Koerner: Fantasy Start/Sit Strategy for Buccaneers-Panthers

Koerner: Fantasy Start/Sit Strategy for Buccaneers-Panthers article feature image
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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin

  • Sean Koerner is here to help you make your Thursday Night Football fantasy start/sit decisions.
  • See which Buccaneers and Panthers players are must-plays (or stay aways).

Jameis Winston and Cam Newton are coming off poor performances. Can you trust either as your QB1 this week? How does that impact the outlooks for Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel?

Let’s run through whether to start or sit key fantasy players in Bucs-Panthers.

Quarterbacks

Jameis Winston, Buccaneers

You likely spent a pick on him in Round 10 or later, therefore you should not feel obligated to stuck with him for a tough TNF matchup.

That’s the type of mentality you would need to have if you drafted, say, Aaron Rodgers in Round 6. You would have to stick with Rodgers for what’s another brutal matchup this week. But I would recommend either benching Winston or cutting him is small/medium sized leagues.

I haven’t given up on Winston completely, so if you do like him as a potential long-term option, you could pick him up again for Week 3. Read more about this strategy if you drafted Winston.

Cam Newton, Panthers

Newton also had a terrible start to his season. He requires a leap of faith to trot out there as a solid QB1 option. But I think you can trust him this week against a below-average defense like Tampa Bay.

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Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Cam Newton

The only real concern is the health of his ankle and whether that will sap him of his rushing ability again. He’s coming off a career worst -2 yards rushing, so look for him to get it going through the air this week with 250 yards and two touchdowns with another 20-25 yards on the ground.

I wouldn’t bench him in favor of a waiver wire QB this week — that would be a mistake

Running Backs

Buccaneers: Ronald Jones, Peyton Barber, Dare Ogunbowale

This appears to be a three-way committee. I would not trust any of these backs right now outside of very deep leagues with two or more flex slots.

Jones has the most upside and is worth stashing as of now. Barber lost what was the only appealing thing about him — a lock for about 15 touches — but we can no longer say that, so he should not be trusted in your lineup. Ogunbowale could surprise with a handful of catches in tonight’s game, but that’s not going to help you very much.

Let’s let this situation sort itself out over the next couple weeks, and by the time we reach byes, one of these backs will likely be worth starting.

Christian McCaffrey, Panthers

McCaffrey currently has a 24.2% chance to be the RB1 overall in my Week 2 simulator.

I can’t emphasize just how crazy that is in a week featuring all 32 teams. For reference, last week he led all RBs with a 9.7% chance of being the top-scoring RB of the week in half PPR, and he was.

Wide Receivers

Buccaneers: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Breshad Perriman

While we’re hitting pause on Winston as a start-able QB1, his WRs should bounce back this week.

I’m still viewing Evans as a low-end WR1 and Godwin as a low-end WR2 here.

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Chris Godwin

Perriman, meanwhile, is nothing more than a poor man’s version of DeSean Jackson in the offense this season. He’s only a DFS showdown slate dart throw as he should have a few big games this season, but will have a ton of duds like his 2/10/0 line in Week 1.

Panthers: D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel

Newton isn’t capable of having more than two to three of his pass catchers hit value each week, so typically there’s going to be an odd man out each week. Last week that happened to be Curtis Samuel.

Samuel played 93% of Week 1 snaps and is locked in as a full time player this season. I expect him to have some huge games and bounce back as early as this week, but given the musical chairs the Carolina pass catchers are playing, he’s more of a WR4/flex option given his wider range of outcomes compared to other WRs in this range.

Moore is a low-end WR2.

Tight Ends

O.J. Howard, Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay offensive line was such an issue in Week 1 that it forced Howard to stay in and block more. That’s certainly not a trend we hope continues, but it’s something to keep an eye on tonight.

With Evan Engram making a leap closer to the “Big 3” tier and Hunter Henry set to miss multiple games, Howard is forming his own mini-tier as a mid-range TE1.

Brate had two touchdowns called back last week, which means his 2/8/0 line didn’t tell the whole story. However, he shouldn’t be part of any sit/start decisions this week.

Greg Olsen, Panthers

Olsen appears set to play through the questionable tag tonight. Even at less than 100%, he makes for a low-end TE1 play.

If for some reason Olsen is unable to go, Ian Thomas could be a potential streamer. I personally wouldn’t recommend rolling the dice on him considering he played only four snaps last week. It was actually Chris Manhertz who was running ahead of him with 18 snaps. I would avoid that situation completely.

I’ll be updating my rankings up until kickoff to account for the latest Olsen news, so be sure to check those before making any final sit/start decisions.