Matchup Analysis: New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers

Vegas Prediction

Vegas says: Saints 30, Panthers 17

FBG Projections

TeamRushYardsTDCompAttPass YdTDINT

New Orleans Saints Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Saints Offense27.7 (+5.0) (5)108 (-4) (17)265 (+29) (7)
Panthers Defense28.5 (+5.8) (31)145 (+33) (31)229 (-6) (13)

Carolina Panthers Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Panthers Offense22.0 (-0.8) (18)119 (+6) (14)224 (-11) (21)
Saints Defense22.1 (-0.7) (14)95 (-17) (5)239 (+3) (17)

Saints Rushing offense

Great matchup vs. the Panthers defense.

Alvin Kamara continues to look healthy and dynamic, but his volume has dipped from his late-2018 and early-2019 levels. He’s taken on 46 snaps a game since returning from injury, but just 58% of team rushes. The Saints clearly prefer for Kamara to be spelled liberally, which gives Latavius Murray some fantasy flex value of his own. The Saints can still improve their playoff seeding, so there’s no reason to expect either to give up many snaps. They’ll operate behind an elite front line - ranked atop the league by Footballguys’ Matt Bitonti - that can withstand the absences of guards Andrus Peat and Larry Warford. And runners across the league have found great success against the Panthers’ porous defense with all degrees of volume. When these teams played in Week 12, Kamara and Murray combined to produce 6.6 yards a carry. Similar (or better) results can be safely expected in the season finale.

The Carolina defense has collapsed on all levels, but most glaringly against the run. They now serve as one of fantasy’s most attractive matchups on the ground, having allowed a league-worst 5.7 yards per rush and 163 a game over the past 9 weeks. During that span, they’ve let a whopping 13 runners top 60 yards, with 5 of them clearing 95. When these teams faced off back in Week 12, Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray combined to produce 118 and a touchdown at 6.6 per attempt. Needless to say, both Saints runners project beautifully again for the finale. The problems start up front, where nose tackle Kyle Love has proven a weak replacement for the injured Dontari Poe. That’s left the linebackers to sort through traffic more often, which is no longer a strong suit for Luke Kuechly, and Shaq Thompson remains inconsistent next to him. There’s not much help from the secondary, leaving plenty of wide lanes on the second level. That allows runners to turn two yards into five, and five into game-breaking chunk runs, far too often. Kamara finally looked spry and explosive again last week, and he’s set up nicely to exploit this shaky unit.

Saints Passing offense

Great matchup vs. the Panthers defense.

Week in, week out, it’s still remarkable to see Drew Brees display such steadily consistent brilliance. Over the past 3 weeks, the legend has hit on 79% of his throws and topped 300 yards twice, with a staggering 12 touchdowns. And he’ll look to keep that run going in Week 17, as the Saints can still improve their seeding with a win and some help. Brees still spreads the ball around nicely, but all of the Saints’ projectable usage belongs to the trio of Michael Thomas, Jared Cook, and Alvin Kamara. Those three, for example, drew 28 of Brees’ 38 targets last Sunday, and 21 of 30 the prior week. Thomas is the league’s toughest intermediate cover, and not much more can be said about his dominance. He’s caught 84% of his targets over the past 2 years and already broken Marvin Harrison’s single-season catch record. Kamara is the de facto No. 2, and Cook is used more situationally, but has established himself as a red-zone threat. He’s produced 8 touchdowns over just 41 receptions. Beyond them, there’s virtually no volume to project for fantasy purposes, which makes life easy on fantasy folk looking to play Saints. With those targets concentrated across three guys, this is a relatively simple offense to approach, week after week.

The Carolina pass defense opened 2019 in dominant fashion, but began a tailspin in Week 5 it has yet to climb out of. Since then, opposing passers have put up a robust 8.1 yards per attempt, with 6 topping 300 and 5 throwing multiple touchdowns. And they won’t get a Week 17 breather with the Saints still jockeying for a first-round bye. The spotlight will be on cornerbacks James Bradberry and Ross Cockrell as they work against Drew Brees and Michael Thomas, but recent history isn’t kind. Amazingly, the Panthers have allowed 14 receivers to top 75 yards over their last 11 games - including Thomas’ 10 for 101 back in Week 12.

Panthers Rushing offense

Tough matchup vs. the Saints defense.

There’s still no answer out there to consistently slow down Christian McCaffrey. The dynamic weapon is close to rarified air, just 67 receiving yards shy of joining Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig in the 1,000/1,000 Club. Chasing that should lock him in for a full complement of Week 17 snaps despite the game meaning nothing to the Panthers. McCaffrey is in the midst of (his version of) a cold spell at the moment - he hasn’t reached 90 yards on the ground since Week 10. But he’s still running efficiently, at 4.5 per rush over his last 3 games, and he still draws most of the team’s short-yardage use. Even in the pits of the Panthers’ Will Grier-led offense, McCaffrey boasts fantasy’s best blend of volume, efficiency, and touchdown opportunity, week after week.

Thanks to a mix of talent, scheme, and positive game flow, the Saints continue to dominate against the run. They’ve held 11 of their 15 opponents below 4.0 yards per rush, with just a single runner (Carlos Hyde in the season opener) cresting 80 on the day. They’ve stifled a handful of elite backs along the way - including this week’s target, Christian McCaffrey, who managed just 64 yards on 22 carries back in Week 12. Simply put: trying to grind things out against the Saints rarely produces much fruit. The deep, versatile line is adept at controlling the line of scrimmage, while a few key contributors on the second level have enjoyed big 2019 breakouts. Linebacker Demario Davis leads the way, though enough can’t be said about the play of strong safety Vonn Bell, who continues to excel in the box. Altogether, this makes for a dicey matchup even for McCaffrey. He’ll see enough all-purpose touches to make his usual impact, but projects to struggle for efficiency and touchdown opportunity in this nightmare matchup.

Panthers Passing offense

Neutral matchup vs. the Saints defense.

If there’s to be a true Will Grier era in Carolina, it didn’t get off to much of a start last week. It has to be noted that Grier was severely handcuffed by the game plan and done no favors by his line, and that top receiver D.J. Moore checked out in the first quarter. But for most of the day, the rookie looked incapable of making tough throws or even sustaining drives. He missed open receivers left and right while completing just 2 of his 12 deep throws (15+ yards downfield), including all 3 of his interceptions. His second start won’t be any easier with Moore (concussion) unlikely to suit up. Most likely, he’ll again feed Christian McCaffrey and his tight ends on short, one-read throws and occasionally send a deep ball toward Curtis Samuel - who will get some shadow treatment from Marshon Lattimore. All told, McCaffrey is the only worthwhile fantasy piece of this crew for Week 17.

The Saints boast a talented but inconsistent pass defense. This unit has looked smothering in bursts, but sits middle-of-the-pack in raw yardage allowed and 24th in touchdowns. Needless to say, it’s bounced back noticeably since the return of cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who continues to remind the world what he’s capable of against opposing No. 1 wideouts. Over the past 2 matchups, T.Y. Hilton and A.J. Brown combined for just 59 yards on their 11 targets. There’s some uncertainty across the field, though, with Eli Apple’s status up in the air. Thankfully, the team can now plug in newly-acquired Janoris Jenkins for relief on the outside, rather than major liabilities P.J. Williams and Patrick Robinson. Those two can be (and have been) beaten early and often, especially out of the slot, as seen recently against the likes of Deebo Samuel (76 yards), Russell Gage (52 and a touchdown), and Tajae Sharpe (2 scores last week). This isn’t a unit to fear much in fantasy - it’s just as capable of imploding as exploding on a given week - though it makes sense to temper expectations for No. 1 receivers. The Panthers’ Curtis Samuel has struggled for months to produce with bad quarterbacking, and his outlook is even muddier for the season finale.

Panthers vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)11 (-1.5)11 (-1.5)11 (-1.5)14 (-1.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)9 (-3.3)9 (-3.2)9 (-2.8)9 (-2.8)
13Dwayne Haskins641325147004608.
14Matt Ryan7020343132018024.524.521.324.3
15Russell Wilson672026286203-1022.222.219.319.3
16Jacoby Brissett61142711900337115.916.915.215.7

Drew Brees (FanDuel: $8400, DraftKings: $7000)

14vs SF6829403495011143.643.640.143.1
15vs IND6029303074000031.431.428.331.3
16@ TEN682738279303-3025.725.722.922.9
17PROJ-Dodds25362712.20.6120.122.622.622.6 (H=52)22.6 (H=63)
17PROJ-Tremblay24352502.10.9230.120.920.920.9 (H=46)20.9 (H=55)
17PROJ-Bloom26342802.60.5110.124.624.624.6 (H=61)24.6 (H=73)

Taysom Hill (FanDuel: $5200, DraftKings: $4500)

14vs SF280100051302.
15vs IND170000021010.312.311.312.3
16@ TEN2512200021104.
17PROJ-Dodds1190.10290. (H=9)7.5 (H=14)
17PROJ-Tremblay00000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
17PROJ-Bloom000002110. (H=12)8.6 (H=18)

Panthers vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)32 (+7.6)31 (+6.1)32 (+8.2)32 (+7.5)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)32 (+14.1)31 (+11.7)32 (+16.1)31 (+15.6)
13Derrius Guice19101292328025.727.726.730.7
13Adrian Peterson2313991100015.915.915.915.9
14Devonta Freeman48178414410015.419.417.419.4
14Brian Hill149621000012.
15Chris Carson51241332214025.726.726.229.7
15C.J. Prosise105150111002.
16Marlon Mack3116951226016.
16Jordan Wilkins229841000014.414.414.414.4

Alvin Kamara (FanDuel: $7900, DraftKings: $7800)

14vs SF551325064.01804.
15vs IND421466055.02308.913.911.413.9
16@ TEN441180276.0300232926.029.0
17PROJ-Dodds14650.55.9410.214.820.717.8 (H=37)20.7 (H=48)
17PROJ-Tremblay13610.46.2430.21420.217.1 (H=34)20.2 (H=46)
17PROJ-Bloom14640.55.0280.3141916.5 (H=32)19.0 (H=42)

Latavius Murray (FanDuel: $5400, DraftKings: $5600)

14vs SF24769032.02509.411.410.411.4
15vs IND22929032.02004.
16@ TEN25714032.01102.
17PROJ-Dodds9380.41.6110. (H=15)9.5 (H=17)
17PROJ-Tremblay8360.31.6110. (H=13)8.7 (H=15)
17PROJ-Bloom9430.52.0120. (H=20)11.1 (H=23)

Panthers vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)22 (+1.3)25 (+3.7)24 (+2.6)25 (+4.1)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)20 (+0.5)18 (-0.4)19 (+0.0)16 (-0.8)
13Kelvin Harmon54535100005.
13Steven Sims37432900002.
14Olamide Zaccheaus222193100015.316.315.816.3
14Calvin Ridley385576100013.618.616.118.6
15Tyler Lockett5398120100018.
15DK Metcalf55423610009.611.610.611.6
16T.Y. Hilton38432600002.
16Dontrelle Inman8211800001.

Michael Thomas (FanDuel: $9200, DraftKings: $9900)

14vs SF701511.0134100019.430.424.933.4
15vs IND481212.0128100018.830.824.833.8
16@ TEN611712.0136100019.631.625.634.6
17PROJ-Dodds8.81040.700014.623.419.0 (H=35)23.4 (H=47)
17PROJ-Tremblay8.3990.800014.72318.9 (H=35)23.0 (H=46)
17PROJ-Bloom9.01010.900015.524.520.0 (H=38)24.5 (H=51)

TreQuan Smith (FanDuel: $4700, DraftKings: $3700)

14vs SF5642.02910008.910.99.910.9
15vs IND4511.02110008.
16@ TEN3821.01300001.
17PROJ-Dodds1.5200.30003.85.34.6 (H=5)5.3 (H=9)
17PROJ-Tremblay1.2170.20002.94.13.5 (H=3)4.1 (H=6)
17PROJ-Bloom2.0250.30004.36.35.3 (H=7)6.3 (H=13)

Ted Ginn (FanDuel: $5000, DraftKings: $4000)

14vs SF4264.0500000597.09.0
15vs IND1911.01300001.
16@ TEN2510.000000000.00.0
17PROJ-Dodds1.7250.20003.75.44.6 (H=5)5.4 (H=9)
17PROJ-Tremblay1.7230.20003.55.24.4 (H=5)5.2 (H=8)
17PROJ-Bloom1.0150.10002.13.12.6 (H=2)3.1 (H=3)

Deonte Harris (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3300)

14vs SF711.01301802.
15vs IND911.0100000.
16@ TEN1311.000000010.51.0
17PROJ-Dodds0.4501300.81.21.0 (H=0)1.2 (H=0)
17PROJ-Tremblay0.3400300.710.8 (H=0)1.0 (H=0)

Panthers vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)6 (-1.9)2 (-3.3)4 (-2.6)2 (-3.5)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)5 (-4.6)4 (-6.9)5 (-5.7)4 (-7.1)
13Jeremy Sprinkle49423603.
14Austin Hooper47623203.
15Jacob Hollister46332302.
16Mo Alie-Cox35112102.

Jared Cook (FanDuel: $6800, DraftKings: $5200)

14vs SF822.064218.420.419.420.4
15vs IND2844.05405.
16@ TEN3643.084220.423.421.923.4
17PROJ-Dodds3.5500.5811.59.8 (H=15)11.5 (H=26)
17PROJ-Tremblay3.2430.57.310.58.9 (H=12)10.5 (H=22)
17PROJ-Bloom4.0630.59.313.311.3 (H=19)13.3 (H=34)

Josh Hill (FanDuel: $5300, DraftKings: $3500)

14vs SF6232.0416.
15vs IND4711.0516.
16@ TEN4200.000000.00.0
17PROJ-Dodds1.1100. (H=1)2.7 (H=3)
17PROJ-Tremblay1. (H=1)2.5 (H=2)
17PROJ-Bloom1. (H=0)2.1 (H=2)

Panthers vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)25T (+1.1)25T (+1.1)25T (+1.1) (+0.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)25T (+1.4)25T (+1.4)23 (+1.3) (+0.0)
13Dustin Hopkins3422111112.012.0
14Younghoe Koo4444161618.018.0
15Jason Myers1134666.06.0
16Rigoberto Sanchez0000000.00.0

Wil Lutz (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

14vs SF2244101013.013.0
15vs IND2244101010.010.0
16@ TEN1155889.09.0

Panthers vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)27 (+1.7)27 (+1.7)29 (+3.0)29 (+3.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)31 (+4.5)31 (+4.5)32 (+8.9)32 (+8.9)
13Washington Redskins2127871100111111.011.0
14Atlanta Falcons2034552200131314.014.0
15Seattle Seahawks2441413000777.07.0
16Indianapolis Colts628653002111130.030.0

New Orleans Saints (FanDuel: $4700, DraftKings: $4000)

14vs SF48.0051631000551.01.0
15vs IND7.0020510000115.05.0
16@ TEN28.0039750100776.06.0
17PROJ-Dodds19.403672. (H=27)11.1 (H=32)
17PROJ-Tremblay16.503862.61.30.900.512.312.312.3 (H=32)12.3 (H=38)

Saints vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)22 (+1.4)22 (+1.4)22 (+1.5)22 (+1.4)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)23 (+2.0)23 (+2.0)22 (+1.4)23 (+2.2)
13Matt Ryan93355031222321023.723.718.622.6
14Jimmy Garoppolo6726353494121032.632.629.132.1
15Jacoby Brissett561834165001709.
16Ryan Tannehill6217272723018026.426.423.723.7

Will Grier (FanDuel: $6400, DraftKings: $4600)

14@ ATL000000000000.00.0
15vs SEA000000000000.00.0
16@ IND7027442240341709.
17PROJ-Dodds23382411.21.3280.1171717.0 (H=42)17.0 (H=58)
17PROJ-Tremblay254027411.33100.1181818.0 (H=46)18.0 (H=64)
17PROJ-Bloom19331811.11.54150. (H=30)14.1 (H=42)

Saints vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)4 (-4.5)6 (-4.1)4 (-4.5)5 (-4.8)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)13 (-3.0)12 (-3.6)13 (-3.1)12 (-4.2)
13Devonta Freeman6217510541306.410.48.410.4
13Brian Hill244130332403.
14Raheem Mostert40106912240122.924.923.924.9
14Matt Breida12654011405.
15Jordan Wilkins24310131707.
15Marlon Mack251119000001.
16Dion Lewis4315680211908.
16Dalyn Dawkins16924010002.

Christian McCaffrey (FanDuel: $11000, DraftKings: $10000)

14@ ATL70115301211.082013.524.519.024.5
15vs SEA7219872108.088029.537.533.537.5
16@ IND63135401515.0119017.332.324.835.3
17PROJ-Dodds18780.57.3590.217.925.221.6 (H=37)25.2 (H=53)
17PROJ-Tremblay19870.57.8640.219.327.123.2 (H=42)27.1 (H=60)
17PROJ-Bloom15540.58.0680.3172521.0 (H=35)25.0 (H=52)

Saints vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)28 (+4.8)28 (+5.4)28 (+5.3)27 (+5.8)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)31 (+11.9)31 (+15.5)31 (+13.1)30 (+14.8)
13Russell Gage639552100011.216.213.716.2
13Calvin Ridley871089100009.
14Emmanuel Sanders6397157100027.534.530.637.1
14Kendrick Bourne384318200013.816.815.316.8
15Zach Pascal45644400004.
15Marcus Johnson45423700003.
16Tajae Sharpe396569200018.923.921.423.9
16A.J. Brown6221340149114.315.314.815.3

Curtis Samuel (FanDuel: $6000, DraftKings: $4900)

14@ ATL6542.025031704.
15vs SEA6685.0311423011.416.413.916.4
16@ IND5352.01702402.
17PROJ-Dodds3.9460.321107.511.49.5 (H=16)11.4 (H=27)
17PROJ-Tremblay4.1520.221007.411.59.5 (H=16)11.5 (H=28)
17PROJ-Bloom4.0410.32100.17.511.59.5 (H=16)11.5 (H=28)

Jarius Wright (FanDuel: $5200, DraftKings: $3500)

14@ ATL5954.0300000375.07.0
15vs SEA4341.0900000.
16@ IND4051.01900001.
17PROJ-Dodds2.7310.10003.76.45.1 (H=6)6.4 (H=14)
17PROJ-Tremblay3.1390.10004.57.66.1 (H=8)7.6 (H=19)
17PROJ-Bloom2.0180.10002.44.43.4 (H=3)4.4 (H=7)

Chris Hogan (FanDuel: $4600, DraftKings: $3300)

15vs SEA631.01300001.
16@ IND5232.01600001.
17PROJ-Dodds1.8260.10003.254.1 (H=5)5.0 (H=9)
17PROJ-Tremblay2.3350.10004.16.45.3 (H=7)6.4 (H=15)
17PROJ-Bloom2.0230.20003.55.54.5 (H=5)5.5 (H=11)

DeAndrew White (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

14@ ATL400.000000000.00.0
15vs SEA000.000000000.00.0
16@ IND1431.01200001.
17PROJ-Dodds1.3190.10002.53.83.2 (H=3)3.8 (H=6)
17PROJ-Tremblay1.4190.10002.53.93.2 (H=3)3.9 (H=7)

Saints vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)11 (-0.6)11 (-0.7)10 (-0.6)10 (-0.9)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)20 (+1.3)17 (+0.6)21 (+1.0)16 (+0.4)
13Jaeden Graham554441110.
14George Kittle628667112.718.715.718.7
15Jack Doyle46522102.
16Jonnu Smith514363112.315.313.815.3

Greg Olsen (FanDuel: $5200, DraftKings: $3400)

14@ ATL000.000000.00.0
15vs SEA000.000000.00.0
16@ IND4052.03303.
17PROJ-Dodds3.1350. (H=7)7.2 (H=17)
17PROJ-Tremblay2.9340.146.95.5 (H=7)6.9 (H=16)
17PROJ-Bloom3.0310. (H=8)7.3 (H=18)

Ian Thomas (FanDuel: $4900, DraftKings: $2800)

14@ ATL61105.057111.716.714.216.7
15vs SEA6942.02302.
16@ IND3233.01601.
17PROJ-Dodds1.4130. (H=2)3.3 (H=5)
17PROJ-Tremblay1.7160. (H=2)3.9 (H=7)
17PROJ-Bloom0.000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Saints vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)10T (-0.4)10T (-0.4)11T (-0.3) (+0.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)7T (-1.4)7T (-1.4)9 (-1.5) (+0.0)
13Matt Bosher0000000.00.0
14Robbie Gould2266121213.013.0
15Rigoberto Sanchez0000000.00.0
16Greg Joseph0044444.04.0

Joey Slye (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

14@ ATL22228810.010.0
15vs SEA1133668.08.0
16@ IND2200668.08.0

Saints vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)1 (-3.4)1 (-3.4)2 (-4.1)2 (-4.1)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)1 (-4.7)1 (-4.7)1 (-7.6)1 (-7.6)
13Atlanta Falcons2627900000000.00.0
14San Francisco 49ers464650010022-2.0-2.0
15Indianapolis Colts344240000000-1.0-1.0
16Tennessee Titans383773000033-1.0-1.0

Carolina Panthers (FanDuel: $3000, DraftKings: $2000)

14@ ATL40.004611000011-3.0-3.0
15vs SEA30.0042821000443.03.0
16@ IND38.003243000033-1.0-1.0
17PROJ-Dodds29.903642.10.80.500. (H=12)5.5 (H=19)
17PROJ-Tremblay29.503662.30.90.500. (H=14)5.9 (H=21)