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Is Mike Evans a Start in Week 1?

Do we think that the Buccaneers are going to be able to keep up with Vikings this week? Vegas doesn’t – they have the third largest spread of any game this week. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the Bucs are going to be playing catch up pretty much all game – crazy take I know – but that could translate well in terms of target volume for guys like Chris Godwin and Mike Evans.

This could be a preview of what we’re going to be getting with the Bucs this season, so I’m paying attention to how this game shakes out. One thing to keep in mind is that Mike Evans is going to facing nobodies on the outside - the Vikings have Byron Murphy in the slot so he can keep up relatively well with Godwin. But Evans could surprise this week and I think he’s worth a look as a flex or WR3 in a potentially strongly negative game script.

The Vikings allowed the 5th most points to the position last year and actually got worse in the secondary when they let Patrick Peterson go. Peterson earned an 80.5 PFF defense grade in 2022, but with him leaving for Pittsburgh this offseason, the Vikings are left with just Akayleb Evans (46.9 PFF defense grade) on the outside to cover Mike Evans, who ran 74% of his routes on the perimeter in 2022.

Does Baker Mayfield inspire confidence in the Buccaneers’ passing attack? Absolutely not. But at the very worst, this will be a game where the Buccaneers are chasing points and that means the volume could be there for the Tampa Bay pass catchers.


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