Buccaneers vs. Cowboys Picks, Lineup Tips for Daily Fantasy FanDuel, DraftKings
It's been 214 days since there was an NFL game that mattered. On Thursday night, that wait ends. And it's possible the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers will pick up right where they left off.
The Bucs will help kick off the 2021 NFL season when they welcome the Dallas Cowboys to Raymond James Stadium, where Tampa Bay won Super Bowl LV to end the previous campaign. The Buccaneers return all 22 starters on their offense and defense from that team and have added to their depth since then.
The Cowboys, who missed the playoffs at 6-10 last season, will be looking for a statement win to open 2021.
Unless you are a fan of either team or have Tampa Bay or Dallas players on your fantasy football squad, you may not have much of a rooting interest in this matchup, even if you are excited for football's return. A daily fantasy lineup would give you some players to cheer for and potentially win you some cash.
Here's a look at several players you should consider starting in DFS lineups on opening night.
Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
DFS Value: $6,700 on DraftKings; $7,800 on FanDuel
There are only two quarterbacks to choose from, and there's a decent chance that both will put up strong numbers Thursday night. Tom Brady is a bit more expensive than Dak Prescott, but he should also be the safer play of the two when you consider the defenses they will be facing.
Dallas' defense struggled in 2020, giving up 386.4 total yards per game (10th-most in the NFL). It improved over the offseason, but not by so much that it will have a way to shut down a Tampa Bay receiving corps that features Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown.
Meanwhile, Brady proved two things last year: he can have success with a team other than the New England Patriots and age isn't slowing him down. Now 44, he is coming off a season that was among the best of his 21-year career, as he threw 40 touchdown passes, which ranks behind only the 50 he threw in 2007.
Brady and the Bucs offense are likely to come out rolling. Count on him to rack up some yards and throw multiple touchdown passes to open 2021.
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys
DFS Value: $5,700 on DraftKings; $6,300 on FanDuel
There are so many good wide receivers on both sides of this matchup. How do you decide whom to choose? Well, of the numerous strong options, perhaps not one is more exciting than CeeDee Lamb.
We haven't seen Lamb catch passes from Prescott since Week 5 of the 2020 campaign, when the quarterback went down with a season-ending ankle injury. Before that is when Lamb was putting up his best numbers as a rookie. His only 100-yard games came in Weeks 2 and 5, and his only game with two receiving touchdowns came in Week 4.
Lamb had 59 or more receiving yards in each of the first five games of 2020. Over the final 11 games, he reached that mark only four more times. It's clear how much more effective he is when Prescott is under center, and it should only help that Lamb has a year of NFL experience under his belt.
After a solid debut campaign, Lamb may be poised for a breakout sophomore season that solidifies him among the top tier of wide receivers. That may start in Week 1, as Tampa Bay may not be able to shut down all of Dallas' offensive weapons.
Giovani Bernard, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
DFS Value: $4,200 on DraftKings; $4,900 on FanDuel
Here's a sleeper who comes at a more affordable cost and will allow you to use more of your budget on other areas of your lineup. Giovani Bernard is a risky start, but he's could also bring a high reward.
The Buccaneers have a crowded backfield, with Bernard joining a group that already featured Ronald Jones II and Leonard Fournette when he signed with the team over the offseason. However, Bernard seems to have a role that should get him plenty of touches, as the 29-year-old has excelled as a pass-catching back throughout his career.
When Brady was in New England, James White put up strong numbers as a key member of the passing game who often came in on third downs. If Bernard is used in a similar way, it could make him a solid fantasy option this year, including in DFS.
There's no must-start running back in this matchup, so take a chance on Bernard. It's possible he and Brady get into a rhythm early and the Bucs decide to stick with his hot hand.
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