Two teams heading in completely opposite directions clash on MNF, as the Buccaneers have been dismantling the competition the past couple of weeks. Meanwhile, the Giants choked away a huge game in the dreadful NFC East last weekend, highlighted by Daniel Jones stumbling over his own feet on an easy would-be touchdown run.
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady ($12,000) is coming off his best fantasy performance as Buccaneer, throwing for 369 yards and four touchdowns and rushing in another score for 40 DKFP in a 25-point win over the Raiders. The Giants haven’t been bad in terms of DKFP allowed to QB, ranking 10th this season but they also haven’t played a very tough schedule. Even though Chris Godwin (finger) was a nice boost the past two weeks, I’d still expect Brady to carry momentum into this one.
Godwin’s absence is a massive boost to Mike Evans ($10,800), especially in what we expect to be the final week before Antonio Brown suits up. With Godwin back on the field in Weeks 6 and 7, Evans saw a measly four targets, scoring a combined 7.7 DKFP. In the five previous games, Evans was averaging 18.2 DKFP on seven targets per game — finding the end zone six times. This sets up as a spot with big potential for Evans to step up, as the Giants rank 23rd in DKFP allowed to WR.
Regardless of who’s healthy, Scotty Miller ($8,600) has emerged as one of TB12’s favorite targets, as long as he’s healthy himself. Miller has battled hip and groin injuries this season, but is coming off a monster 6-109-1 (25.9 DKFP) game. The issue is Miller’s price, which is about twice as much as we’re used to paying, considering he just had a huge game and Godwin is out. Tyler Johnson ($4,800) is my preferred play and should be stepping into a larger role. Johnson caught 4-of-6 targets for 61 yards against a tough Chicago defense the last time Godwin was ruled out.
Ever since O.J. Howard (Achilles) went down for the season, Rob Gronkowski ($8,000) has started to look much more like the old Gronk. Over the past two contests, Gronk’s averaging 70 yards and a touchdown on five receptions and eight targets (18 DKFP). It looks like he’s a trustworthy fantasy play again, although the discount on him is gone. The G-Men also rank seventh in DKFP allowed to TE, so the outside WRs are in the better spot.
Tampa’s backfield was in kind of a wait-and-see spot in Week 7. Ronald Jones ($8,800) had been dominating the snaps the previous three weeks and playing very well — averaging over 20 DKFP on 20-plus touches per game. The question was how much of that role he’d maintain with Leonard Fournette ($6,200) returning from an ankle injury. The answer was not much. Leo out-snapped RoJo, 40-31, in Week 7, and those numbers could work even more in Fournette’s favor as he continues to work his way back. Jones still managed 10.6 DKFP on 14 touches, but Fournette scored 15.7 DKFP on his 17 touches. Fournette should also see the goal-line work moving forward and was surprisingly involved in the passing game, hauling in 6-of-7 targets for 47 yards. The wrong RB is priced up in this scenario.
It’s also worth mentioning the Buccaneers D/ST ($7,400), although the price tag is a bit ludicrous. This has been a dominant defense getting pressure on the QB and forcing turnovers, which should be extremely effective against an awful Giants’ offensive line.
New York Giants
The Giants have had a long week since TNF to try and figure out some improvements, but this isn’t a very good matchup to step into and have success. Daniel Jones ($9,200) is a pretty easy fade for me, but feel free to try and get some leverage with him in tournaments. Danny Dimes has a laughable five touchdown passes to seven interceptions this season, and actually went a full four games without throwing a TD. The Bucs have allowed the fewest DKFP to QBs so far in 2020.
Darius Slayton ($7,000) and Sterling Shepard ($6,600) are decent outside weapons, the issue is the matchup and how to find ways to get them the ball. It’s tough to justify playing either unless you’re making a contrarian Giants stack. The other exception to play one would be just chasing a late garbage-time touchdown. I’d rather take the savings on Golden Tate ($3,000), who probably makes for an easier target against this defense. His target share the past two weeks is scary, getting just three total looks, but Tate did break one for a 39-yard score against the Eagles last week. Prior to Week 6, Tate was averaging nearly six targets per game, so this could be a good buy-low spot.
Evan Engram ($5,800) is the only other piece of New York’s passing game to consider but has even less upside than the two outside WRs. The Giants just haven’t found ways to get Engram the ball downfield, which has been extremely frustrating if you roster him. They’re clearly trying, giving the TE nine targets and two carries last week, but it still resulted in under 50 yards.
Prior to his ankle injury that’ll keep him out of MNF, Devonta Freeman was looking like someone we could at least count on for 15-20 touches per week. It looks like Wayne Gallman ($5,200) will step into Freeman’s role, following 15 touches in the loss to the Eagles. Of course, you have to be realistic about what you’re getting here — Gallman only gained 54 yards. However, he did catch all five of his targets and scored a rushing touchdown at the goal line. Dion Lewis ($1,200) is the alternative punt play, but he has just three carries since Week 4 and lost a fumble last week that thrust Gallman into the featured role.
The Giants are really going to have to pull a rabbit out of their hat to keep this one competitive. If you’re rostering more than one Giant, you’re already contrarian. There’s no way I’m interested in slotting anyone on New York in at captain and I want to do my best to fit Tampa’s top weapons. I think playing Leonard Fournette ($9,300 CP) leaves me the room I want to build the rest of my lineup, while also being confident in a Captain’s Pick with a high ceiling and floor.
Final Score: Buccaneers 34, Giants 10
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