Kickoff: Thursday, September 23rd at 7:20 PM ET
Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
Betting Odds: HOU +7.5, 43 over/under total via Oddsshark
Network: NFL Network
Sam Darnold (Sit, QB2)
Sam Darnold looks to be resurrecting his career in Carolina. He came from a team with no real weapons to a team with weapons everywhere. Darnold has posted the best completion percentage of his career with 68.5 over two games so far. He has shown he can not only win games but not lose games. He only has one interception on the year. The Texan’s secondary has been inconsistent. Baker Mayfield put up just 213 yards and 1 touchdown and 1 interception last week. Week 1 Trevor Lawrence had a stat line of 332, 3, and 3. Most of those interceptions were Lawrence’s fault. Despite Darnold’s stats so far this season I do not think he is a great start this week. The game looks to be a blowout for the Pathers so I expect a lot more rushing than passing. I’m expecting a stat line of 240 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. He should be an okay start for Superflex and two-quarterback leagues.
Christian McCaffrey (Start, RB1), Chuba Hubbard (Sit)
Christian McCaffrey is a stud. He’s 2nd among running backs in fantasy scoring despite only having one touchdown so far this season. When you have a guy who can be top 3 in his position when he doesn’t score you are set for fantasy. The Texans are coming off giving up 146 yards on the ground to the Browns rushing duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. CMC’s receiving work was the reason he was first in almost all fantasy drafts. Chuba Hubbard is a great stash. He has been given work that shows they have confidence in the rookie. The game should see high rushing totals for CMC and Hubbard as the Panthers look to blow out the Texans. I expect McCaffrey to score twice and be a top 3 running back for the week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
D.J. Moore (Start, WR1), Robby Anderson (Sit), Terrace Marshall Jr. (Sit), Dan Arnold (Sit, TE2)
The question coming into the season was who would be the number one wide receiver with McCaffrey coming back this year. It looks like it is D.J. Moore. Moore is top 20 in the NFL for targets and completions so far this season. He seems to be the go too receiving option for Darnold. He only has 1 touchdown so far this season but it’s only 2 games. He has yet to disappoint for fantasy. Robby Anderson was last years leading receiver for the Panthers. He seems to be lower on the pecking order this year despite reuniting with Darnold. Rookie Terrace Marshall has been the surprise this year. He has matched Anderson’s target numbers so far. The tight ends for Carolina have been sub-par so far. Dan Arnold could be a sneaky play but you are banking a lot on the hope he finds the endzone. The game itself looks to be a lower scoring game, with the Panthers getting up early.
Davis Mills (Sit, QB3)
Tyrod Taylor was playing very well before he got hurt in week 2. He is projected to be out for week 3. Davis Mills came in week 2 and had pedestrian numbers in relief. He went 8 for 18, 102 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. The rookie lacks the time to become a fantasy streamer. This is clearly not the plan the Texans had for Mills coming into the season. They were hoping to have Tyrod start longer and possibly have traded Deshaun Watson for another quarterback. I expect the Panther’s defense to feast on Mills’ inexperience.
Mark Ingram (Sit, RB3), David Johnson(Sit, RB3) Phillip Lindsay (Sit, RB4)
The backfield for Houston is a mess. Mark Ingram has been the lead back based on carries so far this season. He has 40 carries compared to 13 for Phillip Lindsay and 9 for David Johnson. Johnson has led the way in the receiving department with 6 targets compared to 3 and 2 for Ingram and Lindsay respectively. Lindsay leads the way with touchdowns with 2 while both Ingram and Johnson have 1 each. Starting Ingram is counting on his carries and yards being enough but I would not this week. The Texans should be playing from behind so they will have to pass more which should be a David Johnson type game but with rookie Davis Mills at quarterback, you have to wonder what he can do with the passing work.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
Brandin Cooks (Start, WR2), Nico Collins (Sit), Andre Roberts (Sit), Chris Conley (Sit), Pharaoh Brown (Sit)
The wide receiver options were suspect when Tyrod Taylor was starting. We are now looking at Davis Mills. What we did see was him hyper-target Brandin Cooks. out of Cooks’s 14 targets, 10 came from Mills. The rest of the wide receivers have been lackluster so far this season. We have seen plenty of backups come in and the wide receiver who usually plays with the second team does well. On this team that would be Andre Roberts who saw 2 targets from Mills in week 2 after none in week 1. Roberts would be a very risky start for fantasy. Roberts should see increased snaps with Nico Collins being out. Usually, new quarterbacks favor running backs and tight end. Even with that, I’m not sold on starting Pharaoh Brown.
– Dustin Ludke (Dunit13dl on Reddit)