The third week of the NFL season will begin with a matchup between the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans. Carolina has had a great start to the season and so has Houston by the standards set by the media before the season started. The Panthers hope to start the year on a three-game win streak. Houston on the other hand would like to prove their doubters wrong and start the season 2-1.
Carolina is expected to dominate Houston on both sides of the ball. This game would likely be more competitive if Tyrod Taylor were starting for Houston instead of rookie third-round pick Davis Mills. There is still plenty of opportunities for fantasy points to be scored in DraftKings DFS lineups. For those struggling to set their DraftKings lineups for tonight here are the best players to insert into lineups.
Captain: Panthers DST
DraftKings Value: $9,300
Former All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey is a favorite to be a captain in most DFS lineups this week because of the point total he could have with the 1.5x bonus. However, his price tag would be $20,100 which takes up over 40% of the salary space. In this matchup where there are not a large number of playmakers that could emerge for great games, it is important to get the stars into DFS lineups.
Throughout the first two weeks, the Carolina Panthers defense and special teams unit is the highest fantasy scoring unit at its position. During the first game of the season, Carolina gave up 14 points to Zach Wilson in his debut. But they intercepted Wilson once and sacked him six times. Last week against Jameis Winston and the New Orleans Saints Carolina gave up only nine points to the offense that scored 38 on the Packers the week before. The Panthers picked off Winston twice and sacked him four times. This production isn’t completely out of nowhere, Carolina has added a lot of talented players on that side of the ball in recent years.
The Houston Texans looked better than people thought they would throughout their first two games with Tyrod Taylor under center. However, Taylor was placed on IR after the game due to a hamstring injury. This leaves 2021 third-round pick, Davis Mills, as the team’s starting quarterback. Last week in relief of Taylor, Mills completed 8 of 18 passes for 102 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.
There is a real possibility that with Mills under center Houston looks like the team many thought they were coming into the season. The Panthers’ defense is strong enough to take over this game and give Mills a miserable debut. The difference in the talent level of the Panthers’ defense compared to the Texans’ offense gives the Panthers DST the upside to be a high-scoring option in DFS and makes it worthy to put in the captain spot in lineups.
Flex: RB Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
DraftKings Value: $13,400
It is a no-brainer to have Christian McCaffrey in DFS lineups most weeks but especially this week against the Houston Texans. Throughout two games McCaffrey has rushed for 170 yards and a touchdown on 45 attempts. He also caught 14 of his 15 targts for 154 yards. He seems to have picked up from where he picked off from the last time he was healthy.
McCaffrey will be going up against one of the worst run defenses in the league this week. Houston is giving up the eight most (DraftKings scoring) points per game to running backs 29.2 a game. In Week One they only gave up a combined 69 rushing yards and 43 receiving yards to the Jaguars’ running backs. But in Week Two against the Browns, their running backs went off against the Texans. Nick Chubb rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown on 11 attempts. Kareem Hunt rushed the ball 13 times for 51 yards against Houston. Also, sixth-round rookie Demetric Felton caught both of his targets for 51 yards and a touchdown.
The current number two scoring running back in fantasy going against a poor run defense in Houston is an outstanding matchup that needs to be exploited in DFS lineups. His $13,400 price tag could seem like a steal when McCaffrey is done with the Texans’ defense.
Flex: QB Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers
DraftKings Value: $11,200
This past offseason Sam Darnold got a new opportunity to restart his career with the Carolina Panthers. In Carolina Darnold is been given better coaching and skill position players than he ever had with the Jets. During his first two games with the Panthers, Darnold scored over 20 fantasy points in each game. He looks a lot like the quarterback many thought he was coming out of USC back in 2018.
Houston’s defense has been middle of the pack giving up the 16th fewest points to quarterbacks. As crazy as it sounds Sam Darnold may be the most talented quarterback Houston has played to date. He may not be viewed as a potential superstar like Trevor Lawerence and Baker Mayfield. However, Darnold leads the best passing offense Houston will play to date. After seeing what Darnold was able to do against a tough New Orleans Saints defense, he has shown that he has a high floor in tough matchups. This means Darnold have have a breakout game against a not-so-talented Texans defense. If he doesn’t break out Darnold is capable of putting up at least 20 fantasy points for fantasy managers who have him in their DFS lineups.
Flex: WR D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
In an extremely talented receiver room, D.J. Moore has emerged as the clearcut number one wide receiver for this Carolina Panthers’ offense. In both of Carolina’s games, Moore has caught 14 of his 19 targets for 159 yards and a touchdown. When applying DraftKings scoring, he put up 15.4 fantasy points against the New York Jets and 21.9 fantasy points against the New Orleans Saints.
Houston has given up the eighth fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season. But that has more to do with their matchup against the run-heavy Cleveland Browns team. Houston’s defense was shredded the week prior by the Jaguars’ top receivers D.J. Chark, Marvin Jones Jr., and Laviska Shenault Jr. who had a combined 15 receptions on 31 targets for 213 yards and two touchdowns. Moore is the most talented receiver Houston will have faced this season. He is very likely to have a good game against a Texans secondary who will be without one of their top cornerbacks Terrance Mitchell.
Flex: K Zane Gonzalez, Carolina Panthers
DraftKings Value: $3,800
It is more likely that the Carolina Panthers put a lot of points on the board against the Houston Texans. A lot of points for Carolina means a lot of use out of their third kicker of the season Zane Gonzalez. He is on thin ice but has a great opportunity to display that he is still capable of being a placekicker for an NFL team. Gonzalez could attempt multiple PATs and field goals against Houston’s defense.
Flex: WR Anthony Miller, Houston Texans
DraftKings Value: $1,000
Adding Anthony Miller to DFS lineups is a dart throw to add a final player to this lineup. The former second-round pick was traded to Houston around the time they traded Randall Cobb to Green Bay. He was a solid contributor for the Bears during his three seasons there. Since Houston is dealing with injuries to both Danny Amendola and Nico Collins, Miller is the next man up on the depth chart. He will be the team’s starting slot receiver.
Outside of Brandin Cooks, the target distribution for this offense is a tossup. The number two wide receiver for the Texans’ offense Chris Conley has only posted three receptions on four targets for 40 yards in the first two games. Miller’s role in this offense is not certain at all because he was inactive the first two games. Now that Danny Amendola’s and Nico Collins’ 16% target share is available, Miller is likely the best candidate to pick it up. Similar to Amendola and Collins, Miller lines up in the slot. As the Texan’s receiver with the highest upside outside of Brandin Cooks and any of the running backs Miller is a solid dart throw to put into DFS lineups.