Washington Football Team (3-6, 3-7 ATS) at Carolina Panthers (5-5, 5-5), 1 p.m.
Brolley’s Washington Stats and Trends
Washington snapped a four-game ATS losing streak last week
The Football Team is 1-4 ATS in their last five road games.
Washington has played under the total in four straight contests.
Taylor Heinicke has topped 16+ FP just once in his last five games, but he’s coming off a solid effort against the Buccaneers last week. He completed 26/32 passes (81.3%) for 256 yards (8.0 YPA) and one TD and he added 3/15 rushing. The Panthers have held three straight QBs (Colt McCoy, Mac Jones, Matt Ryan) to fewer than nine FP.
Terry McLaurin has topped 65+ receiving yards in just three of his nine contests this season after posting 6/59 receiving on eight targets last week. The Panthers limited Arizona’s top WR Christian Kirk to 7/58 receiving last week, and they’re allowing the second-fewest receiving yards per game (125.8) to WRs.
Washington could be down its top two TEs with Logan Thomas (hamstring, IR) and Ricky Seals-Jones (hip) both up in the air for Week 11. Thomas was initially given a four-week timeline to recover from his Week 4 hamstring injury, but he battled soreness in practice last week. Thomas posted 9.5+ FP in each of his first three games and he ran a route on 93% of Washington’s dropbacks. Zach Ertz managed 4/46 receiving in this matchup last week.
Washington actually played with a lead for most of Week 10, which enabled Antonio Gibson to see a season-high 24 carries on a 63% snap share against the Buccaneers. He averaged just 2.7 YPC but he had his best fantasy game of the season with 21.8 FP, which snapped a three-game run with fewer than nine FP. J.D. McKissic managed 4/35 receiving and 2/4 rushing on a nine-week low 38% snap share. Washington enters as 3.5-point road underdogs so they could have a chance to keep Gibson involved this week. The Panthers are giving up the fourth-fewest FPG (18.7) but RBs are averaging 4.3 YPC against them.
Brolley’s Panthers Stats and Trends
The Panthers beat Washington 20-13 as one-point favorites in Week 16 last season.
Carolina is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games as a favorite.
The Panthers have played under the total in five straight games as a favorite.
Carolina is 5-1 toward unders in its last six home games.
Cam Newton is back where it all started and he made a cameo appearance early in Carolina’s victory over the Cardinals in Week 10, running for the first touchdown of the game before throwing for another short score on the next drive. He’s coming off of a 2020 campaign in which he threw for eight TDs and 10 INTs while averaging just 177.1 passing yards per game, but he added 12 rushing TDs while averaging 39.5 rushing yards per game. Washington is giving up the most FPG (24.5) to QBs this season, and their pass rush is down both Chase Young (ACL, IR) and Montez Sweat (jaw, IR).
Christian McCaffrey has quickly reminded everyone why he was the no-doubt top overall fantasy pick this past summer since returning from the injured reserve in Week 9. In matchups against the two of the NFL’s best defenses, McCaffrey has posted 27/147 rushing and 14/120 receiving on 15 targets against the Patriots and Cardinals. He just missed out on a massive performance in Week 10 with multiple cracks at the end zone, only to see Cam account for two touchdowns at the goal line against Arizona. CMC did take a shot to his thigh and he spent some time in the medical tent, but he returned to the game so he’ll hopefully be ready for action this week against Washington. Washington is giving up 3.6 YPC but they’ve given up seven receiving TDs to RBs.
D.J. Moore desperately needs a shot of life with three straight performances with fewer than double-digit FP. He hasn’t reached 15+ FP in six straight games after doing it in each of his first four games. Moore is coming off his worst fantasy performance of the season with 4/24 receiving on seven targets against the Cardinals while primarily playing with P.J. Walker in Week 10. Cam isn’t a major upgrade as a passer at this stage in his career, but anything is better than Sam Darnold’s play since Week 4. Moore does have two years of experience playing with Newton in 2018-19 so there’s some hope he can get moving in the right direction relatively quickly if Cam isn’t too rusty after a long layoff. Washington is giving up the second-most receiving yards per game (192.2) to WRs.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 26.7 (16th)
Plays per game: 69.3 (6th)
Pass: 59.9% (19th) | Run: 40.1% (14th)
Pace: 27.7 (22nd)
Plays per game: 71.8 (4th)
Pass: 58.6% (21st) | Run: 41.4% (12th)
All pace / play data is from the last eight weeks.
After starting the season playing near the fastest clip in the league, Washington’s offensive pace has fallen down to league-average in recent weeks. My theory is that they are playing slower on purpose to help out their defense – by milking the clock more offensively, it naturally limits your opponents time of possession. I suppose it’s working? Washington is now eighth in time of possession per drive (2:56) despite their middling offense and, as a result, they have hit four straight unders after starting the season 4-1 towards overs.
At this point, the Panthers are putting all of their hopes at a turnaround on Cam Newton’s shoulders. Over their last eight games, the Panthers have scored a TD on just 14.7% of their possessions – only the Lions (13.5%) and Texans (8.9%) are worse. The good news is that Cam has one of the easiest draws in his first start as Washington is allowing a TD on 34.2% of their opponents possessions (second-highest rate).
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
During the five seasons since he took down the MVP award in 2015, Cam Newton’s 6.98 YPA would rank 27th in comparison to qualified ‘21 QBs. But let’s narrow the focus of that lens to his ‘20 season with New England. Newton ranked 34th out of 41 qualified QBs with 7.3 air yards/att, 31st with an 82.9 passer rating, one of only four QBs with more INTs than TD passes (Sam Darnold, Alex Smith, and Dwayne Haskins Jr.), and the sixth-highest sack rate (7.4%).
On the plus side, Newton tied two others (Nick Chubb and Josh Jacobs) for the fourth-most rushing TDs (12). And only Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray assembled more rushing yards than Newson’s 592. Cam managed those numbers by garnering a 29.3% share of team carries, 51.1% of all goal-to-go carries, and resulting in 62.5% of the Patriots’ goal-to-go TDs. How Newton’s addition will impact the production for Christian McCaffrey is yet to be determined.
For Week 11, Washington has approved 3.77 pure rushing FPG to QBs this season (third-highest). However, we need to account for two additional factors. Chase Young tore an ACL last week and Montez Sweat will continue to sit in Week 11 with a broken jaw. In addition, Washington only worked against QBs with anything close to resembling mobility in four-of-nine games. In those four games, the Football Team endorsed 8.4 YPC, an average rushing line of 4.5/38/0.5, and 6.8 pure rushing FPG to QBs. If Newton takes, let’s say, 10 combined carries + scrambles, he could collect double-digit FPs on ground production alone.
While the Panthers have shut down receiving production from RBs to the lowest output in the league (6.8 FPG), they haven’t been as dominant against ground production. They rank in the high teens to low 20’s across the board, so Antonio Gibson will at least have a window toward claiming a solid output.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
The story for this game is obvious — barring something unforeseen, Cam Newton is going to start at QB for the Panthers, who are in the dead center of the wild-card hunt. And while I will admit to being skeptical of Cam having anything left, I think it would be very surprising if he isn’t at least somewhat of an improvement over Sam Darnold. And heck, even with Cam throwing to jack squat last year in New England, while also playing poorly, he was still a fantasy asset because of his goal-line prowess. And it’s a #RevengeGame against Ron Rivera!
Here’s Jake Tribbey from Streamers:
“He’s baaaaack! Newton’s Carolina comeback went about as well as possible in Week 10, as he rushed for 1 TD and threw for another on just 9 total snaps. And he’s expected to be the full-time starting QB from Week 11 onward. Just how good will the 32-year-old QB be in his return to Carolina? I’m not exactly sure, but I think a reasonable expectation is similar to what he did in 2020 with New England, when he averaged 17.4 FPG. 17.4 FPG would tie with Russell Wilson for the QB14 this season, and would make Cam not just a viable streaming candidate this week, but a reasonable starting fantasy QB for the remainder of the season, especially in deeper leagues.
When it comes to Week 11, we really couldn’t ask for a better matchup for Newton. Washington is giving up 25.7 FPG to opposing QBs, which isn’t just the worst in the league, it’s the worst in the league by more than 15% (3.4 FPG). They also rank worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing QBs (+5.5), which is 71% worse than the next closest team. And they rank bottom-5 in PFF coverage grades (41.4). This defense is a disaster, and basically any competent NFL QB is having their best fantasy outing of the season against them. Fire up Newton as a high-end QB2 this week.”
I’d be foolish to say I hadn’t picked up Cam in some QB-needy spots, because I have. And while I’m not holding my breath, he might resurrect the season of DJ Moore and actually give Robby Anderson some value. I’m not starting Robby yet, but against Washington, I’ll trust Moore as a WR3.
Here’s Scott Barrett from Start/Sit on Moore:
“Moore got off to a hot start, averaging 22.4 FPG through his first four games. And then, both he and Sam Darnold seemingly fell off of a cliff, as he’s averaged just 9.7 FPG in the 6 games since (with a high of only 13.3 fantasy points).
Still, the volume has been there; he ranks 14th in XFP/G (16.8), and 18th over the last 5 weeks (16.4). Although, yes, Christian McCaffrey is back now, to eat a large chunk of the pie. (Though Washington has been tough against RBs, and specifically RBs through the air all year.) And yes, I’m not expecting much from Cam Newton. But by the same token, it’s also hard not to be an improvement on Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker, who collectively averaged just 160.7 passing YPG (2TD:9INT) since Week 5.
And, in any case, the matchup is just about perfect, and that’s the key reason why you’re starting him as a high-end WR3 this week. Washington is giving up a league-high 25.8 FPG to outside WRs, which is where Moore runs 81% of his routes.”
You might have run into the subsect of Twitter that constantly shouts down any notion that a running back could have value for a football team. In fairness, like most things in today’s world, their argument is more nuanced than that, but because of people shouting at them, they just shout back, and it’s obnoxious.
Well, I would be willing to shout at them if they suggest Christian McCaffrey can be adequately replicated by any jackwagon on the waiver wire. Since returning from IR, CMC has led the Panthers in both rushing and receiving in each of his first two games back.
Just how good has Christian McCaffrey been this year?— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) November 16, 2021
He's gaining 3.18 receiving yards per route run, which is second-best among *all players* and behind only Deebo Samuel (3.36).
As a runner, CMC has gained 10+ yards on 17% of his carries. Only Nick Chubb (18%) is better.
The biggest surprise from last week, outside of Washington just outright upsetting Tampa Bay, is how much Antonio Gibson was used in Week 10, getting a season-high 24 carries. Yes, he didn’t go very far with them, but he still scored twice and the Bucs’ run defense remains a nasty matchup.
Scott Barrett tried to dig in further in the Week 11 XFP Report:
“Gibson had an absolutely brutal Week 10 matchup; 9.5-point underdogs against the league’s best run defense. I was also worried about the stress fracture in his shin. I was told this is something that is only going to get worse (not better) and he’s going to have to fight through this injury for the remainder of the season. To make matters worse, in his last game prior to the bye, Gibson’s already declining snap share fell to just 33% (from 42%), and he was out-carried by the team’s other RBs 14 to 8, and out-targeted 9 to 3…. And so, understandably, I wrote Gibson up as a “sit”, and I felt good about it. What happened next? Gibson played on 62% of the team’s snaps (most since Week 2), handling 24 of 30 carries, 2 of 6 targets, and 4 of 4 opportunities inside the 5-yard-line. This was good for 22.9 XFP (6th-most), which he turned into 21.8 fantasy points (7th-most)… I’m not sure what to make of this, but due to my massive Gibson exposure, I’m at least hoping this means he’s turned a corner in his recovery and is nearing full health.”
I’m with Scott in that I have no idea what to make of it. Gamescript explains why JD McKissic took a backseat, but the fact that Jaret Patterson was barely involved is probably a good sign. Carolina is a tough matchup, though, so Gibson remains a volatile RB2.
I’m also eyeing up the TE position for Washington. Both Ricky Seals-Jones (hip) and Logan Thomas (hamstring — still on IR) are up in the air. With both guys down last week once RSJ got hurt, rookie John Bates caught 3 passes for 25 yards on a 64% snap share.