Philadelphia Eagles (1-3, 1-3 ATS) at Carolina Panthers (3-1, 3-1), 1 p.m.
Brolley’s Eagles Stats and Trends
The Eagles are 1-7 ATS in their last eight road games.
Philly is 7-3 toward unders in its last 10 games.
Jalen Hurts has posted 21+ FP and 7.5+ YPA in every game this season, and he’s added at least 35+ rushing yards, as well. The Eagles had three different touchdowns negated by penalties and they settled for three field goals or his 28.2 FP could’ve been even better. Dak Prescott was the first QB to reach 20+ FP against the Panthers last week with four TD passes. He also had his best running day with 35 yards, and Jameis Winston previously posted 3/19/1 rushing in Week 2.
DeVonta Smith had one of the touchdowns called back for illegal touching, but he still had the best game of his young career with 7/122 receiving on 10 targets. He’s easily pacing the Eagles with a 23% target share and he’s been the top downfield target with an aDOT sitting at 15.8 yards. Amari Cooper posted 3/69/1 receiving in this matchup last week.
Jalen Reagor matched a season-low with a 70% snap share and he ran 13 fewer routes than Smith (52 to 39). The Eagles also got Greg Ward more involved with 19 routes last week and Quez Watkins, who saw seven targets. Reagor has reached double-digit FP twice and topped out at 2.5 FP twice. The Panthers are giving up the fifth-fewest FPG (29.5) to WRs so far.
Dallas Goedert played a season-high 74% of the snaps last week, he scored a touchdown, and ran more routes than Zach Ertz (36 to 30), but Ertz had more targets (8 to 5), catches (6 to 5), and yards (60 to 56). Cowboys’ TEs Dalton Schultz and Blake Jarwin combined for 26.6 FP last week with 7/76/2 receiving.
Miles Sanders has managed 9/40 rushing in the last two games after posting 28/129 rushing in the first two weeks. HC Nick Sirianni hasn’t been particularly interested in getting him involved the last two weeks, his offensive line has been marred by injuries, and the Eagles’ defense has allowed 41+ points in each contest. The Eagles are four-point road underdogs so the gamescript could work against him again. The Panthers are still giving up the third-fewest FPG (12.5) to RBs even after the Cowboys went for 30/210/1 rushing last week.
Kenneth Gainwell saw heavy work in Week 4 with the Eagles playing in a negative gamescript, posting 3/31/1 rushing and 6/58 receiving on eight targets (17% share) on a solid 39% of the snaps. The Eagles enter this week as four-point road underdogs so the gamescript could work in his favor again, but the Panthers are giving up a league-low 2.0 catches per game to RBs this season.
Brolley’s Panthers Stats and Trends
The Panthers have covered five straight games after failing to cover the week before.
Carolina snapped a six-game under streak with last week’s over against the Cowboys.
Sam Darnold is the first quarterback with five rushing TDs through the first four weeks of the season. He’s averaging 8.1 YPA in his first four starts with the Panthers, and he’s currently the QB5 with 23.7 FPG. He had his most difficult game with the Panthers in Week 4, but he still completed 26/39 passes for 301 yards (his third straight 300-yard game), two TDs, and two INTs, and he added 6/35/2 rushing. The Eagles have given up 40+ points in consecutive games to the Chiefs and Cowboys.
D.J. Moore has posted 20+ FP and 8+ catches with three overall TDs in the last three games, and he’s posted 75+ yards in every game. The Eagles just got ripped for 11/186/3 receiving by Tyreek Hill, but they limited CeeDee Lamb to 3/66 the week before.
Robby Anderson posted season-highs in snap share (84%) and targets (11), but it resulted in just 5/46 receiving. He hasn’t reached double-digit FP since his lone catch in Week 1 went for a 57-yard touchdown.
Christian McCaffrey is expected to miss another game with his hamstring strain, but there’s an outside shot he could return to action this week. Chuba Hubbard posted 15/71 scrimmage in his first game without CMC, but he played just 47% of the snaps with the Panthers falling down by three scores in the second half. I was concerned about Royce Freeman behind him, but it turned out that Rodney Smith was the bigger threat as the team’s hurry-up back. He topped Hubbard in routes (20 to 10), targets (5 to 2), catches (5 to 2), and yards (48 to 14). The Panthers enter this week as four-point home favorites so this week’s gamescript should be much more conducive for Hubbard, and the Eagles are giving up the second-most rushing yards per game (127.3) to RBs.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 25.9 (3rd)
Plays per game: 63.8 (24th)
Pass: 64.3% (9th) | Run: 35.7% (24th)
Pace: 29.8 (23rd)
Plays per game: 72.3 (4th)
Pass: 59.0% (18th) | Run: 41.0% (15th)
Outside of Week 2 where both the Eagles and 49ers flopped, Philly has put up 32, 21, and 30 points in three of their 4 games and their last two contests combined for 62 and 72 points as the Eagles defense crumbled and the Cowboys / Chiefs controlled those games throughout. And, once again, this game sets up as another contest where the Eagles are going to have to chase and play from behind with the Panthers coming in as 3-point favorites. The Eagles keeping their foot on the gas and throwing bodes well for this game overall, because the Eagles play fast while Panthers OC Joe Brady has continued running a fairly slow attack. Even though the Panthers rank a middling 23rd in pace, they are sixth-best in time of possession per drive (3:06) because they are sustaining offense and generating first downs consistently.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
When Carolina HC Matt Rhule and OC Joe Brady completed their film and analytical study of the Eagles’ defense, you can guarantee they were acutely aware of two facts:
- Philly’s new DC Jonathan Gannon devoted a great deal of time installing an exotic setup of coverage shells forcing opposing QBs into attacking the short and intermediate levels of the field.
- Without Brandon Graham on the field to enforce ground games at the point of attack, dropping so many defensive backs deep with the primary concern of closing off the third level leaves a chunk of the field exposed to run.
Obviously, this is a Chuba Hubbard or Christian McCaffrey point.
Even without Panthers rookie CB Jaycee Horn, DeVonta Smith will do more than half of his work dealing with Donte Jackson, who was the primary defender that limited CeeDee Lamb to a 2/13/0 line last week.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
The Panthers are becoming a pretty fun team for fantasy. We know about Christian McCaffrey — if he plays this week (he is doubtful, so it’s highly unlikely) you have to play him against an Eagle defense that has collapsed against opposing run games the last two weeks (3rd-most FPG allowed to RBs), coinciding with the loss of DE Brandon Graham (Achilles). And if McCaffrey doesn’t go, Chuba Hubbard is on the RB2 radar. Just keep in mind, as Brolley pointed out above, that Rodney Smith was used as Carolina’s passing-down back.
Panthers QB Sam Darnold is the QB5 for fantasy, but perhaps inflated a little bit because he has 5 rushing TDs. (He had 5 total in his career prior to 2021.) I also wonder if it’s inflated a little bit because of the Panthers’ soft early schedule, though Darnold had a big week with some garbage-time TDs against the Cowboys last week. The Eagles have played two of the best offenses (Dallas and Kansas City) the last two weeks, so that inflates their numbers allowed, but they’ve offered almost zero resistance to Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott the last two weeks. Darnold is once again on the high-end streamer radar, though he’ll be without T Cam Erving (neck).
Now for DJ Moore. Moore is the overall WR4, behind only Cooper Kupp, Tyreek Hill, and Deebo Samuel. One thing we like for Moore, in addition to him clearly being the guy for Darnold, is that OC Joe Brady knows how to use him. Given a matchup with Trevon Diggs, one of the best young CBs in the entire NFL, Brady ran Moore out of the backfield on a couple of snaps, giving him both a carry and a couple of targets — the second of Moore’s 2 TD last week came out of the backfield on an angle route, and he was aligned in the slot for his first, despite the overwhelming majority of his snaps coming out wide over the first month of the season. He’s a great player with a clearly gifted play designer getting him the football. He’s been a league-winner, there’s no other way to describe it.
Though Tyreek Hill got the best of Philly late last week, overall, one thing the Eagles’ two-deep shell has done is limit big plays down the field (they’ve just given up long drives, instead). That doesn’t bode well for Robby Anderson, who had 11 targets last week, but caught just 5 of them for 46 yards, despite an aDOT of 12.5. Anderson has the Panthers’ three-highest aDOT games for a WR this year, while rookie Terrace Marshall has yet to reach even 9 FP in a PPR league in a single week. Anderson is a volatile WR3, and Marshall is a bench stash at best.
For Philadelphia, their offense has actually been pretty good for fantasy, starting with QB Jalen Hurts. For our money, Hurts has played two very good games so far this year, and two so-so ones. He’s still missing some throws he needs to make, including some in Week 4 against Kansas City. But his production has been pretty insane for a guy who has made eight NFL starts. Hurts essentially went yard-for-yard with Patrick Mahomes in Week 4, posting 32/48 passing for 387 yards and 2 TD, adding 8/47 as a rusher. The Eagles — and Hurts — weren’t perfect. Hurts missed an easy TD to Zach Ertz on the Eagles’ first possession of the game, and penalties took three touchdowns off the board for Hurts, including — and improbably — the second time in three weeks one of Hurts’ young WRs committed an illegal touching penalty after going out of bounds on a perfectly thrown deep ball by Hurts; it was Jalen Reagor in Week 2, and DeVonta Smith in Week 4. Hurts is now the overall QB3 in scoring, behind only Mahomes and MVP frontrunner Kyler Murray.
Speaking of those penalties, Hurts has now lost five touchdowns to penalties on the year, and only once did the Eagles still score a TD after the fact. If Hurts got credit for the four passing TDs he lost and didn’t recover… he’d be the overall QB1 for fantasy. Carolina has given up the 8th-fewest fantasy points to QBs so far, but before giving up 4 TD passes to Dak Prescott last week, they had played Zach Wilson, Jameis Winston, and Davis Mills. From a fantasy perspective, Hurts is much closer to Prescott than the rest. He’s a slam-dunk QB1 in a high-scoring environment, and while RT Lane Johnson (personal) is out again this week, he will get LT Jordan Mailata back from a knee injury.
The Eagles have abandoned the run the last two weeks — stupidly so in Week 3 (Dallas), and defensibly so in Week 4 (Kansas City). That’s hurt Miles Sanders. But also hurting Sanders is the presence of a rookie who is looking like a stud in RB Kenny Gainwell. It’s going to be hard for Philly to justify not playing Gainwell, who had a fantastic game against Kansas City — 3/31/1 rushing and 6/58 receiving on 8 targets on a 39% snap share. The Eagles will likely have some easier matchups coming for their rebuilding defense, which should lend itself to more offensive balance. That’s good for Sanders’ fantasy prospects. But Gainwell isn’t going away. He’s the RB25 to Sanders’ RB33 so far, and with the Birds underdogs this week, it could be a Gainwell game. Both he and Sanders are FLEX plays, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Eagles try to grease the squeaky wheel here, especially with Panther LB Shaq Thompson (foot) out.
The only Eagle pass catches worth a start in most leagues are Smith and TEs Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Smith is a WR3 and Ertz and Goedert have combined for 24 targets (15 Ertz, 9 Goedert) after both bizarrely disappeared in the Week 2 gameplan.