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Buccaneers vs. Patriots Sunday Night Football Showdown Game Breakdown & NFL DFS Picks

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Welcome to the NFL Showdown Matchups Showdown Highlights for Week 4 Sunday Night Football. Here we will provide a quick overview of the game’s key storylines and highlight some of the key insights from Awesemo’s world-class suite of tools to find the best NFL DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel showdown lineups. Let’s dive into the NFL DFS picks today for the Week 4 Buccaneers vs. Patriots Sunday Night Football matchup.

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Week 4 Sunday Night Football NFL DFS Showdown Picks

In one of the most talked-about matchups of the season, Tom Brady heads back to Foxborough in the first game of his career where he will have to face coach Bill Belichick as an opponent after Brady’s departure following the 2019 season. The Buccaneers are also coming off their first loss of the season, a stinging 10-point defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams, whose offense completely overpowered the Buccaneers’ defense, while Brady was unable to keep pace. Tampa Bay was so concerned about the state of their secondary after the Week 3 beatdown that they signed former pro-bowler Richard Sherman to a one-year deal in an attempt to solidify a struggling defensive unit. Meanwhile, the Patriots have struggled mightily on the offensive side of the ball all season and are coming off a Week 3 defeat where they were thoroughly outplayed in all phases of the game, eventually losing to New Orleans 28 to 13. Even against a middling Tampa Bay defense, using the Patriots are massive home underdogs, and should be used sparingly in showdown lineups compared to the high-octane offense of Brady’s Buccaneers.

Lock in Tom Brady

There is no need to get cute here. Brady has the highest-projected score of any player on the slate and should not be avoided despite being a near-lock to be the most popular player on the slate. There is no requirement to play in the Captain spot, but stick Brady in cash game lineup and simply figure out the rest. Brady currently ranks second or better in the NFL in pass attempts, air yards, red zone attempts, passing yards and passing touchdowns.

Mine the Buccaneers Backfield for Value

While the Buccaneers have been one of the most pass-heavy teams in the NFL, choosing to throw near the goal line more than any other team, the Buccaneers running backs still have extremely high ceilings in this game, especially if one of Leonard Fournette or Ronald Jones were to begin to command a 65%-plus opportunity share. With Giovani Bernard (knee) out for this week, and Rob Gronkowski listed as doubtful, there should be an increase in playing time for both primary backs, and a likely increase of short-area targets as well. Fournette has the highest value ranking of any player on FanDuel, but Jones ranks top-10 in that metric as well.

Who is the Patriots’ RB2?

With James White (hip) on injured reserve and out for the remainder of the year, the New England backfield is in a state of flux behind primary rusher Damien Harris. Last week, special teams ace Brandon Bolden saw a massive increase in opportunity share, earning a season-high amount of rushes and routes run. But this week, it is very likely the Patriots intend to utilize scat-back J.J. Taylor or preseason darling Rhamondre Stevenson. We could even see a dreaded four-way split in this backfield. The Awesemo projections currently think Bolden has the best value play, especially on DraftKings where his salary of $600 helps unlock a roster of otherwise premium players, but his floor is incredibly low as well. No running back other than Harris has any guaranteed workload.

Quality Receivers at Mid-Tier Salaries

With plenty of points and plenty of passes expected in this contest (at least if the game is to remain competitive), both teams have mid-tier salary wide receivers who are popping in Awesemo’s value metric. The Patriots’ Jakobi Meyers is the highest-value wideout on FanDuel, which makes sense, considering he has earned nearly 25% of his team’s targets and nearly 30% of his team’s air yards. Meyers and teammate Nelson Agholor are the only New England wideouts playing on 80% or more of the team’s snaps. On the Tampa Bay side, Antonio Brown grades out as the best value, but still has a lower probability of hitting his ceiling compared to the premium-salary receivers, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, especially after returning to the team late in the week due to his stay on the COVID-19 list.

Ignore the Tight Ends

If Gronkowski sits, then the touchdown probability for any tight end to score in this game plummets. In the Patriots’ low-volume passing attack, both Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry are cannibalizing each other’s workload, with neither playing on more than 75% of snaps (Smith is below 60%), and neither earning more than a 10% target share. At their salaries, they will need to catch multiple touchdowns in order to return value. For the Buccaneers, the combination of Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard would pick up the majority of the passing game snaps, but Brate has not topped 70 yards receiving in over two seasons, and Howard has yet to run more than three routes in a game this season, making him a large-field tournament play only.

The Bottom Line

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While anything is possible in a one-game sample size, it is incredibly difficult to imagine the Buccaneers falling flat on their face in this matchup. The Buccaneers’ defense has been a liability to begin the season, but they also have the personnel to turn their poor start around. And if they do, they will be nearly impossible to beat. Offensively, Brady is too methodical, too motivated, and simply playing too well to be stopped by a defense that might know a few tendencies of his but ranks just below league average in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to opposing offenses.

Week 4 Sunday Night Football Prediction: Buccaneers: 31, Patriots 18


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If you’re interested in other NFL DFS tools for multiple game slates, head over to DFS NFL projected ownership, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, daily fantasy football rankings, and NFL DFS stacking. Take a look at our inactive players, depth charts and NFL lineups.

A middling athlete who was offered his first sports analytics position at age 14, I've been working on NFL and fantasy football data science since 2017. With a particular passion for data visualization and dashboard building, I love to make data accessible by using graphs and charts to communicate ideas that are difficult to explain with words alone. You can contact me by e-mailing [email protected]

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