Hello Panther fans!

This season, I’ll be weighing in each Saturday and breaking down which Panther players are viable for contests on DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo. If you’ve ever played fantasy football, you know how important CMC can be – but with Daily Fantasy, there’s a completely different strategy each week – hopefully, I’ll be able to help you out and win you some contest (and money!).

As always, before playing any contests, familiarize yourself with the scoring rules for each site. Let’s jump right into the analysis!

Photo Credit: Chanelle Smith-Walker/Carolina Panthers

Christian McCaffrey

DraftKings: $8,500
FanDuel: $9,500
Yahoo: $37

I know you’re probably shocked that I’m going to highlight Christian McCaffrey first. Obviously, the Panthers offense starts with CMC – if you’ve picked him in your season long fantasy football or best ball drafts the last two years, his injuries likely derailed your team. The beauty of daily fantasy sports is that you can pick a new lineup each week so when he’s healthy as he is this week, he’s certainly a viable option.

CMC is the third most expensive running back on all three sites but he carries the highest upside of the Week 1 slate. He is viable in both cash games (50/50’s, head to head’s, double ups) and tournaments of all entry sizes.

Looking at the five full games he played in 2021, he scored over 20 fantasy points in four of those contests.

Given CMC’s usage in the passing game, he is an elite play on all sites, especially DraftKings. FanDuel and Yahoo give players 0.5 points for a reception while DraftKings offers a whole point for each catch. Additionally, players receive a three point bonus when they eclipse 100 yards rushing or receiving on DraftKings; CMC can produce at an elite rate without scoring touchdowns and is always in play to get the three point bonus. He received 38 targets in the five full games he played in 2021 and although he’s got a new QB in Baker Mayfield, he should still be heavily involved in the Panthers passing attack.

Photo Credit: Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports

The Browns ranked 23rd in Football Outsiders Rush DVOA metric in 2021. They also lost Malik McDowell and Malik Jackson, who played the most snaps on the interior last season. The strength of the Browns defense is on the edges and secondary. The Panthers invested heavily in their offensive line during the offseason and will look to get CMC involved early and often.

CMC’s elite ceiling makes him an excellent option for your lineup.

CMC is projected to be one of the highest owned players on the slate due to his relatively low price tag for someone that can be one of the highest scorers on the slate. If playing him in tournaments, you’ll want to be mindful of the value pieces that you pair with him so that you’re not potentially duplicating your lineup with another competitor in the field.

Baker Mayfield

DraftKings: $5,300
FanDuel: $6,600
Yahoo: $21

Baker Mayfield is one of the cheapest options at QB on each DFS platform week 1. Constructing lineups based on revenge narratives is not recommended – but the entire world knows that Mayfield carries a massive chip on his shoulder and would like to stick it to the Browns.

Although he has a depressed price, Mayfield is more suitable as a dart throw for those that are making multiple lineups in large field tournaments. He and Panthers wide receivers are not suited for cash games this week.

The Browns boast an impressive secondary and have All-Pro Myles Garrett anchoring the defensive line. On DraftKings Sportsbook, the Browns/Panthers game has a total of 42 as of September 9, which is the second lowest total for week 1.

Photo Credit: Chanelle Smith-Walker/Carolina Panthers

In order for Mayfield to vault your lineups to the top, you’ll need the game to be a shootout or he’ll need to be extremely efficient with his production on his passing attempts. If you’re looking for a Panthers receiver to stack with Mayfield, D.J. Moore ($6,000 on DK, $6,400 on FD, $18 on Yahoo) would be my favorite – even with the challenging matchup.

Good luck!

Top Photo Via Kevin Ketchie

Tim Parker
Tim Parker is a freelance writer. Tim previously covered the Charlotte 49ers for Rivals.com.