You never want a bad showing from your Thursday night players, whether it’s because they busted in your lineup or starred on your bench. This week’s Thursday Night Football matchup features the Buccaneers and Eagles — two offenses that can light up the scoreboard and two defenses that can bend and break in the right circumstances. That means plenty of opportunities for yards and points, but not all players are must-starts. We break down all the tough fantasy start ’em, sit ’em decisions so you can get your Week 6 started off right.
We also have some DFS tips at the end for those planning to try their luck in a DraftKings Showdown or FanDuel single-game contest. Even if you don’t have any Bucs or Eagles in your season-long lineup, there’s no excuse for sitting out this opportunity-filled matchup.
Buccaneers: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night
Start: QB Tom Brady
Brady had the hiccup in the revenge game against the Patriots, but it was back to business as usual with relentless passing and scoring against the Dolphins. The Eagles don’t have the consistent edge pass rush or secondary depth to deter him from chucking the ball around the park. He is mostly matchup-proof, and at this point 300 yards and three TDs looks like his floor.
Start: RB Leonard Fournette
Fournette has taken over the backfield like he did in the playoffs last season. He is proving to be a complete back and makes the offense less predictable than having either pure power Ronald Jones or pure receiving Giovani Bernard in the game. They will still get their situational touches, but this backfield belongs to Lenny, throwing it back to his solid Jaguars days.
Start: WR Mike Evans
Evans may get the toughest matchup of the week against cornerback Darius Slay, but it’s no guarantee it will be a shadow situation. No. 2 corner Steven Nelson has played pretty well, too, but the Bucs also move around Evans well. He had no trouble dusting the Dolphins’ high-priced corners last week. Don’t expect the same monster game, but something like 6-80-1 is doable.
Start: WR Chris Godwin
Godwin was the “quiet one” last week, as Brady rifled the big scoring plays to Evans and Antonio Brown, but he still came through with a decent WR2/WR3 day minus the touchdowns. There should be an effort to feed him often as the Eagles play two deep safeties to protect against the deep ball and have major trouble covering the slot in relation to the outside with slot man Avonte Maddox.
Start: WR Antonio Brown
Without Rob Gronkowski (ribs), Brown should be locked and loaded in lineups every week because of his high ceiling. He may have the mild game here or there and this certainly could be one of those, but it’s hard to imagine having many better WR3 options.
Sit: TE Cameron Brate
Brate hasn’t been involved enough with Gronkowski (ribs) on the shelf, as the Bucs have simply pivoted to rolling with their three wide receivers all the time in 11 personnel. It doesn’t take the Harvard education that Brate has to know you could easily get close to a zero from him.
Sit: RBs Giovani Bernard and Ronald Jones II
Bernard shot into the end zone last week, but Fournette is still the man there for the most touches. Neither Bernard nor Jones should be even rostered in non-deep leagues as long as Fournette is healthy.
Start: Buccaneers DST
The Bucs are shorthanded, but they still have some playmakers. They can get to Jalen Hurts a few times on the pass rush, and he tends to force a few throws into covereage per game. They are a top-12 option with a high floor but limited ceiling.
Sit: K Ryan Succop
Brady being so proficient in the red zone has kept Succop from becoming a top-12 option so far this season. You can probably find kickers who have more multiple field-goal upside this week.
Eagles: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night
Start: QB Jalen Hurts
Hurts is the ultimate high-floor QB with his running volume and enough touchdowns on the regular. He gets a great passing matchup, and he should be throwing a ton in the second half trying to catch up with Tom Brady. He’s in your season-long lineup every week unless you have another big-time passer.
Start: RBs Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell
This is a bit outside the box, as the Eagles are not a running team when it comes to using their backs and the Buccaneers’ run defense is dominant. But without tight end Dallas Goedert (COVID-19 list), they need more shorter passing options for Hurts. However, the Bucs are majorly struggling to cover backs and won’t have linebacker Lavonte David (ankle). Myles Gaskin’s Week 5 performance (10 catches, 74 yards, two TDs) should inspire the Eagles to use Sanders and Gainwell in the open field. Sanders can always turn a touch into a long score. Gainwell can get good usage in the red zone. That makes them each regular-to-deep league PPR flex options.
Start: WR DeVonta Smith
The rookie from Alabama is getting into his groove as Hurts’ clear-cut go-to guy. He can roast this depleted secondary with his route-running, speed, and quickness all over the field. He should get double-digit targets and come through with something like 8-100-1.
Sit: WRs Jalen Reagor, Quez Watkins, Greg Ward
The Eagles are unable to support multiple wide receivers with consistency with Hurts’ passing. You can do better with guys from other teams if you’re desperate for WR3 or flex.
Start: TE Zach Ertz
Ertz goes back into his familiar role as the top tight end for his long-time team with Goedert unavailable. The Bucs have had issues covering the tight end, too, and the wily veteran will turn back the clock for one night with Hurts.
Sit: K Jake Elliott
Elliott has a big leg, but the Eagles aren’t scoring enough outside the red zone to trust him.
Sit: Eagles DST
Javon Hargrave has been a revelation with the inside pass rush, and Slay has been on point with takeaways. But there’s no way you can expect them to slow down the GOAT.
Buccaneers vs. Eagles: FanDuel single-game lineup
- MVP (1.5X): QB Tom Brady $16,500
- AnyFLEX: WR Chris Godwin $13,000
- AnyFLEX: WR DeVonta Smith $12,000
- AnyFLEX: WR Antonio Brown $11,500
- AnyFLEX: TE Zach Ertz $6,500
Brady and Godwin should be the Buccaneers’ featured combination working the slot often, but Brown can have some success on crossing routes vs. deep balls should Slay focus on Evans. Smith should have a big game against the Bucs’ secondary with high volume. Ertz was a no-brainer free space with Goedert set to miss the game.
Buccaneers vs. Eagles: DraftKings Showdown lineup
- Captain (1.5x): WR Chris Godwin $14,100
- FLEX: QB Tom Brady $12,400
- FLEX: WR DeVonta Smith $8,800
- FLEX: WR Leonard Fournette $7,800
- FLEX: TE Zach Ertz $3,200
- FLEX: RB Kenneth Gainwell $2,400
The same logic applies here with Godwin, Brady, Smith, and Ertz. Fournette is in there because of the Eagles’ run defense issues, and Gainwell is in there for his garbage-time usage.