POSTED ON FRIDAY AT 8 AM EST
COVID UPDATES COMING THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND ON OWS
Game Overview ::
- The Panthers have seemingly avoided the COVID bug, with the only notable questionable player being cornerback AJ Bouye.
- The Bills have also miraculously avoided the COVID bug for the most part, with only backup middle linebacker Tyrel Dodson currently on the list. Emmanuel Sanders is doubtful with a knee injury.
- This Bills team is not the same team we attacked relentlessly last season, and they are typically more than content to simply wax games with their rushing attack instead of leaving too much to Josh Allen, which is an important aspect to consider against a Panthers team that the Bills defense should largely shut down.
- Cam Newton simply does not carry the floor that the field still thinks he has on a weekly basis.
How carolina Will Try To Win ::
Carolina’s overall pass rate with Cam Newton as the starter sits at 61% (only a three-game sample), which is much higher than you’d think when looking at the underlying metrics. As in, Cam Newton has pass attempts of only 27, 23, and 21 in his three games as the starter, albeit backup PJ Walker came in for two of those games to add 10 and 12 pass attempts of his own. To that point, I was having a discussion with the other providers this past week about how Cam Newton doesn’t carry the weekly floor that the field seems to think he does, a possible area to leverage for the remainder of the season. Anywho, Cam is not the same passer he once was, deriving so much of his value from this rushing potential (rushing score in each of his four appearances for the Panthers this season). And these weren’t world-beater defenses that shut Cam down. He looked competent against Washington and proceeded to look less than capable (that’s putting it lightly) against Miami and Atlanta, two defenses that have been suspect in the secondary all season.
The ground game is now a veritable mess, with Chuba Hubbard having been out-snapped by Ameer Abdullah each of the past two games (the first of which Christian McCaffrey got injured and the second of which the backfield was Chuba and Abdullah’s the entirety of the game). There’s no saying, with any degree of confidence, which of these backs will lead the way moving forward, and they both also have to contend with the high red zone rushing utilization of Cameron Newton. The matchup on the ground yields a scary-low 3.90 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Buffalo defense that clamps down on “power runs up the gut,” but is susceptible to rushes off the edge (of which the Panthers don’t utilize heavily). Queue the Ralph Wiggum “I’m in danger” gif.
As alluded to above, this pass game is at the mercy of an inaccurate, poor-timing, and poor arm strength Cam Newton at this point in the season, and it now has to face the number one pass defense in the league. Queue the Ralph “I’m in danger” gif times two. Although we’re highly unlikely to need more analysis than that, here goes. DJ Moore and Robby Anderson are the only pass-catchers to play near every-down roles, with Brandon Zylstra now splitting snaps with an ineffective Terrace Marshall, Jr. and Ian Thomas sharing tight end duties with Tommy Tremble. DJ Moore has averaged nine targets per game across Cam’s three starts, good for a rock-solid floor of 14.4 fantasy points during that span. Robby Anderson (lolz to us for missing it) saw 12 targets last week and put up a respectable 21.4 fantasy points seemingly out of nowhere, but saw just four and six targets in the other two Cam Newton starts. The remaining pass-catchers have a combined one game with more than just three targets across the last three games (Zylstra, of all people, with five targets last week). Again, against the number one pass defense in the league, it might not matter, but we’ll explore some interesting dynamics below.
How buffalo Will Try To Win ::
Buffalo has been a different team this season, and a large part of the reason why is due to their top three-ranked defense. Their defense has allowed them to not have to throw the football as much this season, particularly in games they control throughout. Against a broken Panthers offense (in more ways than one), they are highly likely to be afforded the same opportunity here, meaning just enough pass volume to get the job done, and an increased emphasis on the run late in the game. Their offense ranks seventh in drive success rate, seventh in points per drive, and second in average starting field position (a nod to their defense more than anything), and they should eventually find success against the Panthers here.
The backfield remains tough to decipher prior to inactives being announced, but Zack Moss has been held as a healthy inactive in two of the previous three games, and Devin Singletary has snap rates of 68% and 82% in those games, with Matt Breida operating as the primary change of pace back. Even with the ballooned snap rates, Singletary is highly likely to require both a Moss inactive and an extremely positive game script in order to return a GPP-worthy score here, but that possibility is highly unlikely to be accounted for by the field. The ground matchup yields a slightly below average 4.24 net-adjusted line yards metric against a defense allowing just 20.4 fantasy points per game to opposing backfields.
The money-maker for this Bills team has continued to be the pass game, even in games they are able to control with their defense. Although it is still their money-maker, it is less likely to be our money-maker in games they control, as the typical decrease in volume is a significant hit to the range of outcomes of all pass-catchers. The likely absence of Emmanuel Sanders opens up a fairly large snap rate expectation for Gabriel Davis, who pairs a deep average depth of target with a high red zone role, a dangerous combination for a player likely to go largely overlooked by the field here. Expect Stefon Diggs and Davis to man the perimeter, with Cole Beasley and tight end Dawson Knox working primarily from the slot. We’ll cover more of what to expect from this pass offense in the DFS+ Interpretation below.
Likeliest Game Flow ::
Buffalo is highly likely to control this game with their defense, creating a situation where their offense can operate any which way they choose. As we’ve explored in this space earlier this season, the Bills are no longer a team that we can expect to sling the football late into large wins. Josh Allen has five games already this year with 30 or fewer pass attempts. As such, Allen is highly likely going to need the Panthers to keep pressure on in order to return GPP ceiling-worthy numbers (as in, he has as many games of 30 or fewer pass attempts as he does games over 300 pass yards this season). Now consider the fact that these two teams are number one and number two in the league in pass yards allowed per game, and we’re left with a game environment that is likeliest to underwhelm relative to expected ownership. Like, a Bills game has a game total of just 44.5 points for a reason, and this exploration should serve to highlight those reasons. That said, we do have a somewhat condensed Bills pass offense that could warrant consideration in specific game environments, which we’ll hit on below.
TOP PLAYS OF THE WEEKEND
SORTABLE GREEN ZONE TOUCHES
TEAM & PLAYER DK POINTS
DFS+ Interpretation ::
By LexMiraglia10 >>
- CAR has held eight QBs under 200 pass yds, and the others have thrown for 258, 373, 206, 230
- CAR ranks 6th in def pass DVOA and has allowed the 3rd fewest QB DK pts/g
- Allen has thrown for 200+ yds in 11/13 games, with four of 300+
- The two he fell short of 200+ yds: 35-0 W vs MIA, 10-14 L vs NE in big wind game
- Just 5/13 QBs have multiple TDs vs CAR
- Allen has ten games of 2+ TDs, six games of 3+ TDs
- QB rushing vs CAR: Winston (19:1) // Dak (35) // Hurts (30:2) // Jones (28) // Heinicke (29)
- Allen has 8 rush TDs in every previous season of his career (4 so far in 2021)
- Allen has nine games in 2021 of 30+ rush yds (4 of 50+)
- 60+ yd games: Diggs (10/13) // Beasley (5/13) // Sanders (4/13)
- Beasley has three games of 80+ yds this season (11:98, 7:88:1, 10:110), games with 60 & 64 yds, and eight games with a combined 185 yds (23.1 yds/g)
- Sanders hasn’t reached 15 DK pts since W5 and he caught 2 TDs both times he did
- Sanders has maxed out at 5 rec this season, and has totaled 193 rec yds in the last 7g
- Davis has caught a TD in back to back weeks, but has topped 50 yds just once all season (W10 vs NYJ)
- 8+ tg games: Diggs (9/13) // Beasley (6/13) // Sanders (3/13)
- Diggs has 10+ targets in 17/32 games with BUF and 8+ targets in 10 more (5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7 in the only games below 8)
- Diggs has 11 games of 100+ yds with BUF, and 3 more with 90+ yds
- He only has two of the 11 this season
- Diggs has just four 20+ pt DK scores this year (21.4, 23.9, 33.2, 20.4)
- Diggs now has 25+ DK pts with BUF in 8 of 32 games, with just one so far in 13 g in 2021
- CAR has allowed the 5th fewest WR DK pts/g (30.5)
- McLaurin is the only WR since 2020 to reach 100 yds vs CAR without 7+ rec to get there (Evans, Keenan, Ridley, Julio, Tyreek, Cooks, Thielen, Waddle)
- CAR’s only 20+ pt WRs allowed in 2021: Davis (5:97:2) // Cooks (9:112) // Thielen (11:126:1) // McLaurin (5:103:1) // Waddle (9:137:1)
- 7+ rec games: Diggs (6/13) // Beasley (6/13) // Sanders (0/13)
- 100-yd games: Diggs (2/13) // Beasley (1/13) // Sanders (0/13)
- CAR has allowed the 8th lowest success rate & 5th lowest yds/att to TEs
- Notable TEs vs CAR: Schultz (6:58:1) // Goedert (2:28) // Conklin (3:71) // Engram (6:44) // Pitts (2:13) // Henry (2:19:1) // Ertz (4:46) // Gesicki (3:17) // Pitts (5:61)
- TEs to score vs CAR: Jarwin, Schultz, Herndon, Henry, Hurst
- Knox targets: 4, 3, 5, 8, 4, 3, 1, 10, 3, 6, 9
- So 3/11 games with 8+ tg, 7/11 games with 4+ tg, and 10/11 games with 3+ tg
- Knox has 8 TDs in 11 games
- Knox has 40+ yds in 5/11 games
- Season high in DK pts: Moss (18.1) // Singletary (17.1) // Breida (19)
- Season high in touches: Moss (16) // Singletary (16) // Breida (11)
- Moss/Singletary season-highs both came in first MIA blowout, Breida’s in NYJ blowout
- Only RBs with 75+ yds vs CAR: Zeke (143:1) // Cook (143:1) // Stevenson (106), Bolden (81) // Gibson (95) // Davis (86)
- Cam & Walker have both played the last two games, with Cam scoring twice to 3 INTs and Walker scoring once to 2 INT
- Only QBs over just 200 yds vs BUF: Tua (205), Heinicke (212), Tanny (216), Mahomes (272), Brady (363)
- BUF has allowed just 10 pass TDs to 16 INT
- Brady’s 300+ yd game came with the benefit of OT, but also in BUF’s first game without Tre’Davious White
- CAR is already playing 2 QBs and there’s also rumors of Darnold even playing again this season (so have fun with that)
- BUF has allowed the fewest WR DK pts/g (26.7) by a wide margin (thought it shrunk significantly in first game without White vs TB WRs)
- BUF has allowed just four WR TDs, and 121.8 WR yds/g
- TB WRs in first game without White: Godwin (10:105), Evans (6:91:1), Perriman (1:58:1)
- Moore has between 7-13 tg in every game
- Moore’s first four games (DK pts): 15.4 // 21.9 // 23.5 // 34.9
- Moore’s last nine games (DK pts): 8.8 // 11.9 // 13.3 // 9.9 // 7.6 // 6.4 // 16 // 17.3 // 14.4
- Moore since Darnold was benched: 4:24 // 5:50:1 // 4:103 // 6:84
- Robby since Darnold was benched: 4:37:1 // 5:30 // 1:15 // 7:84:1
- Hubbard’s rush att as starter: 13 // 24 // 16 // 12 // 24 // 10
- Hubbard’s targets as starter: 2 // 6 // 3 // 5 // 2 // 0
- Hubbard’s yds as starter: 71 // 134 // 65 // 56 // 91 // 33
- RBs with 10+ rush att vs BUF: Najee (16:45) // Gibson (12:31) // Henry (20:143:3) // Gaskin (12:36) // Hyde (21:67) // Carter (16:39:1) // Taylor (32:185:4) // T Jones (16:27) // Harris (10:111:1), Stevenson (24:78) // Fournette (19:113:1)