In addition to providing the same invaluable passing game analysis from last season, Advanced Matchups has evolved to encompass offensive ground game study. In fact, each and every team will now be analyzed to provide more Advanced Matchups than ever before. As a premium subscriber at Fantasy Points, you also have access to an Advanced Matchups that will be updated throughout the week.
With all of that out of the way, let’s cannonball our way into the Week 3 analysis.
A slight alteration to the format this week. We’ll be releasing Advanced Matchups in three parts:
- Thursday Night Football
- The Main Sunday Slate (will be released early tomorrow)
- Sunday and Monday Night Football (will be released later tomorrow)
The same level of analysis will be packed into the trilogy for all of your needs. My Against the Spread picks, Total wagers, and, new for this week, Moneyline parlay are included if you so choose to tail my selections. Week 2 was not kind to my ATS picks, easily the worst week since I began including picks early last season.
Against the Spread Picks (5-7 — 1-5 in Week 2 😱)
Tennessee Titans (-5.5) vs. Indianapolis Colts
Arizona Cardinals (-7.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Los Angeles Rams (+1.0) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Seattle Seahawks (-2.0) at Minnesota Vikings
Green Bay Packers (+3.5) at San Francisco 49ers
Total Wagers (3-3 — 1-1 in Week 2)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams (Under 55.5)
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers (Over 49.5)
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (Over 51.5)
Carolina Panthers (-380) at Houston Texans
Arizona Cardinals (-355) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans (-260) vs. Indianapolis Colts
Buffalo Bills (-390) vs. Washington Football Team
Kansas City Chiefs (-300) vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Denver Broncos (-610) vs. New York Jets
Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans
8:20 PM EST (Thursday Night Football)
NRG Stadium (Retractable Dome)
Game Time Temperature: 75℉
Wind: 9 MPH
Wind Gusts: 12 MPH
Chance of Precipitation: 0%
Betting Line: Panthers -8.0
Moneyline: Panthers (-409), Texans (+318)
Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives
TE Tommy Tremble (Full Practice - Probable - Groin)
OT Taylor Moton (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)
OT Cameron Erving (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)
OG Dennis Daley (Full Practice - Probable - Hip)
OG Pat Elflein (No Practice - OUT/IR - Hamstring)
DE Morgan Fox (Full Practice - Probable - Ankle)
DE Yetur Gross-Matos (No Practice - OUT - Ankle)
CB Jaycee Horn (Full Practice - Probable - Back)
CB Myles Hartsfield (No Practice - OUT/IR - Wrist)
QB Tyrod Taylor (No Practice - OUT/IR - Not Injury Related)
QB Deshaun Watson (No Practice - OUT - Not Injury Related)
WR Danny Amendola (No Practice - OUT - Thigh)
WR Nico Collins (No Practice - OUT/IR - Shoulder)
DT Vincent Taylor (No Practice - OUT/IR - Ankle)
ILB Kamu Grugier-Hill (No Practice - Questionable - Knee)
CB Terrence Mitchell (No Practice - OUT - Concussion)
FS Justin Reid (No Practice - Questionable - Knee)
Matchups to Target
D.J. Moore, CAR ($5.9K DK | $7.2K FD) vs. Terrance Mitchell, HOU
It’s possible that Terrance Mitchell could be held out with a concussion. If so, this spot for D.J. Moore would improve further as 2018 sixth-rounder Tremon Smith would slide in to start on the right side. It’s still good if Mitchell plays. He ranks 50th among 76 qualified CBs in yards allowed/coverage snap (YPCS), 31st in FPs/coverage snap (FP/CS), and among the bottom-10 in rate of deep completions. The new-look Texans’ defense features the second-highest rate of Cover 2. Over the last three seasons, Moore ranks 28th out of 156 qualified WRs with 0.39 FPs/route (FP/Rt) when facing Cover 2. Houston’s defense has actually played quite well, limiting opposing WR units to the seventh-fewest FPG. But with the 12th-highest target share (28%) out of 102 WRs running at least 25 routes, he will easily be the top receiver option on Thursday night.
The Houston #Texans Wednesday Injury Report and Game Status Report for Week 3 vs. the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football.— Houston Texans PR (@TexansPR) September 22, 2021
The team conducted a walkthrough on today and the injury report is only an estimation of a player's participation if there was a full practice. pic.twitter.com/5NZuMae0Zm
Update: Terrance Mitchell is out. D.J. Moore was spotted filing his teeth in preparation of mauling Tremon Smith in tonight’s game.
Brandin Cooks, HOU ($6.2K DK | $7.3K FD) vs. Donte Jackson, CAR
Speaking of target shares, Brandin Cooks has been provided with the third-highest such rate through the first two games. He’ll align across from Donte Jackson on somewhere in the neighborhood of one-third of his reps. Jackson’s coverage ranks 38th-of-76 qualified outside CBs in YPCS, 26th in FP/CS, and 47th with a 103.1 targeted passer rating. As a whole, the Panthers defense has closed down opposing WR units to the tune of the fifth-fewest FPG (26.8). And, as I’ll discuss next, he’ll be dealing with a rookie QB making the first start of his career. But Cooks is simply seeing too many looks to ignore. And he fabricated a 4/28/1 receiving line on nine targets after Davis Mills took over for the injured Tyrod Taylor in the second half last week. Best of all, Cooks ranks 13th out of 156 qualified WRs the past three seasons in FP/Rt against the Cover 4 featured by the Panthers at the league’s second-highest rate.
Matchups to Avoid
Davis Mills, HOU ($5.0K DK | $6.5K FD) vs. Panthers’ Cover 4
Things are about to get ugly on NRG Parkway. Forced into action at least a season before he’s ready, Davis Mills will be immediately tossed into the meat grinder against a defense featuring a trio of QB assassins in Brian Burns, Morgan Cox, and Haason Reddick. To make matters worse, Shaq Thompson (2nd) and Jaycee Horn (10th) have limited their coverage to bottom-10 targeted passer ratings this season. At least Houston’s O-line has done a decent job protecting the pocket through two games. Mills actually did some of his best work against Cover 4 setups while playing for Stanford. So the thinking is he’ll do enough to feed Cooks with a nice game, but fall well short of value against a defense that has limited opposing QBs to the fifth-fewest pure passing FPG this season.
Final notes on Carolina
It would certainly help his cause if some of Houston's starters in the secondary are ultimately ruled out. However, the most significant factor potentially working against Sam Darnold ($5.9K/$7.1K) is the level of play of his QB counterpart. It’ll be some time before we can use anything in Darnold’s coverage success history to predict outcomes with any reliability. If the Panthers do mount a substantial lead early, it should be to the benefit of Christian McCaffrey’s ($9.0K/$10.5K) ground production. If the Texans manage to keep the game close, CMC will be provided with some of the most generous LB coverage in football from Zach Cunningham. Desmond King II presents a solid challenge for Terrace Marshall Jr. ($3.5K/$5.0K). But it’s only a matter of time before Marshall hits paydirt. He ranks third-best with an average air yards/target of 22.3, but Robby Anderson’s ($5.7K/$6.1K) value takes quite a hit from a pedestrian 12% target share. And he’ll face coverage from a reinvented Vernon Hargreaves III.
Final notes on Houston
Carolina has placed its stamp across the foreheads of opposing backfields, limiting RBs to the fewest pure rushing FPG this season (2.9). Shaq Thompson will be serving up Mark Ingram II ($5.1K/$5.9K) for a late lunch. And it should go without saying that coverage from Jaycee Horn will render Chris Conley ($3.0K/$5.0K) less useful than usual, which is a challenge in and of itself.