Matchup Analysis: Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Vegas Prediction

Vegas says: Panthers 30, Buccaneers 26

FBG Projections

TeamRushYardsTDCompAttPass YdTDINT

Carolina Panthers Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Panthers Offense26.1 (+1.9) (10)138 (+24) (3)232 (-15) (22)
Buccaneers Defense30.7 (+6.6) (31)117 (+3) (18)274 (+26) (27)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Buccaneers Offense26.7 (+2.6) (9)99 (-14) (26)356 (+107) (1)
Panthers Defense25.6 (+1.5) (21)96 (-17) (6)260 (+12) (22)

Panthers Rushing offense

Great matchup vs. the Buccaneers defense.

The Panthers boast one of the NFL’s most dynamic one-two punches on the ground, even if it’s not a conventional one. The quick-footed Christian McCaffrey has been an underrated inside runner dating back to his Stanford days when he would consistently grind down eight-man boxes geared to shut him down. He’s now showcasing that ability on the NFL level, using his athleticism and physicality to create plenty of post-contact yardage. The clear face of the Carolina run game, McCaffrey has racked up 4.95 yards per carry on the year, and 5.48 over the last 4 weeks. Supporting him is Cam Newton, who’s averaging 4.91 yards per attempt of his own and remains a true bully in the open field. The pair works behind a subpar front line but packs enough dynamism and grit to excel anyway, and matchup hasn’t been much of a concern lately.

The Tampa Bay run defense, solid to open the year, has fallen apart and now stands as one of football’s worst. Over the past 6 weeks, they’ve allowed more ground touchdowns (9) than anyone, as well as the league’s fifth-most yards per carry (5.33). Lead backs are averaging 5.16 themselves and 100 per game over that span, scoring 7 touchdowns along the way. Matt Breida’s Week 12 performance – 106 easy yards despite losing by 18 points – may have been the season’s low point for this unit. It’s not a huge surprise, with top linebackers Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David on the shelf and a front line more into rushing the passer than tying up blockers. There are often wide lanes onto the second level, and explosive runners have no real problem bursting through them and into daylight.

Panthers Passing offense

Good matchup vs. the Buccaneers defense.

Cam Newton’s arm looks just as powerful – and now more precise – than it ever has, and he’s spinning gold with his new batch of weapons. Most importantly, it’s been consistent gold. He’s completing a career-best 70% of his throws, with just 7 interceptions through 11 games. Newton has finished above 6.8 yards per attempt in 9 of those 11 games, and he’s thrown multiple scores in each outing since Week 2. No. 1 receiver Devin Funchess could return this week, but rookie D.J. Moore may have already supplanted him as Newton’s top option. Moore has caught 15 of 17 targets over the last 2 weeks, generating 248 yards and 1 touchdown. He’s speedy, aggressive, and a dangerous open-field weapon, and he brings elements to the table for Newton that the likes of Funchess, Greg Olsen, and Kelvin Benjamin never could. Funchess is a solid catch-point guy, but doesn’t create much separation or make many game-changing plays. This attack is now tailored around Moore’s dynamism and Christian McCaffrey’s outstanding work out of the backfield (6.5 catches and 55 yards a game). It’s been a great mix for Newton thus far, and a date with the Buccaneers defense looks juicier than ever.

On paper, the Tampa Bay pass defense is enjoying a major turnaround. After giving up 350 yards or more to the first 5 passing games they faced, they’ve allowed just 229 a game since. But those raw totals have hidden the fact that this remains a porous unit, easy on quarterbacks and usually beatable for big plays and touchdowns. It’s worth pointing out that the quarterbacks they’ve faced of late have been mostly lower-tier guys, and that they’ve still been efficient, completing 69% of their throws at a robust 5.9% touchdown rate. The secondary continues to struggle as a whole, leaving huge zones wide open downfield and failing to check tight ends up close (they give up 75 yards a game to the position). It’s at least been encouraging to see the pass rush, led by Jason Pierre-Paul and Carl Nassib, starting to wreak havoc on the pocket.

Buccaneers Rushing offense

Neutral matchup vs. the Panthers defense.

Peyton Barber’s volume is as dependable as just about anyone’s, with double-digit carries in 7 straight games and 9 of 11 overall. He’s the clear lead dog in Tampa Bay’s backfield, and he’s moderately successful in decent game scripts. But Barber isn’t a big-play guy, with unexceptional talent and athleticism, and saddled behind a subpar run-blocking line. A career 3.96 per-carry rusher, Barber is at 3.86 this season and has been held below 3.50 in 5 of 11 games. There’s always potential for volume and short touchdowns in this high-octane offense, but Barber is never a good bet for efficiency.

The Carolina run defense is no longer the dominant unit it was for most of 2017. This group is much less consistent and more beatable, especially by quick-footed runners that can explode through arm tackles. The line remains stout, especially up the middle, where Kawann Short and Dontari Poe do a great job of controlling space. But the linebackers – even Luke Kuechly – are coming up short more often than usual this season. Poor angles and tackling have plagued the whole unit, and they’re consistently allowing stat lines that are limited by game flow but extremely efficient. Before corralling Chris Carson in Week 12, the Panthers were beaten solidly by James Conner (13 for 65 and 1 touchdown) and Kerryon Johnson (15 for 87 and 1) in back-to-back games.

Buccaneers Passing offense

Good matchup vs. the Panthers defense.

Jameis Winston is anything but a consistent passer, and he’s no longer a lock as the Buccaneers’ future at quarterback. But the last two weeks have shown just what he’s capable of, with a powerful, aggressive arm and a full complement of downfield receiving talent. Since stepping back under center in Week 11, Winston has hit on 76% of his throws at 9.45 yards apiece, with 4 touchdowns over 6 quarters of play. It’s a small sample, but it’s encouraging that Winston is avoiding sacks and turnovers yet still creating magic downfield. Mike Evans has topped 100 yards in 4 of his last 6 games, and is actually posting the best per-catch average (17.3) of his career. Both DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin are dynamic situational threats, and Adam Humphries is excelling in the slot, with 53 yards or more in 6 of the last 7 games. (He’s actually caught four touchdowns over that span, two from Winston over the last two weeks.) There’s a ton of volatility here, of course, and Winston is always on the verge of a faceplant. He still struggles to consistently make the right decisions and throws. But with all of the dynamism at play here, this is an extremely fertile passing game even on the bad days.

The Carolina pass defense remains an extremely volatile unit, one that could dominate or collapse on any given week. Of late, however, there’s been much more collapsing. The last 6 quarterbacks they’ve faced have completed 69% of their passes and thrown 16 touchdowns, with 3 easily topping 300 yards. Simply put, when the hit-or-miss pass rush isn’t hitting home, opposing pass games can have a field day beating downfield coverage. Cornerbacks Donte Jackson and James Bradberry alternate strong coverage with bad lapses, and slot man Captain Munnerlyn allows more than his share of big completions. The run-based safeties struggle to provide help down the field, a big reason the Panthers have allowed 8 different receivers to top 80 yards over this 6-week span. With the rushers struggling to pressure anyone of late, the secondary’s jobs are made even harder, and the results have not been pretty. This is a very attackable group for fantasy purposes, especially with downfield-oriented receivers and tight ends.

Buccaneers vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)29 (+3.5)29 (+3.5)29 (+3.5)29 (+3.8)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)7 (-3.9)7 (-4.0)7 (-3.4)7 (-4.3)
9Cam Newton621925247201133023.723.721.221.2
10Alex Smith58192717810216014.514.512.712.7
11Eli Manning531718231201-1019.519.517.117.1
12Nick Mullens641832221122-1013.013.010.710.7

Cam Newton (FanDuel: $8700, DraftKings: $6600)

10@ PIT54232919321210017.717.715.715.7
11@ DET5725373573122029.129.125.528.5
12vs SEA59253025621863026.126.123.523.5
13PROJ-Dodds243427420.97380.4272727.0 (H=69)27.0 (H=91)
13PROJ-Tremblay21312351.90.99410.424.924.924.9 (H=60)24.9 (H=79)
13PROJ-Bloom18252072.217360.323.623.623.6 (H=54)23.6 (H=72)

Buccaneers vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)26 (+4.0)26 (+3.8)26 (+3.9)27 (+4.6)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)25 (+4.4)24 (+3.8)25 (+4.2)25 (+4.6)
9Christian McCaffrey61177926578027.732.730.232.7
9Alex Armah1011100006.
10Adrian Peterson341968022106.
10Kapri Bibbs243280421304.
11Saquon Barkley472714223210133.
11Wayne Gallman62110222403.
12Matt Breida311410604334014.017.015.520.0
12Jeff Wilson25733011804.

Christian McCaffrey (FanDuel: $8800, DraftKings: $8800)

10@ PIT54147715561231.836.834.336.8
11@ DET581353086570111714.017.0
12vs SEA591712511111112135.746.741.252.7
13PROJ-Dodds16740.67640.419.826.823.3 (H=53)26.8 (H=67)
13PROJ-Tremblay18800.66490.418.924.921.9 (H=47)24.9 (H=59)
13PROJ-Bloom16760.85510.520.525.523.0 (H=51)25.5 (H=62)

Buccaneers vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)28 (+3.5)30 (+4.5)30 (+4.0)28 (+4.7)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)15 (-1.6)11 (-4.8)12 (-3.1)10 (-5.8)
9Curtis Samuel1742251133117.819.818.819.8
9D.J. Moore532116013204.
10Josh Doctson454446100010.614.612.614.6
10Maurice Harris38555201405.610.68.110.6
11Odell Beckham4644741111014.518.516.518.5
11Sterling Shepard46222200002.
12Dante Pettis587477100013.717.715.717.7
12Richie James31222700002.

D.J. Moore (FanDuel: $6400, DraftKings: $5600)

10@ PIT49542001502.
11@ DET4587157100021.728.725.231.7
12vs SEA54989101709.817.813.817.8
13PROJ-Dodds4570.41808.912.911.0 (H=19)13.0 (H=30)
13PROJ-Tremblay4600.41508.912.911.0 (H=19)13.0 (H=30)
13PROJ-Bloom4560.5160.19.813.811.9 (H=22)13.9 (H=34)

Curtis Samuel (FanDuel: $5500, DraftKings: $3900)

10@ PIT19441801101.
11@ DET167555100011.516.514.016.5
12vs SEA5422171125010.
13PROJ-Dodds3320.31605.68.67.2 (H=11)8.7 (H=21)
13PROJ-Tremblay3330.31305.48.47.0 (H=10)8.5 (H=20)
13PROJ-Bloom3320.4180.17108.6 (H=15)10.1 (H=28)

Devin Funchess (FanDuel: $5400, DraftKings: $5000)

10@ PIT49533200003.
11@ DET48823900003.
13PROJ-Dodds3350.30005.38.36.8 (H=10)8.3 (H=15)
13PROJ-Tremblay3360.30005.48.46.9 (H=10)8.4 (H=15)
13PROJ-Bloom3200.30003.86.85.3 (H=6)6.8 (H=11)

Jarius Wright (FanDuel: $4700, DraftKings: $3000)

10@ PIT29332200002.
11@ DET4133400000475.57.0
12vs SEA27222500002.
13PROJ-Dodds1140.1000232.5 (H=2)3.0 (H=4)
13PROJ-Tremblay2190.20003.15.14.1 (H=4)5.1 (H=11)
13PROJ-Bloom1600000.61.61.1 (H=0)1.6 (H=1)

Torrey Smith (FanDuel: $5000, DraftKings: $3400)

12vs SEA130000000000.00.0
13PROJ-Dodds000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
13PROJ-Tremblay0200000.20.20.2 (H=0)0.2 (H=0)
13PROJ-Bloom000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Buccaneers vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)30 (+2.5)30 (+3.4)29 (+3.0)29 (+3.5)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)17 (-0.4)17 (-0.5)17 (-0.4)17 (-0.5)
9Greg Olsen606676113.619.616.619.6
10Jordan Reed38645105.
11Evan Engram17226606.
12George Kittle601264805.811.88.811.8

Greg Olsen (FanDuel: $6000, DraftKings: $4100)

10@ PIT4564400486.08.0
11@ DET5632916.
12vs SEA58421101.
13PROJ-Dodds4430.57.311.39.3 (H=15)11.3 (H=32)
13PROJ-Tremblay3320. (H=9)8.6 (H=20)
13PROJ-Bloom3320. (H=11)9.2 (H=22)

Buccaneers vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)11T (-0.4)11T (-0.4)14 (-0.2) (+0.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)14 (+0.0)14 (+0.0)16T (+0.2) (+0.0)
9Graham Gano0066666.06.0
10Dustin Hopkins3311101012.012.0
11Aldrick Rosas11558810.010.0
12Robbie Gould1101333.03.0

Graham Gano (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

10@ PIT0033333.03.0
11@ DET0112111.01.0
12vs SEA2333999.09.0

Buccaneers vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)31 (+3.2)31 (+3.2)27T (+3.0)27T (+3.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)26 (+2.3)26 (+2.3)29 (+2.8)29 (+2.8)
9Carolina Panthers2830132000776.06.0
10Washington Redskins350122200101017.017.0
11New York Giants3551014001151511.011.0
12San Francisco 49ers2741210000111.01.0

Carolina Panthers (FanDuel: $3800, DraftKings: $2500)

10@ PIT52.004571000011-3.0-3.0
11@ DET20.0030910000112.02.0
12vs SEA30.0039720000221.01.0
13PROJ-Dodds26.404142.31.40.600. (H=21)8.5 (H=32)
13PROJ-Tremblay26.504092.51.40.600. (H=19)8.1 (H=29)

Panthers vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)25 (+1.9)25 (+1.9)27 (+2.1)27 (+2.5)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)30 (+5.5)30 (+5.5)29 (+5.5)30 (+6.0)
9Ryan Fitzpatrick67244024342523028.528.526.026.0
10Ben Roethlisberger50222532850327039.139.135.838.8
11Matthew Stafford6523372201036015.615.613.413.4
12Russell Wilson6222313392034025.425.422.025.0

Jameis Winston (FanDuel: $7500, DraftKings: $6000)

11@ NYG30121619921516018.618.616.616.6
12vs SF732938312207240262622.925.9
13PROJ-Dodds26403092.11.34210.225.825.825.8 (H=74)25.8 (H=92)
13PROJ-Tremblay25393021.91.46280.225.325.325.3 (H=71)25.3 (H=89)
13PROJ-Bloom24352391.91.34130. (H=48)20.1 (H=60)

Panthers vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)8 (-3.0)8 (-4.0)8 (-3.5)8 (-4.4)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)9 (-3.7)9 (-4.0)9 (-3.7)9 (-4.7)
9Peyton Barber351131032904.
9Jacquizz Rodgers26214032-401.
10James Conner2413651118013.314.313.814.3
10Jaylen Samuels17570432218.911.910.411.9
11Kerryon Johnson33158712210015.717.716.717.7
11Theo Riddick27100753003.
12Chris Carson3216551228012.314.313.314.3
12Tre Madden3000112802.

Peyton Barber (FanDuel: $5800, DraftKings: $3700)

10vs WAS331361011506.
11@ NYG481810612240171918.022.0
12vs SF36184712216012.314.313.314.3
13PROJ-Dodds14580.41909.110.19.6 (H=17)10.1 (H=29)
13PROJ-Tremblay15580.41909.110.19.6 (H=17)10.1 (H=29)
13PROJ-Bloom16550.52809.311.310.3 (H=19)11.3 (H=36)

Jacquizz Rodgers (FanDuel: $5000, DraftKings: $3200)

10vs WAS2610088102010.
11@ NYG23315030001.
12vs SF345310543106.
13PROJ-Dodds290.13210. (H=8)7.2 (H=19)
13PROJ-Tremblay290.121703.25.24.2 (H=4)5.2 (H=10)
13PROJ-Bloom00021701.73.72.7 (H=2)3.7 (H=6)

Ronald Jones II (FanDuel: $4600, DraftKings: $3100)

13PROJ-Dodds2801501.32.31.8 (H=1)2.3 (H=2)
13PROJ-Tremblay1500300.80.80.8 (H=0)0.8 (H=0)
13PROJ-Bloom000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Panthers vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)21 (+1.5)22 (+2.3)20 (+1.7)20 (+2.3)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)31 (+9.3)29 (+11.1)30 (+10.3)29 (+12.4)
9Adam Humphries558882217020.928.924.928.9
9Chris Godwin37324000004.
10JuJu Smith-Schuster4253901113016.319.317.819.3
10Antonio Brown516696100015.621.618.621.6
11Kenny Golladay61148113100017.325.321.328.3
11Bruce Ellington33965200005.
12Tyler Lockett555510711-2016.521.519.024.5
12David Moore3154103100016.320.318.323.3

Mike Evans (FanDuel: $7900, DraftKings: $8100)

10vs WAS55635100005.
11@ NYG65761201001243027.033.0
12vs SF5886116000011.617.614.620.6
13PROJ-Dodds6870.500011.717.714.7 (H=26)17.7 (H=35)
13PROJ-Tremblay5810.400010.515.513.0 (H=21)15.5 (H=28)
13PROJ-Bloom6830.500011.317.314.3 (H=25)17.3 (H=34)

Adam Humphries (FanDuel: $6000, DraftKings: $4200)

10vs WAS54325300005.
11@ NYG4953601000121513.515.0
12vs SF386654100011.417.414.417.4
13PROJ-Dodds4490.30006.710.78.8 (H=14)10.8 (H=29)
13PROJ-Tremblay4500.30106.910.99.0 (H=14)11.0 (H=30)
13PROJ-Bloom5470.50007.712.710.3 (H=18)12.8 (H=39)

Chris Godwin (FanDuel: $5400, DraftKings: $3900)

10vs WAS3477103000010.317.313.820.3
11@ NYG2333500000586.58.0
12vs SF49444200004.
13PROJ-Dodds4460.30006.410.48.4 (H=14)10.4 (H=29)
13PROJ-Tremblay4520.30007119.0 (H=16)11.0 (H=32)
13PROJ-Bloom5500.40007.412.49.9 (H=19)12.4 (H=40)

DeSean Jackson (FanDuel: $5500, DraftKings: $4800)

10vs WAS44856700006.711.79.211.7
11@ NYG53743800003.
12vs SF36831901602.
13PROJ-Dodds3390.20005.18.16.6 (H=9)8.1 (H=15)
13PROJ-Tremblay2240.10203.25.24.2 (H=4)5.2 (H=7)
13PROJ-Bloom000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Panthers vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)32 (+3.6)32 (+4.8)32 (+4.4)32 (+5.1)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)21 (+1.8)20 (+1.2)21 (+1.5)20 (+1.1)
9O.J. Howard376453217.321.319.321.3
10Vance McDonald254444110.414.412.414.4
11Levine Toilolo42111301.
12Nick Vannett25222202.

Cameron Brate (FanDuel: $4900, DraftKings: $3700)

10vs WAS19311401.
11@ NYG20321601.
12vs SF51432618.611.610.111.6
13PROJ-Dodds4380.56.810.88.8 (H=17)10.8 (H=33)
13PROJ-Tremblay4360.46108.0 (H=14)10.0 (H=29)
13PROJ-Bloom4360.56.610.68.6 (H=16)10.6 (H=32)

Antony Auclair (FanDuel: $4000, DraftKings: $2500)

10vs WAS140000000.00.0
11@ NYG140000000.00.0
12vs SF3611800.
13PROJ-Dodds1100. (H=1)2.6 (H=4)
13PROJ-Tremblay180. (H=1)2.4 (H=3)

Panthers vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)11T (-0.4)11T (-0.4)15 (-0.1) (+0.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)27T (+1.8)27T (+1.8)26 (+2.0) (+0.0)
9Chandler Catanzaro0044444.04.0
10Chris Boswell1177101012.012.0
11Matt Prater22228810.010.0
12Sebastian Janikowski3333121212.012.0

Cairo Santos (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

11@ NYG0055555.05.0
12vs SF22339910.010.0

Panthers vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)19T (-2.0)19T (-2.0)14T (-2.8)14T (-2.8)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)19 (+0.1)19 (+0.1)14 (-0.7)14 (-0.7)
9Tampa Bay Buccaneers424072000022-2.0-2.0
10Pittsburgh Steelers2124251101151515.015.0
11Detroit Lions1938731000556.06.0
12Seattle Seahawks2747601000222.02.0

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (FanDuel: $3200, DraftKings: $2000)

10vs WAS16.0028630000334.04.0
11@ NYG38.0035940000443.03.0
12vs SF9.00342420008812.012.0
13PROJ-Dodds29.9041220.80.600. (H=12)5.6 (H=19)
13PROJ-Tremblay30.0036620.90.500. (H=12)5.6 (H=19)