Falcons-Panthers DFS Showdown: Injury and Depth Analysis
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PJ Walker will lead the Carolina Panthers again after being benched last week as Marcus Mariota and the Atlanta Falcons come to town for Thursday Night Football. Carolina and Atlanta faced off in Week 8, where both quarterbacks had themselves an unconventional shootout in a 37-34 OT victory for the Falcons. Tonight both quarterbacks’ passing yard totals sit around 165, underwhelming, to say the least, after Week 9 stinkers. We’ll rely on the rushing upside that Mariota has over Walker, with the threat of Walker getting benched in the back of our minds.
D’Onta Foreman will continue as the RB1 after having a strange three-game stint after the Christian McCaffrey trade. Chuba Hubbard is a considerable factor in eating away snaps, but he’s listed as questionable for tonight’s game. If he were to play, we could look at the Week 7 game where Foreman out-carried him 15-9 as a reference for the potential split we could see tonight. The third back Raheem Blackshear will only serve a minimal rotational role, as he wouldn’t see a significant increase in snaps in Hubbard’s potential absence. They’d continue to feed Foreman as they did in Week 8, with Spencer Brown being a candidate to get activated from the practice squad to serve as rotational back.
The Falcons will operate with a three-man backfield with Cordarrelle Patterson leading the charge. He only saw 13 touches last week with limited snaps, offering upside potential. However, the emergence of Tyler Allgeier could have that squashed as he still saw double-digit carries with Patterson back from injury. Head coach Arthur Smith isn’t afraid to ride the hot hand, which would give Caleb Huntley a strong ceiling as he carried the ball 16 times in two of his last four games. Huntley’s receiving upside is nonexistent, while Allgeier has only garnered six targets all season, with C-Patt only totaling three targets over his previous four games.
DJ Moore possesses the highest receiving upside on this slate without a reliable quarterback that can effectively and consistently get him the ball. Averaging nearly eight targets a game, Moore feasted with 152 yards in Week 8 without AJ Terrell roaming the secondary, which Moore will benefit from again. Terrace Marshall Jr. looks to be coming on, being targeted 15 times over the past two games with a sustainable snap%. The drop-off from Marshall to Shi Smith is rather considerable as Smith has only been targetted five times over the last three games and has only gone over 25 yards once this season. Laviska Shenault offers some desirability as he saw six targets against the Falcons two weeks ago but followed that up by only totaling three snaps last week.
Drake London will be the top receiver for Atlanta but has seen his rookie campaign slow down after a solid first few weeks. He’s totaled 40 yards or fewer in each of his last six games, even though he has three seven-target games in that stretch. Olamide Zaccheaus and Damiere Byrd will be the next two receivers, with Zaccheaus offering you a small sample of consistency as Byrd can give upside since six of his ten targets this season came against Carolina. KhaDarel Hodge will serve as the primary rotational receiver, with Bryan Edwards potentially being inactivated.
The Panthers don’t feed their tight ends a ton of volume, but Tommy Tremble will be the top option there who is trending hot. He’s been targeted four times in each of the last two games while having two touchdowns over his previous three games. Ian Thomas is trending down in utilization but still could be a factor for a target or two.
The Kyle Pitts breakout game against Carolina, where he went for 80 yards and a score. He’s been far from reliable this season, but he’s the best playmaker Atlanta has, and he’s seen 16 targets over his last two games after seeing 30 in his other six games. Parker Hesse and MyCole Pruitt will both see a fair amount of snaps, but the two have only combined for seven receptions this season.
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