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NFL Prime Time Games: Showdown Week 2 Thursday Night Football (FREE)

Eric MacPherson

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Week 3 NFL best bets, betting odds, picks and predictions for Week 3 Thursday Night Football game Panthers vs. Texans | Sept. 23, 2021

Greetings Gamers!  Welcome back to the Awesemo NFL DFS  Single Game Prime Time series for FanDuel and DraftKings showdown slates.  For each of the featured games, typically Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights we will be providing a free analysis for the Showdown slate action.  This will include team capsules as well as player rankings and comments.

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Week 1 gave us a little more information to digest.  Though even adding that to the limited preseason and training camp information, we still have a lot of unanswered questions.

The other key to remember is that strategy and lineup construction are crucial to get that ever elusive edge on single game slates.

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Tune into NFL Live Before Lock on Thursday at 7:30pm ET as Alex “Awesemo” Baker, Ben Rasa and Nolan Kelly break down tonight’s game for Showdown formats.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers -6.5 / 49.0

For Week 2, 3 and maybe 4 the players will not be completely beat to heck on the short weeks and we could get some good football.  Both squads are coming off of a home loss and Tampa Bay was particularly awful.  Let’s see what tidbits we can uncover for this matchup.

Check out the FREE Week 2 NFL main slate game by game breakdown from Adam Pfeifer here 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21.25 implied point total

Quarterback

Jameis Winston was my most drafted quarterback in Best Ball this year and I’m completely fine with that. He should finish in the top five a couple weeks and in the top ten for potentially half the season based on how awful the Buccaneers defense is this year. We need to remember that he is not a “great” or maybe even “good” quarterback. The addition of new head coach Bruce Arians is not going to change that either. He is. however the quarterback of a team that is going to need to throw early and often this season and that is what we want for fantasy.

Carolina did a great job of keeping Jared Goff and crew in check allowing just 183 yards on 39 attempts. They allowed one aerial score with an interception and a sack from the defense. We’ll see what Bruce Arians can concoct in three days that Sean McVay couldn’t with a whole off season. Winston did have five carries for 13 yards against the ‘Niners so keep in mind he does have a little rushing upside still.

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Running Back

Yikes, we have all the makings of a complete running back by committee here:

Player Snaps Carries Rush Yds Targets Rec Yds TDs
Peyton Barber 25 8 33 4 12 0
Ronald Jones 22 13 75 1 18 0
Dare Ogunbowale 27 0 0 5 33 0
Totals 70 Team 21 108 10 63 0

Last week it was Peyton Barber who got the start as expected, but it was Ronald Jones down the stretch. Dare Ogunbowale saw the most snaps, but barely and he is unlikely to get more than a carry or two Thursday. None of this trio has any value on the full-slate, but in the single game contests they are very much in play. At this time it seems like Jones does have a chance to surpass Barber, though this is a tough matchup.

Wide Receiver

Yikes! Where was the Chris Godwin and Mike Evans volume we were promised?!  Not to fear gamers, they should still be the key targets for Jameis Winston going forward. The surprise was newcomer Breshad Perriman getting five targets and the hidden gem was Cameron Brate who had two touchdowns called back on the same drive into the Red Zone which will not be in the box score.  That’s worth considering for the single game slates, but not really actionable anywhere else this week.

Player Targets Recpt Yards Avg TDs
Chris Godwin 6 3 53 17.7 1
Mike Evans 5 2 28 14 0
O.J. Howard 5 4 32 8 0
Dare Ogunbowale 5 4 33 8.3 0
Breshad Perriman 5 2 10 5 0
Peyton Barber 4 2 12 6 0
Cameron Brate 2 2 8 4 0
Ronald Jones 1 1 18 18 0
Total 33 20 194 9.7 1

The one positive is that in our one game sample size, it would appear that Winston will not be afraid to just focus on the open man.  Well he could also miss them during his sloppy read progression, but you get the point.

Tight End

O.J. Howard fumbled to end the redzone drive that saw Cameron Brate have not one, but two touchdowns erased by penalties. On the positive side, Howard was on the field for 79% of the snaps and Brate was in 44% of the time. Both are viable options on the single game slate with Howard a TE7-10 on the full week action. Antony Auclair was in for 19% of the snaps with a focus on blocking.

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Defense/Special Teams

Last year Carolina allowed just 2.0 sacks per game and they only gave up three against the Rams who have a stout defensive line, lead by Aaron Donald. Tampa Bay averaged 2.4 sacks per game last season though six of their 38 did come against Carolina. In general, Cam Newton does a good job of taking care of the ball, so there is not much to work with here.

Carolina Panthers 27.75 implied point total

Quarterback

Cam Newton still left us with questions about the health of his shoulder as well as if he will be running much this year. While he had just three attempts for negative three yards, do not abandon hope just yet. We know that the Tampa Bay defense is bad, even though they “held” San Francisco to 256 yards. Last year the Bucs had only nine interceptions and allowed the seventh most passing yards in the league.  For the first time since the days of Steve Smith it feels like Newton has confidence in the majority of his receiving options. Most projection systems have Newton as a QB4-6 this week and he is worthy of Captain/MVP consideration in “cash” games.

Running Back

Christian McCaffrey and his new biceps were on the field for all 67 of the Panthers offensive plays. He was masterful on the ground with 19 carries for 128/2 and even “lost” a touchdown to Alex Armah on his lone carry. He also hauled in 10 of 11 targets for another 81 yards making him a true dual threat. We should have no concerns with elevating Run CMC to the top of our wish list on Thursday.

Wide Receiver

Don’t hit the panic button just yet on Curtis Samuel as this one only one game and he will be involved going forward. The D.J. Moore victory laps should be underway right now either. We know that McCaffrey will likely be the team leader in targets this season and Newton has a long history with Greg Olsen.

Player Targets Recpt Yards Avg TDs
Christian McCaffrey 11 10 81 8.1 0
DJ Moore 10 7 76 10.9 0
Greg Olsen 9 4 36 9 0
Curtis Samuel 4 3 32 10.7 0
Jarius Wright 1 1 14 14 0
Chris Hogan 1 0 0 0 0
Ian Thomas 1 0 0 0 0
Total 35 25 239 9.6 0

Jarius Wright and Chris Hogan are lottery tickets at best in the single game contests.

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Tight End

Please do note that Greg Olsen will not practice on the short week as planned in advance. He was surprisingly in on 90% of the snaps Sunday, but that was a very winnable game. If he is unable to go, Ian Thomas would step into the role and he has had moments in the past that were stellar.

Defense/Special Teams

The Panthers actually project as a top five D/ST this week which has them squarely in play against the Bucs.  We know that Jameis Winston can be pick-6 prone and is careless when the pocket is crumbling around him.

Awesemo’s Showdown Rankings provide an additional look at how to value the player pool from Alex himself >>> premium members click here

Strategy: this is the first short week of the season and we know that will take a toll later in the year.  Most of the popular plays are going to be from the Panthers.  If you are playing in the gigantic, top-heavy tournaments then be prepared to differentiate somewhere.  The best way to accomplish that is to build your lineups around a particular game flow “storyline” that can succeed with the right on-field results.

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

Top 10

  1. Christian McCaffrey: he will be the most popular option and I am willing to join The Masses.
  2. Cam Newton: it will be interesting to see how much he runs this season, but this is a great matchup in all facets.
  3. Jameis Winston: yes, this is looking like a very chalky top heavy list for this tilt.
  4. Carolina D/ST: oh yeah, this is not an error. We need to be different and this is one way to do it.  The key thing to remember on DraftKings is that you can’t lose more than -4 points from allowing the other team to score. Sacks are worth one and turnovers two… come to the dark side!
  5. Curtis Samuel: I am willing to believe he still has upside and so many gamers are feeling burned after last week.
  6. Chris Godwin: this is easy on DraftKings as we get a nice discount, but he will be more popular.  On FanDuel where Mike Evans is just $500 more, I think gamers will head that way… stay the course.
  7. Dare Ogunbowale: a much easier choice on DraftKings, on FanDuel swap this ranking with Peyton Barber.
  8. Breshad Perriman: a solid discount dandy on both sites… will the target trend continue though?
  9. Cameron Brate: yes, this is another “stand” but as mentioned above he had two touchdowns called back (same drive) but that is also two targets that are nog being shown either.
  10. Greg Olsen: if he is active, we have to assume full health – there is no reason for the Panthers to risk their future broadcaster.

Secondary Options

  1. O.J. Howard: if you prefer him to Cameron Brate by all means go for it.
  2. Joey Slye: if you think he gets more than 7.5 points he should be in the top ten. Field goal opportunities are fickle.
  3. Peyton Barber: again, on FanDuel flip him with Ogunbowale, the lack of rushing yards hits him harder in that format with the half-PPR.
  4. D.J. Moore: while I think it is a coinflip between him and Curtis Samuel, take the discounted popularity if it is with his running mate.
  5. Mike Evans: yes, he projects a heckuva lot better than this from a raw points perspective and he could break the slate with two scores. Did you know that over his last 32 games he has 13 touchdowns… that doesn’t seem like a lot considering his reputation.  To be fair, he does have ten 100+ yard games in that same span.
  6. Ronald Jones: certainly consider the popularity %s. The price looks nice on DraftKings, but will he get more than 1-2 targets and remember just how bad he was last year. Does one decent half against the 49ers in a loss really sway you that much?
  7. Matt Gay: in a 28-6 game, he could nearly double his counterpart Joey Slye’s fantasy total. #KickersAreRandom
  8. Jarius Wright:  he was in on 60% (40) of the plays, but saw just one target, the same as Chris Hogan who got five snaps.

Lottery Tickets

  1. Alex Armah: scored on his lone touch, saw just 12 snaps but looks like the backup to Christian McCaffrey along with Jordan Scarlett who had five snaps.
  2. Bobo Wilson: returned punts and saw six snaps on offense against San Francico last week.
  3. Antony Auclair: DK only, extreme punt – 339 snaps last year with 8 targets for 7/48/0.  No targets last week on 13 snaps.
  4. Chris Manhertz/Ian Thomas: one of them would start if Greg Olsen (back) is inactive.  Last week they had 18 and four snaps respectively with Thomas getting the lone target.
  5. Ray Ray McCloud III: handled all aspects of the return game in Week 1 for Carolina.
  6. T.J. Logan: kickoff return man for the Bucs.

As always, you can reach out to me in Awesemo.com 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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