Skip to main content

Buccaneers vs. Bills Thursday Night Football Primer & Start/Sit Advice (Week 8)

Buccaneers vs. Bills Thursday Night Football Primer & Start/Sit Advice (Week 8)

Every week, I’ll be writing a comprehensive primer on every NFL matchup and all of the relevant players, matchups, pace and playcalling notes, and injuries. It covers everything you need to know when setting your lineups. But since that article is massive and requires a full pot of coffee, we’re also going to offer these more focused matchup overviews to help you prepare for Thursday Night Football: Buccaneers vs. Bills.

Want to read about only your players? Sync your team (free) to get My Primer partner-arrow

Thursday Night Football Primer & Start/Sit Advice

Pace and playcalling notes

  • The Buccaneers understand where their bread is buttered. The rushing attack has been near zero all season. Tampa Bay is now ninth and 12th in neutral pace and passing rate as they continue to lean into the air attack.
  • Buffalo has begun to pick the pace back up. Over their last three games, they are eighth in neutral pace and 14th in neutral passing rate.
  • The Buccaneers are first in red zone passing rate.

Quarterbacks

Baker Mayfield: Mayfield has been a serviceable QB2 this season. Among 33 qualifying quarterbacks, he ranks 24th in yards per attempt, 16th in passer rating, and 20th in fantasy points per dropback. We could see Mayfield post a surprisingly good stat line this week against a downgraded Bills’ pass defense. Since losing Tre’Davious White and Matt Milano, the Bills have operated in zone coverage on 74% of their snaps while allowing the fifth-highest passer rating and adjusted completion rate while ranking 14th in yards per attempt. Mayfield can take advantage of this secondary. Mayfield’s biggest concern is not the backend of Buffalo but their pass rush, which ranks second in pressure rate. Mayfield has been quite good against pressure this season, though ranking seventh in pressured passing grade, fourth in pressured yards per attempt, and second in passer rating. Mayfield could sneak into the top-12 fantasy quarterbacks this week. Week 8 Positional Value: QB2 with QB1 upside

Josh Allen: Allen has regained his crown as the QB1 in fantasy points per game. He is third in passing grade, sixth (tied) in yards per attempt, and third-best in fantasy points per dropback. Allen should shred the Buccaneers’ middle-of-the-road pass defense this week. Tampa Bay ranks 16th in adjusted completion rate and 19th in passer rating while allowing the 11th-highest yards per attempt. They have specifically struggled to stop quarterbacks when they throw deep, giving up the 12th-highest passer rating, ninth-highest yards per attempt, and ninth-highest adjusted completion rate to deep balls. The Buccaneers continue to rely on the fifth-highest rate of zone coverage (80.5%, per Fantasy Points Data) in the NFL. Allen has had no problems against zone, ranking sixth in fantasy points per dropback, but he does tend to spread the ball around as he is 26th in rate of throwing to his first read. Week 8 Positional Value: QB1

Running Backs

Rachaad White: White has been a consistent (uninspiring) volume play this season with at least 70% of the snaps weekly while averaging 17.5 touches and 71.5 total yards. White still has zero explosive runs this season. That’s not good, Bob. Not at all. Among 59 qualifying backs, he is 46th in missed tackles forced per attempt and 48th in yards after contact per attempt. The good thing for White is Buffalo’s run defense has been the weakest point of their defense all season. The Bills have given up the fourth-highest explosive run rate, the highest yards after contact per attempt, and the second-highest yards per carry to zone runs (White 53% zone). Week 8 Positional Value: RB2

James Cook: After a few quiet games, Cook had a noice Week 7 with 16 touches and 102 total yards (one touchdown). His role didn’t change a ton, as he played 52% of the snaps. He has averaged 15 touches and 86.5 total yards this season. Among 59 qualifying backs, he is 27th in explosive run rate, 34th in missed tackles forced per attempt, and 35th in yards after contact per attempt. Cook faces a resurgent Tampa Bay run defense that has kept backs in check. They have surrendered the ninth-lowest explosive run rate, the 13th-lowest yards after contact per attempt, and the 11th-lowest yards per carry to gap runs (Cook 59.1% gap). Cook needs another touchdown to likely pay off this week. Week 8 Positional Value: low-end RB2/RB3

Latavius Murray: Murray is an early down grinder with only one game this season with double-digit touches. He has eclipsed 35 rushing yards only once this season and likely won’t make it two games against Tampa Bay’s stout run defense this week. Among 59 qualifying backs, he is 39th in explosive run rate and dead last in missed tackles forced per attempt. Sit Murray. Week 8 Positional Value: Must sit

Wide Receivers

Mike Evans: Evans continues to crush. I faded him in draft season and now regret doing so immensely. Among 104 qualifying wide receivers, he ranks 23rd in target share (22.9%), 16th in air-yard share (37.8%), and tenth in yards per route run (2.80). He is also 24th in first-read share (28.4%). Evans is second on the Bucs in red zone targets. He should lead the passing attack against the Bills zone coverage. Against zone, his target share has increased to 23.9% as his air-yard share has bumped to 41%, and his yards per route run (YPRR) balloons to an insane 3.22. Evans will run about 72% of his routes against Christian Benford (72.7% catch rate and 100.9 passer rating) and Dane Jackson (80% catch rate and 118.9 passer rating). Week 8 Positional Value: Borderline WR1

Chris Godwin: Godwin’s luck this season has to turn around. He leads the team with a 23.4% target share and a 20.6% first-read share while posting a strong 2.19 YPRR. Godwin even leads the team with nine red zone targets, but he has still yet to score a touchdown this season. Against zone, he has taken a backseat to Evans as he has seen a 20.9% target share and 26.7% first read share. Godwin will run about 65% of his routes against Christian Benford (72.7% catch rate and 100.9 passer rating) and Dane Jackson (80% catch rate and 118.9 passer rating). I would not be surprised to watch Godwin enjoy a massive positive regression game in an island contest. Week 8 Positional Value: WR2

Stefon Diggs: Diggs is the WR4 in fantasy points per game, ranking third in target share (30.9%), seventh in air-yard share (44.9%), and 12th in YPRR (2.73). Diggs ranks fourth in first-read share (41.3%) as one of only four wide receivers with above a 40% first-read share (Garrett Wilson, Diggs, A.J. Brown, and Davante Adams). If Allen attacks this secondary deep, Diggs will be a central cog as he ranks second on the team in deep targets behind only Gabriel Davis. Diggs will run about 62% of his routes against Carlton Davis (87.5% catch rate and 89.4 passer rating) and Jamel Dean (76.9% catch rate and 129.2 passer rating). Week 8 Positional Value: WR1

Gabriel Davis: Davis is the WR31 in fantasy as the Bills deep threat. He has a 13.9% target share, a 25.8% air-yard share, and 1.62 YPRR. Davis leads the team in deep targets, so if Allen is trying to torch this secondary deep (he will), then Davis should be his go-to. Against zone, Davis has seen his YPRR increase to 1.99 and his first-read share climb from 13.8% to 15.2%. Davis will run about 81% of his routes against Carlton Davis (87.5% catch rate and 89.4 passer rating) and Jamel Dean (76.9% catch rate and 129.2 passer rating). Week 8 Positional Value: WR3 with WR2 upside

Tight Ends

Cade Otton: Feel free to sit Otton this week. Among 40 qualifying tight ends, he ranks 24th in target share (11.2%) and 31st in YPRR (0.82). The Bills have done a good job of limiting tight ends, and Otton is a matchup-based streaming option. Buffalo has held tight ends to the tenth-fewest fantasy points per game. Week 8 Positional Value: TE2

Dalton Kincaid: On the surface, Kincaid’s numbers don’t offer a ton of intrigue. Among 40 qualifying tight ends, he ranks 29th in route run rate, 27th in target share (10.6%), and 20th in YPRR (1.27), but the boom is coming. Dawson Know is now sidelined with a wrist injury, which means Kinciad should get a big bump in snaps and routes moving forward. Last week, the Bills finally decided to feature the talented rookie. He ranked seventh in target share (19.5%), fifth in YPRR (2.68), and seventh in first-read share (20.8%). This was a massive departure from his 8.8% target share and 11.4% first-read share in Weeks 1-6. The matchup this week is brutal for Kincaid. Tampa Bay has smothered tight ends to the 11th-fewest receiving yards and the seventh-fewest fantasy points per game. Volume will have to be his ally in Week, but he likely finds himself as the third option behind Diggs and Davis this week. Week 8 Positional Value: low-end TE1

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | SoundCloud | iHeartRadio

*All data utilized in this article courtesy of FantasyPros, PFF, SharpFootball Stats, Football Outsiders, FTN, Rotoviz, and Playerprofiler.com unless otherwise specified.*

More Articles

NFL Free Agent & Draft Needs for Every Team (2024 Fantasy Football)

NFL Free Agent & Draft Needs for Every Team (2024 Fantasy Football)

fp-headshot by Andrew Erickson | 15+ min read
5 Dynasty Rookie Draft Busts to Avoid (2024 Fantasy Football)

5 Dynasty Rookie Draft Busts to Avoid (2024 Fantasy Football)

fp-headshot by Derek Brown | 4 min read
3 Dynasty Players to Trade Before NFL Free Agency (2024 Fantasy Football)

3 Dynasty Players to Trade Before NFL Free Agency (2024 Fantasy Football)

fp-headshot by Tera Roberts | 3 min read
Fantasy Football Draft Values: Wide Receivers (2024)

Fantasy Football Draft Values: Wide Receivers (2024)

fp-headshot by Josh Shepardson | 1 min read

About Author

Current Article

4 min read

NFL Free Agent & Draft Needs for Every Team (2024 Fantasy Football)

Next Up - NFL Free Agent & Draft Needs for Every Team (2024 Fantasy Football)

Next Article   arrow-image