The Panthers and Buccaneers will be playing on a neutral field Sunday morning as this game takes place in London and will start at 9:30 a.m. ET. This NFC South Divisional matchup sees the Panthers with a 3-2 record and the Bucs at 2-3.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices
With Cam Newton (shoulder) ruled out once again, Kyle Allen ($9,200) will make his fourth straight start. After a solid debut in Week 3 against the Saints, Allen has been relatively silent since, averaging only 206 yards with one passing touchdown over the past two games. With that in mind, this is a great spot for him to regain some of that Week 3 magic, as the Bucs’ defense was shredded by Teddy Bridgewater and has allowed some huge performances to Jared Goff and Daniel Jones. On the season, the Bucs have allowed an average of 25.4 DKFP to opposing QBs, which is the second-highest total in the league.
Since this is the second time these teams will meet this season, we can’t forget what this defense did to Christian McCaffrey ($13,000). They held him to 7.3 DKFP, as he rushed the ball 16 times for 37 yards and just two receptions for 16 yards. It doesn’t seem to be a fluke, either, as the Bucs have allowed the third-lowest fantasy points to opposing running backs. While you couldn’t outright fade McCaffrey in any matchup, this looks to be a tough matchup. Let’s not forget, this defense also has faced Alvin Kamara and Todd Gurley, who combined for 84 rushing and 96 receiving yards.
Of the receivers, D.J. Moore ($8,800) has arguably the most enticing matchup against CB Vernon Hargreaves. In coverage, Hargreaves has been targeted against 28 times, allowing 22 receptions for 369 yards and two touchdowns. With Allen under center, Moore has drawn 15 targets, which is the second-most amongst the Panthers receivers. Curtis Samuel ($7,200) continues to not get the respect he deserves despite leading the receivers with 20 targets with Allen. Samuel’s 524 air yards and 14.2 aDOT are both the highest on the team and, yet, he’s $1,600 less than Moore. I think Samuel is a fantastic Captain’s Pick option at $10,800, which is the seventh most expensive salary.
Finally, Greg Olsen ($6,800) has been silent over the past two weeks, resulting in two receptions for five yards. He was targeted only twice in Week 5 against the Jaguars and couldn’t haul either in, giving him 0 DKFP. If it wasn’t for the Arizona Cardinals, the Buccaneers would be the worst defense against tight ends by a wide margin. The unit allows an average of 89 yards and 21.1 DKFP per game, so Olsen should be back in the mix.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
We don’t doubt the talent of Jameis Winston ($10,600), we just doubt his decision-making and consistency. After back-to-back games of at least 380 passing yards, Winston came back down to Earth against the Saints with 204 and two touchdowns. His matchup here isn’t exactly an easy one, as the Panthers have allowed only one QB (Gardner Minshew) to throw for more than 300 yards. Winston threw for 208 yards and a TD — good for 13.2 DKFP — in their Week 2 matchup. The Bucs’ offensive line also is dealing with a couple of injuries, which could open up some opportunities for a Panthers pass rush that hasn’t exactly impressed up to this point.
If you’re looking for a bounce-back game from Mike Evans ($9,800) you might be out of luck. Likely drawing shadow coverage from CB James Bradberry, Evans has yet another tough matchup. Bradberry has been targeted against 25 times, allowing just 12 receptions for 186 yards. He shadowed Evans in Week 2 and allowed three receptions for 61 yards. All is not lost, however, as Chris Godwin ($10,400) is not only one of my favorite plays but one of my favorite Captains at $15,600. He likely will see CB Javien Elliot, who has been targeted against 12 times, allowing 11 receptions for 104 yards. While Godwin is second on the team in air yards at 526, he has a ridiculous 183 YAC. Finally, if you’re looking to save some salary, Bobo Wilson ($200) will continue to see some consistent snaps with Breshad Perriman out for this matchup. Wilson played more than 30 snaps over the past two weeks.
The Bucs’ running back committee continues to be a problem for fantasy purposes. We don’t have a solidified RB1 between Ronald Jones ($5,600), Peyton Barber ($5,000) and Dare Ogunbowale ($800). In Week 5, Jones had 11 touches, which was the most on the team, but Barber played on 35% of the snaps. You’re looking at a total crapshoot, which is unfortunate because the Panthers have allowed an average of 102 rushing yards and 23.5 DKFP per game. I’d rank them as Jones, Barber, Ogunbowale, and maybe try to mix each of them in if making multiple lineups. With all three involved, the upside is capped.
O.J. Howard ($4,200) and Cameron Brate ($1,600) continue to be the forgotten commodity in this Bucs offense. Howard didn’t receive a target in their Week 2 matchup and Brate had two, which he caught both of for 10 yards. At this rate, they’re just ways to mix up your lineups and save some salary. While the Panthers have yet to face a team that uses the tight end spot heavily, they allow an average of just 28 yards and 7.2 DKFP per game to the position.
I think this game has the potential to post a healthy amount of points, and the O/U of 47.5 points on the DraftKings Sportsbook feels a bit low to me. In the end, I think the Panthers do enough to squeak out a win and cover their -2 spread against the Bucs.
Final Score: Panthers 30, Buccaneers 24
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