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NFL Matchups: Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans Fantasy Football Preview

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This a snippet of Adam Pfeifer’s NFL matchups column, previewing the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans for Fantasy Football Lineups. Fantasy rosters needed protective spray because players were bit hard by the injury bug in Week 3. Multiple backup quarterbacks made starts, and running backs and wide receivers all suffered injuries this past weekend, with a handful of key offensive linemen also going down. As a result, we missed on plenty in this article, but we hit on plenty, as well. Back on the horse. With that in mind, let’s dig into some NFL matchups and NFL game breakdowns for your Week 4 Fantasy Football Lineups. Fire up some Deshaun Watson & DJ Moore

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Carolina Panthers @ Houston Texans 

Total: 46.5

Line: HOU -4.5

Panthers passing game

Holy Kyle Allen. If you played the backup quarterback at just $4,000 on DK, it didn’t take long for you to be rewarded. Allen torched the awful Arizona defense to the tune of 261 yards, four touchdowns and zero picks. While Arizona is the gift that keeps on giving, Allen definitely looked good in this one and he was far more accurate than Cam Newton has been, which isn’t too difficult. Newton has already been ruled out for Week 4, meaning Allen gets another start.

His price has jumped to $5,200, which isn’t bad, but I do prefer other passers around him. But if you need a streamer in one or two-quarterback leagues, you could do worse than Allen. The Panthers are operating at the second-fastest pace in football (23.86 seconds per play), which is always fantasy friendly. Carolina has some really solid weapons on offense and the weak point of this Houston defense is certainly the secondary, as the Texans are allowing opponents to complete 70.4 percent of passes (7th-worst), to go along with the sixth-most fantasy points per game to opposing signal callers.

Curtis Samuel tied for the team lead in targets with seven last week, hauling in five of them for 53 yards and a score. He showed a nice rapport with Allen, who appeared to favor Samuel over D.J. Moore. Samuel has big play potential and plenty of speed, while the Texans cornerbacks are really, really slow. Consider Samuel as a high-upside WR3 and a fantastic daily option at a too-cheap $4,600 price tag on DK. He should not be $1,000 cheaper than Moore, who went 52 yards to the house last week, but only saw two targets. Moore saw 24 targets from Newton during the first two weeks and if Allen prefers Samuel, he will move down towards the WR30 range going forward.

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Greg Olsen had a great game against Arizona on Sunday because, well, everyone does. This is the worst team in football against tight ends and while Olsen likely won’t have a repeat performance this week, that doesn’t mean you should get away from him. Olsen saw seven targets on Sunday and is tied for third among all tight ends in routes run (102). He remains a huge part of this offense and should also remain in your lineups going forward.

Panthers running game

It was the second consecutive underwhelming receiving output for Christian McCaffrey on Sunday but it didn’t matter. McCaffrey went off for 153 rushing yards and a touchdown, a 76-yarder. The 24 carries were fantastic to see and the every-down player has legitimate 30-touch upside right now. The Texans, meanwhile, have struggled against running backs so far this season, allowing the second-most receptions (8.0) and fourth-most targets (9.3) per game to opposing backfields thus far. Houston is also allowing 5.4 yards per carry, tied for the second-worst mark in the league. Expect another great game from McCaffrey here in Week 4.

Texans passing game

Despite once again seeing a ton of pressure, Deshaun Watson was magnificent on Sunday, completing 24 of 34 passes for 351 yards and three touchdowns against the Chargers. It was great to see after watching him struggle in Week 2 and now the Texans return home to host the Panthers. There is nothing particularly special about this matchup, as Carolina is allowing the seventh-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing signal-callers this year. They can also generate pressure at an above average rate, which is always a concern when dealing with Watson. Still, you aren’t sitting him, especially with him averaging five carries per game, fourth-most among all quarterbacks. If I’m paying up at quarterback this week, it likely won’t be for Watson, which might be a lot of people’s mindset, making him a fine GPP play, especially because the upside is always there.

After going off in Week 1, DeAndre Hopkins has been fairly quiet over the last two weeks, catching a total of 11 passes for 107 yards and no touchdowns during that span. Matchups with Jalen Ramsey and Casey Hayward can do that to you and while a meeting with James Bradberry isn’t much better, Hopkins should be able to return to his elite form at home this weekend. I prefer Julio Jones and Keenan Allen at the high-end range in DFS, but Hopkins is rarely ever a bad play. Will Fuller continues to play well over 90 percent of the snaps for the Texans and you know a big game is coming. It could be this week if Hopkins is once again limited by a strong opposing corner.

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Texans running game

It appears that the offseason Duke Johnson hype was for nothing. Johnson is playing just over 50 percent of the snaps this season, while averaging just 7.6 touches per game. Watson rarely checks it down to the running backs, limiting his PPR potential and now Carlos Hyde is taking anywhere between 12-20 touches per game from Johnson. I really don’t love either running back here against a strong Carolina defensive front.

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