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Panthers vs Lions: A DFS Perspective

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So, about last Thursday…. What a nightmare of a game. Two things seemed very obvious: our offensive line had been playing above expectation up to that point, and our defense isn’t the top five defense we should be. Not even close. Granted, we won’t face those challenges every week, but it was a letdown on a big stage. You get one of those a year, and we have a great chance at bouncing back against a Lions team just playing for a draft pick. Even on the road, this should be a great opportunity for our speed to overwhelm a Lions D that is terrible by the numbers. Let’s roll!

Cam Newton ($6,200 DraftKings, $8,600 FanDuel): Cam is the top priced QB on FanDuel and the 3rd highest on DraftKings. These people know the deal, it’s a perfect combination of a great QB against a terrible D. Look no further than last week, where Mitch Trubisky lit them on fire for 355 yards and 4 total TD.
Cam Newton > Mitch Trubisky is my hot take.
There looks to be little resistance here, as the Lions have forced a grand total of three interceptions. The only problem is that Cam is so expensive for DFS. When you play Cam, you need to play McCaffrey with him, and from there it becomes a grab for value. I happen to know a good site for that, and I’m not saying Cam do well. I’m saying that if I have to have one Panther on Sunday, the one I want I’m getting ready to talk about.

Projections: 225-250 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT; 40-50 yards, 1 TD.

Christian McCaffrey ($8,000 DraftKings, $8,600 FanDuel): There’s nobody in the league that’s been hotter at RB than McCaffrey. The last three games have proved doubters, like myself, wrong in showing he can be the complete running back. He’s scored 7 TD’s in his last 3 games, including three that made him the only bright spot of Thursday’s game. Now he faces a Lions D that has given up 100 yards rushing all but three times. Aside from Zeke Elliott, the Lions haven’t faced a running back the likes of McCaffrey yet. Add to this the release of CJ Anderson earlier in the week, and the likelihood the Panthers are ahead, which means all the carries he can handle. Extra carries equal more chances at TD. No reason McCaffrey shouldn’t be on your radar in all formats. I expect a top 3 fantasy performance.

Projections: 100-125 yards, 2 TD; 4-6 catches, 50-60 yards, TD

Wide Receiver: This is the group that will depend most on our defense. What I mean by that is, if our defense can play up to par, the Panthers should be comfortably ahead in the second half. This would mean less passes and more rushing. The first half we should see Greg Olsen ($5,000 DraftKings, $6,500 FanDuel) in the role he’s played for years, as Cam’s top downfield threat. For the first time this season Olsen is priced ahead of Devin Funchess ($5,100 DraftKings, $5,700 FanDuel). Funchess is in a tough spot now, as he is left with the targets beyond McCaffrey and Olsen. He does the benefit of being a low owned sleeper along with the rest of the Panthers receiving core. DJ Moore ($4,200 DraftKings, $5,300 FanDuel) are in very similar spots. Two guys who have high potential but are limited in targets. If you want to go real deep, look at Jarius Wright ($3,200 DraftKings, $4,700 FanDuel). This is a very risky play, but as I’ve mentioned in previous articles Wright is a sure-handed, fast receiver who runs great routes and is a Norv Turner favorite. This all depends on game flow. If the defense keeps the Lions in it, we’ll be throwing into the fourth quarter. My feeling is we’ll be eating clock, but can do some damage in between with the right guys.

Projections: Funchess: 4-6 catches, 50 yards
Moore: 3-5 catches, 40 yards, 20 rushing yards
Olsen: 5-7 catches, 50-60 yards, TD
Samuel: 2-4 catches, 30 yards
Wright: 3-5 catches, 40-50 yards, TD

Defense/Special Teams: If our defense plays up to their potential, this can be a great stepping stone for them against a team with a below average running game and their best WR recently traded. I’m sure Luke, TD, Peppers and the guys are fuming after that beatdown. Our front seven anchored by Keuchly have done an excellent job shutting down the run. The problem is that they have given up 150 yards to WR’s five times, including three of those over 200 yards. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr are the main pieces to worry about there, and if we can get to Matthew Stafford that can soften some of that. My gut tells me the Panthers D plays inspired, but they will give up a couple of TD’s that keep the game within reach. I see some turnovers as well.

Projections: 20-24 points, 5-7 sacks, 2-3 TO’s

DFS wise, you have to be comfortable saying Cam and McCaffrey will produce more than anyone in your lineup. I like McCaffrey over Cam, but I can see rostering both in case this turns into a no defense shootout. I anticipate in this one, ours will be loaded and ready. Good luck with your lineups in DFS and season-long and as always, KEEP POUNDING!

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