a shot at matchup-proof fantasy value.
Winston’s Week 10 target distribution: Chris Godwin 12; Jones 8; O.J. Howard 7; Mike Evans 6; Breshad Perriman 4; Ogunbowale and Scotty Miller 3; Barber 1. … Held scoreless and under 75 yards in three straight games, this is a breakout spot for Godwin, who ethered New Orleans for 7/125/2 receiving in Week 5 and is averaging 10.7 targets over his last six games. Saints slot CB P.J. Williams is giving up 8.5 yards per target. … Howard established 2019 season highs in snaps (99%), routes run (47), targets (7), and receiving results (4/47/1) against Arizona. While the Saints haven’t been generous to tight ends, that level of usage is extremely profitable over time, regardless of matchups. Albeit with a concerning floor, Howard is right back in the low-end TE1 mix. … Assuming Lattimore misses, my guess is we’ll see Williams kick outside opposite Eli Apple with rookie Chauncey Gardner-Johnson taking over in the slot. With 80-plus yards and/or a TD in six of his last seven games, Evans is a guy to bet on in scenarios like this. … Perriman ran a season-high 46 routes in last week’s win but took a backseat as Tampa Bay’s No. 5 pass option behind Godwin, Jones, Howard, and Evans. Perriman is always a desperate dart-throw WR4.
Score Prediction: Saints 28, Bucs 24