Week 8 NFL DFS: Thursday Night Football - Falcons vs Panthers Showdown Slate

SI Fantasy and DFS analyst Rob Geriak goes through his top plays for DraftKings' Thursday Night Football Showdown slate featuring the Falcons vs Panthers.
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Thursday night features an NFC South rivalry with the Atlanta Falcons visiting the Carolina Panthers, a matchup that the Falcons have dominated winning five of these teams' last six contests with each other. Atlanta is a mess with a 1-6 record while the Panthers are scuffling of late losing each of their last two games, and giving them a 3-4 record. There should be some points scored in this matchup with both defenses having glaring holes and both offenses possessing serious offensive talent. This should be a fun one to get involved on DraftKings' showdown slate.

Core Build

Davis is very inexpensive considering the matchup, as well as the production we've seen from him in the absence of Christian McCaffrey (who's expected to be out once again). Atlanta is allowing nearly eight receptions per game to running backs and Davis is second in receptions and second in receiving yards among running backs. Davis has had back-to-back poor efforts against two tough run defenses in the Saints and Bears but look for him to get back into form in potentially his last week as a starting running back.

Ryan has been forced to throw the ball as the Falcons' defense has been brutal. Ryan is second in attempts (41 per game), first in air yards (354.9 per game), fourth in deep ball attempts (34), and seventh in average air yards per attempt. The passing game struggled in this matchup earlier in the season but in both matchups last season Ryan went for over 300 yards. The volume is as high as it can be and the salary is not prohibitive for Ryan in a potential shootout.

Speaking of volume and a good salary, Bridgewater threw the ball 37 times in these two teams' first matchup completing 73 percent of his passes for 313 yards and two touchdowns. Teddy has also offered some running ability eclipsing 20 rushing yards on three separate occasions this season. Bridgewater is fourth in true completion percentage and ninth in play-action completion which will be a major asset in potentially hitting on some deep passes assuming that the run game is successful. Bridgewater has at least 19 DraftKings points in each of his last four games and is still reasonably priced for a quarterback on a showdown slate.

Captain Plays

RB Todd Gurley, ATL (DK $12,600)

Gurley hasn't been the most efficient running back in the league, that's for sure, but he has been productive overall and the volume has been there. As far as rankings in the league go, Gurley is second in carries (17 per game), second in red-zone touches (33), and seventh in yards created. The Panthers are allowing 101.50 rushing yards per game and six receptions per game to running backs over the past four weeks. Earlier in the season, Gurley scampered 14 times for 121 yards and a touchdown while adding four receptions for 29 yards. This is a great spot for Gurley as the Falcons want to keep their defense off the field because they're dreadful and the way to do that is to feed Gurley against one of the more susceptible run defenses in the league.

WR D.J. Moore, CAR (DK $12,300)

The Falcons secondary from top to bottom may be the worst in the NFL as far as coverage corners go. D.J. Moore is coming off of a good effort against another NFC South foe in the New Orleans Saints with four catches for 93 yards and two touchdowns. In fact, Moore has exactly 93 yards receiving in each of his last three games, one of which came against these Falcons which also included a touchdown. Moore has a 23 percent target share, is 11th in air yards, 10th in average depth of target, and 10th in yards after the catch. Robby Anderson has been the better receiver as far as numbers go this season, but Moore is coming on and is performing now while being substantially less expensive than Anderson.

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FLEX Plays

WR Calvin Ridley, ATL (DK $10,200)

Ridley has become a serious thorn in the side of the Panthers over the past four matchups these teams have had:

  • 10 targets, 8 receptions, 136 yards
  • 5 targets, 5 receptions, 76 yards, 1 touchdown
  • 8 targets, 8 receptions, 143 yards, 1 touchdown
  • 5 targets, 3 receptions, 90 yards, 1 touchdown

Ridley is first in the league in air yards and deep targets among receivers while seeing a 23 percent target share. Perhaps the most notable metric to look at for Ridley are his 12 red-zone targets which are first among wide receivers and have resulted in seven receptions. Carolina is allowing a touchdown 72 percent of the time a team has traveled into the red zone over their last three games making Ridley even more of a threat in this matchup. I prefer Ridley over Julio based on the red zone targets Ridley sees, overall production, and the fact that Julio is banged up (even though he's technically off of the injury report) and we all know how that generally goes for Julio Jones.

WR Robby Anderson, CAR (DK $9,200)

Anderson went off in this matchup earlier in the season with eight receptions for 112 yards. Bridgewater has loved Anderson as the former Temple Owls has seen a 27 percent target share resulting in second-most receiving yards in football. Anderson has been working in the short to intermediate area seeing that high volume but is third among receivers in yards after the catch. With at least eight targets in three of his last four games, Anderson is tough to ignore in a plus matchup.

The Kickers, Joey Slye, CAR (DK $4,000), Younghoe Koo, ATL (DK $3,800)

Both kickers have shown the ability to make deep kicks and in a game that figures to be high scoring, we'll need some value in a game that has a lot of high-priced talent we want to get exposure to. The kickers offer a solid floor in a game that will absolutely have points.

WR Curtis Samuel, CAR (DK $5,400)

Samuel has been a real gadget weapon out of the slot, lined up out wide, and even seeing time in the backfield with five carries in his last two games, four of which came against Atlanta. The Ohio State product has seen four or more targets in each of his last four games and brings some good value with him.

WR Russell Gage, ATL (DK $4,200)

Gage has eclipsed 50 yards receiving in each of his last two games and is a factor even when Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley are active. With Jones banged up, the opportunity is there, even if Julio is out there, to produce at a minuscule salary.

Thursday night features an NFC South rivalry with the Atlanta Falcons visiting the Carolina Panthers, a matchup that the Falcons have dominated winning five of these teams' last six contests with each other. Atlanta is a mess with a 1-6 record while the Panthers are scuffling of late losing each of their last two games, and giving them a 3-4 record. There should be some points scored in this matchup with both defenses having glaring holes and both offenses possessing serious offensive talent. This should be a fun one to get involved on DraftKings' showdown slate.

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