The Buccaneers and Bears will be raising the marquee value of ‘Thursday Night Football’ in Week 5 (8:20 p.m. ET, Fox, NFL Network, Amazon Prime Video). The first NFL game of the week has some prime-time intrigue when it comes to fantasy football start ’em, sit ’em decisions, and if you’re looking for lineup advice on whether you should play guys like Tom Brady, David Montgomery, and Rob Gronkowski, you’ve got come to the right place.
Tampa Bay will go into the game without wide receiver Chris Godwin (hamstring) and running back Leonard Fournette (ankle) for another week. Wide receiver Justin Watson (chest) and running back LeSean McCoy (ankle) also will miss the game. In Week 4, the team also lost tight end O.J. Howard (Achilles’) for the season.
Gronkowski (shoulder), Mike Evans (ankle), and Scotty Miller (rib/groin) should play despite their questionable designations. The Bears enter this game with only one notable injury concern among skill players, as rising rookie wide receiver Darnell Mooney (shoulder) is questionable, too.
Here’s breaking down TNF for start and sit advice, depending on the size of your league and your other options for Week 5:
TNF INJURY UPDATES: Mike Evans | Scotty Miller
Buccaneers: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night
Sit: QB Tom Brady
Brady threw the tough Chargers matchup in our faces with 369 yards and five TDs, after throwing a pick-six early. Somehow, a shootout broke out between him and rookie Justin Herbert despite the Buccaneers defense going into the game playing well. The Bucs should be able to run better this week and play with a lead in a lower-scoring affair.
Brady will be throwing for around 250 yards this week and is a good bet for two TDs. But keep in mind that 18-22 points from a QB in fantasy in 2020 is merely adequate. The Bears have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to QBs, too. Lean toward sitting Brady in shallow leagues where you’re likely to have a QB with a better matchup and higher ceiling, but he’s viable in deeper and two-QB leagues.
Start: RB Ronald Jones
The Bears’ run defense is not very good without Eddie Goldman. When they’ve faced decent volume from their opponent, they’ve worn down and struggled late. Without Fournette and McCoy, Jones will be featured again after rushing 20 times for 111 yards on the Chargers and adding six catches for 17 more yards. Jones has rewarded the confidence of coach Bruce Arians, and no Fournette clears up his value as a fantasy green light.
WEEK 5 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Start: WR Mike Evans
Evans will grind through his latest injury because Arians and Brady need him with their receiving corps down two players. He’s in a groove with Brady, both on downfield passes and in the red zone. He’s up to five scores in four games, and his catch rate is going up. Evans (6-5, 231 pounds) has a history of roasting much smaller cornerback Kyle Fuller (5-11, 194 pounds), and the Bears start rookie Jaylon Johnson on the other side.
Start: TE Rob Gronkowski
Is this the week for the first Brady-Gronk Buccaneers TD? Gronk has been dominating as usual as a blocker, helping open holes for Jones, but the Bears have had trouble with big, physical tight ends, especially in the red zone. The rushing success of the Bucs should set up a few nice receptions for Gronk. He’s overdue to catch a short one in the end zone.
Sit: TE Cameron Brate
Brate caught a TD from Brady last week, but for the most part he hasn’t been too involved. He’ll need to play a lot more with Howard down, but his usage in the passing game will continue to be random and limited.
Start: WR Scotty Miller
Brady hasn’t minded leaning on Miller more with Godwin hurting. With no Watson, too, Miller and Evans should be rather busy getting targets all over the field. Miller should have another solid game (seven catches for around 70 yards) with a chance for another score.
Sit: RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn
Vaughn also joined Brate, Miller, Evans and Howard in catching a TD pass from Brady in Week 4. The once-hyped rookie has to be the receiving change-of-pace back for Jones again with no McCoy, but keep in mind he had just five touches for 26 yards last week, too. He’s a good stash in deeper leagues should Fournette stay shelved, but he’s not playable in this matchup.
Start: Buccaneers defense/special teams
The Bucs can take advantage of a mistake-prone Bears offense by shutting down the run and teeing off with Shaquill Barrett and the rest of their edge pass rushers. They will be eager to rebound on the road and are loaded with the talent to do so under Todd Bowles. Sacks and interceptions lead to a pleasing night.
Sit: K Ryan Succop
He’s not putting up big numbers, plus it can be disappointing to start road kickers at Soldier Field.
WEEK 5 FANTASY: Sleepers | Busts | Start ’em, sit ’em
Bears: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night
Sit: QB Nick Foles
Foles is impossible to trust in tougher matchups, and the Bucs qualify as one. He struggled to do anything against the Colts until late. He doesn’t have too much help except for one player consistently making plays.
Start: WR Allen Robinson
Make that two consecutive big games for Robinson with Foles, going above 100 yards in each. He looked contained against the Colts until the game was out of hand, but Foles ended up completing seven-of-10 targets for 101 yards and a TD to him. Robinson may be done with the Bears, but he’s motivated to get another good free-agent deal elsewhere in 2021.
WEEK 5 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Sit: RB David Montgomery
The Bucs’ run defense is nasty and somehow, with Tarik Cohen down for the season, Montgomery isn’t being involved much in the passing game, where the Bucs give up their fantasy points to the position. After a good start, Montgomery is stuck not seeing much running room.
Sit: TE Jimmy Graham
The Bucs have been excellent in covering the tight end thanks to dynamic rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and their rangy linebackers. Graham remains a TD-dependent play with Week 3 being fluky with his usage elsewhere.
Sit: WRs Anthony Miller and Darnell Mooney
Mooney has come on strong as a big downfield playmaker while Miller continues to fade without Mitchell Trubisky. Still, you shouldn’t play a non-Robinson Bears wideout unless desperate.
Sit: Bears defense/special teams
The GOAT and a very good running game are on the other side. Don’t go in expecting a third pick-six from Brady.
Sit: K Cairo Santos
“When Cairo was in Egypt’s land, let my Cairo go.”
WEEK 5 DFS: Best stacks | Best values | Lineup Builder
Buccaneers-Bears DraftKings Showdown lineup for Thursday night
Captain: RB Ronald Jones ($11,000)
FLEX: WR Allen Robinson ($10,600)
FLEX: WR Mike Evans ($9,400)
FLEX: WR Scotty Miller ($7,000)
FLEX: TE Rob Gronkowski ($5,800)
FLEX: Buccaneers D/ST ($5,400)
That was rather easy, wasn’t it? Game script calls for a lot of Jones and more garbage-time Robinson. We should get a couple of TDs from the Bucs’ receivers and a couple nice-catch games from Evans and Miller. With our remaining funds, the Bucs’ defense was a no-brainer to round things out.
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