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NFL Prime Time – Week 10 Thursday Night Football (FREE)

Eric MacPherson



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Week 10 Thursday Night Football

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Greetings Gamers!  We are going to start the week out with a bang on Thursday with an intriguing matchup between the Carolina Panthers and Pittsburgh Steelers, though things wind down with a whimper as two of the three lowest projected scores with twin 43.5 projected totals for the Sunday night game between Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles and on Monday night with the New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers.


Week 9 Recap

SF 34 vs OAK 3 this was a bit of a surprise with the Raiders absolutely dying on the vine, managing just 242 combined yards and suffering the indignantly of undrafted rookie Nick Mullens posting one heck of a debut – going 16 for 22, 262 yards and three passing touchdowns spread around to George Kittle, Pierre Garcon and Kendrick Bourne.

NE 31 vs GB 17 this one was a bit of a snoozer, unless you had James White and his trio of touchdowns.  Marquez Valdes-Scantling was solid and may have an opening now that Geronimo Allison just can’t shake his hamstring injury.  Josh Gordon also was outstanding with 10 targets for 5/130/1 and Julian Edelman was steady with 10 for 6/71/0 and a 37-yard pass to White.  Both Rob Gronkowski and Sony Michel were out with injuries and we saw Cordarrelle Patterson lead the way with 11 carries for 61 yards and a score out of the backfield – keep that in mind for the Patriots next appearance this week in Tennessee taking on the Titans.

TEN 28 at DAL 14 speaking of which, the Titans rolled over the Cowboys in Dallas on Monday Night Football.  Both quarterbacks had some of their best games for their dual disappointing seasons with Marcus Mariota passing for two and rushing for a third score and Dak Prescott also tossing a pair of touchdowns himself.

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Week 10 Thursday Night Football

Carolina Panthers at Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5 / 51.0

Carolina Panthers 23.8 implied point total

Quarterback – Cam Newton projects as a top 5 QB this week in most scoring systems for the full slate and even though the Steelers check in with a solid #14 passing DVOA per Football Outsiders, his rushing efforts give him a solid production cushion (he is on pace for 680 yards and 8 TDs for perspective and has had fewer than 33 rushing yards only once).  We can look to him in all contest types this week as a strong option.

Running Back – Christian McCaffery continues to develop as an all-around threat out of the backfield and he is on pace to crack the 1,000 yard mark rushing along with close to 100 receptions and 700 yards receiving.  He has seen at least six targets in every game save for one and he has had at least five receptions in all but two.  There is not much else to say, we know his track record and he is in a reasonable matchup – with the only real concern being that the Steelers have not allowed any running back to top 100 combined yards this season and they are allowing the fewest fantasy points this season to the opposition.  At least we know that McCaffery will be dominating his team’s “market share” for this position.

Wide Receiver – so much of the passing game goes to McCaffery that only Devin Funchess has topped 50 targets, 20 receptions and 300 yards for this group.  D.J. Moore is the next most intriguing option as he also has received 7 rushing attempts for 117 yards to go along with 26 targets for 19/297/1, Curtis Samuel is next and as we saw Sunday, he can score from anywhere on the field.  He has scored twice on the ground in just three attempts and also seen 12 targets for 8/106/2 and while that is not a ton of production, we are only focusing on one game and he is a viable option who also sees some action with kickoff returns.

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Tight End – Greg Olsen missed three games with a foot fracture, but he has been his usual productive self in the other five with 24 targets for 18/218/3 and we know that he is one of Newton’s most “trusted” options in the red zone.  Pittsburgh has allowed the fifth most fantasy points this season to opposing tight ends with 9.3 targets per game for 6.6 receptions, 72.3 yards and four total touchdowns to the position.

Defense Special/Teams – in the five games since Week 3, Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked just three times and he only has 7 INTs on the season with the Steelers losing just five fumbles on the season – there are not many potential points to be had here.


Pittsburgh Steelers 28.3 implied point total

Quarterback – Ben Roethlisberger got crunched on a downfield scramble, but fortunately he only had the wind knocked out of him.  Carolina has been a bottom five team most of this season against the pass according to Football Outsiders and they currently have a #26 DVOA ranking on the season.  While the Panthers have only allowed 300+ passing yards to opposing signal callers, they have allowed multiple touchdowns in every game since Week 2.  We know we like to roll with Big Ben at home and he should be fine on the short week with his familiar and trustworthy pass-catching options.

Running Back – Le’Veon Bell is unlikely to report again this week and that leaves second year man James Conner with the bulk of the backfield responsibilities once more.  Carolina has allowed the fifth fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, however, much like with McCaffery, we know that Conner should see plenty of opportunities and he rates in the RB4-7 range on the full slate this week from a fantasy perspective.

Wide Receiver – Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster are both top 10 options at their position each week and the volume is high for both of them with Brown #5 and Smith-Schuster #13 in the league for targets and while the youngster has more yards and receptions 53/672/2 it is the veteran who is very clearly still the alpha on his team with more touchdowns 51/594/9 as he leads the league by two in this category.

Tight End – Vance McDonald and Jesse James continue to share snaps for the most part, though McDonald is arguably the better receiver, Roethlisberger spreads the ball around to whomever is open and generally doesn’t force things to the tight ends.  On the season, the Panthers have been in the bottom third of the league from a fantasy perspective.

Defense/Special Teams – this is a tough spot to consider Blitzburg with Carolina allowing only a dozen sacks on the season along with three fumbles and four interceptions with no return scores.

Summary – this will be a fun one and with the variety of options on both sides that have game breaking ability, it would seem the best way to approach this slate if you are only playing a handful of lineups is to “craft a storyline” and build around those scenarios.

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Summary – this will be a fun one and with the variety of options on both sides that have game breaking ability, it would seem the best way to approach this slate if you are only playing a handful of lineups is to “craft a storyline” and build around those scenarios.


Single Game Ranking (taking into account projected production, pricing and popularity)

  1. Cam Newton (has the ball in his hands every play, one of the best supporting casts in years with everyone healthy and he is not afraid to call his own number near the goal line)
  2. James Conner (love him on DraftKings with the full-PPR, on FanDuel it will be a little tougher to work him in at his salary, however, that keeps him as the #2 overall play there as well)
  3. Christian McCaffrey (sooooooooooo involved in the Panthers offense it is hard for him to fail – he certainly can, but it is not the expected outcome)
  4. Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster (on DraftKings the savings dropping down to JuJu will be a popular strategy while on FanDuel there is only a $2,000 difference and it makes it easier to scrape enough salary together to get there)
  5. Ben Roethlisberger (price and the low-likelihood of him scoring a touchdown himself drops him from the #2 spot)
  6. Graham Gano (going to the kickers early because we are going to need the salary relief – remember that the winds at Heinz Field can be tricky)
  7. Chris Boswell (even though he is at home, he gets dropped behind Gano as his coach is most definitely not afraid to go for 2-point conversions)
  8. Greg Olsen (we are looking for a touchdown to pay off this number on both sites, but it is not too much of a stretch for that to come to fruition)
  9. Devin Funchess (always seems to be a in a decent spot, never seems to actually produce… 55 career games, 153 receptions, 2,129 yards and 20 touchdowns – only five games over 75 receiving yards and just six games with more than five receptions – I will let others assume this risk, but from an opportunity standpoint this is the “correct” play, at least until the game starts)
  10. J. Moore (I have an irrational crush for Moore and at $8,000 on both sites, he will be in the majority of my lineups and he makes for a fine direct pivot away from Funchess)
  11. Vance McDonald and Jesse James (whenever we think it will be one of them, the other seems to spoil the plans – Roethlisberger is not afraid to utilize the tight ends, McDonald will probably be close to twice as popular as James even with the salary discrepancy)
  12. Defense/Special Teams (pick a team, both quarterbacks don’t generally turn over the ball a lot and they don’t get sacked either)
  13. Curtis Samuel and Ryan Switzer (both teams have worked to get their respective players good looks in mismatches over the last half dozen games – lottery tickets only)
  14. Jarius Wright and James Washington (they both have the same initials… coincidence?)

As always, you can reach out to me in Premium Slack or on Twitter @EMacDFS if you have any questions.

Good Luck Gamers! ~ EMac





Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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