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Should I Add Russell Gage In Fantasy Football For Week 4? Waiver Wire Outlook

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers entered week 3 without their primary receiving threats. With their stars kept off the field by various obstacles, quarterback Tom Brady was forced to adapt his passing game to stretch the depth chart.

Former Atlanta Falcons standout Russell Gage stepped in to lead the Bucs in targets and receptions, and he was the only Buccaneer to reach the end zone.

Did Russell Gage make enough of an impact to secure a significant role in Tampa Bay’s weapon-heavy offense? Let’s break down his usage and discuss how to gauge his fantasy value moving forward.

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How Did Russell Gage Perform In Weeks 1-3?

Russell Gage operated as Tom Brady’s indisputable preferred receiving option with a 31% target share in their matchup against the Packers. He collected a career-high 12 receptions on 13 targets to lead the team with 87 yards. He also contributed a one-yard touchdown to set up the Buccaneers for a brutally unsuccessful two-point conversion attempt to tie the game. His 18.7 half-PPR fantasy points were enough to end week 3 at WR7, despite negating some production with a fumble.

When sharing the field with the team’s starters in weeks 1-2, Gage’s volume was substantially reduced, averaging 3.5 targets for 20.5 yards per game. With a full receiving squad active in week 1, Gage played 42% of snaps. His snap share was tied for third among receivers, excluding Chris Godwin who was forced out with an injury before the second half.

Tampa Bay’s deep passing game was virtually non-existent in week 3. Play calls relied more on short gains due to a combination of game flow and opportunities. Gage was limited to shallow routes as he drew an average depth of target (aDOT) of 4.6 yards. Volume is the foundation for his fantasy value, and his week 3 volume won’t always be there.

 

How Does The Tampa Bay Offense Look For The Near Future? Will Russell Gage See Increased Usage?

The Buccaneers' offense is designed with Tom Brady’s strengths in mind. Along with Gage, he has an arsenal of top-tier talent among starting receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Julio Jones. Workhorse running back Leonard Fournette is also utilized in the passing game.

Top receiver Mike Evans is expected to return in week 4 following a suspension for escalating “The Caesars Superdome Scuffle.” Chris Godwin is still nursing a hamstring injury and his status is being monitored. Julio is recovering from a partially torn ligament in his knee. Head coach Todd Bowles claimed he could have played in week 3 but they chose to give the veteran extra time.

It’s fair to say that the Buccaneers' offense is crowded. Russell Gage found himself in a (hopefully) rare situation with a depleted set of receivers, and the imminent return of any of them will cut into his volume.

 

Should I Add Russell Gage From the Waiver Wire in Fantasy Football?

Russell Gage is a talented player who has shown his ability to produce in previous seasons. His involvement will continue to depend on circumstantial opportunities, relying on volume or a touchdown for satisfactory fantasy production.

It will be hard to trust him in fantasy lineups upon the expected return of Mike Evans and Julio Jones, but he could be used as a flex play in deeper PPR formats if Chris Godwin remains inactive.

With a healthy receiving corps, he’ll likely revert to seeing 3-4 targets per game. Barring further injuries or wildcard brawls, it’s best to temper expectations for Gage as a rest-of-season contributor.



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