The Buccaneers might not have much hope for a playoff berth this season, but you may still have hopes of making the playoffs in your fantasy football league. So who are the best options in this weekend’s game to help you win your matchup and get a much needed win as we head into fantasy playoff season?
Here are the five best fantasy options for the rematch between the Buccaneers and Panthers.
1. Cam Newton
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been good on defense recently, but Newton presents a challenge that Matt Ryan and Matt Stafford did not. Newton’s ability to escape the pocket and pick up yards on the ground will confound the Tampa Bay defense, and rack up points quickly for fantasy owners.
Quarterbacks who run gain points more quickly than those who throw in most leagues with standard scoring systems. Newton will likely run for 50 or more yards, which is five points on top of whatever he does through the air. That makes Newton a very smart and safe play in fantasy this weekend.
2. Vincent Jackson
Jackson had a great game two weeks ago, and then disappeared a bit last week against Detroit. Greg Schiano mentioned before the Atlanta game that the team needed to get Jackson more involved, yet that only worked for one week. But against Carolina, the Buccaneers will need their best receiver to be at his best.
There are no defenders for Carolina who can match up with Jackson, and Mike Glennon should (and likely will) target Jackson early and often on Sunday.
3 and 4. Greg Olsen and Tim Wright
Both teams will heavily target their tight ends on Sunday, as they represent the second-best receiver for either team. For the Panthers, Olsen will be a key red zone target for Cam Newton, and will do well if he avoids one-on-one matchups against Mark Barron. For the Buccaneers, Wright should find plenty of room between the 20′s to get open and help move the ball for the Buccaneers.
Olsen represents the better chance of a touchdown, while Wright will likely see more catches, and is a good choice in a PPR league. Either way, you should start the tight ends in this game on your fantasy team.
5. Steve Smith or Brandon LaFell
This “or” is dependent upon the status of Darrelle Revis for Sunday’s game. You’ll want to use a Carolina receiver, but the one you choose will depend on whether or not Revis suits up.
If Darrelle plays, you want LaFell, who will be able to work against Johnthan Banks and the backup corners for Tampa Bay. But if Revis does not play, you want Smith, who Newton will likely target heavily without Revis to worry about.