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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs trying to get RB Jones going is part of our “Start/Sit” advice

Jamil King

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Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
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Week 12 of the NFL season brings us two games that could have a lot of points scored and one potential defensive struggle. The Tampa Bay Bucs travel to face the Atlanta Falcons. The Miami Dolphins travel to Cleveland to face the Browns. The Jacksonville Jaguars will travel to face the Tennessee Titans in Nashville.

With all three team’s road underdogs, we will see how that effects fantasy. With just two weeks until most season long league playoffs start, it is now crunch time for fantasy owners.

The Buccaneers will take their vertical passing game into Atlanta to face a suddenly red-hot Falcons’ team. Last week we were high on the Bus offense, who ended up producing dud weeks in what looked to be a plus matchup in a high scoring game. This week once again, is a plus matchup on paper. The Falcons have the 22nd ranked defense in the NFL, and the Bucs have the 24th. That should mean a lot of points and a lot of possessions.

This will be the first meeting between the two teams, so we don’t have any stats from this year to look at. Following a game in which the Bucs ran for a franchise-low 8 times, you would think they will look to establish the run in this contest. Ronald Jones (above) has yet to have a breakout game on the ground after becoming the starter and could be due here. With the last week of bye weeks across the NFL, Jameis Winston could be a QB you look to use, as well.

The Jacksonville Jaguars got QB Nick Foles back last week, but that couldn’t get them back in the win column. Foles and the offense struggled to put up points after scoring on their second possession of the game and they couldn’t score again until their last possession. This week could be much of the same in the Music City. Both the Jags and Titans look to establish the run before the pass.

The Titans defense has been better against the run, though, so the Jags will need to air it out to win here. D.J. Chark continued his breakout season and is locked in as the Jags number one option no matter who is under center. Chark had a whopping 15 targets to lead the team, and it was Chris Conley second in targets with 8. Foles like Winston is a fine streaming option in season-long leagues, and if you are hurting at WR, Conley and the on again off again, Dede Westbrook could be picked up.

The Miami Dolphins two-game win streak came to an end last week against the Bills, but the offense was surprisingly on its game. Ryan Fitzpatrick is coming off of a 300 yard game against a top 5 defense. The Browns will be another tough matchup, a team with the 6th ranked pass defense. They will obviously be without their best pass rusher in Myles Garett, after his indefinite suspension was upheld by the NFL.

The Dolphins have not been able to run the ball at all since the departures of Kenyan Drake and Mark Walton, meaning WR DeVante Parker is once again in play and is the only guy on the offense with a consistent role.

Jamil King is a young draft pick working his way up the depth chart on the F.F.I. roster, who enjoys watching and writing about all of Florida’s football teams.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs QB Winston still not throwing football Thursday

Florida Football Insiders

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
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All eyes continue to be on Buccaneer quarterback Jameis Winston’s injured thumb and while for the second straight day at practice he was unable to throw a football, he was seen at least throwing a ball of some kind.

First, Winston injured the thumb late in the first half of Sunday’s wild 38 – 35 win over the Colts and after having two opinions on what to do, was once again on Thursday, at least in the portion open to the media, he was going through reps without holding or throwing the ball.

ESPN beat reporter Jenna Laine tweeted this photo that showed Winston practicing with a tennis ball:

Coach Bruce Arians admitted after the game Sunday that Winston had suffered what he termed “a slight slight fracture of the thumb” on his throwing hand just before halftime. When the team came out to warmup for the second half, Winston was unable to grip the football and went back inside for an x ray.

Backup quarterback Ryan Griffin worked the first series of the second half and the Buccaneers got one first down before punting. Griffin is in his sixth season, but Sunday was his first action for the Bucs in a regular season game.

Winston came back and threw for over 200 yards and two more touchdowns, as the Bucs put on a rally after trailing 35 – 21. He threw the game winning TD pass to WR Breshad Perriman with under five minutes remaining.

Wednesday, Winston met with the media at his usual news conference, and repeated twice that he is “day by day” with the thumb.

Arians said he believes the 5th year quarterback will play Sunday at the Lions. And more than likely, Friday’s practice will be the critical day to see if Winston can grip the ball and throw it, especially with some velocity down the field.

The Bucs still have to decide whether they will get a third quarterback to have, just in case Winston cannot play, to be Griffin’s backup?

Winston has been a lightning rod of both praise and criticism, as he currently leads the NFL with 23 interceptions, including three more Sunday. However, he is also second in the NFL in touchdown passes (26) and total passing yards going into play in week 15.

Tampa Bay is on a three game winning streak and gets to play two-win Detroit Sunday.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs moving up in our latest power rankings

Jamil King

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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With conference championships now over, all focus will shift to bowl games in college. Florida Atlantic was the lone state team playing for a title last week, defeating the UAB Blazers in blowout fashion. In the NFL, the Bucs made it three straight victories.

The Dolphins almost made it two in a row before the late-game drama. The Jacksonville Jaguars offense fell flat at home in a blowout defeat. That all leads into how our top 5 looks heading into this weekend:

Florida Gators- The Gators stay on top despite not participating in the SEC title game. They may not have played a game, but they still got a win by being selected to the Orange Bowl. Dan Mullen is now two for two in his Gators career in gaining entry into the “New Years Six.” Two seasons of a row with a big bowl win can only help the gators getting back to where they want to be, and that is competing for championships.

Florida Atlantic- The Owls were able to win the C-USA championship destroying UAB 49-6. This was the second title in three years for the Owls, and their great success under Lane Kiffin. All good things come to an end in this day and age in college football for non-power five schools. And so, Kiffin is now on his way to “the Grove” and will be the head coach of Ole Miss. The Owls reward is to play host to SMU in the Boca Raton Bowl.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers- The Bucs are riding a hot streak right now. They are now on a three-game winning streak. The offense continues to put up big numbers behind QB Jameis Winston. Winston, who threw for a career hight 456 yards Sunday, has the second-most yards and touchdowns, but leads the league in INTs by a large margin.

The defense has been playing very well during this winning streak. Next, the Bucs will go on the road to face a struggling Detroit Lions team.

UCF Knights- The Knights had a rare off week during the AAC Title game. They had won the previous two and Saturday the Memphis Tigers won this one, avoiding the Knights. UCF, however, still won 9 games and will look to make it 10 in the bowl game. They will head an hour south to play Marshall in the Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa.

Many wanted the Knights to draw an in-state team like FSU or Miami; instead, it will be Marshall. It is important for UCF to end the year strong with a decisive victory.

Miami Dolphins- The Dolphins didn’t win this past weekend over the New York Jets. They did, though, show a lot in this contest. For a team that looked down and out the whole first half of the season, they have completely turned it around.

If it wasn’t for a late review on pass interference, the Dolphins likely would have won their fourth game in their last six. Head coach Brian Flores was livid after the game, and that heart and passion has put his name in the running for coach of the year.

No, he won’t win the award, but what he and this team have done has been impressive with the lack of talent on the roster.

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