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NFL Week 9 DraftKings Game Stacks: Buccaneers vs. Panthers

Ryan Fitzpatrick

TB @ CAR – GAME TOTAL 55 (CAR -6.5)

This contest between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers features the second highest implied total on DraftKings’ featured 10-game slate. The over/under in this game is understandable given the offensive talent that will be on display and the defensive weaknesses of each team.

Due to the positive matchups on both sides, there are a number of players that can be used to create a variety of roster combinations. What follows will hopefully help you comb through some of the data to make solid lineup selections.

Before reviewing the possible fantasy options in this game, just a couple of quick notes about the data included in this write-up.

All the data included in this article is provided courtesy of FantasyData.com. All points allowed, points scored, and pricing is based on DraftKings data. In addition, all positional rankings and rankings for points allowed to each position is based on a points per game basis.

With that bit of housekeeping out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the fantasy relevant players in this game.

CLICK HERE for Rams vs. Saints Stack

 

QUARTERBACKS

DraftKings Points Allowed to QBs – TB 28.7 (1st); CAR 20.7 (11th)

Tampa Bay: Ryan Fitzpatrick, $5500 (QB2)

In Week 8, Jameis Winston was benched late in the 3rd quarter after throwing his fourth interception against the Bengals. Fitzpatrick took over and completed 11 of 15 passes and ended that game with a 194-2-0 stat line and produced 19.56 DraftKings (DK) points in a little over one quarter of play. As a result, “Fitzmagic” was named as the starter on Monday for this matchup against the Panthers.

In all the games in which he has appeared, Fitzpatrick is averaging 19.6 completions, 28.8 attempts, 310.0 passing yards, 2.6 touchdowns, 1.0 interception, and 26.8 DK points per game. These totals include two partial games against the Bears and Bengals. Even with those two contests figured into the mix, his DraftKings points per game average is still the 2nd highest on the season.

Although it is a small sample size, if we only look at the three games he has started and finished, his numbers look even better. In those games Fitzpatrick has averaged 26.0 completions, 37.0 attempts, 410.0 passing yards, 3.67 touchdowns, 1.3 interceptions, 20.7 rushing yards, 0.33 rushing touchdowns, and 36.8 DK points per game. In each of these three games, he scored 45.28 against New Orleans, 33.98 against Philadelphia, and 31.14 against Pittsburgh. Those teams are respectively ranked 4th, 10th, and 5th in points allowed to quarterbacks.

Up next is the Panthers who are currently allowing the 11th most points to quarterbacks at 20.7 DK points per game. Through the first seven games, Carolina has allowed four QBs to score 21.0 or more DK points. This group includes Matt Ryan (31.68), Andy Dalton (21.08), Eli Manning (24.24), and Carson Wentz (22.7). As long as Fitzpatrick doesn’t turn the ball over, he should be able to stay in this game but given the short leash that Dirk Koetter has given to both Winston and Fitzpatrick this year, it’s certainly not a lock. Regardless, Fitzpatrick offers too much upside to ignore this weekend.

Carolina: Cam Newton, $6600 (QB4)

In Week 9, Newton is the 2nd highest priced QB and for good reason. Under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner this season, Newton is averaging 22.6 completions, 34.0 attempts, 235.1 passing yards, 1.86 passing touchdowns, 0.57 interceptions, 44.1 rushing yards, 0.57 rushing touchdowns, and 25.1 DK points per game. Though the Panthers first seven contests, he has scored at least 18.2 DK points in every game and has five games with 24.3 or more. Newton has also thrown at least two touchdown passes in each of the last six games.

Oddly enough, Newton doesn’t have a very good track record against the Buccaneers. In his last five matchups against Tampa Bay, he is only averaging 193.6 passing yards, 1.2 touchdowns, 1.0 interception, 32.6 rushing yards, 0.6 rushing touchdowns and 18.2 DK points per game. In addition, in those five contests, he has only scored more than 17.0 DK points one time which was in Week 17 of the 2015 season when he put up a total of 32.72 points. If you remove that game, he is only averaging 14.58 over his last four matchups against the Bucs.

Tampa Bay’s defense has been absolutely dreadful this season and they are currently allowing the most points to opposing quarterbacks at 28.66 per game. Every quarterback they have faced this season has scored at least 20.1 DK points and four have put up 28.0 or more. Although it’s worth noting his past performances against the Buccaneers, Newton has been a different quarterback this year in Norv Turner’s offense. As a result, we shouldn’t let those past performances outweigh what he has accomplished this season.

 

RUNNING BACKS

DraftKings Points Allowed to RBs – TB 29.4 (9th); CAR 20.6 (25th)

Tampa Bay: Peyton Barber, $3600 (RB48); Ronald Jones, $3400 (RB67); Jacquizz Rodgers, $3000 (RB79)

Leading into this contest with the Panthers, the Buccaneers backfield is a little banged up. While Peyton Barber is currently is listed as questionable, he is expected to play. However, Ronald Jones is dealing with a hamstring strain and has been ruled out for Sunday. Third stringer Jacquizz Rodgers is fully healthy, but none of these backs has been particularly effective this season as is illustrated by their per game averages which are shown below.

With Jones out on Sunday, there may be an additional five rushing attempts up for grabs and Peyton Barber is the most logical candidate to pick up these additional carries. Although Barber has had two serviceable fantasy outings this season, he is probably a GPP dart throw at best. Case in point, when Jones was a healthy scratch through the first three weeks of the year, Barber and Rodgers didn’t do very much to impress. The table below shows the per game averages for each player in these three contests.

To make matters worse, the Panthers are allowing the 8th fewest DK points to running backs at 20.6 per game. On the season, they have only allowed one opposing running back (Saquon Barkley) to score more than 20.0 against them. Although the decision is ultimately yours, both Barber and Rodgers can both probably be safely avoided on Sunday.

Carolina: Christian McCaffrey, $7800 (RB9)

As the data in the table below shows, in new offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s offense, Christian McCaffrey is averaging approximately 20.0 touches and 19.9 DK points per game.

Through the Panthers first seven games, McCaffrey has scored at least 13.5 DK points in every game and more than 20.0 in four. Surprisingly, he only has three touchdowns on the year and two of those came in last week’s game against the Ravens. One of his touchdowns in that game occurred on a fluke play were he caught a deflected pass in the end zone, but he was not the primary target on that play. Despite his low touchdown totals, McCaffrey is 5th among all running backs with 52 receiving targets on the year and 4th in receptions with 44.

In Week 9, McCaffrey has a fantastic matchup as the Buccaneers are allowing the 9th most points to opposing running backs at 29.4 DK points per game. On the season, they have allowed three opposing running backs to score 31.0 or more DK points. This group includes Alvin Kamara (46.1), Tarik Cohen (33.4), and Joe Mixon (31.8). Each of these backs are utilized in their respective team’s passing games and by extension, McCaffrey’s role in the Panthers offense is comparable to each of the aforementioned players. If you are high on Cam Newton this week, it might make sense to pair him with McCaffrey in this game.

WIDE RECEIVERS

DraftKings Points Allowed to WRs – TB 49.8 (2nd); CAR 35.7 (24th)

Tampa Bay: Mike Evans, $8100 (WR3); DeSean Jackson, $5000 (WR17); Chris Godwin, $4400 (WR39)

Due to the lack of a consistent running game and a Tampa Bay defense that has been unable to stop their opponents from scoring, the Tampa Bay offense has been forced to throw the ball a ton this year. Fortunately for the Buccaneers, Evans, Jackson, and Godwin are capable pass catchers that each see their fair share of work on a week-to week basis. The table below shows the season averages for each of these players.

As was noted earlier, on Monday of this week, Ryan Fitzpatrick was named as the starter for this week’s game against the Panthers. Interestingly enough, each of these players was more effective with Fitzpatrick under center than with Jameis Winston at the helm. To help illustrate this point, here is a breakdown of each of these receivers with Fitzpatrick at quarterback over the first three weeks of the season.

By comparison, here are the averages for each of the Buccaneers wide receivers in the two games in which Winston played the entire game.

Although the sample sizes for the data shown above is small, it’s worth noting that all three of Tampa Bay’s wide receivers produced more fantasy points with Fitzpatrick at quarterback.

In Week 9, this wide receiver corps will take on the Panthers pass defense which has allowed the 9th fewest (#24) points to opposing wide receivers. While Carolina’s pass defense has been solid, opposing wide receivers have found some success in previous weeks. This group includes Calvin Ridley (16.7), Tyler Boyd (28.7), Odell Beckham Jr. (35.38), and Alshon Jeffrey (21.8). The table below shows the team totals for each of the Panthers opponents this season (players are listed in order from most to least DK points scored in each game).

Carolina: Devin Funchess, $5600 (WR37); D.J. Moore, $4300 (WR72)

With Torrey Smith already ruled out for Sunday and Christian McCaffrey’s weekly target volume out of the backfield and Greg Olsen at tight end (more on him later), the Panthers really only have two wide receivers that have the potential to provide significant fantasy value. On the season, Devin Funchess has been the most consistent, but rookie D.J. Moore’s workload has increased as the season has progressed. Each of these receivers averages are shown in the table below.

While Moore’s season-long averages don’t look that impressive, over the first three games, he only saw a total of four targets. However, after the Panthers bye in Week 4, Moore has taken on a larger role in the passing game. Over the past four weeks, Moore has averaged 4 receptions on 5 targets and 11.1 DK points per game. His game logs for each of these contests is shown below.

On the season, the Buccaneers are allowing the 2nd most DK points to opposing wide receivers at 49.8 per game. In each of Tampa Bay’s matchups this year, their pass defense has allowed at least one opposing wide receiver to score 20.0 or more DraftKings points. This group includes Michael Thomas (42.0), Ted Ginn (20.3), Nelson Agholor (23.0), JuJu Smith-Schuster (23.6), Taylor Gabriel (33.4), Julio Jones (27.4), Jarvis Landry (25.7), and Tyler Boyd (31.6) The table below shows the team totals for each of the Buccaneers opponents this season (players are listed in order from most to least DK points scored in each game).

 

 

TIGHT ENDS

DraftKings Points Allowed to TEs – TB 18.1 (3rd); CAR 19.6 (1st)

Tampa Bay: O.J. Howard, $4300 (TE8)

Buccaneers tight end, O.J. Howard is in a great spot this weekend against the Panthers defense which is allowing the most points to the position at 19.6 per game. On the season, Howard is ranked as TE8 while averaging 12.0 DK points per game. Howard’s per game averages are shown below.

However, these season long totals include a 0.0 fantasy outing in Week 4 against the Bears in which he sprained his MCL in the first half and didn’t return to the game. If we remove that contest from the equation, his points per game average jumps to 14.0. In the games in which Howard has started and completed, he has scored at least 11.7 DK points in five out of six and is coming off a 16.8 DK point performance against the Bengals last week. At a price of only $4300, he is definitely worthy of roster consideration on Sunday.

Carolina: Greg Olsen, $4700 (TE15)

On the opposite side of the field, Greg Olsen also has a great matchup in this contest. On the season, the Buccaneers are allowing the 3rd most DK points to tight ends at 18.1 per game. Earlier this season, Olsen missed three games with a fractured foot. However, since his return at the start of Week 6, he has received a total of 16 targets over the past three games and is coming off of his best fantasy performance of the season when he scored 15.6 against Baltimore. Olsen’s season long averages are shown in the table below.

Due to the high implied point total in this game and lower price tag, O.J. Howard is likely to be the more popular option in this game. As a result, Olsen might not be a bad pivot and has almost as good of a matchup as Howard in this contest and is definitely in play on Sunday.

 

GAME STACK CONSIDERATIONS

Tampa Bay: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin, and O.J. Howard

Carolina: Cam Newton, Christian McCaffrey, Devin Funchess, D.J. Moore, and Greg Olsen

 

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