Here we go with the Single Game NFL DFS slate for Thursday Night Football. We have an NFC South matchup on tap between the Buccaneers and Panthers with Carolina favored by 7 with a 50.5 over/under.
We’ll highlight the top picks and best bargains to assemble a cash-inducing lineup. On top of that, the “additional notes” section will feature several tournament selections while adding context to the rest of this slate.
We will be producing these articles for Thursday, Sunday, and Monday primetime matchups every week, so be on the lookout for Eagles-Falcons (SNF) and Browns-Jets (MNF) for Week 2.
Christian McCaffrey - RB - Panthers
McCaffrey will maintain an extremely high ownership rate on Thursday, but that’s some chalk worth eating through all formats. CMC racked up 209 total yards and two touchdowns with 19 carries and 10 receptions (11 targets) against the Rams last week. He’s essentially an RB1 and WR1 wrapped into the same person. Game flow is on his side with the Panthers favored by a touchdown at home, and Tampa ranked 31st in DVOA to the run last season. This isn’t the time to get cute with your DFS lineups, as McCaffrey should dominate once again.
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Jameis Winston - QB - Buccaneers
I fully realize Winston looked terrible last week, but he’s been prone to those performances throughout his career. He has also displayed interesting bounce-back potential from time to time, and I believe he can post solid numbers on Thursday Night Football. Volume should be on Winston’s side as a seven-point road underdog in an offense that doesn’t have much of a running game. Carolina ranked 24th in DVOA to the pass last season, and Pro Football Focus had the Panthers’ secondary ranked 26th (in terms of player grades) heading into the 2019 season. I’ll take my chances with Winston in this Single Game format.
Chris Godwin - WR - Buccaneers
Godwin isn’t cheap, but I believe he’s the best receiver on this slate. As mentioned in the previous write-up, Carolina holds a bottom-ten secondary according to Pro Football Focus. The saving grace of that unit is CB James Bradberry, and he’ll likely shadow WR Mike Evans in this contest. That sets up Godwin for a breakout performance, as Ian Hartitz notes the Bucs’ WR advantageous matchup in his WR/CB Matchups article. Godwin is priced similarly to Evans on some DFS sites, but I’m still rolling with the latter in an encouraging spot.
Joey Slye - K - Panthers
Yes, rooting for kickers is not fun, but neither is deciding between a committee of running backs (ahem, Tampa) or anticipating snap counts (and targets) between fringe WR4 options. Cam Newton’s inefficiencies have been widely broadcast after last week, and that could lead to some stalled drives in the red zone. Otherwise, the Panthers should be able to move the ball for Slye to get his opportunities.
Breshad Perriman - WR - Buccaneers
We need a dirt-cheap selection to help tie a lineup together. I’m going out on a limb and taking Breshad Perriman to serve that purpose. Here’s why: 1) As mentioned earlier, there should be plenty of volume for the Tampa passing game on Thursday. 2) Evans finds himself in a tough matchup, presenting a boost to Perriman as well as Godwin. 3) He’s the only cheap skill player I could actually see finding a shred of upside based on game flow and opportunity.
I’m passing (no pun intended) on Cam Newton (QB - CAR) for cash games, but the tournament intrigue is not lost on me. Most people will avoid the Panthers’ signal-caller after a rough outing last week, but don’t forget that Tampa Bay ranked 30th in DVOA to the pass last season. DJ Moore (WR - CAR) is my favorite receiver to pair him with, and that’s definitely a plausible tournament/alternate strategy.
Greg Olsen (TE - CAR) is listed as questionable with a back injury. He practiced in full on Wednesday, so we should see him ready to go. However, one has to question whether or not he’s ready for a full workload with the quick turnaround. The matchup is interesting against a leaky Tampa pass defense, but Olsen is another “tournament only” lift in my opinion. There’s a chance you’ll find him with a depressed ownership rate due to that questionable tag.
If you are looking for another cheap option to round out your lineup, Cameron Brate (TE - TB) makes an interesting case. There’s a chance he’ll give you next to nothing in terms of fantasy production, as TE O.J. Howard has assumed the primary role of that position. However, Brate was targeted in the red zone last week, unfortunately resulting in two touchdowns getting called back (holding) on the same drive. In other words, he’s a bargain flier if you are in desperate need of salary relief.