Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- The Panthers are dealing with significant and impactful injuries to their secondary, with safety Jeremy Chin (quad) out and CBs CJ Henderson (concussion) and Jayce Horn (hamstring) doubtful.
- Panthers TE Hayden Hurst (concussion) is out.
- Titans WR Treylon Burks (concussion) remains out. This will mark the third straight missed game due to a concussion for the enigmatic second-year wide receiver – let’s hope he’s okay at this point.
- The Titans get back OT Andre Dillard from concussion while losing OT Chris Hubbard (biceps).
- This is a game against two teams averaging fewer than 17 points per game (16.8 for the Titans and 16.3 for the Panthers).
- Even so, Derrick Henry is most valuable to us in fantasy when we can project the Titans to remain competitive in game environments, which this matchup clearly presents.
- Both teams face 32 pass attempts per game or fewer, which is borderline absurd.
How Carolina Will Try To Win ::
The Panthers have been a tale of two teams this season as they fight to figure out what their future looks like after being forced by team ownership to select Bryce Young at 1.01 in the 2023 NFL Draft. Head coach Frank Reich began the year calling offensive plays before relinquishing that role to offensive coordinator Thomas Brown for a three-game stint out of the team’s Week 7 bye. He then took back offensive play calling duties ahead of the team’s Week 11 blowout loss to the Cowboys. From a top-level perspective, the Panthers rank 10th in plays per game (65.2, tied with the Chiefs), third in pass play rate (63.96 percent), and near the middle of the pack in pass rate over expectation (PROE). That should highlight the fact that the expectation for passing from this offense remains extremely high, backed up by the fact that the Panthers have ceded 27.5 points per game this year (31st in the league).
Chuba Hubbard usurped Miles Sanders as the lead back after the latter missed Week 6 with an injury. Sanders has now worked his way back into a near-even split with Hubbard after three consecutive games of Hubbard in a “lead back” role. Either way, the Panthers average just 3.9 yards per carry this season, and neither back is overly likely to see more than 12-14 running back opportunities if we take their recent snap rate splits at face value (near-even split for the previous two weeks). What’s more, the Panthers have blocked to a league-low 1.06 yards before contact value and play a Titans defense ceding just 1.13 yards before contact this season (seventh best in the league). In other words, there isn’t a ton to get excited about from this backfield in this spot.
Adam Thielen ranks ninth in the league in targets (97), 11th in target share (27.9 percent), second in slot snaps (405, 64.1 percent slot snap rate), and fourth in receptions (76) this season while in a route on 100 percent of the team’s called pass plays and seeing an elite 35.3 percent red zone target share. Rookie Jonathan Mingo joins Thielen in an every-down role but holds a low 15.7 percent targets per route rate (TPRR) and 6.5 red zone target share while D.J. Chark sees every-down snap rates in games the team plays from behind in a more downfield role. Tight end Tommy Tremble should once again slide into the starting tight end role in the absence of Hayden Hurst, who will be out with a concussion for the second consecutive game. The Titans have allowed opposing offenses to average 8.5 intended air yards per pass attempt this season, seventh deepest in the league. The one area of the field the Titans have been elite has been in the red zone, where they hold their opponents to a minuscule 37.84 percent red zone touchdown rate, good for second in the league (behind only the Buccaneers).