Thursday Night Football- Panthers at Broncos
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While the world is understandably anxious for this Super Bowl rematch, this game has the lowest projected total score of the week and is one of the least appealing for fantasy purposes.
Quarterback – Cam Newton is always in play when it comes to Daily Fantasy. We all were witnesses of the season the Panthers put up last year and the explosive potential they possess. Although Denver has a stout defense, last year was proof that Newton can do it against anyone. Newton is the 6th most expensive quarterback on the slate, and a little pricey for what is likely to be a slow paced game. On sites like DraftKings we are going to need three touchdowns and a bonus of some sort to recoup our investment in tournaments. Cam provides a safe floor for “cash” games nobody should be faulted for being comforted by his likely baseline production.
Running Back – Jonathan Stewart was surprisingly fantasy relevant last year and was a huge part of this Panthers team’s march to the super bowl. Regression is almost a certainty, particularly in Week 1 against a stout Denver rushing defense. If his performance in the Super Bowl of 28 yards on 13 attempts is any indicator, there is ample cause for concern here. Additionally, Cam’s rushing prowess and the presence of RB Mike Tolbert, who often comes in on 3rd downs and in goal line situations, will limit the touchdown opportunities for Stewart. At his current price across the industry, it is going to be a challenge for Stewart to reach tournament value and be a part of winning lineups. For this reason, it is safe to fade Stewart and any other individual players else not named Cam Newton on this team.
Wide Receivers – This is another scenario where it is difficult to pinpoint who exactly will have the bigger game. While Kelvin Benjamin adds another weapon to the Panthers passing gam, he’s expected to play snaps only in the thirties. Devin Funchess has been a hot name, rising up draft boards as the pre-season continues. Again, the Denver defense is a top-tier squad so it is hard to see upside in this matchup for the Panthers receivers. Even with their cheap price tags, none of these guys are in play as it will be difficult to outperform their salary. If we had to pair one WR with Newton in tournaments, it would be Tedd Ginn Jr. due to his big play ability.
Tight-Ends – Greg Olsen is a top three tight end on any given week, and the most likely pass catcher to have any serious production in this game. He is clearly Cam Newton’s favorite target and is always in play whether paired with his quarterback or as a solo play. This week he is the third highest projected tight end in most rankings, behind only Jordan Reed and Rob Gronkowski. Cam Newton and Greg Olsen connected for seven touchdowns last season and should produce at the same rate this time around. At just $5,100 on sites like DraftKings, Olsen is in a great spot to exceed his salary and provide upside in tournaments.
Defense/Special Teams – Carolina will have a top-tier defense once again this year. Even with the departure of CB Josh Norman, this is still a defense to be reckon with and should provide fantasy value throughout the season. Denver ‘s rookie quarterback has yet to play an NFL snap and gets a Thursday night game against an elite defense. Look for the Panthers defense to control this game and provide a nice fantasy outing. The Carolina D is the best play Thursday night and a top five defense on the week.
Even though they are at home, the Broncos offense is not as appealing from a fantasy perspective with their matchup against a stout Carolina Panthers defense.
Quarterback – The Broncos are starting second year quarterback Trevor Siemian who is likely just keeping the seat warm for Paxton Lynch who should be the starter sooner rather than later. The fact that Siemian is under center really limits all of the upside on this offense.
Wide Receivers – Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are no longer as appealing as they were in years past due to their unproven signal caller. If you also factor in the matchup against a stingy defense, this is a spot that we can safely stay away from.
Running Back – C.J. Anderson will likely see a good amount of touches in this game. Unfortunately the underlying issue here is that the Panthers will possibly stack eight in the box, and this unit was one of the toughest run defenses in the league last year. Anderson did have an impressive 100 yards on 27 touches in the Super Bowl, but we’d expect both those numbers to decrease tonight. The Panthers surrendered just 91.2 rushing yards per game and only allowed eight rushing touchdowns to opposing backs.
Tight End – Virgil Green is listed as the Broncos TE1 and while he is a talented player, we are again stuck with the quarterback situation and tough matchup. This is an easy stay away.
Defense/Special Teams – The Broncos defense was elite last season and should still considered one of the top defenses in the League once again. They do not have an easy task at hand against Cam Newton and the Panthers. The potential poor play by the offense could leave this defense vulnerable as far as field position is concerned and they will likely be spending extra time on the field which will leave them worn out and vulnerable to long drives by the Panthers. Again, this is not an ideal situation and while the Broncos will be a popular fantasy pick this year, there are better options this week.