The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had unexpected fantasy success at each of their offensive positions. Josh Freeman, Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin, Connor Barth and Mike Williams have all come alive since the bye week and all currently sit at a higher fantasy point ranking than they were predicted during drafts. And within the last five weeks, tight end Dallas Clark has made his emergence as well, making his way onto fantasy teams by way of three touchdowns in his last four games.
The only fantasy football position that has been unreliable this year out of Tampa Bay has been the defense. In terms of fantasy points, that crew has been all over the board: four games of 12 or more points; five games of two or fewer. Their highest-scoring performance of the year came in Week 10 against the San Diego Chargers at home when they put up 17 points. In the three games since: a total of seven points.
It is certainly not a trustworthy play this week, but looking at the Buccaneers this season and looking at their Week 14 opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles, might make them a solid sleeper play if you are in a pinch.
Fantasy defenses this season are scoring an average of 6.7 points per game. Bad news: the Buccaneers sit .9 points under that average. Good news: the Philadelphia Eagles offense is allowing opposing defenses to score 10.9 fantasy points per game, 4.2 points higher than the league average. Only once have they held a fantasy defense to less than five points, while opposing defenses have scored in double-digits six times (and broken 15 points four times).
While the Buccaneers defense does surrender yards, it is the turnover game that is really the key factor in getting high fantasy production. Because of this, I believe that the Buccaneers defense is a solid play this week. Throughout the year the Bucs have forced 23 turnovers, just shy of two per game. It would be no surprise if they were to boost that average this week against an Eagles offense that has turned the ball over 28 times this year, 2.15 times per game, second most in the NFL.
The Eagles have also allowed seven defensive or special teams touchdowns this season – four of them coming in the last four weeks. On top of all this, Eagles quarterbacks have been sacked 35 times this season, the sixth highest mark in the league.
With a defense that features 10 different players with at least one interception, a front four with 14 sacks on the season and a linebacker duo of Lavonte David and Mason Foster that have accounted for 148 solo tackles, the Buccaneers defense could easily be classified as a sleeper play this Sunday.