“Father Time is undefeated” has likely been said about a billion times when it comes to quarterbacks in the NFL. Whenever it comes to Tom Brady, Father Time has steered clear of the 44-year-old quarterback as he continues to perform as one of the elite signal-callers in the NFL. In his 22nd season in the league — his second with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Brady is on a torrid pace with a league-high 1,767 passing yards and 15 touchdowns. Following Tampa Bay’s lopsided win over the Miami Dolphins in Week 5, they’ll take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday Night Football in Week 6.
The Eagles are coming off of an impressive comeback win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 5, led by Jalen Hurts. Despite what seems like a game between two teams with different levels of talent, we have plenty of talented players to choose from on DraftKings’ showdown slate on Thursday night. In light of that, I’ll be highlighting who I like on Thursday Night’s showdown contest between the Buccaneers and the Eagles.
Captain Spot Considerations:
Tom Brady ($18,600)
It’s always tough playing a quarterback that doesn’t bring much upside with his legs at the captain spot, especially when they are $18,600. However, the Buccaneers average the most pass plays per game (45.6 pass plays per game) and Brady isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Besides an 11.1-point performance in Week 4 versus the New England Patriots in the rain, Brady has eclipsed 30+ points on DraftKings in every other week thus far. On the other side of the field, while the defense of the Eagles has been solid, they've surrendered the 13th most points to quarterbacks in the past four weeks. Unless Tampa Bay suddenly goes with a run-heavy approach — which I don’t expect to happen — then Brady is primed for another productive game versus Philadelphia on Thursday night.
Jalen Hurts ($17,700)
However you may feel about Jalen Hurts as a real-life quarterback, he’s been one of the most consistent options in fantasy football. There are only three quarterbacks through the first five weeks that have scored 20+ points on DraftKings, including Hurts. The other two quarterbacks to be lumped in with that select group are Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, so Hurts is in special company. While Hurts isn’t considered an elite thrower, the Buccaneers have given up the eighth-most points per game to quarterbacks on DraftKings, and Tampa Bay’s secondary is battling multiple injuries right now. What makes Hurts an absolute option at the captain spot is his ability to produce yards and touchdowns with his legs, which is something that Brady can’t say.
Chris Godwin ($14,100)
Every single week, we are given the choice of which wide receiver on the Buccaneers we want to have in our lineups the most. Some weeks it is Mike Evans, some it might be Chris Godwin, and others it might be Antonio Brown. You could likely choose any of the three this week and I wouldn’t argue with you. Out of the three, I’ll side with Godwin due to him having the most favorable matchup. Both Evans and Brown will probably see a fair share of Darius Slay and Steven Nelson on the outside, who have both held their own for the Eagles this season. Plus, it doesn't hurt to go with the narrative that Godwin is playing in his hometown of Philadelphia. There’s also the fact that Godwin has just two fewer targets than Evans this season and is priced $1,200 cheaper in the captain spot as his teammate.
Flex Spot Considerations:
DeVonta Smith ($8,800)
Even though the Eagles aren’t viewed as a pass-oriented team, they have run the 13th most pass plays per game. Whether Philadelphia finds themselves playing catchup on Thursday night or if they end up going with a pass-heavy approach versus Tampa Bay’s stout run defense, the Eagles could put the ball in the air a lot more than usual. That would bode well for DeVonta Smith, who leads the team in target share with 23.63% of the targets going in his direction. Regardless of who the Buccaneers have on Smith, Hurts should have plenty of opportunities to get the rookie wide receiver out of Alabama involved in the passing game. Even though he’s had two low-scoring outputs this season, Smith has seen 6+ targets in each game, and he’s posted 15+ points on DraftKings in three out of the first five weeks.
Antonio Brown ($8,200)
One of the reasons why Brady and the Buccaneers lead the league in pass attempts per game is because they have the best wide receiver trio in the NFL. Evans, Godwin, and Brown all make it a difficult task for opposing defenses to defend Tampa Bay’s offense through the air. Brown might be third on the totem pole when it comes to target share in the offense, but he’s missed a game and he had a rare three targets in Week 2 against the Atlanta Falcons. In the other three games that he’s started and finished, Brown has either caught a touchdown or at least seven passes. While some people are wary of playing either Evans or Brown due to their perceived tough matchups with Slay and Nelson, I’ll chase volume with the wide receivers of the Buccaneers.
Leonard Fournette ($7,800)
As much as it pains me to say, Ronald Jones has fallen out of favor with the Buccaneers. Leonard Fournette is the No. 1 running back in Tampa Bay’s pass-heavy offense and Jones continues to see less usage in the backfield. Despite the Buccaneers not being a team that runs the ball often, Fournette has been somewhat consistent this season, scoring double-digit points on DraftKings in four out of the first five weeks. Also, while Fournette isn’t a particularly talented pass-catcher, he’s caught at least three passes for at least 24+ yards in each of the first five weeks. The defense of the Eagles has allowed the fourth-most rushing yards per game and the 10th most DraftKings points per game to running backs this season, setting up Fournette for another noteworthy outing in Week 6.
Zach Ertz ($3,200)
Dallas Goedert was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier this week, putting his status for Thursday night in doubt. Goedert is fully vaccinated so he’ll need to produce two negative tests before he’s cleared to play against the Buccaneers. Seeing that it’s unlikely that Goedert is active, Zach Ertz is slated to have an expanded role in Week 6. Ertz has a disappointing 57% snap share through five weeks, but he has a 25.5% target rate when he’s on the field, showing he has a decent rapport with Hurts. The Buccaneers have surrendered the sixth-most DraftKings points to tight ends this season as they’ve been unable to slow down many passing attacks thus far. Since we were deprived of our opportunity to watch Dan Arnold catch passes from Sam Darnold, we finally get Hurts throwing to Ertz — at least more often — on Thursday night.