Week 5 is a transition week for the NFL Hot Sheet as I shift focus solely to stats from this season now that we have four weeks in the books. This should be an interesting and exciting week of football with a ton of evenly matched teams squaring off. According to Vegas lines, there are 11 out of the 14 games with a line of 3.5 points or fewer which could generate a lot of close back-and-forth games which is good for fantasy production. Unfortunately, maybe the matchup with most fantasy potential is the Thursday night tilt between the Patriots and the Buccaneers, so be sure to get some exposure to it if you are playing the full week slate.

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Note: DVOA referenced in this article stands for Defense-adjusted Value Over Average which is a metric from FootballOutsiders.com. Top Play recommendations below will focus on DraftKings Sunday “main” slate that features 11 games excluding the Sunday night game.

So, let’s get right to the numbers and analysis…

New England Patriots @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Team QB RB WR1 WR2 WR3 TE D K Vegas
New England Patriots 72 50 70 69 89 55 34 57 -5.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 77 55 80 74 71 79 45 72 55

The Patriots travel to Tampa Bay for a Thursday night matchup that features the highest Vegas total of the entire week. The Patriots’ offense should flow through Tom Brady and the passing game against a Bucs’ defense that has allowed 319 passing yards (31st) and 2 TD passes (27th) per game this season. Meanwhile, Brady and company lead the NFL in passing yards and TD passes. The passing game should have the most success flowing through the WRs and RBs as the Bucs have been good against TEs so far this season allowing just five receptions for under 40 yards per game. James White should haul in another 5-6 catches this week and watch for Danny Amendola who has the best matchup for the Patriots’ WRs working out of the slot. The Patriots’ running game could have a hard time getting started against a Bucs’ run defense that ranks 3rd DVOA and has allowed just 2.72 YPC (2nd) to opposing RBs.

When the Bucs are on offense they will also focus on airing it out against a Patriots’ pass defense that ranks dead last in DVOA and passing yards allowed (335 per game). They also allow the highest pass distribution inside the 10 yard line (70%) which has led to 2.8 TD passes per game this season. All of this puts QB Jameis Winston in a great spot to exceed his season average of 288 yards and 2 TD passes. Winston should have plenty of time in the pocket to find his top WR Mike Evans who has almost a 30% target share and has a good matchup with the Patriots’ secondary ranking 29th DVOA against opposing #1 WRs. Cameron Brate has a good chance for a red zone TD with the Patriots’ allowing 3 TDs to opposing TEs this season while the Bucs have had 3 TD passes to TEs over the last two weeks. Doug Martin will return to be eased into the Bucs’ ground attack which will limit touches for all RBs in just an average matchup. Kicker Nick Folk could be busy getting 2-3 field goal attempts to go along with some extra points. If you play a slate that includes Thursday night, you better get some exposure to this game.

Hot Picks:

  • Tom Brady (***)
  • James White (*)
  • Danny Amendola (**)
  • Jameis Winston (***)
  • Mike Evans (**)
  • Cameron Brate (**)
  • Nick Folk (*)
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