If you’re playing a Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Baltimore Ravens NFL DFS lineup for Thursday Night Football in Week 8, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve analyzed each team’s highest-probability game scripts to assess the most likely outcomes, including which players are in line to thrive more than anticipated or fall short of expectations.
The following recommended fantasy football lineup (for tournaments, 50/50, or head-to-head competitions) aims to lock in a relatively high floor while maximizing upside.
As this week has progressed, a couple of key questionable tags loom over our Baltimore DFS calculations. A knee injury to Mark Andrews might have contributed to his shockingly dismal output on Sunday. Or, as Lamar Jackson said, perhaps Andrews’ struggles were due to a lock-down Cleveland defense aimed at stopping the elite tight end from beating them.
Either way, the normally automatic Andrews isn’t quite as automatic heading into Week 8. If he falls short of lofty expectations, not only would he be a costly DFS bust, but it would surely impact Jackson’s production. What might this mean?
Well, Jackson was averaging 34.1 fantasy points per contest in the first three weeks. That’s not a typo. Nor is this: he had 12 TDs. Remember those days? It was last month.
He’s scored only three times in the past four games while averaging 13.7 fantasy points. Remarkable. Devastating. [Insert your preferred adjective].
Compounding Jackson’s challenges is Rashod Bateman’s continued injury concerns. As of Wednesday night, he appears questionable for this evening’s face-off. This extraordinarily top-heavy passing attack is not reliable if the two best receivers are hobbled.
So while in weeks past I’d recommend Jackson and Andrews without hesitation, and while Bateman always seemed intriguing, this week, we might need to look elsewhere, especially given how many expensive Bucs we’ll need to consider.
As for the backfield, Gus Edwards is the latest Ravens fantasy hero. But for how long? He’s rarely used in the passing game. At his high price, 12 rushes for 61 yards won’t cut it. However, it’s not as if we can trust Kenyan Drake or Justice Hill to do any better. This seems to be a backfield to avoid.
Speaking of the Bucs, let’s talk about the Bucs. What the heck is happening? I’ve written about this. Thousands of others have, too. Let’s not dwell on it. A weakened offensive line, not much time for Tom Brady to throw, poor running, the seventh-most dropped passes (12), etc.
But let’s zoom in on the running for a moment. This is when fantasy statistics don’t tell the whole story. Tampa Bay is averaging the fewest yards per carry in the league (3.0). Leonard Fournette is a slightly better 3.5. Yet, that’s also the fourth-worst mark among the top-40 fantasy RBs.
How does this relate to our DFS decisions? 64% of Fournette’s fantasy points have come through the air. And 49% of his points came in Weeks 5 and 6, which accounted for 47% of his catches and 51% of his receiving yards.
We can bet on either of Tampa Bay’s top two wideouts, just like always, as long as they’re good to go. We can bet on their stellar rookie TE, as I’ve advised since the summer. We might even take a leap that Brady can rebound.
But Fournette? That’s a bigger question, because as high as his ceiling is, his floor remains painfully low relative to his steep DFS price. If we invest in him, he needs buckets of receptions or at least one score. In an underperforming offense, that makes him boom-bust.
Today, we’re playing DraftKings “Showdown Captain Mode,” which includes one player who earns 1.5 times his scoring output, plus five Flex players.
The following NFL betting recommendations are based on proprietary PFN predictive analytics pulled from decades of NFL historical data. Using this data, I’ve built dozens of models showing actionable probabilities of better-than-expected and worse-than-expected outcomes.
Captain: RB Leonard Fournette, Buccaneers ($13,200)
While writing the opening above, I still didn’t know how this lineup would shake out. After more research and a pretend seance with my five-year-old and her stuffed animals (I hope it was pretend), I settled on a sharp turnaround for Tampa Bay after the team lost four of five games, setting them on a path for an eventual 6-4 record heading into their Week 11 bye (more on that over the next two weeks).
I believe Fournette will either score 25+ fantasy points or fewer than 12. If he struggles, we might see more of rookie Rachaad White. Interestingly, Baltimore’s given up the fourth most receptions to opposing RBs. Perhaps Brady will funnel passes to his running backs throughout the night.
Flex: QB Tom Brady, Buccaneers ($10,000)
That brings us to the aged Brady. As I (and millions of others, assuredly) have said for years, great offensive lines can make middling QBs look great, while middling offensive lines can make great QBs look middling.
What I like here is that Brady can dink and dunk his way to 22+ fantasy points. Baltimore will come at him hard. They’re No. 6 in the league with 20 sacks. But Brady has enough short-game outlets to keep the chains moving.
The goal here is to wear down the Ravens’ defense, which gives up only 1.9 points per game in the first quarter — tied for best in the NFL. But no defense gives up more points per game (10.1) in the fourth quarter. Eventually, Brady will get his numbers.
Flex: WR Mike Evans, Buccaneers ($11,000)
Of course. He might lead all receivers in fantasy scoring tonight. He’s done it many times before. Full stop.
Flex: TE Mark Andrews, Ravens ($9,200)
Of course. Unless he’s officially on a snap count or some other publicly conveyed limitation. If that happens, swap him out for Chris Godwin ($9,000).
Flex: TE Cade Otton, Buccaneers ($5,000)
Still good. Still relatively cheap. 10.3 and 10.4 fantasy points in two of his last three contests. A solid bet for a score in a game where I believe Brady will throw three.
Flex: TE Isaiah Likely, Ravens ($1,600)
A bit of a hedge with Andrews in this DFS lineup, but not entirely. In Likely’s two most productive games, Andrews has scored 26+ points. We need 5+ points from Likely, and if Bateman remains limited, that’s doable.