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Play potent Bucs against struggling Saints

THE CHATTER around the fantasy football taproom this week was heavy on the Buccaneers. Should I start Jameis Winston? Where does Mike Evans rank? How about that Rastafarian guy at tight end?

THE CHATTER around the fantasy football taproom this week was heavy on the Buccaneers.

Should I start Jameis Winston? Where does Mike Evans rank? How about that Rastafarian guy at tight end?

Uh, that's Austin Sefarian-Jenkins.

While the Bucs are building a nice foundation in Tampa (life's good when there's a franchise quarterback in the building), many of this week's fantasy questions are more because of whom the Bucs are playing.

The Saints got rid of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan after giving up 324 yards and four TD passes to Kirk Cousins in Week 10, but their generosity has continued.

Eli Manning, you might remember, hit 'em for six TDs in Week 8.

New Orleans gave up two TD passes to Houston's Brian Hoyer and five more to Cam Newton in the two games since Dennis Allen took over the defense.

The Saints actually were respectable during the first half of Sunday's 41-38 loss to Carolina until Newton threw four scores after intermission. At one point, cornerback Brandon Browner was yelling at Allen. Think Malcolm Jenkins isn't thanking his stars he bolted the Saints two years ago?

The record for touchdown passes allowed in a 16-game season is shared by the 1981 Colts and the 2013 Vikings, with 37. The Saints have given up 35 through 12 games, which is a pace of more than 46 for the season.

So, yes. Play your Bucs. Play Winston and Doug Martin. Evans is obvious and Vincent Jackson is a mid-WR2. Even Sefarian-Jenkins deserves to start, even if it is a bit of a risk in the fantasy playoffs.

Because as the most famous Rastafarian would say: No defense. No cry.

Trivial pursuit

Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown needs seven catches to become the sixth wide receiver in history with three consecutive 100-catch seasons. Who are the other five.

Hint: All have occurred in the last 25 years.

Contest winner

Last week, we asked readers to project Tom Brady's passing yardage total against the Eagles. Harry Hossler, of Port Richmond, nailed it exactly, as Brady threw for 312. If you see Harry at Byrne's Tavern, raise a pint to him. He'll be the one wearing the Daily News fantasy football T-shirt.

Gronk practices

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who missed the game against the Eagles with a knee injury, was a surprise limited participant in practice Thursday.

His availability for Sunday's visit to Houston is uncertain, but if does play, he'd be an obvious must-start. The Texans have been decent against opposing tight ends; last week's touchdown by Buffalo's Charles Clay was only the second they've given up in 11 games. But this is Gronk we're talking about.

Answer man

The five players with three consecutive 100-catch seasons are Jerry Rice (1994-96), Herman Moore (1995-97), Marvin Harrison (1999-02), Brandon Marshall (2007-09) and Wes Welker (2007-09). Harrison's the only player to do it four straight years.

Position watch

Quarterbacks:In six home games, Drew Brees has 17 touchdowns and five interceptions. In five road games, he has six touchdowns and six picks. The Saints, as noted above, are at Tampa Bay. Making things worse is that No. 1 receiver Brandin Cooks showed up on the injury report with a concussion . . . The Jets are a decent defense, right? Two weeks ago, Ryan Tannehill threw for 351 yards. Last week, the Ravens defense came into its game against Miami 24th in yards allowed and Tannehill had only 86.

Running backs: Funky stat alert. LeSean McCoy (three) and DeMarco Murray (one) have four combined 100-yard rushing games this season. They finished with exactly 112 yards in all four . . . Packers coach Mike McCarthy says of sagging Eddie Lacy, "If Eddie or any other player wants to jump up and grab that opportunity, it's right in front of him." After consecutive 100-yard outings, Lacy missed curfew before last week's Lions game and got only five carries. Sigh.

Wide receivers: Julio Jones has only two touchdowns since September and none since Week 8. He's going against a tough Panthers "D" that is seventh against the pass, but has allowed at least one TD pass to opposing wideouts in five of the previous six . . . In the four games since their Week 9 bye, Seattle's Doug Baldwin has 24 receptions for 433 yards and six touchdowns. Now that's hot.

Week 14 rankings


1. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers: at Cin.

2. Andy Dalton, Bengals: vs. Pit.

3. Carson Palmer, Cardinals: vs. Min.

4. Jameis Winston, Bucs: vs. NO

5. Tom Brady, Patriots: at Hou.

6. Cam Newton, Panthers: vs. Atl.

7. Russell Wilson, Seahawks: at Bal.

8. Drew Brees, Saints: at TB

9. Aaron Rodgers, Packers: vs. Dal.

10. Eli Manning, Giants: at Mia.

11. Tyrod Taylor, Bills: at Phi.

12. Blake Bortles, Jaguars: vs. Ind.

Running backs

1. Adrian Peterson, Vikings: at Ari.

2. Thomas Rawls, Seahawks: at Bal.

3. DeAngelo Williams, Steelers: at Cin.

4. LeSean McCoy, Bills: at Phi.

5. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers: vs. Atl.

6. Matt Forte, Bears: vs. Was.

7. Doug Martin, Buccaneers: vs. NO

8. Todd Gurley, Rams: vs. Det.

9. Devonta Freeman, Falcons: at Car.

10. David Johnson, Cardinals: vs. Min.

11. Ronnie Hillman, Broncos: vs. Oak.

12. Jeremy Hill, Bengals: vs. Pit.

13. Chris Ivory, Jets: vs. Ten.

14. T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars: vs. Ind.

15. Lamar Miller, Dolphins: vs. NYG

16. Buck Allen, Ravens: vs. Sea.

17. Latavius Murray, Raiders: at Den.

18. LeGarrette Blount, Patriots: at Hou.

19. Shaun Draughn, 49ers: at Cle.

20. Darren McFadden, Cowboys: at GB

Wide receivers

1. Odell Beckham Jr., Giants: at Mia.

2. Antonio Brown, Steelers: at Cin.

3. Allen Robinson, Jaguars: vs. Ind.

4. Brandon Marshall, Jets: vs. Ten.

5. Mike Evans, Buccaneers: vs. NO

6. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos: vs. Oak.

7. Calvin Johnson, Lions: at Stl.

8. A.J. Green, Bengals: vs. Pit.

9. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans: at NE

10. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks: at Bal.

11. Alshon Jeffery, Bears: vs. Was.

12. Jeremy Maclin, Chiefs: vs. SD

13. Julio Jones, Falcons: at Car.

14. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals: vs. Min.

15. Sammy Watkins, Bills: at Phi.

16. T.Y. Hilton, Colts: at Jac.

17. Eric Decker, Jets: vs. Ten.

18. Martavis Bryant, Steelers: at Cin.

19. Danny Amendola, Patriots: at Hou.

20. DeSean Jackson, Redskins: at Chi.

Tight ends

1. Greg Olsen, Panthers: vs. Atl.

3. Delanie Walker, Titans: at NYJ

3. *Rob Gronkowski, Patriots: at Hou.

4. Gary Barnidge, Browns: vs. SF

5. Tyler Eifert, Bengals: vs. Pit.

6. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bucs: vs. NO

7. Ben Watson, Saints: at TB

8. Julius Thomas, Jaguars: vs. Ind.

9. Richard Rodgers, Packers: vs. Dal.

10. Travis Kelce, Chiefs: vs. SD

11. Owen Daniels, Broncos: vs. Oak.

12. Scott Chandler, Patriots: at Hou.

*Note: Gronkowski's status for this week is uncertain because of a knee injury.

Added/dropped (In leagues run by

Most added

1. DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins

2. Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, TE, Bucs

3. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks

4. Tim Hightower, RB, Saints

5. James White, RB, Patriots

Most dropped

1. Chris Johnson, RB, Cardinals

2. Jimmy Graham, TE, Seahawks

3. Martellus Bennett, TE, Bears

4. Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys

5. Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons

On Twitter: @EdBarkowitz