Written by Justin Knight, who goes by @jjknight16 on the Fantasy Life App, as well as @Justin16Knight on Twitter.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1–3) @ Carolina Panthers (1–3) 8:30 PM (Est)
We’ve got another barn burner scheduled for Prime-time… A pair of 1–3 teams yet again. The Buccaneers, lead by Jameis Winston will travel to Carolina to take on Derek Anderson (Newton OUT, Concussion) and the Panthers. Both teams will look to turn their slow start to the 2016 season around. This game marks the 32nd time these teams have meet in their 21 year old rivalry. The Panthershold the edge in the series, 20–11 .
Injuries have taken a toll on both of these teams. Jonathan Stewart, Doug Martin and Charles Sims are all likely to miss week 5 for their respected teams. Leaving the likes of Jacquizz Rodgers, and Peyton Barber to start for the Buccaneers. Cameron Artis-Payne, and Fozzy Whittaker will command the backfield for the Panthers. The rushing attack for both teams has struggled this year. Tampa Ranks 24th in rushing yards, while Carolina ranks 10th. Take away Newton’s 147 yards rushing yards this season, that puts Carolina at 23rd. If the ground game continues it’s sluggish ways, I expect these teams to air it out.
The key to victory for this game comes down to 3 things. 1.) Establish a run game early. Easier said than done, both teams have a respectable rush defense. Racked 10th (CAR) and 12th (TB) in rushing yards allowed. 2.) Eliminate turnovers. Between 2006–10 Derek Anderson threw 55 interceptions. Averaging more than 1 a game. Jameis Winston has 8 INTs through 4 games this season. 3.) Get the ball to Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin. Easily the most explosive players on each team, they will need to get involved early and often for their team to get the W.
Ultimately I believe the Panthers will take the victory. Score line- 24–17
The Good: Mike Evans
Mike Evans is in the midst of a breakout season. After a disappointing sophomore outing where he only scored 3 touchdowns in 15 games. He already has 3 TDs through 4 games this season. Evans is on pace for 104 catches , 12 TDs and a ridiculous 200 targets. Keep rolling him out every week as a WR1. Especially against a Defense that was just torched by Julio Jones.
The Good: Kelvin Benjamin
A year removed from a torn ACL, Benjamin is all the way back. Despite week 3 when Benjamin was held without a catch, he has been on fire. Catching 4 touchdowns and averaging over 14.5 yards per reception. I expect Benjamin to continue feasting on a Tampa Bay side that ranks 32nd in Fantasy points allowed to apposing WRs. He’s a top 10 play this week.
The Bad: Jameis Winston
The Carolina Defense no longer scares you when considering who to start at Quarterback on your fantasy team. What should scare you, is turnovers. Winston has a whopping 10 turnovers through 4 games this year. 8 INTs and 2 fumbles. Not only the ball security issues, buthis rushing total is down from last year. His rushing yards / rushing TDs kept his floor high week to week last year. Without the rushing help, he is a very low upside QB2 for me this week. You can find a better streamer.
The Ugly: The Backfield for both teams
I am staying away from both of the backfields in this game. One of the 4 running backs in this game should score a Touchdown and have decent fantasy numbers. Good luck guessing what one it is. Only for the most desperate of teams, or dirt cheap DFS play.