November 18, 2023, 2:05 pm
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5) at San Francisco 49ers (6-3)
Buccaneers (+470) at 49ers (-650): O/U 41.5 (-110)
Buccaneers +12 (-110) at 49ers -12 (-110)
Bet: 3-5, -2.18u
Lean: 3-3, -0.3u
The Buccaneers of Tampa Bay head out west to the Bay Area where they’ll go head-to-head with the San Francisco 49ers. Both teams are built kind of similarly. Good to great weapons for an average QB with solid defenses. The biggest difference is that the 49ers have more overall talent and one of the best play callers and offensive minds in the game. This Tampa Bay team is looking to remain in the hunt for the playoffs, while San Franciso looks to make a late-season push for the one seed.
Main Storylines to Watch
Buccaneers Defense vs 49ers Offense: Tampa Bay’s defense has been its saving grace on the year, keeping them in games and helping lead them to be competitive for not only a wildcard spot but potentially a division title. This defense is allowing just over 19 points per game, ranking in the top eight in that category. They’ll have their hands full against a 49ers offense with elite weapons, scheme, and scoring capabilities (tied for third with 28 points per game). Looking at the appropriate home/road split for these teams, the Buccaneers allow 22 points per game to teams on the road, and the 49ers score a whopping 31 points per game at home.
49ers defense vs Buccaneers Offense: So my main storylines officially make the game as a whole a main storyline. However, reading a little deeper, it’s really about the Buccaneers needing to up their game on the road against a tough opponent all around. The 49ers defense is tied for the best in the league allowing a shade over 15 points per game to their opponents. Funny enough, they are slightly worse than their average at home, with offenses coming in and scoring 17 points per game (still among the top 10 in that category). The Bucs have some talented weapons of their own, but that hasn’t led to scoring. Tampa Bay is 22nd in the league with 19 points per game. Funny enough, when on the road, that number jumps to 25 points per game. If the away team wants to pull off an upset, they’ll more than likely need to rely on their offense to continue to perform on the road, taking advantage of any slight weaknesses the 49ers defense has.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baker Mayfield: He looks decent-to-good on Sundays, helping keep the Buccaneers in contention for a playoff spot, and potentially a division title. Has that effort on the field helped us managers for the game on our phones and in our apps? Let’s dive into the numbers quickly, shall we? In the nine games played so far, Mayfield has scored 20 points or more in five of them. He also has five games with multiple touchdowns and no games with multiple interceptions. While he has fumbled the ball four times in the year, none of them have resulted in a turnover. Scoring 25 points against a Buffalo defense that’s given up the seventh fewest points to QBs was his best performance against a good defense. His high water mark on the year of 28 points came against a Saints defense that is just outside the top half of the league in points per game allowed to position. This is a new test for Mayfield though, going against a top-three defense, meaning it is a bottom-three matchup for Mayfield. All things considered, this seems to be a week where you’re looking for another streaming option in 1QB leagues. In leagues where you’re starting two quarterbacks, you’re probably in a situation where you have to start him but expect low-end QB2 numbers.
Rachaad White: In PPR leagues, he’s been an Alvin Kamara lite. If it feels like White has been on a hot streak lately, it’s because he has. Over the past four weeks, he’s been an RB1, including being THE RB1 in week 9. While he doesn’t break too many big plays, and probably shouldn’t be expected to against the 49ers defense, White holds his value here through volume and targets. He’s topped 97 total yards in each of the past four weeks while getting at least 16 total looks throughout the game. Expectations may need to be tempered in this one, but managers should feel confident starting him as an RB with an expected 18-24 finish at the position.
Mike Evans and Chris Godwin: Mike Evans continues to dominate, becoming the favorite target for yet another Tampa QB. Unfortunately for Godwin managers, the current QB isn’t good enough to support both WRs being high-end fantasy options. Despite getting about the same amount of targets on the year (Evans: 70/Godwin: 68), Evans has the advantage in touchdowns. That’s largely been the difference between his WR2 status and Godwin’s relatively lower WR3/flex role on your fantasy team. That, and average yards per target favoring Evans (10.5 to 7.7) and yards per catch (17.1 to 11.9). With the 49ers giving up their fair share of production to wide receivers, especially in the past four weeks, Evans continues to be a rock-solid WR2 with upside. Meanwhile, Godwin can be started with a bit more confidence in your flex spot. Who knows, maybe he’s due for a couple of touchdowns?
Cade Otten: This is a tough matchup this week for the streaming candidate. He’s had one really good game, a couple of serviceable games, and four weeks of being a non-factor. The 49ers have some weaknesses on defense, but preventing fantasy tight ends from getting points isn’t particularly one of them, as they rank fourth on the year. Over the past month (four weeks), they’ve been a bit softer, ranking eleventh against tight ends. Over this span, they faced Evan Engram, TJ Hockenson, David Njoku, and whoever the Bengals TE is. Otten is closer to the last two on the list. The tight end has only four games with six or more targets while scoring in two games on the year. If he doesn’t see within that range of targets or a touchdown, that’s when he becomes irrelevant for fantasy purposes. Over the same four weeks that the 49ers have become more vulnerable is when he’s begun to see more opportunities, having at least six targets (and nine at most) in three of the past four games. Otten can be used as a sneaking streamer this week in 12+ team leagues.
San Francisco 49ers
Brock Purdy: Brock Purdy has been a borderline top-10 QB in total points and average points per game this season. Every week, he’s finished anywhere from QB6 through QB25. Three of those weeks, he’s been inside the top 10, four weeks between 11 and 15, and just two weeks at the bottom of QB2 territory (24 and 25). Going against a team that is quite generous to opposing passers, Purdy profiles as a startable player in 1QB leagues as a safe, reliable option. The matchup is a bonus and can be used as a tiebreaker if you’re between him and another option in the same range.
Christian McCaffrey: Dominant. That’s the word to describe his fantasy football outlook. He is the RB1 in total points on the season by a wide margin. He falls to RB2 when looking at average points per game, but that’s due to Achane’s hyper-efficient three-week stretch. Looking at the player pool as a whole, in leagues with 6pt passing TDs and full PPR scoring, McCaffrey is the fifth-best fantasy asset in terms of total points. It’s usually hard for a non-QB to rank that high, but that’s just how special McCaffrey is. Even against a Tampa Bay defense that is second on the year against running backs, McCaffrey is a must-start where managers can expect his usual elite output.
Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk: Both can be started weekly, but limit each other’s true upside on any given Sunday. The pair both had 20 points in week three. Otherwise, we haven’t seen both be great in the same game. The Tampa Bay defense is going to allow the pair to show out together though, as they are among the best matchups for wide receivers on the year. They only rank ahead of the Eagles, Commanders, and Giants in terms of points allowed. Aiyuk has garnered at least six targets or a touchdown in every game this season, while Samuel has gotten at least seven opportunities (targets and carries) in all but one fully healthy game. Fire up the duo as high-end WR2’s with both having a real chance at giving you a lot more. *Be weary that it’s unlikely that Samuel, Aiyuk, and Kittle all have great games. Someone is bound to be the odd man out.
George Kittle: The third man of the elite trio of pass catchers (not including McCaffrey). Kittle’s traditional fantasy output is boom or bust. The same rings true this year, where Kittle has scored less than six points, or greater than 13 with no middle ground. Over the past five games played, Kittle has gone over 13 four times. That elite Cleveland defense was the only one to hold Kittle down over that stretch. This matchup poses a much easier challenge. Kittle is a weekly starter because of his upside, and with him being on a heater lately we can expect more of the same here. *Be weary that it’s unlikely that Samuel, Aiyuk, and Kittle all have great games. Someone is bound to be the odd man out.
PLEASE NOTE: This is intended for entertainment purposes. This is not intended as gambling advice. If you are looking for gambling advice from professionals, please sign up for the SportsEthos WagerPass. These are the thoughts of our fantasy football division experts, and some are sure to be better than others.
I got myself back on track and in the win column last week, but am still down on the year. I just have to keep plugging away, making smart decisions, and try and get back into the black. In the beginning of the article, I noted that the Bucs’ offense can put up points on the road despite, and their defense holds offenses in check. This nugget will lead me to taking Tampa with the points as my bet. I wanted to take Baker to throw at least one interception, but at -180, I don’t see it worth betting alone. Shying away from putting that into a parlay this week, but maybe worth throwing into one. What I will do, though, is parlay Tampa +12 with the over, based on my spiel about points scored by each team and such. Something I’m less confident in Brock Purdys passing line of 257.5 yards. He’s hit that number in five of ten games played, and the matchup says he should hit it again here. However, contrary to my bet, there’s potential for a blowout here. That could lead to the 49ers feeding CMC to control the time of possession. Leaning the over feels a bit safer than betting on it this week.
BET: PARLAY Tampa Bay +12 and Over 41.5 (+264), 1u to win 2.64u
Lean: Brock Purdy Over 257.5 pass yards (-115), 1.15u to win 1u