Welcome to the Week 13 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.
Expect something of a slow-paced slugfest as Washington comes to Carolina this week.
The Panthers have shifted away from the hurry-up offense they featured in the first half of the year – they’ve run the ball on 46% of their plays over the last month, the seventh-highest rate in the league that stretch, all the more notable, considering they’ve been playing from behind for most of the last month.
Washington, meanwhile, is the slowest-paced team in the league — their 53.5 snaps per game are 3.3 fewer than the next-slowest team. Add it up, and the 62 average plays per game between these two teams is the lowest mark of any game this week. So while we shouldn’t be expecting offensive fireworks, there is some betting and DFS value to be had in this one.
We’re looking to stay hot after a piece of pure ecstasy last week. We spent 900 words fawning over D.J. Moore, and he responded by cashing on both of our prop plays while busting out for the best DFS game of his career thanks to that sweet TD regression we kept insisting was coming.
Our prop picks in this space are now 13-7 (65%) on the year.
Over 40.5 Receiving Yards (-116 @ Pinnacle)
Note: You should be able to find a similar line at domestic books like DraftKings & FanDuel throughout the weekend — we like it up to 43.5 yards.
Olsen’s usage has been a bit of a rollercoaster this season, but the targets are starting to return as the Panthers move towards a more conservative offense featuring fewer field-stretching throws.
Over the last three weeks, the 34-year-old veteran ranks second in targets (22) and receptions (18) among all TEs, behind only Zach Ertz, while his 199 receiving yards (66.3/game) are also second, just seven behind Jared Cook.
Olsen has accounted for 19% of Kyle Allen’s targets over that stretch, a massive bump from the 12% market share he commanded over the previous five weeks.
Amid the increased usage, he’s hit our target number in three of the last four, just missing out on the sweep by half a yard.
As noted in the opening, overall play volume is a real concern for everyone this week. All Panthers passcatchers have benefitted from Allen’s elevated pass attempts while playing from behind in each of the last three weeks; however, the same game script is unlikely to unfold against the sorry ‘Skins.
Still, a decrease in volume should be accompanied by a bump in efficiency. Tight ends playing Washingon have averaged 8.0 yards per target, the eighth-worst mark in football.
Even if Olsen falls off from the 7.3 targets per game he’s seen of late, it’s not hard to project him to eclipse 41 yards against this defense with just a modest 4-5 looks.
Over 34.5 Rushing Yards (-120)
The Panthers have fielded one of the heaviest run-funnel defenses in the league, allowing the sixth-most rushing yards per game (127.5) and the third-most yards per carry (5.0). The temptation to run on them will be even greater now that run-stuffing defensive tackle Dontari Poe is headed to the injured reserve.
Not that Bill Callahan’s throwback offense ever needs extra motivation to establish the run. Since he took over as head coach, the Redskins have run the ball at a 49% rate in neutral game scripts (when the game is within 7 points), the fifth-highest rate in the league.
Meanwhile, Guice is the mover in this backfield. While both he and Adrian Peterson had ten carries last week, Guice hit a career-high snap rate of 43% against the Lions. That extra playing time is coming at the expense of Peterson, who was on the field for just 33% of the plays.
With Washington playing out the string, there’s no reason for them to play an aging Peterson over their second-round pick from 2018.
I’m expecting Guice the get the lion’s share of the rushing work moving forward, and in what should be a close game against a struggling run defense, a modest 35 rushing yards is well within Guice’s range of outcomes.
Panthers DFS Notes
- The Panthers defense is the most expensive DST on the slate this week at $3,800 on DraftKings, but the price is worth it against Dwayne Haskins. He’s tossed up seven interceptions in five appearances. He’s also been sacked 13 times in his three starts, so the Panthers’ fierce pass rush which is second in sacks will be licking its chops in this massive mismatch in the trenches.
- Coming off the best fantasy game of his career last week (31.4 points), D.J. Moore’s price only rose $400 to $6,800 in DraftKings. His elite target share along with a prime matchup means he needs to be in your cash and GPP lineups once again. Washington is allowing 2.13 fantasy points per target to opposing WRs, the fourth-most in the league.
- It’s easy to forget about Curtis Samuel, who’s cracked more than 20 fantasy points just once this year. However, his underlying numbers shouldn’t be ignored — only Mike Evans, Julio Jones, John Brown, Kenny Golladay, DeAndre Hopkins, and Keenan Allen have more air yards than Samuel this year. That kind of usage at a $4,800 price tag on DK has the potential to give you monster leverage in GPPs on the chance he goes off. But he should be avoided in cash games.