The showdown between the New York Giants and the Washington Football Team turned out to be a better game than expected, with Washington escaping with a 30-29 victory over their NFC East counterparts. For the second straight week, we will be getting a backup quarterback on Thursday Night Football, as the Carolina Panthers will travel to face the Houston Texans. Houston will have rookie Davis Mills replace Tyrod Taylor after the veteran suffered a hamstring injury in Week 2.
Even with a limited selection of players on the Texans, it’s always a good time to play NFL DFS. On the Thursday Showdown slate on DraftKings, there are a few ways you can attack your lineups to try and separate yourself from the rest of the pack. In light of that, I’ll be highlighting my favorite players to use in the captain and flex spots on the green site for Thursday’s matchup between the Panthers and the Texans.
Captain Spot Considerations:
Christian McCaffrey ($20,100)
I’m really going out on a limb to say that you should play Christian McCaffrey in the captain spot, huh? Whenever I’m considering who I want to insert in the 1.5x spot in my lineup, I try to pick players that are capable of leading the slate in scoring. McCaffrey is definitely someone that has the usage and ability to be the top performer on Thursday night. In the first two weeks, McCaffrey has carried the ball 45 times and he has 15 targets in the passing game.
While McCaffrey has scored just one touchdown this season, he is still the second-highest scoring running back in PPR formats. You could argue that McCaffrey could see a lighter workload against the Texans if the Panthers get out to a massive lead. But for Carolina to get out to a massive lead, I expect McCaffrey to be one of the primary reasons why.
Sam Darnold ($16,800)
What a difference it makes when you aren’t playing in an offense under Adam Gase. Sam Darnold has looked like a former first-round pick in his first two games with the Panthers, throwing for 584 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. On top of that, Darnold has helped Carolina jump out to a 2-0 record. Under Joe Brady, Darnold looks comfortable on the Panthers and there’s no reason he can’t pick apart the defense of the Texans.
You can definitely pair Darnold with McCaffrey as the young signal-caller has already shown a tendency to target the dual-threat running back consistently this season. Even though Darnold isn’t the most mobile quarterback, there’s a chance he could add a rushing touchdown on Thursday night. Using Darnold also gives you more salary to use in the rest of your lineup than McCaffrey does.
Brandin Cooks ($15,000)
If there is a player that I am intrigued at all by to play at the captain spot for the Texans, it’s Brandin Cooks. People continue to write off Cooks each year, but the veteran wideout always seems to exceed his expectations. Despite already playing with two quarterbacks this season — and without Deshaun Watson — Cooks has 14 receptions for 210 yards and one touchdown in two games.
The concern with Cooks is that he will be catching passes from an inexperienced quarterback in Mills against a defense that looks much improved in 2021. That being said, Cooks is going to be fed a lot of targets due to Nico Collins and Danny Amendola being sidelined for the Texans. Not to mention, Houston is likely going to be playing from behind, meaning that Cooks should stay busy all game. If you are playing Cooks at captain, you’ll likely want to correlate your lineup with Mills as a flex option.
Flex Spot Considerations:
Robby Anderson ($7,800)
I do like myself some D.J. Moore whenever I have a chance, but I’m siding with the salary savings for Robby Anderson. The previous rapport that Darnold and Anderson had on the New York Jets has yet to show up this season as Anderson has only four receptions, 95 yards, and one touchdown on nine targets. What better time to get Anderson more involved in the offense than a Thursday night game versus the Texans?
Anderson can get double-digit fantasy points on a single play given his speed and Darnold’s ability to air it down the field. There are going to be a lot of people that have their attention set on Moore, while I expect Anderson to be slightly lower owned. You’ll want to have Darnold in your lineup if you choose to have Anderson in your flex or captain spot.
Panthers D/ST ($6,200)
As previously mentioned, the defense of the Panthers looks like a formidable unit this season. Drafting nothing but defensive players in the 2020 NFL Draft and Jaycee Horn in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft seems to be paying dividends for Carolina. Even though the Panthers have faced the Jets and the New Orleans Saints, they’ve combined for 21 DraftKings points as a defense.
Altogether, Carolina has tallied 10 sacks and three interceptions while allowing a combined 21 points to their opponents. The road doesn’t seem to get much tougher in Week 3 against a Texans team with a rookie quarterback making his first career start. If we can get a defensive touchdown and/or multiple sacks and turnovers, then the defense of the Panthers is worth putting in your lineups.
Terrace Marshall Jr. ($4,000)
Another wide receiver on the Panthers that I’m interested in on Thursday night is Terrace Marshall Jr. The rookie out of LSU is the No. 3 wideout for Carolina behind Moore and Anderson, but he’s been on the field often to begin the season. Marshall is third on the team in routes run with 46 thus far and he has gotten nine targets from Darnold.
The Texans could center their attention around containing Moore and McCaffrey, which would open up more opportunities for Anderson and Marshall. Marshall is another wideout that can take the top off of a defense as evidenced by his 15 yards per reception in college. We just need 4-5 catches from Marshall while getting a touchdown out of him would be a plus on Thursday night.
Anthony Miller ($1,000)
There are multiple cheap, low-owned options you could consider on Thursday night. Once again, Collins and Amendola are expected to miss time for the Texans, paving the way for other wide receivers to get playing time in Week 3. After failing to play in the first two weeks of the season, Anthony Miller is primed to make his debut for Houston on Thursday.
Miller figures to take Amendola’s spot in the slot, giving him a chance to produce decent numbers with Mills at the helm. If the Texans are playing from behind, then the chances of Miller outperforming his minuscule salary increase exponentially. Using Miller also gives us more freedom with the rest of our lineup on DraftKings.