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Fantasy Football Picks: Buccaneers vs. Bears DraftKings NFL DFS TNF Showdown Strategy

Garion Thorne preps you for Thursday’s 8:20 p.m. ET contest between the Buccaneers and the Bears with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

Remember how we spent the whole summer fawning over all the new weapons Tom Brady ($11,200) was going to have in Tampa Bay? Well, let’s just say injuries have taken their toll as we inch towards Week 5’s matchup between the Buccaneers and the Bears. Chris Godwin (hamstring), LeSean McCoy (ankle), Justin Watson (chest) and O.J. Howard (Achilles) have already been ruled out for tonight’s game, while Leonard Fournette ($6,200) and Mike Evans ($9,400) are serious question marks.

Who will be left standing by the time 8:20 p.m. ET rolls around? Let’s break it all down from a Showdown perspective.

Editor’s Note: Buccaneers WR Mike Evans, WR Scotty Miller and RB Leonard Fournette are all active for tonight’s game vs. the Bears.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.6M Thursday Night Showdown [$400K to 1st] (TB vs CHI)


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Captain’s Picks

Allen Robinson ($15,900 CP) - Robinson has undeniably taken a leap as a fantasy asset since Nick Foles ($10,000) took over as Chicago’s starting QB. Heck, even in last week’s 19-11 loss to the Colts — a game where the Bears struggled to move the football until the fourth quarter — Robinson finished with seven catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. The former first-round pick comes into this matchup with Tampa Bay sitting fourth among all wide receivers in the NFL in targets (41) and third among all WRs with 100-plus routes run in target share per route (28%). That’s an enticing amount of volume, especially with the Buccaneers having surrendered a whopping 11.1 yards per opponent pass attempt in last Sunday’s win over the Chargers. There are clearly some holes in this secondary.

Ronald Jones II ($11,100 CP) - Jones wasn’t able to find the end zone in Week 4, but that’s about the only thing that the 23-year-old didn’t do against Los Angeles. With the aforementioned McCoy having to leave that contest after just five snaps, Jones essentially had the monopoly on Tampa’s backfield workload, which led to some monster production numbers. In fact, when it was all said and done, not only did Jones rush for 111 yards on 20 carries, but he had also hauled in six catches on a team-high nine targets. I’d expect more of the same this evening when Fournette (ankle) is eventually ruled out — specifically when it comes to his involvement in the passing attack. Brady has never been shy about incorporating his RBs, as evidenced by the Buccaneers currently having the second-most backfield targets in the league (43). Brady’s Patriots ranked second in running back targets last season, as well.


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FLEX Plays

David Montgomery ($7,800) - Montgomery and Jones are in similar situations when it comes to an expanded role due to injury issues. Where Jones is benefitting from the absences of McCoy and Fournette, Montgomery finds himself in uncharted territory due to Chicago’s loss of Tarik Cohen (knee). So, despite the fact that there’s no world where Montgomery should be carrying a larger price tag than Jones, the sophomore remains a viable option thanks to pure volume. Though Montgomery didn’t do much with his chances, the RB set a career-high in both snap share (85.5%) and targets (6) in last week’s loss. Sure, he’s yet to show anything special in terms of efficiency in the NFL and he’s going up against the NFC’s top rushing defense by DVOA; but Montgomery is no longer script dependant and that matters. He’s far from a Captain’s pick, yet I’m not opposed to getting some exposure in the FLEX.

Scotty Miller ($7,000) - Though both he and Evans (ankle) are technically questionable for tonight’s game, it’s Miller who’s reportedly going to be available, while it appears Evans’ path to playing is a little more complex. Still, regardless of the Pro Bowler’s status, Miller is going to be in line for a ton of volume on Thursday with so many of Brady’s expected offensive weapons sidelined. On top of that, Miller’s simply been hyper-productive with the opportunities he’s been given in 2020, converting 75% of his targets into catches and averaging an eye-popping 16.7 yards per reception — the third-highest mark of any wideout with at least 15 catches to their name. Add all that to the narrative of his blossoming relationship with Brady and Miller’s $7K salary looks pretty manageable on this slate.

Tyler Johnson ($200) - Johnson’s viability is complicated. On the one hand, the rookie has yet to catch a single pass in the NFL. On the other hand, Johnson logged 33 offensive snaps in last week’s game against the Chargers and, even if Evans ends up playing, he should once again see the field quite a bit on Thursday. Still, you have to understand that utilizing Johnson comes with tempered expectations. He’d likely be the team’s No. 5 receiving option behind Evans, Miller, Jones and Rob Gronkowski ($5,800) — and that’s before we factor in the presence of Jaydon Mickens ($200). However, Johnson doesn’t have to do much of anything to bring back insane value and he could be a vital salary-saving element in the ultimate “stars and scrubs” build. Use him with caution, but I’d be a little shocked if Johnson didn’t pick up his first career reception against the Bears.


Fades

Nick Foles ($10,000) - It probably makes some sense to pair Foles with Robinson in any lineup where you’ve Captained the wide receiver, but aside from that scenario, I’m just not all that thrilled about using the QB. While you could make the case that it’s unfair to judge Foles too heavily based on a single performance against the league’s No. 1 defense according to DVOA, the Buccaneers slot right in behind the Colts by Football Outsiders’ metrics. Plus, would you even say with 100% certainty that Foles is going to finish this contest? Lengthy injury history aside, we already saw Matt Nagy pull Mitch Trubisky ($9,800) from a game despite Chicago’s undefeated record at the time. After last weekend’s dud, I doubt Foles’ leash is much longer than a few poor drives.


THE OUTCOME

Let’s just say that I haven’t exactly been floored by what I’ve seen from Chicago so far this season. The Bears could easily be 1-3 heading into Week 5, and that’s without mentioning that they almost blew a 17-0 lead against the Giants in Week 2. Going back even further into the Nagy era, Chicago is an underwhelming 4-12 ATS in its past 16 contests overall. Even without a number of key offensive pieces, I’ll take my chances with Tom Brady and DVOA’s No. 2 defense.

Final Score: Tampa Bay 27, Chicago 14

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.6M Thursday Night Showdown [$400K to 1st] (TB vs CHI)


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.