Steve Silverman

While it has been an up-and-down year for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the field, their pass-catching threats have consistently been, well, threats in the fantasy football world.

Wide receivers Desean Jackson and Mike Evans rank in the top 20 among wide receivers in fantasy points per game with Evans averaging 11.7 and Jackson averaging 11.2. Second year tight end O.J. Howard has also emerged, currently ranking fifth among tight ends this season.

With the Bucs set to take on the lowly Giants this week, Howard looks like a nice option at the tight end spot for your daily fantasy lineups.

Quarterbacks

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Rams, FD Proj. – 29.3 points

This is a huge game between two of the best teams in the league, and the backstory changed dramatically Tuesday when the game was moved from Mexico City to Los Angeles because of problems with the field. Mahomes has been a machine this season, showing off his big arm and his propensity to make game-changing plays. He has a 31-7 TD-interception ratio, and he gets a chance to show the Rams exactly what he can do.

2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles – 28.3 points

The Saints continue to roll, and it looks like Brees as has a great chance to win the MVP award this season because of his remarkable numbers. Brees is completing 77.3 percent of his passes with a 21-1 TD-interception ratio. In addition to those totals, Brees is playing with remarkable skill and he appears to be in peak form.

3. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams vs. Kansas City Chiefs – 27.2 points.

The Rams are probably thrilled about getting this home game after preparing for a trip south of the border. Goff should be able to have a strong performance against a Kansas City defense that has been generous throughout the season.

4. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles vs. New Orleans Saints – 26.5 points

The Eagles have not played like a Super Bowl team to this point in the season, but they are still in a position where they can turn things around. That needs to start this weekend and they need to play their best game against the hottest team in the league. This would be an ideal spot for Wentz to show off all his skills and light a fire under his own team.

5. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Denver Broncos – 25.4 points

The Chargers continue to stay on track for a playoff spot and they have been consistent as they chase the first-place Chiefs. While Los Angeles struggled in Week 10 against the Raiders, they won the game by two touchdowns. Rivers is a relentless leader and we see him throwing three TD passes against the overmatched Broncos.

Running backs

1. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams vs. Kansas City Chiefs – 23.8 points

If anyone is going to take the MVP award from Brees or Mahomes, it’s likely to be Gurley. He already has 988 rushing yards and he has pounded the ball into the end zone 13 times. He is also a stellar receiver with 402 receiving yards and four more TDs. He is licking his chops to get a chance to compete against the generous Kansas City defense.

2. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants vs. Tampa Bay Bucs – 23.0 points

The Giants won a Monday night game against San Francisco, and they gave the team a little hope that it could play respectably in the second half of the season. That may be too optimistic, but there’s no reason that Barkley and the Giants can’t take charge against a poor Tampa Bay team. Barkley’s combination of speed and power could allow him to dominate against the Bucs.

3. Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Rams – 21.3 points

The presence of Gurley should bring out the best in the competitive Hunt, who doesn’t want to be thought of as the second-best running back on the field. Hunt has game-breaking speed, and he can dominate as a runner or a receiver. He already has 13 touchdowns – seven as a runner and six more as a receiver.

4. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Denver Broncos – 20.3 points

It’s hard to find a player more valuable to his team than Gordon is to the Chargers. He has explosive speed and he runs with power, and his dependability makes life much easier for Philip Rivers. The quarterback has often had to carry the Chargers throughout his tenure with the team, but that is not the case this year.

5. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions – 19.7 points

What Gordon does for Rivers is what McCaffrey does for Cam Newton.  He has improved dramatically this season, showing the ground game to match the big-play receiving ability he demonstrated a year ago. McCaffrey has 579 rushing yards and 439 receiving yards and he has a chance to get even more productive in the second half of the year.

Wide receivers

1. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles – 16.8 points

The Eagles need to be primed to play their best game if they are going to beat the Saints, but don’t think for a second that they can stop Thomas from making big plays. In addition to his athletic ability, Thomas is one of the game’s best pattern runners and he has excellent hands. Thomas has caught 78 passes for 950 yards and seven TDs.

2. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans at Washington Redskins – 15.9 points

It’s one of the great thrills to watch Hopkins go after the football. He has wonderful leaping ability and long arms, and he also has the kind of hands that allow him to make the most difficult catches under the most challenging circumstances.

3. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants vs. Tampa Bay Bucs – 15.5 points

From this corner, it seems like ODB is all about making highlight-film plays and not necessarily doing every little thing that helps the Giants win. If Beckham has been on your fantasy team the last couple of years, you probably agree. However, you are going to keep him on your team because he can be dominant when he is on his game, and there’s no reason that will not be the case against the Tampa Bay.

4. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Rams – 14.4 points

The Rams have been quite vulnerable on defense the last two weeks, and that means an explosive receiver like Hill should be able to exploit this unit. Hill is one of the fastest players in the game and he should be able to find some open spaces in the Los Angeles secondary.

5. Brandin Cooks, Los Angeles Rams vs. Kansas City Chiefs – 13.6 points

The  Rams suffered a huge blow with the season-ending injury suffered by wideout Cooper Kupp, and it could keep them from meeting all their goals. Cooks and Robert Woods must step up their games, and look for Cooks to be the more productive of the two against the Chiefs.

Tight ends

1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Rams – 11.3 points

There has been an unofficial changing of the guard at the tight end position this season because Rob Gronkowski has been hurt recently and unable to play as consistently as Kelce. Look for Kelce to have a huge game against the Rams.

2. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles vs. New Orleans Saints – 10.9 points

The Saints have been rolling and their defense has been playing well, but that area is where they are most vulnerable. Ertz has more talent than the Saints defensive backfield, and he should have a huge game here.

3. Jimmy Graham, Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks – 8.7 points

This may have been the game that Graham has been waiting for since the start of the season. He should be getting ready for some peak appearances and he would love to do it against his former team. Graham has caught 33-439-2, and he will build on those figures against Seattle.

4. O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Bucs at N.Y. Giants – 7.9 points

The Bucs are coming off a horrific game against the Redskins in which they were held to a field goal. They had more than 500 yards of offense the previous week, and look for Howard to put his imprint on this game with at least one TD catch.

5. Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins vs. Houston Texans– 7.8 points

Reed should be able to get open in this game and while the Texans have the more athletic team, the Redskins have the size advantage. Reed is Washington’s leading receiver, and he should be able to get into the end zone against Houston.

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