After last week’s sleepy divisional battle between the Eagles and the Giants, NFL fans will be treated to an NFC South clash between the Panthers and Falcons on Thursday Night Football in Week 8. The Panthers and the Falcons both have losing records, but they each have some serious talent on the offensive side of the ball. That will surely excite NFL DFS players, as there will be plenty of options to choose from in this game after last week’s lackluster slate. Our FanDuel single-game lineup will try to pick the right combination of offensive stars with a high floor and high ceiling.
There are plenty of worthwhile MVP options on this week’s slate, but we’re targeting the safest one of the group: A consistent quarterback taking on a bad defense. Usually, doing that would mean we have one of the highest owned MVPs, but because of the other high-priced options, this player may be high-owned but not in the top spot. We’re spending almost all of our budget but are leaving a bit of room just in case Christian McCaffrey is able to return from an ankle injury. We’ll pivot to him if he can play, but for now, he’s not in our lineup.
FanDuel Single-Game Picks: Panthers vs. Falcons
MVP (1.5x points): Teddy Bridgewater, Panthers ($13,500)
Somehow, there are four players on the slate with higher prices than Bridgewater — Christian McCaffrey, Mike Davis, Matt Ryan, and Calvin Ridley. While all are certainly playable in this matchup, if healthy, Bridgewater being priced below them is questionable. Bridgewater has at least two TDs in three of his last four games and put up 20.82 FanDuel points in his last meeting with the Falcons. He has a high floor but also a very high ceiling against a Falcons team that has allowed the most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to QBs. He’s an ideal MVP pick, as others may go with one of the RBs or Ryan despite Bridgewater being the safest option.
FLEX: Mike Davis, Panthers ($15,000)
If McCaffrey (ankle) can’t return to action for the Panthers, Davis should be played in single-game lineups. He has logged just 16.6 total FD points the past couple of weeks, but the matchup against the Falcons is far more favorable than his outings against the Saints and Bears. The Falcons don’t allow a lot of rushing yards, but they have been torched by RBs as receivers this year. They are the only team to allow four receiving TDs to RBs and have given up the sixth-most receiving yards to the position. Davis has been a solid receiver and could have a chance to repeat his last outing against the Falcons in which he racked up 25.4 FD points. We will have to pivot from Davis to McCaffrey if he plays, but if not, fire Davis up as a high-ceiling contributor.
FLEX: Todd Gurley, Falcons ($12,000)
The Panthers are one of six teams to allow nine or more TDs to RBs this season. Last time they played Gurley, he had a season-high 121 rushing yards despite getting just 14 carries in the game. Gurley should continue to find running room against the Panthers, who allow the fourth-most FanDuel fantasy points to RBs at a mark of 27.9, and may be able to do some damage as a receiver against the Panthers’ poor pass defense against RBs (56 catches, 401 yards allowed both lead the NFL). Gurley has five TDs in his last four outings, too, so he’s just a safe all-around pick.
FLEX: Robby Anderson, Panthers ($10,000)
Since we have Bridgewater and the Falcons secondary has allowed the second-most total yards to WRs this year (1,561) behind only the Seahawks, we wanted to get a couple of his receiving weapons. Anderson made sense given that he is cheaper than D.J. Moore but has just as much upside. Anderson has shown great chemistry with Bridgewater and is averaging 6.6 catches and 91.4 receiving yards per game. He should do well against a Falcons secondary he burned for eight catches and 112 yards in early October, and if he can get a TD in this game — he has just one this year — he could pay off big time. Either way, his 13.33-point average on FD is solid and will give us plenty of opportunities to earn double points with him and Bridgewater working together.
FLEX: Curtis Samuel, Panthers ($8,000)
We’re going Panthers-heavy with this lineup. Samuel is one of the better value plays on the slate, as he has been getting consistent touches for the Panthers. He has seen 7.3 touches per game and has averaged 54.3 total yards in that span. That may not seem like a lot, but the fact that he’s involved both as a runner and a receiver is good, and he did score a rushing TD against the Saints last week. Samuel could find success against the Falcons defense and had 8.9 points against them last time out. If he can find the end zone again, he should reach double digits. By fading Moore and playing Samuel, we’re getting key lineup differentiation.