Welcome to the Week 9 edition of Panthers Picks & Props, where our friend Cort Smith will run down his favorite Panthers-related bets and fantasy plays each week. Cort is a lead writer at RotoViz and the founder of Bet the Prop, a site specializing in the emergent player prop betting market. As of July 26, sports gambling is legal at sportsbooks in Cherokee, North Carolina – even though the sportsbook isn’t technically open up there, that’s not to mention the myriad of online options emerging – we’re not here to judge, we’re here to make you some money.
Fresh off a thrashing at the hands of the 49ers, the Panthers enter this week as 3.5-point favorites against the Titans. That potential game script sets up well for another big outing from Christian McCaffrey, and we’ll get to his prospects for this one shortly.
After a perfect 2-0 card last week, our player prop picks in this space are now 9-4 on the season for a pretty nice 69% win rate. I don’t like the prop-betting slate for this week’s game nearly as much, and uncertainty surrounding the health of WR Curtis Samuel is making it so that bookmakers aren’t releasing as many betting lines as we would normally see.
So we’ll keep it to just the one prop play this week, and let’s switch things up by leading with some top daily fantasy plays, starting with why you definitely need to be buying D.J. Moore in DFS this week.
Top Fantasy Plays
D.J. Moore ($4,800 on DraftKings)
The D.J. Moore explosion game is inevitable. The opportunity is there, and he’s been among the more unfortunate WRs in recent weeks when it comes to converting those chances into fantasy points. We made him our GPP play last week as well, based on the fact that he was one of the top positive-TD-regression candidates at the position this season.
He didn’t pay off, but he did get peppered with another nine targets against San Francisco and is averaging a robust 8.3 looks per game on the year.
Despite already having a bye, the sophomore ranks 13th in receptions among all WRs, and you can see that his TDs and fantasy points (PPR) have simply yet to fall in line.
These kinds of aberrations tend to even out over time. It’s quite unlikely that Moore can continue to command this type of volume and not find the end zone.
He also comes in at No. 1 on Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Buy Low model this week, a model with a strong history of identifying undervalued players who are also likely to be low-owned in DFS.
The Titans aren’t a dream matchup from an efficiency standpoint, but they do allow a ton of volume, as their opponents have averaged 68.7 snaps per game, second-most in the league. And with Samuel dinged up, Moore could be in line for an even bigger piece of the passing pie in a game that should have a decent pace.
Be sure to get him into at least a few of your GPP lineups this weekend.
Cash Game Play
Christian McCaffrey ($10,000 on DraftKings)
Nothing to see here. McCaffrey is the best player in fantasy football and should always be a consideration in cash games.
His pricing hit $10,000 for the first time this year on DK, but that’s still not enough to dissuade us, not when you’re all but guaranteed top-five numbers at the position every week.
McCaffrey has faced a brutal schedule over his last four, lining up against defenses allowing the second, fourth, 10th and 13th-least fantasy points per game to opposing RBs.
Proving he’s the most matchup-proof runner in the game, McCaffrey has averaged 32.7 points per game in those difficult contests.
A few extra bucks shouldn’t force us off McCaffrey this week. Continue to pay up for that kind of production
Best Week 9 Prop Play
Titans RB Derrick Henry
Over 75.5 Rushing Yards (-115 @ FanDuel)
Bolstered by the addition of rookie DE Brian Burns, the Panthers boast one of the best pass rushes in football, sacking the opposing QB on 10.3% of dropbacks, the second-best mark in the league.
That sets up well for a big day from the big fella, as the best way to mitigate a good pass rush is by running the ball right at it, and the Titans are not a team that ever needs an excuse to run.
Derrick Henry may not have the highest of ceilings in this offense, but with at least 15 carries in all eight games this year, his floor is about as safe as they come.
Henry’s hit this number in five-of-eight games, falling half a yard short of making it six-for-eight last week against Tampa Bay, which fields the best run defense in football.
Carolina has shown some run-funnel tendencies in 2019, allowing the ninth-most rushing yards per game (108.7) but just the sixth-fewest passing yards (239.4/game). Leonard Fournette and Tevin Coleman both posted their best rushing lines of the season vs Carolina in recent weeks.
The Titans will want to run the ball, and the Panthers are willing partners. I’m looking for 20 carries from Henry on Sunday, so even reasonable efficiency should get him over the mark.