Matchup Analysis: Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals

Vegas Prediction

Vegas says: Panthers 25, Cardinals 22

FBG Projections

TeamRushYardsTDCompAttPass YdTDINT

Carolina Panthers Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Panthers Offense20.5 (-1.3) (16)83 (-25) (24)264 (+15) (16)
Cardinals Defense25.0 (+3.2) (23)149 (+40) (29)310 (+60) (27)

Arizona Cardinals Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Cardinals Offense22.0 (+0.2) (12)66 (-42) (27)302 (+53) (7)
Panthers Defense25.0 (+3.2) (24)133 (+24) (25)186 (-62) (3)

Panthers Rushing offense

Neutral matchup vs. the Cardinals defense.

With 35 of 42 team rushes thus far, Christian McCaffrey remains the engine of the Panthersí ground attack. He was bottled up Thursday by the Buccaneersí improved run defense, but shredded the Rams for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns in Week 1. Itís comforting to note that Thursdayís letdown was just the fourth time over his last 13 games heís been held below a 4.0 average. McCaffrey is an open-field dynamo, of course, but has bulked up noticeably and become a difficult tackle on the interior. And heís aided by a strong run-blocking line that consistently opens big holes. McCaffrey is always a top-tier play, regardless of game script or matchup. Quarterback Cam Newton hasnít run the ball much - just five attempts through two games. The 30-year-old may be in the process of drastically reducing the weekly punishment he takes. He no longer takes on goal-line work, either; that goes almost entirely to McCaffrey now.

For the second straight week, the Cardinalsí improved run defense held a solid opposing ground game somewhat in check. They had no answer for Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, who shredded them for 120 yards. But behind him, running backs Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards managed just 58 yards over 16 attempts. That came after the Cardinals held explosive Lions runner Kerryon Johnson to 3.1 per carry in the opener. Linebacker Jordan Hicks (25 tackles thus far) remains an underrated run-stuffer on the second level, while Haason Redick and safety Budda Baker have also taken steps forward. And 330-pound Corey Peters does a fine job of occupying space and absorbing blockers up front. Still, this unit isnít by any means unbeatable, as Jackson proved with his read-option runs off the edge. Baby steps have been taken, and this isnít quite the slam-dunk fantasy matchup it was last year. But speedy backs like Christian McCaffrey remain fully capable of excelling here. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton hasnít run much of late, but heís certainly boning up on the tape of Jacksonís Week 2 dominance.

Panthers Passing offense

Good matchup vs. the Cardinals defense.

Now 30 years old, and has undergone two shoulder surgeries over the past two years, Cam Newton is struggling. Heís been erratic all over the field, but particularly on deep balls (15+ yards), where heís completed just 3 of 10 attempts thus far. As a result, neither D.J. Moore nor Curtis Samuel has been able to create much downfield magic. Moore has been dependable in the No. 1 role, catching 67% of his targets, but has averaged just 10.3 yards apiece. Heís yet to find the end zone or even record a play of more than 18 yards. Samuel did make a great deep catch last Thursday, skying over Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargeaves for a 44-yard gain, but hasnít exactly been unleashed yet (just 7.2 yards per target thus far). At least 34-year-old Greg Olsen looks spry and recovered from foot surgery, working the seams as a security blanket with plenty of foot-speed left. Newtonís Week 3 availability remains up in the air; if he can go, the team will keep having to manufacture production with after-the-catch yardage. Moore and Samuel are dynamic athletes, while Christian McCaffrey may be the gameís best pass-catching back. Thereís enough talent to keep this attack afloat with Newton under center, but a move to undrafted youngster Kyle Allen would ding the whole group. Allen looked serviceable in Week 17 of last year, going 16-of-27 for 228 yards and 2 scores against the Saints. But heís not to be trusted yet in fantasy - and most of his supporting cast goes into wait-and-see status.

With All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson in the lineup, the Cardinals still field a subpar pass defense, but he remains suspended. Without him, this is one of footballís worst units. Late moves and miscommunications have resulted in far too many splash plays to open the year. In Week 1, the Lions got their passing game on-track with 385 and 3 touchdowns. And last Sunday, Lamar Jackson continued his torrid start to the season, hitting on 24 of 37 for 272 and 2 more scores. Petersonís replacements, Tramaine Brock and Chris Jones, have been shaky on the outside, and rookie slot man Byron Murphy has been beaten frequently. The cornerback play has been bad, but thus far, opposing tight ends have caused the most damage. T.J. Hockenson (6 for 131 and 1 touchdown) and Mark Andrews (8 for 112 and 1) have exploited major vulnerabilities over the middle and up the seams; both made huge downfield plays that came far too easily. This is a unit that could allow Greg Olsen to have one more big game that we have seen many times throughout his career.

Cardinals Rushing offense

Good matchup vs. the Panthers defense.

David Johnson has been solid, not spectacular, to open his fifth NFL season. He ran well against the Lions in Week 1, totaling 82 yards on the ground, then underwhelmed in a shortened appearance against the Ravensí stout defense on Sunday (7 carries for 14 yards). Those numbers arenít eye-popping, but they do represent a step forward. Johnson has long been a dynamic open-field weapon, yet never very efficient as a bell-cow runner. For a number of reasons, heís averaged just 3.9 yards per rush dating back to 2016. But the Cardinals have worked at retooling their line, putting two solid blockers (Justin Pugh and J.R. Sweezy) at guard and mauler D.J. Humphries at left tackle. The improvement has been subtle, but noticeable, and Johnsonís weekly rushing floor is now a bit higher. Johnson left the Ravens game after sustaining a wrist injury, but quickly returned and looks set for Week 3. Quarterback Kyler Murray (17 yards) has yet to showcase his explosive running ability, but it could come at any moment. Murray ran for 72 yards per game and 12 touchdowns last year at Oklahoma - and that even factored out most of his sack yardage.

The Carolina run defense has slid gradually into the bottom half of the NFL, and now makes for a fairly juicy fantasy matchup. Dating back to last season, theyíve allowed 12 runners to top 50 yards (with 10 touchdowns) over their last 10 games. Luke Kuechly remains a tackling machine in the middle - he posted 17 Thursday night, including a few losses and a safety - and the star-studded line is imposing. But Thursday night proved that, even when the front seven is clicking, there are still vulnerabilities to exploit. The supporting cast lacks impact playmakers, and there are still too many slipped tackles on the second level. Safety Eric Reid, who spends most of his time working as a third box linebacker, often winds up a liability in the open field.

Cardinals Passing offense

Neutral matchup vs. the Panthers defense.

Through two games, itís safe to say Kyler Murray is taking to coach Kliff Kingsburyís Air Raid attack. Even with some notable rookie struggles, Murray has topped 300 yards in back-to-back games, and he nearly led a massive upset in Baltimore with his arm. Heís still a fundamental mess in many ways but boasts the instinct and arm strength to spin even ill-advised throws into solid gains. His connection with Larry Fitzgerald, while hit-or-miss last week (5 of 11 targets), is a strong one. Murray is looking for Fitzgerald all over the field, even deep, where the ageless wonder has produced plays of 41, 45, and 54 yards. Christian Kirk got in on the fun last week, posting 114 yards of his own, including a few impressive downfield catches. No one else has made much impact, though, with journeyman Damiere Byrd (87 yards on 10 receptions) taking up almost all of the No. 3 snaps. Running back David Johnson typically fills that role in the pecking order but surprisingly drew just a single target Sunday. As a result, there are only two receivers confidently in play for fantasy success from week to week. Still, on the whole, this is an exciting, fast-paced offense thatís delivering plenty of volume and decent efficiency. With opportunity, weaponry, and game flow often on his side, Murray looks like a weekly, matchup-proof stab at 300 yards.

The Panthers pass defense remains a solid if inconsistent unit. But their arrow is pointing up, thanks to a few key developments from last seasonís debacle. In James Bradberry and Donte Jackson, they boast a pair of talented cover men who have opened the year exceeding expectations. They locked down the Rams in Week 1, then held Mike Evans to just 61 yards on 8 targets. It helps that theyíre backed by the teamís best free safety in years, new addition Tre Boston, who provides great support downfield. Thereís still some vulnerability inside, and Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk should see enough volume and open space to produce. Last week, Jackson was beaten badly for a touchdown by Chris Godwin on a sharp cut to the inside. But on the whole, this is a difficult group to pile up big plays against. With the cornerbacks so strong in downfield coverage - and boasting the ability to move on the ball - opposing deep threats simply donít project well.

Cardinals vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)31 (+12.4)31 (+12.4)31 (+11.1)31 (+13.3)
1Matthew Stafford88274538530322033.533.527.631.6
2Lamar Jackson7924372722016120033.633.630.933.9

Kyle Allen (FanDuel: $6000, DraftKings: $4000)

1vs LAR000000000000.00.0
2vs TB000000000000.00.0
3PROJ-Dodds20312021.20.9380.115.415.415.4 (H=37)15.4 (H=56)
3PROJ-Tremblay69600.40.31304.64.64.6 (H=4)4.6 (H=7)
3PROJ-Bloom19331791.214110.114.514.514.5 (H=34)14.5 (H=51)

Cardinals vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)8 (-6.5)4 (-7.6)7 (-6.9)4 (-8.0)
1Kerryon Johnson5016490221306.
1C.J. Anderson261135000003.
2Mark Ingram4613470223007.
2Justice Hill16140211001.

Christian McCaffrey (FanDuel: $8900, DraftKings: $8700)

1vs LAR671912821110.081032.942.937.945.9
2vs TB791637062.01605.
3PROJ-Dodds20910.75.8420.218.724.521.6 (H=46)24.5 (H=58)
3PROJ-Tremblay21940.75.0370.117.922.920.4 (H=41)22.9 (H=52)
3PROJ-Bloom17710.66.0370.316.222.219.2 (H=37)22.2 (H=49)

Cardinals vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)14 (-3.2)12 (-3.8)13 (-3.4)13 (-3.8)
1Danny Amendola47137104100016.423.419.926.4
1Kenny Golladay869442100010.
2Marquise Brown511388600008.616.612.616.6
2Miles Boykin38311100001.

D.J. Moore (FanDuel: $6500, DraftKings: $5900)

1vs LAR63107.07600007.614.69.113.6
2vs TB75149.08900008.917.913.417.9
3PROJ-Dodds5.2640.41309.114.311.7 (H=21)14.3 (H=33)
3PROJ-Tremblay5.2640.40008.81411.4 (H=20)14.0 (H=32)
3PROJ-Bloom5.0520.30007129.5 (H=15)12.0 (H=25)

Curtis Samuel (FanDuel: $5800, DraftKings: $4800)

1vs LAR6243.03200003.
2vs TB77135.09101209.314.311.814.3
3PROJ-Dodds3.7510.31307.210.99.1 (H=15)10.9 (H=26)
3PROJ-Tremblay3.7440.31406.610.38.5 (H=14)10.3 (H=23)
3PROJ-Bloom3.0510.31507.410.48.9 (H=15)10.4 (H=24)

Jarius Wright (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

1vs LAR4011.01400001.
2vs TB5462.01500001.
3PROJ-Dodds1.7170.10002.343.2 (H=3)4.0 (H=7)
3PROJ-Tremblay2.1240.100035.14.1 (H=5)5.1 (H=11)
3PROJ-Bloom1.0600000.61.61.1 (H=0)1.6 (H=1)

Chris Hogan (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

1vs LAR510.000000000.00.0
2vs TB311.01200001.
3PROJ-Dodds0.790.10001.52.21.9 (H=1)2.2 (H=2)
3PROJ-Tremblay1.1160.10002.23.32.8 (H=2)3.3 (H=5)
3PROJ-Bloom0.000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Cardinals vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)32 (+15.8)32 (+19.5)32 (+17.6)32 (+22.2)
1T.J. Hockenson6496131119.
2Mark Andrews4298112117.

Greg Olsen (FanDuel: $6100, DraftKings: $3700)

1vs LAR6394.03603.
2vs TB6596.01100111714.020.0
3PROJ-Dodds4.5470. (H=15)11.6 (H=37)
3PROJ-Tremblay4.8500.5812.810.4 (H=18)12.8 (H=44)
3PROJ-Bloom4.0330. (H=9)9.1 (H=24)

Cardinals vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)29T (+3.7)29T (+3.7)28T (+5.0) (+0.0)
1Matt Prater22339911.011.0
2Justin Tucker3322111113.013.0

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

1vs LAR23339912.012.0
2vs TB4400121216.016.0

Cardinals vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)13T (-0.8)13T (-0.8)14T (-1.3)14T (-1.3)
1Detroit Lions2738751000777.07.0
2Baltimore Ravens1734930000334.04.0

Carolina Panthers (FanDuel: $3700, DraftKings: $2700)

1vs LAR30.0034911000332.02.0
2vs TB20.0028930000336.06.0
3PROJ-Dodds22.103862.51.10.700. (H=25)9.2 (H=34)
3PROJ-Tremblay22.004012.71.20.600. (H=26)9.4 (H=35)

Panthers vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)6 (-7.3)6 (-7.3)6 (-6.3)5 (-7.6)
1Jared Goff7723391861140012.312.310.410.4
2Jameis Winston6516252081049015.315.313.213.2

Kyler Murray (FanDuel: $7200, DraftKings: $5800)

1vs DET89295430821313023.723.722.625.6
2@ BAL6025403490034017.917.916.419.4
3PROJ-Dodds25422941.61.14180.2232323.0 (H=63)23.0 (H=78)
3PROJ-Tremblay25423121.71.24220.1242424.0 (H=68)24.0 (H=84)
3PROJ-Bloom25412561.70.7380.120.320.320.3 (H=51)20.3 (H=63)

Panthers vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)25 (+4.1)19 (+0.5)22 (+2.5)17 (+0.1)
1Malcolm Brown2111532000017.317.317.317.3
1Todd Gurley5414970114010.111.110.611.1
2Peyton Barber4223821117014.915.915.415.9
2Dare Ogunbowale1600011900.

David Johnson (FanDuel: $7000, DraftKings: $6800)

1vs DET771882076.055119.725.722.725.7
2@ BAL36714111.0007.
3PROJ-Dodds15600.44.0330.212.916.914.9 (H=30)16.9 (H=39)
3PROJ-Tremblay15590.42.8220.111.113.912.5 (H=22)13.9 (H=28)
3PROJ-Bloom16650.44.0330.3141816.0 (H=34)18.0 (H=43)

Chase Edmonds (FanDuel: $4900, DraftKings: $3800)

1vs DET1015010.0000.
2@ BAL2412022.01501.
3PROJ-Dodds1501.0701.22.21.7 (H=1)2.2 (H=2)
3PROJ-Tremblay1501.1801.32.41.8 (H=1)2.4 (H=2)
3PROJ-Bloom270.11.070232.5 (H=1)3.0 (H=3)

Panthers vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)13 (-3.9)14 (-2.5)14 (-3.1)15 (-2.5)
1Robert Woods7313870021608.616.612.616.6
1Cooper Kupp691074600004.611.68.111.6
2Chris Godwin6298121100018.
2Mike Evans59846100006.

Larry Fitzgerald (FanDuel: $5900, DraftKings: $5100)

1vs DET85138.0113100017.325.321.328.3
2@ BAL57115.0104000010.415.412.918.4
3PROJ-Dodds6.0790.500010.916.913.9 (H=32)16.9 (H=52)
3PROJ-Tremblay6.2880.500011.81814.9 (H=36)18.0 (H=58)
3PROJ-Bloom6.0690.50009.915.912.9 (H=28)15.9 (H=47)

Christian Kirk (FanDuel: $5900, DraftKings: $5000)

1vs DET83124.032011204.48.48.410.4
2@ BAL5686.0114000011.417.414.420.4
3PROJ-Dodds5.1690.41309.614.712.2 (H=25)14.8 (H=42)
3PROJ-Tremblay5.5740.413010.115.612.9 (H=28)15.7 (H=47)
3PROJ-Bloom5.0650.41609.514.512.1 (H=25)14.6 (H=41)

Damiere Byrd (FanDuel: $5000, DraftKings: $3000)

1vs DET7874.04200004.
2@ BAL5676.04500004.510.57.510.5
3PROJ-Dodds3.7400.20005.28.97.2 (H=12)9.0 (H=29)
3PROJ-Tremblay3.6470.30006.510.18.4 (H=15)10.2 (H=37)
3PROJ-Bloom5.0440.20005.610.68.2 (H=15)10.7 (H=40)

KeeSean Johnson (FanDuel: $4800, DraftKings: $3400)

1vs DET68105.04600004.
2@ BAL1921.03100003.
3PROJ-Dodds2.9350.20004.77.66.2 (H=9)7.6 (H=19)
3PROJ-Tremblay3.1410.20005.38.46.9 (H=11)8.4 (H=23)
3PROJ-Bloom2.0240.20003.65.64.6 (H=5)5.6 (H=11)

Michael Crabtree (FanDuel: $4600, DraftKings: $3600)

1vs DET000.000000000.00.0
2@ BAL1932.01300001.
3PROJ-Dodds1.9200.10002.64.53.6 (H=3)4.5 (H=7)
3PROJ-Tremblay1.5180.10002.43.93.2 (H=3)3.9 (H=5)
3PROJ-Bloom2.0140.1000243.0 (H=2)4.0 (H=6)

Panthers vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)14 (-2.0)12T (-3.3)13T (-2.7)11T (-3.6)
1Tyler Higbee40542018.
2Cameron Brate18221001.

Charles Clay (FanDuel: $4200, DraftKings: $2600)

1vs DET1411.0500.
2@ BAL1521.0600.
3PROJ-Dodds0.870. (H=1)2.1 (H=2)
3PROJ-Tremblay0.980. (H=1)2.3 (H=3)
3PROJ-Bloom0.000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Maxx Williams (FanDuel: $4100, DraftKings: $2500)

1vs DET2211.01501.
2@ BAL1411.02102.
3PROJ-Dodds0.7600.61.31.0 (H=0)1.3 (H=1)
3PROJ-Tremblay0.6600.61.20.9 (H=0)1.2 (H=1)
3PROJ-Bloom0.000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Panthers vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)29T (+3.7)29T (+3.7)28T (+5.0) (+0.0)
1Greg Zuerlein3433121215.015.0
2Matt Gay2322889.09.0

Zane Gonzalez (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

1vs DET4411131314.014.0
2@ BAL3300999.09.0

Panthers vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)26 (+2.2)26 (+2.2)25 (+2.2)25 (+2.2)
1Los Angeles Rams2734331200999.09.0
2Tampa Bay Buccaneers1435230110779.09.0

Arizona Cardinals (FanDuel: $3200, DraftKings: $2700)

1vs DET27.0047730200777.07.0
2@ BAL23.0044020000222.02.0
3PROJ-Dodds24.403692.410. (H=24)8.3 (H=28)
3PROJ-Tremblay24.003502.31.10.600. (H=24)8.4 (H=29)