Fantasy Football Start/Sit for Ravens vs Buccaneers: Gus Edwards, Rashod Bateman, Cade Otton, More
Rob Carr/Getty Images. Pictured: Gus Edwards.
- To start Week 8 in the NFL, we have Ravens vs. Buccaneers.
- Baltimore's offense is banged up, while Tampa Bay has struggled to score of late.
- Samantha Previte breaks down key fantasy start/sit decisions for Thursday Night Football.
Ravens-Buccaneers could be the best iteration of Thursday Night Football year-to-date.
In fairness, Week 7 broke a streak of boring Thursday games with a 42-34 shootout between the Cardinals and Saints. This game has the highest point total for a Thursday night game since Week 4 and could have major playoff implications.
While both teams sit atop their respective divisions, neither squad is having the season they hoped for. The 3-4 Buccaneers are off to the worst start of Tom Brady's career as a starter and are reeling after an embarrassing showing against the Panthers. The 4-3 Ravens have lost a handful of close games this year and have blown more leads in 2022 than they had in Lamar Jackson's entire career prior.
Some lineup decisions, like starting Jackson, Mark Andrews, Mike Evans or Leonard Fournette are easy. Below are some fringe players at each position you may be on the fence about starting in the Ravens vs. Buccaneers Thursday Night Football game based on matchups, injuries and trends.
Ravens Week 8 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
RB Gus Edwards
Edwards was everything we hoped Kenyan Drake would be. He returned from a torn ACL in emphatic fashion last week with J.K. Dobbins sidelined and carved up Cleveland’s run defense like a Thanksgiving turkey.
Edwards recorded 16 carries for 66 yards and two touchdowns and was the RB8 in half-PPR scoring. Drake, meanwhile, was a complete dud and logged 11 rushes for five yards, though the snap counts were slightly closer (Edwards out-snapped Drake 23 to 17 in the game).
Verdict: Start as a RB3. I have to downgrade Edwards a bit going up against the Buccaneers, though Tampa Bay may not be as fearsome as we thought. Their defense ranks 10th in rush DVOA and has the third-highest variance, according to Football Outsiders. They allowed 181 rushing yards to the Panthers' committee of D'Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard last week, both of which finished as top 16 running backs.
WR Rashod Bateman
Bateman certainly had the opportunity to run away with the Ravens' WR1 position with Marquise Brown traded to Philadelphia this offseason. He scored in back-to-back games to start the year and was the WR14 through two weeks, but has fallen off a cliff since then. He missed Weeks 5 and 6 due to a foot injury and caught four of five passes for 42 yards in Week 7.
Bateman is listed as questionable heading into Thursday night's game with a foot issue, presumably the same one that sidelined him for two weeks. He missed practice on Monday and Tuesday, but did practice on Wednesday.
Verdict: Sit if you can. Quarterback Lamar Jackson has struggled recently and has not thrown multiple touchdowns in a game since Week 3 in New England. The Buccaneers are also strong against the pass and rank sixth in pass DVOA.
Bateman may miss the game entirely which would make this decision easy. If he plays, he is a risky WR3/flex play on a short week given his injury designation, matchup and lukewarm production of late.
Buccaneers Week 8 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
QB Tom Brady
Every year, the NFL community wonders if this will be the year that the seemingly ageless Tom Brady falls off a cliff. The 45-year-old has proven them wrong year-in and year-out — perhaps until now.
Save two games against two horrendous defenses (Chiefs and Falcons), Brady has been largely disappointing for fantasy purposes this season. He fell flat in Week 7 against a hapless Carolina team that has fired its head coach and defensive coordinator and traded Christian McCaffrey and Robbie Anderson and completed 32-of-49 attempts for 290 yards and zero touchdowns.
Brady has just one multi-touchdown game this year, which came in Week 4 against Kansas City, and two games finishing inside the top 12 at the position. He is on track for a career-low 18 passing touchdowns (excluding the 2008 season in which he only played part of one game).
Verdict: Sit if you have better options (which you may not). Even in light of the softer matchup against the Ravens, who have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year, I would prefer guys like Tua Tagovailoa, Kirk Cousins, Daniel Jones, Geno Smith or Derek Carr over Brady, who is no longer a must-start in fantasy.
TE Cade Otton
I have been an Otton fan for a hot minute. He was a very intriguing rookie selection by the Buccaneers, especially with one of Brady's longtime favorite targets, Rob Gronkowski, retiring again.
Otton also made it into my lookahead waiver wire column last week who I thought could step up with Cameron Brate sidelined with a neck injury. Otton quickly vaulted into Bucs' TE1 slot and caught four of five targets for 64 yards against the Panthers. He finished as the TE10 in a week that the Buccaneers scored just three points.
Verdict: Start in deep leagues. Tight end is a hellscape past Kelce and Andrews. Otton's snap counts and production are on the rise and he is a serviceable streaming option for Kelce or Gerald Everett managers. The Ravens have allowed double-digit fantasy points to five of seven tight ends faced this year, including Tyler Conklin, Mike Gesicki, Hayden Hurst, Daniel Bellinger and David Njoku.