Game Predictions & Player Projections - DEN vs. TB

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: DEN 30, TB 16 (Line: DEN by 3, O/U = 44.5)

The 3-0 Broncos are winning big and getting better. The 1-2 Buccaneers are 0-1 at home and just gave up 37 points to the Rams. The Broncos will stumble eventually but this doesn't seem like a likely spot.

Denver Broncos

1 CAR 21-20 10 @NO ---
2 IND 34-20 11 BYE ---
3 @CIN 29-17 12 KC ---
4 @TB --- 13 @JAC ---
5 ATL --- 14 @TEN ---
6 @SD --- 15 NE ---
7 HOU --- 16 @KC ---
8 SD --- 17 OAK ---
9 @OAK ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
DEN @ TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Brock Osweiler 10 240,1
QB Trevor Siemian 260,2
RB C.J. Anderson 70,1 3-20
RB Jamaal Charles 30 1-10
WR Emmanuel Sanders 6-80,1
WR Demaryius Thomas 7-100,1
TE Jeff Heuerman 3-30
PK Brandon McManus 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Broncos finally had a down game by the rushing offense but saw Trevor Siemian throw four scores and 312 yards in Cincinnati. The defense is already one of the best and have yet to allow more than 20 points. The rushing offense was already productive throught two games. And now the passing offense comes to life on the road against the Bengals. Judging by the schedule, the Broncos may be favored in every remaining game this year and only hosting the Patriots looks like a really tough matchup.

QUARTERBACK : As noted, Trevor Siemian only had one score over the first two games but then torched the Bengals secondary for four scores. His completion rate and yardage continues to improve and last week was his first with no interceptions. At this rate, Paxton Lynch may never see the field.

RUNNING BACK : The Broncos flopped with the run in Cincinnati but C.J. Anderson was coming off two very productive games that featured at least one score and 90 yards in each. Devontae Booker offers relief but not enough to get into the way. Anderson's two big performances were both at home so this week helps indicate just what sort of road team the Broncos can be. This week is a much softer rush defense.

WIDE RECEIVER : Big game for both Demaryius Thomas (6-100, TD) and Emmanuel Sanders (9-117, 2 TD) in Cincinnati last week. That was Sanders first effort over 50 yards this year and first scores as well. Thomas was already coming off 90 yards in the win over the Colts but had not yet scored. Thomas has been productive each week so it is encouraging to see Sanders come along back to his more productive ways and doing so on the road against a good secondary. Much of that all had to do with the failure of the rushing offense.

TIGHT END : No fantasy value.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Buccaneers at home have only allowed one runner to top 55 yards but Todd Gurley scored twice on them while gaining 85 yards on 27 carries. Gurley had no passing offense to worry the Bucs though. Even still, the Bucs have allowed at least two passing scores to every opponent and over 300 yards when on the road. Given that Anderson will come into play this week, expect Siemian's stats to take a step down but still score twice through the air.

Anderson is a good play this week and should score. Both Sanders and Thomas are must starts against a secondary that has already allowed seven touchdowns to wideouts this year. The yardage won't likely be huge since the rushing effort will control the ball but the scores for both are very likely.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 18 12 14 26 17 4
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 25 26 26 6 26 28

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1 @ATL 31-24 10 CHI ---
2 @ARI 7-40 11 @KC ---
3 LA 32-37 12 SEA ---
4 DEN --- 13 @SD ---
5 @CAR --- 14 NO ---
6 BYE --- 15 @DAL ---
7 @SF --- 16 @NO ---
8 OAK --- 17 CAR ---
9 ATL ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
TB vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 20 190
QB Jameis Winston 20 230,1
RB Charles Sims 50 6-70,1
WR Mike Evans 5-50
WR Adam Humphries 3-40
WR DeSean Jackson 5-80,1
TE Cameron Brate 5-50
PK Nick Folk 3 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers defense is taking a step backwards this year and their 101 points allowed leads the entire NFL. That's led Jameis Winston to start throwing the ball over 50 times in each of the last two games but the loss of Doug Martin and a general lack of carries means opposing defenses are only worried about defending the pass. After this week is a trip to Carolina so things don't improve until after the Week 6 bye. But - the next month should be very good for the offense. If they can keep up with what their defense gives away.

QUARTERBACK : Jameis Winston scored in every game and comes off a career high 405 yards and three touchdowns in the loss to the Rams. Winston has also thrown at least one interception each week and he's done nearly nothing as a runner. But the deficiencies of his defense means that this trend of high volume passing is going to continue.

RUNNING BACK : Doug Martin is expected to miss two more weeks with his hamstring injury and that leaves Charles Sims in charge. He responded well since he was limited to only 13 runs in the loss but gained 55 yards and one score plus added six receptions for 69 yards. Jacquizz Rodgers is only relief so Sims is taking both his and Martin's workload. Unfortunately, these next two weeks will be against the Broncos and Panthers. Martin should be back after the Week 6 bye to play against the 49ers, Raiders and Falcons. Now would be an opportune time to trade for Martin before he is healthy and his schedule clears up.

WIDE RECEIVER : Adam Humphries is quietly becoming a big part of the passing equation for the Bucs. he comes off a nine catch, 100 yard effort against the Rams and that was after six receptions for 67 yards in Arizona. Mike Evans still dominates. He's scored in every game and comes off a season best ten catches for 132 yards. The lack of scoring makes Humphries still outside of fantasy consideration. Vincent Jackson has neither yards or scores and yet still gets at least six or more targets every week.

TIGHT END : The Buccaneers released Austin Sefarian-Jenkins after his DUI arrest and that leaves Cameron Brate as the clear #1 tight end. He responded with five receptions for 46 yards and two scores last week and his ten targets are a sign that Winston is looking for his tight end in tougher games. And that is likely to continue for the next two weeks at least.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Buccaneers are going to be challenged in this game since their best player - Mike Evans - draws CB Aqib Talib and the Broncos have allowed just one touchdown to a wideout this year. While no tight end has scored on them, the position has accounted for over 60 yards when a team throws more than two completions to the position. Brate should end with at least moderate to good yardage and has a chance for a score again this week.

Winston faces a secondary that has not allowed more than one passing score or more than 210 passing yards to any opponent.

Sims is still a good play this week and while he'll likely have less rushing success, his role as a receiver should prop up his stats and could end up with a score as it did in Week 1. The best that can be expected here is that the Broncos get a substantial early lead and later rely on the prevent defense to give away trash yards and even scores.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 6 22 2 2 31 18
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 11 20 3 14 12 12

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