Carolina Panthers (3-3, 3-3 ATS) at New York Giants (1-5, 2-4), 1 p.m.
Brolley’s Panthers Stats and Trends
The Panthers are 8-1 ATS in their last nine road games.
Carolina has played under the total in four straight games as a favorite.
Sam Darnold was the QB5 (24.7 FPG) through the first four weeks of the season, averaging 7.9 YPA while being pressured on 33.1% of his dropbacks. He’s plummeted to the QB26 (13.1) the last two weeks, averaging 4.9 YPA while being pressured on 45.6% of his dropbacks. Darnold’s receivers didn’t help him any by dropping eight passes in Week 6, but he at least added 4/48 rushing. The Giants have allowed multiple touchdowns to the position in every game this season, including seven total TD passes to Dak Prescott and Matthew Stafford the last two weeks.
D.J. Moore owned three of the dropped passes from last week on his way to a second straight floor performance (5/73 receiving). He at least saw 13 targets so he’s now averaging 10.5 targets per game and he has 5+ catches in every contest despite Darnold’s recent dip in play. CeeDee Lamb posted 4/84/1 receiving in this matchup two weeks ago, and Cooper Kupp just ripped this vulnerable defense for 9/130/2 last week
Robby Anderson also owned three drops and he was headed toward a truly horrific game last week before he caught a seven-yard TD in the final moments of regulation. He finished with just 3/11/1 receiving on 11 targets, which was his second game with double-digit FP. Anderson has seen 29 targets in the last three weeks after seeing just 11 targets in his first three games, and the Panthers have no choice but to keep targeting him with Terrace Marshall (concussion) and Brandon Zylstra (IR) banged up. Robert Woods managed just 2/31/1 receiving last week with Kupp doing most of the damage.
Chuba Hubbard owned the final two drops last week, but he found the end zone for the first time since taking over for Christian McCaffrey. He’s played exactly 65% of the snaps the last two weeks and he’s totaled 31.9 FP and 40 touches in those contests. Darrell Henderson feasted on the Giants last week with 24/107/2 scrimmage, and they’re now giving up the seventh-most FPG (27.8) to RBs.
Brolley’s Giants Stats and Trends
New York is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games.
The Giants are 6-0-1 toward unders in their last seven home games.
The Giants were dead in the water as soon as WR Kadarius Toney left the lineup last week after posting 3/36 receiving on the first seven plays of the game.
Daniel Jones had 22+ FP in three of his first four starts, but his progress was halted by a nasty collision at the goal line against the Cowboys in Week 5. Jones suffered a concussion on the play, and he played poorly in his return to the lineup in Week 6. He completed 29/51 passes for 242 yards (4.7 YPA) and three INTs, and he added just 3/4 rushing in the lopsided loss to the Rams. The Panthers have allowed 23+ FP to QBs in three straight games (Cousins, Hurts, Dak).
Jones didn’t have much of a chance last week after Kadarius Toney left with an ankle injury on the opening drive, which will keep out of the lineup again this week. Kenny Golladay (knee) and Darius Slayton (knee) will be in races to play this week or else Dante Pettis will see some run again after posting 5/48 receiving on 11 targets last week. Golladay had his best game of the season in Week 4 against the Saints with 6/116 receiving before injuring his knee in Week 5.
Sterling Shepard is the lone healthy WR option entering practice this week, and he went back to dominating targets with 14 looks for 10/76 receiving with Toney going down on the opening drive. Shepard is now averaging 8.7/94.3 receiving and 11.0 targets per game in his three full contests this season.
Evan Engram has yet to hit double-digit FP in four games this season even with New York’s WRs dropping like flies around him. He’s fallen below 30 receiving yards in three of his four games, and the Panthers are allowing the 15th-fewest FPG (12.0) to TEs.
Devontae Booker is likely to make at least one more start for Saquon Barkley this week. He finished with 12/41 rushing and 4/28 receiving on a 72% snap share in an ugly gamescript against the Rams last week, which gives him 35 touches over the last two weeks. The Panthers are giving up a generous 4.6 YPC to RBs, but opposing backs have scored the fewest FPG (14.9) thanks to a lack of receiving production (2.7/11.8 receiving per game).
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 28.2 (17th)
Plays per game: 73.3 (2nd)
Pass: 60.9% (15th) | Run: 39.1% (18th)
Pace: 26.7 (8th)
Plays per game: 67.5 (16th)
Pass: 65.7% (7th) | Run: 34.3% (26th)
Sam Darnold is seeing ghosts again and his struggles have absolutely nuked the Panthers last two games from a scoring perspective. Eagles-Panthers in Week 5 combined for just 39 total points scored and last week was looking gross again until the Panthers got going (ahem, the Vikings collapsed) and scored 11 unanswered points to force overtime at the last moment. Luckily, this is a cake matchup and the Giants can’t do the main thing that knocks Darnold off of his game and that is pressure the passer. Through six weeks, the Giants are second-from-last in pressure rate (18%), third-from-last in points allowed per drive (2.74), and fourth-from-last in time of possession allowed per drive (3:07).
If – and this is a huge if – the Panthers can push the scoring and take advantage of this matchup, this game has some shootout upside because the Giants play fast (8th in pace) and lean on Daniel Jones when trailing (10th in pass rate, 69.4%). However, just like last week, all of the scoring upside relies on Darnold and the Panthers offense showing up.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
Sterling Shepard has really stepped forward when healthy this season, producing numbers in line with his opportunities. In three healthy games, he’s generated a 8.7/94.3/0.3 line on 33 total targets for 20.8 FPG. Those hurt by Kadarius Toney last week are likely completely unaware of the fact that Shepard caught 10 passes in Week 6. As with other volume plays, the coverage algorithm falls short of identifying that type of upside.
A.J. Bouye has been okay in coverage this season. He’ll need to be far better than okay in defense of Shepard. Among slot corners, Bouye ranks 36th in YPCS, 35th in FP/CS, 34th in AY/CS, and 23rd in TPR. In Week 6, Bouye permitted an 11/123/0 line on 13 targets.
That’s now back-to-back duds from DJ Moore. But we should not be placing the blame on his shoulders. Robby Anderson has become a distraction. Sideshow Bob — I just made it up and I’m locking it in — just finished off one of the worst three-game stretches of play that I’ve ever witnessed. His recent juvenile hissy fit led to receiving 28 targets over those three games. He only caught 10 (36%), dropped four, and averaged a pedestrian 2.4 YAC/reception. That’s 0.65 YPRR for the kids back at home.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
So, uh, what do you think Panthers coach Matt Rhule saw on tape this week, with regards to QB Sam Darnold, to come out and say things this bluntly on Monday?
Matt Rhule says Panthers are “going to redefine who we are and we’re going to run the football.”— Joe Person (@josephperson) October 18, 2021
Rhule says “Sam is not playing well enough,” but notes all the factors that goes into Darnold playing well, including the lack of run game.— Darin Gantt (@daringantt) October 18, 2021
So that’s good news for Chuba Hubbard, who will get at least two more cracks as the Panthers’ top RB with Christian McCaffrey on IR.
Here’s Scott Barrett from the Week 7 Start/Sit column:
“Since Christian McCaffrey went down with an injury, Hubbard has handled 75% of the team's backfield XFP (but 97% in Week 6) while playing on 63% of the team's snaps (66% last week). Per four quarters, with McCaffrey out, he’s averaging: 17.3 carries, 4.3 targets, 16.1 XFP (RB12), and 14.5 FPG (RB20).
He gets a highly favorable matchup this week, favored by 3.0-points against a Giants defense that ranks: 3rd-worst in yards allowed before contact per attempt, 4th-worst in YPC allowed (4.75), and 9th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed (+3.5) to opposing RBs. With so many top running backs either hurt or on bye, that’s good enough for a high-end RB2 ranking this week.”
But if the Panthers are refocusing on the run game, what does that mean for the receivers here. They certainly didn’t help Darnold last week with 8 drops, even though Darnold himself was atrocious, but less volume means someone is going to disappoint further. DJ Moore has had his worst two fantasy performances of the season the last two weeks. In Week 5, Philly’s Darius Slay shut him down, and then he had 13 targets last week but just 5/73 against Minnesota. Still, he’s a much better option than…
Robby Anderson, who had 11 yards on 11 targets last week. Check out this stat about how unproductive the Panthers’ receivers have been:
Seven players in the NFL have 20 or more targets with less than 1.0 yards gained per route run.— Joe Dolan (@FG_Dolan) October 21, 2021
The #Panthers have two of them -- Robby Anderson and Terrace Marshall.
(By contrast, Moore averages 2.2 YPRR.)
It may be hard to sit Anderson during this week of byes and injuries, especially given the targets he got last week and the fact that Marshall, Brandon Zylstra, and Alex Erickson are all hurt. But he’s a prayer as a WR3.
Brolley also outlined above why this is potentially a very good matchup for Darnold as a streamer, if you’re willing to brave the fact that you’re playing Darnold, potentially down T Cam Irving (illness).
There’s another streaming option at QB from this game, as well — Daniel Jones. Here’s Jake Tribbey on the matchup:
“Jones is coming off back-to-back sub-5-point fantasy outings. He was concussed early-on against Dallas, so that’s an easy one to write off. This past Sunday, however, was a complete disaster for Jones and this Giants offense. Jones completed 29 of 51 passes for 242 yards and 3 interceptions. Is Jones dust now? Well, probably not. That performance came in his first game back from what looked like a pretty severe concussion (I know he was medically cleared, but come on), and the Giants were without Kenny Golladay and Darius Slayton, and Kadarius Toney was reinjured almost immediately. Factor in an outstanding Rams pass rush and it’s easy to see why Jones flopped in his first game back.
We can’t forget, however, that Jones averaged 23.6 FPG through his first four games, largely thanks to elite tier rushing production (7.7 rushing FPG). 23.6 FPG would currently make Jones the QB7, ahead of both Justin Herbert and Matthew Stafford. In a more neutral matchup against Carolina (20.0 FPG allowed, 13th-worst), Jones is a high-risk, high-reward streaming option.”
I’m actually more into Darnold this week than I am Jones, heaven help me. DJ Moore is better than anything the Giants have up there to vomit out, though I’m sure another double-digit target game is on the way for Sterling Shepard, who is easily on the WR2 radar this week… if his hamstring doesn’t continue to act up.
Check out everything the Giants are dealing with:
TE Evan Engram (calf), WRs Sterling Shepard (hamstring) and Darius Slayton (hamstring) all practicing Friday. Would expect them to play vs. Panthers.— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) October 22, 2021
Coach Joe Judge basically called Engram and Shepard’s inclusion on injury report normal “nicks and bumps.” #giants #panthers pic.twitter.com/99VqKaPRYP
While I think very few fantasy players would have the option to sit Devontae Booker in this matchup, Scott Barrett isn’t fond of it:
“Booker (more or less) got the bell cow workload we all envisioned, last week earning 12 of 15 carries and 4 of 6 targets out of the backfield on 71% of the team’s snaps. But he’s an easy bench in shallow leagues, up against a Panthers defense that ranks best in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing RBs (-8.1). If you’re starting him (we have him ranked as the RB31), just know you’re basically praying he finds the end zone to salvage his day.”
Scott also reminds us that Evan Engram plays in the NFL, but Engram’s inability to do anything useful despite all the opportunity he’s had is damning:
“Engram’s volume is no doubt fairly alluring. He ran a route on 75% of the team’s dropbacks last week (10th-most). He ranks 14th in targets per game (5.3). And New York’s receiving corps is decimated by injury — WR Kenny Golladay, WR Kadarius Toney, WR John Ross, TE Kaden Smith, and RB Saquon Barkley all failed to practice on Wednesday. Oh, and the matchup is somewhere between above average and neutral (+1.0).
The chief concern is this: he might just not be very good anymore. Despite consistent fringe-TE1-levels of volume, has hit double-digit fantasy points only once over his last 9 games. So, he’s just a high-end TE2 for us this week, despite everything else working in his favor.”
On top of that… he’s now dealing with a calf injury. Yikes.