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Yahoo NFL Picks: Week 3 Thursday Night Football Panthers vs. Texans

Eric MacPherson



Tonight the Houston Texans are hosting the Carolina Panthers for the Week 3 featured Thursday Night Football matchup, and Yahoo Fantasy is offering NFL DFS single-game contests for the first time this season. The general concept of creating a team remains the same, but this is a one-game player pool. The twist is that any position player can be rostered, and one is designated to receive a 1.5x multiplier on their Yahoo fantasy points. Using Awesemo’s expert NFL projections and rankings, these are the top Yahoo NFL picks for the Thursday Night Football game tonight.

Yahoo NFL Picks: Week 3 Thursday Night Football


The SUPERSTAR position will get a 1.5x multiplier on their Yahoo points in the single-game format.

Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers – $41

While this is an apex salary, Christian McCaffrey should be a priority in all formats. Though it is unfortunate that the Texans are so short-handed on both sides of the ball, there will be other ways to differentiate in the $100,000 Thursday Night Football Baller tonight.

Through two games McCaffrey is back to seeing absurd volume even after missing most of last season with a knee injury. He has turned 45 carries and 15 targets into 324 combined yards and a touchdown. He is going to be on 95% of all rosters, though. Lamar Jackson has been that popular on two different slates, so be aware of the different strategies and methods to handle this confluence of events.

Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers – $25

This is a very discounted salary considering Sam Darnold is projected to be within 4 points of McCaffrey based on Yahoo’s half-PPR format. This discounts receptions and enhances all touchdowns and yardage, even passing, as compared to full-PPR formats.

While Darnold does not look to run often, he is capable and generally has a baseline of 10 to 15 projected yards and a 20% chance of a touchdown. Though McCaffrey and the receivers are the red-zone threats, Darnold has enough mobility to take one to the paint inside the 10-yard line if the defense does not account for him. Because Houston is starting a rookie quarterback tonight, Darnold should be in most lineups, along with McCaffrey.

Yahoo NFL Core Picks

D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers – $20

Through two games D.J. Moore has 19 targets, compared to 21 for Robby Anderson ($16), Terrace Marshall ($14) and Brandon Zylstra ($10) combined. This does not guarantee that Darnold is locking in on Moore by any stretch since the running backs and tight ends have accounted for 29 opportunities, but it certainly is something to note. Anderson is an excellent direct pivot since he has relatively equal touchdown equity with his big-play ability, and Marshall can be a long-shot option as someone who will likely only be on 10 to 20% of all entries in the large-field tournaments.

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Davis Mills, Houston Texans – $20

This will be the first NFL start for rookie Davis Mills, who entered the game last week for Tyrod Taylor. Mills played in just five games last year for Stanford in the shortened season, and he logged action in nine others prior to that. Even with the limited opportunities under his belt, the Texans used a third-round selection on him in the most recent NFL Draft. Mills was an adequate passer in the Pac-12, though he was not particularly prolific. However, he is one of two starting quarterbacks in the player pool and will have the ball in his hands on every snap he is on the field. Inexperienced quarterbacks tend to pull the ball down and run for their lives, as they rarely make it beyond their second read. While it may not be pretty, Mills should at least have opportunities tonight.

Yahoo NFL Value Picks

Dan Arnold, Carolina Panthers – $11

Even though he is just a dollar more than his counterpart Ian Thomas ($10), the Awesemo projections have Dan Arnold as the far better fantasy option. Because this is Darnold’s first season with the Panthers, neither player has extra familiarity with their quarterback, and through two weeks it seems that Arnold has the lead in the passing game. Those who have played NFL DFS for any length of time are familiar with Thomas being a solid goal-line option, but this is a relatively crowded group of skill position players, making him more of a stretch than usual. Those with the extra dollar can look to the Arnold/Darnold stack.

Chris Conley and Anthony Miller, Houston Texans – $11

Danny Amendola and Nico Collins are out with injuries, which likely will elevate Chris Conley into the starting lineup. Most of the targets from Mills are likely to go to the running backs or Brandin Cooks ($21), though at the Yahoo minimum salary, Conley is a fine option. Anthony Miller was not active in the first two games, but he has plenty of experience from three seasons in Chicago. Andre Roberts ($10) is also at the minimum, though he is a lottery play if building close to 100 lineups

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Final Thoughts

Though there will be a lot of crossover between rosters on the high side of the salary list, the low-end options are plentiful, and none really stand out much over the rest when looking at the best six. That will give gamers the necessary opportunities for lineup differentiation.

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Take a look at our starting line-ups, inactives and depth charts for NFL games. If you’re interested in other DFS NFL stats for multiple game slates, head over to DFS NFL projected ownership, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, daily fantasy football rankings, and daily fantasy football stacking.

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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