Game Overview ::
By JM >>
- Christian McCaffrey is expected back; the question is, How “back” will he be?
- The Panthers’ defense does a good job keeping the ball in front of them…but that’s about all they are able to do
- Kansas City should gradually put distance between themselves and Carolina
- This isn’t exactly a fantasy gold mine…but there are absolutely pieces in play
How Carolina Will Try To Win ::
The Panthers are expected to get Christian McCaffrey back this week…and while there is the question of “how many snaps will he be able to play?”…and while there is also the fact that the Panthers have said Mike Davis has earned a role…well, I guess I’ll put it like this:
Xandamere often mentions that he doesn’t worry too much about cornerback matchups (unless it’s a truly top guy) or about weather (unless it’s really brutal), as these things certainly have an impact on performance…but they tend to have an even greater impact on ownership than on performance. (Xandamere is not alone in viewing things this way; most sharp players you talk to assess CB matchups and weather in this same way.) We could say the same thing about a situation like CMC coming back from injury. Maybe he’ll only play 70% of the snaps in this one…but any public concerns over workload will impact ownership more than they’ll impact CMC’s potential for production. Do you know why CMC is the only running back in the NFL who is able to play literally every snap for his team when asked to do so? It’s not because he’s a “freak of nature.” It’s because this guy’s workout regimen not only includes multiple workouts per day in the offseason, but also includes just as much of an emphasis on recovery between workouts as on the workouts themselves. (In other words: CMC is as disciplined and dedicated with the “recovery” aspect as with the “workout” aspect — including all the sacrifices and discomfort that comes along with this.) There is a near-zero-percent chance that CMC himself will not be ready here, as he’s simply not that type of person. And frankly, it’s difficult to see the Panthers allowing Mike Davis to cut too significantly into his snaps. I’m going into this one expecting CMC to play at least 80% of the snaps, and it won’t be surprising if he sees more work from there.
This is important, of course, as CMC changes the complexion of this Carolina offense. In Week 1, CMC had 23 carries and four targets in a back-and-forth loss to the Raiders, and in Week 2 he had 18 carries and five targets in a brutal matchup vs the Bucs (in which the Panthers were playing from behind, and in which CMC got hurt — opening up one carry and eight additional targets for Mike Davis). Since then, Davis has had opportunity totals of 22 // 22 // 26 // 21 // 12 // 15, with target counts in this stretch of 9 // 6 // 10 // 3 // 5 // 2. The Chiefs have been excellent against the pass this season, ranking seventh in DVOA, but they rank 28th against the run and 26th in adjusted line yards, while ranking 23rd in success rate allowed through the air to running backs (compared to sixth vs tight ends and third vs wide receivers). In spite of the fact that the Chiefs are regularly playing with a lead, they have faced the sixth highest opponent rush play rate in the NFL — including the third highest through the first three quarters of their games. Only Dallas, Green Bay, Washington, and New England have faced fewer opponent pass attempts per game than the 32.25 the Chiefs have faced, and only the Cowboys have faced more running back rush attempts than the Chiefs. Sure, teams have to score points to keep up with the Chiefs; but teams also know that keeping the ball on the ground is the best way to score points (and is the best way to try to limit Mahomes). Expect the Panthers to balance toward the run in this one — and if CMC truly is healthy, expect him to clear 24 opportunities (carries + targets) without too much trouble, with upside for more.
How Kansas City Will Try To Win ::
Carolina’s zone-heavy defense has shown cracks lately, falling to 20th in DVOA through the air (while still ranking near the bottom of the league against the run at 26th), setting up the Chiefs in a “no trouble wherever they want to attack” sort of situation. The Panthers have generated pressure at the fifth lowest rate in the NFL, and they’ve tried to make up for this by keeping the ball in front of them — forcing the second-shallowest aDOT in the league, but allowing a 69.1% completion rate along the way. The Panthers rank 26th in opponent drive success rate and 23rd in points allowed per drive (KC ranks top five on offense in both categories), and their goal in this one will be to hope they can “force Mahomes to march the field.” This bend-but-don’t-break mindset tends to work against weaker opponents, as weaker opponents will shoot themselves in the foot enough times over the course of a game to not put together complete drives (penalties // sacks // missed throws // etc.). But with a team like Mahomes and Kansas City, there isn’t much hope for self-inflicted errors, which creates opportunities for more of a “bend, bend, bend, touchdown” type of setup. Unsurprisingly, Carolina has been above-average in the red zone (ranking 11th in opponent red zone touchdown rate), as a low-blitz, seven-guys-in-coverage, zone-heavy defense can make it difficult to score touchdowns through the air in the red zone and green zone (only the Dolphins and Bears have allowed fewer passing touchdowns than the Panthers); but because teams have not had trouble reaching the red zone against Carolina, this defense has allowed the second most running back rushing touchdowns.
Expect the Chiefs to move down the field with ease in this one, though with more of a focus on short and intermediate looks than with downfield bombs (of course, the Chiefs will still design defense-straining vertical concepts, and they’ll try to take advantage of their talent edge downfield a few times; these defense-straining vertical concepts will also open opportunities for chunk gains underneath), and with drives as likely to end with touchdowns on the ground as with touchdowns through the air (Carolina has allowed nine passing touchdowns, and nine running back rushing touchdowns).
Likeliest Game Flow ::
The Chiefs should (of course) eventually grab a lead in this one, with the size of their lead acting like an elastic band: the further away KC pulls, the more aggressively Carolina could eventually snap toward a pass-heavy approach. But as with other teams against the Chiefs this season, we should expect the Panthers to try to hold off on that pass-heavy approach for as long as they can: not in a Gase-like “going into a shell” sort of way, but simply because this will be their best way to try to sneak out of this game with a win, with CMC back in the fold, and with the matchup so much softer on the ground than it is through the air.
DFS+ Interpretation ::
- The Carolina Panthers are getting back their best player, and if he is able to go 100% this matchup could be closer than expected. There have been a lot of bets placed in this one on the over, but the numbers tend to favor the under.
- The Kansas City Chiefs are the best team in football and are very capable of running away with this one. The best way to attack the Chiefs is on the ground and the Panthers are more than capable of doing so. The Panthers also like to take their sweet time running plays.
- Where most teams falter is they get behind big to the Chiefs and are forced to throw to catch up. If the Panthers with or without CMC can run enough time off the clock when they have possession before being down by 21 this game is likely to end in that 28-17 range. With the Chiefs’ range of points anywhere from 21-45 and the Panthers more in the 7-24 range.
- The line has moved in favor of the Chiefs even though there seems to be some hefty bets on the Panthers.
- The Kansas City Chiefs are 6-2 ATS and there is no matchup that can shut down their offense, so it ultimately comes down to what Carolina decides to do when they have the ball.
“What’s a Cory?”
Well, I’m a lot of things…
I’ve played professional rugby in four countries. I volunteered for two years in Central America. I’m an investor and an entrepreneur. I work hard and play harder…And I’ve been building the same bankroll gambling since I was 14. The underground poker circuit was my first true love, but I’ve bet on anything and everything; and I’ve learned to only bet on things that keep my bankroll growing.
This year at OWS, I’ll be telling you what I like in a few games on the slate in this Betting Slant insert. I’ll also be running Betting Sharp alongside JM, where we’ll have a four-part training course, plus five training videos. We’ll be building the training videos around questions and observations from the Betting Sharp Discord channels, where JM and I will drop favorite bets when we see them, and will swing through on occasion to hang out and answer questions.
Note: You can find the first Betting Sharp lesson for free here!
- KC has allowed the 5th lowest TD rate to opposing QBs (3.5%)
- KC ranks 7th best (toughest) in pass eff def
- Other than Carr & Herbert’s deep passing success, QBs have largely been ineffective passing vs KC, and most picked up their points via rushing (Watson, Herbert, Jackson, Allen, Lock)
- QB DK scores vs KC: 21.8 // 26.2 // 15.2 // 7.7 // 28 // 15 // 7.4
- Teddy DK scores: 19.4 // 14.7 // 14.6 // 27.2 // 23.8 // 11.4 // 19.2 // 13
- Teddy has picked up 161 yds, TD on 30 rush att
- QB rush yds vs KC: 27, TD // 18, TD // 83 // 11 // 1 // 42 // 8, TD // 21
- KC ranks 3rd best (toughest) in success rate allowed to WRs
- Anderson : Moore : Samuel targets by week: (8 : 9 : 8) // (10 : 13 : 2) // (6 : 4 : 4) // (11 : 6 : 4) // (13 : 5 : 5) // (5 : 11 : 0) // (8 : 5 : 6) // (8 : 6 : 5)
- Anderson & Moore’s yds by week: (115 : 54 : 38) // (109 : 120 : 13) // (55 : 65 : 45) // (99 : 49 : 51) // (112 : 93 : 36) // (77 : 93 : 0) // (74 : 93 : 48) // (48 : 55 : 31)
- KC has allowed the 2nd fewest WR rec/g, the fewest WR yds/g, and the 4th fewest WR DK pts/g
- Ian Thomas’s 3 rec for 28 yds last week was a season high for a CAR TE
- KC ranks 23rd (10th worst) in pass success rate allowed to RBs
- Teddy’s RB targets since 2019 (NOR (10, 4, 9, 11, 9), CAR (4, 14, 9, 8, 10, 6, 6, 2))
- KC has allowed the 4th most RB rush yds in the NFL
- CMC received 27 & 23 touches in less than two full games to start the year
- Despite facing the 6th most pass att, CAR has allowed 10th fewest QB DK pts
- Mahomes DK pts: 20.44 // 30.48 // 43 // 20.24 // 33.7 // 20.6 // 12 // 39.64
- As a home favorite implied for 30+ pts, Mahomes has 5 mediocre scores (20.1, 18.3, 21.5, 19.5, 20.4) and 5 scores over 30 (36.8, 30, 41.1, 33.7, 39.6)
- CAR ranks 11th in PRWR
- KC ranks 9th in PBWR
- CAR has allowed the 13th fewest WR rec/g, 7th fewest WR yds/g, and the 5th fewest WR yds/g
- Best WR games vs CAR: Evans (7 rec 104 yds, TD) // Keenan (13 rec 132 yds, TD) // Ridley (8 rec 136 yds) // Callaway (8 rec 75 yds; was a very questionable penalty from 9 rec 86 yds, TD) // Julio (7 rec 137 yds)
- CAR ranks 19th in success rate allowed to WRs
- KC ranks 4th best in success rate passing to WRs
- Hill has finished above 60 rec yds in 28 of his 37 full games since 2018
- Hill has scored a TD in 7/8 games this season, with last week being his first multi-touchdown game
- Hardman total yds without Watkins: 0 // 70 // 96
- Robinson total yds without Watkins: 69 // 4 // 63
- Hardman has 11 targets to Robinson’s 6
- CAR has held TEs to modest production: Waller (45 yds) // Howard (11 yds) // Henry (50 yds) // Arnold (39 yds) // Hurst (8 yds) // Graham (34 yds) // Cook (33 yds, TD) // Hurst (54 yds)
- Travis Kelce received 8+ targets in 14/19 games last season, but in 2020 he has 6, 14, 7, 7, 12, 7, 3, 12 targets
- Even with slightly more volatile target counts, he still has yardage totals of 50, 90, 87, 70, 108, 65, 31, 109 and has found the EZ six times
- Kelce’s DK pts by week: 17 // 24 // 14.7 // 10 // 27.8 // 23.5 // 6.1 // 27.9
- Hill’s DK pts by week: 15.6 // 21.8 // 21.2 // 16.4 // 18.3 // 5.5 // 17.5 // 25.8
- CEH’s DK pts by week: 22.8 // 13 // 18.4 // 12.1 // 11 // 23.9 // 13.3 // 6.1
- CAR has allowed the 6th most RB rush yds, 3rd most RB TDs, most RB rec & targets, and 2nd most RB rec yds
- CAR ranks 26th in Rush Eff Def & 23rd in RB Pass Eff Def
- DK pts allowed to RBs: Jacobs (35.9) // Fournette (30.6) // Ekeler (31.3) // Edmonds (15) // Gurley (28) // Montgomery (13.7) // Kamara (22.8) // Gurley (10.6)
- KC is basically alternating drives for CEH & Bell in the two blowouts since Bell joined the lineup