Week 11 of the 2021 NFL season wraps up with Monday Night Football as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play host to the New York Giants. Here is my fantasy football preview to the game, offering up my starts and sits and DFS plays for Monday night action.
Over/Under Points Scored: 50.5
New York Giants
QB Daniel Jones — Jones remains his volatile self against one of the more volatile opponents a quarterback can face. TB’s secondary is still in injury-shambles and last week’s loss of DT Vita Vea is huge. The defensive-front is still chalk full of talented pass rushers though. Jones’ floor is that of a QB3, his upside that of a QB1.
WR Kenny Golladay — Slot WR Sterling Shepard is out (quad) which brings extreme clarity to the WR corps. Golladay will operate as the X-receiver, running routes on the perimeter over 80% of the time. Golladay makes for a high-floor WR3 vs. TB’s underwhelming perimeter CBs.
WR Darius Slayton — The field-stretcher is a high-end WR4 with a good chance of securing more than one long completion. Tampa Bay’s 9% explosive pass play rate isn’t terrible but it is on wrong side of the league average.
WR Kadarius Toney — Normally Toney would have to battle Shepard for rights to slot route but with Golladay and Slayton rarely moving inside, Toney should rip it up on the interior. TB slot CB Ross Cockrell has given up touchdowns to opposing pass catchers in back-to-back weeks. Toney is a high-floor/high-ceiling WR3 with enticing upside.
TE Evan Engram — Engram’s got his groove back as of late. He’s not a game-wrecker but he can be productive in the right situation. TB’s 11.5 .5PPR TE PPG ranks 10th most in the NFL. Engram can be started as a back-end TE1 this evening and has a case for one’s DFS captain/MVP spot.
RB Saquon Barkley — Barkley (ankle) practiced all week and should see a near-normal 20+ touch workload tonight. As mentioned above, the loss of TB run stuffer Vea is a big blow. The rest of the front-seven is very good but Barkley should be able to return mid-to-high RB1 value here.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
QB Tom Brady — Brady and Co. opened outrageously as 11-point home favorites and that was before edge rusher Lorenzo Carter (ankle/illness) was deemed out and free safety Logan Ryan ended up on the COVID-19/Reserve List.
WR Mike Evans — Antonio Brown is still quite a long way from returning (ankle) so Evans and Chris Godwin should continue dominating targets. Evans, currently T-No. 6 in end zone targets (PFF.com), has a great shot at adding another touchdown to his total. Evans has run roughly 40% of his routes in the slot over TB’s last 3 games (PFF.com) and WR Scotty Miller, the talented backup perimeter receiver may make his long-awaited return to the lineup from his stint on IR, which would reinforce Evans’ slot deployment. NYG slot CB Darnay Holmes doesn’t stand much of a chance at stopping the towering Evans in scoring position—Holmes stands 5-foot-10 to Evans’ 6-foot-5. Start Evans as a fantasy WR1.
WR Chris Godwin — Godwin’s operating in the slot 66% of the time and likewise should work Holmes up and down the field. And although Godwin isn’t quite on Evans’ level as an end zone target, Godwin’s 25 red zone targets rank 3rd in the NFL (PFF.com). Godwin is also a top-12 WR option this week.
WRs Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller — Johnson’s had weeks to secure the No. 3 WR job with Antonio Brown on the shelf but he’s failed to make meaningful noise. When Tampa Bay and New York played last year, Bruce Arians and Tom Brady tried to put Miller’s 4.36 speed to use; Miller tied Evans for the 2nd-highest target total (6) and was given one carry that he took for seven yards. If Miller is active, he deserves WR5 consideration tonight. Johnson is a WR7 if that’s the case and a WR6 if not.
TEs Rob Gronkowski, Cam Brate, and O.J. Howard — Gronk (back) is expected to return this week but it would be a surprise if both Brate and Howard played fewer than 40% of the snaps as the Bucs will want to preserve their starter’s health as much as possible. Gronk (like the others) is a touchdown-dependent TE1.
RB Leonard Fournette and Gio Bernard — Ronald Jones is being phased out, which leaves Fournette to operate as a full-on bellcow which Bernard cycles in for a few pass catching situations. Fournette’s seen 14 targets over the last two weeks–he’s not just a run-centric back. The Giants’ front-seven ranks just 19th in run defense NEFF rating. Fournette’s a safe RB2. Bernard is just an RB6.