NFL Grind Down: Week 2

Written by Chris Gimino

Welcome to the RotoGrinders NFL Grind Down, an all-encompassing preview of the week ahead in the NFL from a daily fantasy sports perspective. We’ll provide all the statistics, insights and analysis you need to set your lineups for this week’s contests.

NOTE: Games will be published as they are completed. Primetime matchups are free for all users. Main slate breakdowns can only be accessed by Premium subscribers.

Every game will be broken down statistically, with several key elements highlighted in our charts. Vegas lines are broken down to show projected team totals, to give you an idea of who is favored to win, and often more importantly, how many points they’re expected to score. Each contest is then analyzed team-by-team, with a focus on finding matchups to exploit and trends to follow.

Note: As always, if you want to try a new DFS site, be sure to click through a RotoGrinders link and use our DraftKings promo code, FanDuel promo code, Yahoo promo code, and FantasyDraft promo code to receive the best perks in the industry.

Thursday Night Football – Buccaneers vs. Panthers

Vegas Overview

TBB @ CAR Team Spread Total Implied Moneyline
CAR -7 50 28.5 -310
TBB 7 50 21.5 260

Betting Quick Take: +7 for Tampa Bay is a nice value in my eyes. I have doubts about them after watching a very sloppy opening weekend, but also have memory of what this offense can look like when it’s operating without excessive penalties (8-87), turnovers (4), drops (3), and other unforced errors. I think they can hold it together for a cover. 80% of the bets and money are on the Panthers, and I’d rather be on the same side as the book. FWIW, RG’s projection model suggested taking TB as a bet recommendation when I executed it Monday. Confidence Level: 8.5 out of 10

Injury Situations

Player Team Pos Status Part Impact
Greg Olsen CAR TE P Back 8

Injuries to Monitor: Olsen is officially questionable, but was “full-go” today and has stated he intends to play. Edge rusher Bruce Irvin did not practice all week. He has been ruled out. OT Greg Little has cleared the concussion protocol and has no injury status ahead of the game.

Tampa Bay is healthy outside backup QB Blaine Gabbert, who won’t be available.

Other News and Notes: Coach Rivera said this about McCaffrey’s 100% snap share week one: “The young man doesn’t want to come out. We have to think about certain things, but when he’s playing the way he is you’ve got to keep the rhythm going.” 100% is unreasonable, but expect heavy doses of playing time moving forward at levels far exceeding most of his peers.

Update 4:30 PM ET 9/12: I wanted to post this this report and let you form your own opinion on what it means. Watch the report with regards to Rapport’s comments on Ronald Jones getting more carries. I’m not changing much of my thoughts, but maybe you see it differently.

Matchup Factors, Team Identity Metrics, and Game Flow Expectations

Expected Game Pace and Tempo: The Panthers are on the slower side of plays per game in this offense (Rank 18 in 2018) and operate at a slow pace of play when leading or neutral (Rank 26th). A +7 spread at home indicates a good chance of the clock running wild while Carolina possesses the ball, which should happen slightly more often than their opponent. Tampa Bay operates at faster seconds-per-play rate, and ran the 4th most plays of any team last season. If they can be somewhat efficient on offense, the total play volume in this game should net out to something close to average. Maybe 60-62 plays per team.

Carolina Panthers Projections Breakdown

Team Projections

QB Team Proj Rank ProjAtt ProjYds
Cam Newton CAR 20.67 QB4 37.17 286.24
RB Team Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar%
Christian McCaffrey CAR 26.85 RB1 78% 22%
WR/TE Team Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar
D.J. Moore CAR 14.87 WR17 23% 8.36
Curtis Samuel CAR 13.06 WR25 19% 6.88
Greg Olsen CAR 10.42 TE9 16% 5.95

TBB 2018-19 Fpts Allowed: QB Rank 4/RB Rank 8/WR Rank 5/TE Rank 10

Rushing Opportunity Metrics of Note:
McCaffrey Snap Share: 100% (Rank 1)
McCaffrey Opportunity Rate: 97% (Rank 1)
McCaffrey Targets: 11 (Rank 1)

Rushing Efficiency Metrics of Note:
McCaffrey 10+ Runs: 5 (Rank 1)
McCaffrey Yards Created: 58 (Rank 4)

CMC’s Week 1 stat line of 209 total yards, 10 receptions, 13 evaded tackles, 2 TD, and 45.9 DraftKings points is the one time I will ever recommend box score watching as a way to play daily fantasy football. I watched this game again today, and my god it felt like he touched the ball every play. We’ve projected a meek 78% of carries and 22% of targets under the assumption he can’t go off for 45 points every single week. We’re expecting more like 26, which is still RB1 on the week. You don’t need anyone’s help to understand that he’s in play against a Tampa Bay defense that has allowed the 8th highest total of fantasy points to the RB position since the start of last season. San Francisco struggled on the ground against them, but again… you don’t really need me to tell you the McCaffrey is significantly more deadly than Raheem Mostert. Just play him.

Passing Game Opportunity Metrics of Note:
Cam Newton Deep attempts: 1 (Rank 31)
Target Share: CMC 30% / Moore 27% / Olsen 24% / Samuel 11%
Air Yards Share: Moore 42% / Olsen 29% / CMC 13% / Samuel 12%

Passing Game Efficiency Metrics of Note:
Cam Newton On-Target Rate: 68.4% (6th worst among starters)
Moore aDOT: 9.0 yards
Samuel aDOT: 6.25 yards

It was a forgettable week through the air for the Panthers, and Cam was either off target or throwing an inefficient pass in the short area all day. This is a potential bounce back spot assuming his injuries aren’t the cause of his wretched accuracy, which might be a big assumption. This defense was the second most favorable in terms of expected points allowed passing in 2018. Last week I saw at least one Jimmy G TD passes called back thanks to penalty, and their week could have looked worse on that stat sheet. I’ll believe this is an improved defense when I see it. Cam was our QB4 in the early run of projections, which makes him playable in week long contest for GPPs given the beatable matchup at home.

D.J. Moore is the clear #1 option per his usage Week 1, and is an obvious play in showdown against the 5th easiest matchup for WRs going back to 2018. Curtis Samuel truthers were rudely awakened to the realization that 3/32 is well within his range of outcomes despite being the “number 2” WR. In reality, he might be closer to the number 4 option if the usage remains even remotely close to what we saw against Los Angeles. We’re generously affording him 19% of targets in our projections this week, perhaps a nod to his potential matchup with beatable DB Carlton Davis. You can certainly give him a look at 7k on DraftKings in Showdown. Greg Olsen is back on the injury report already after being run ragged for 29% of team air yards and a gaggle of targets week 1. He expects to play, and qualifies as a health-risk with upside at affordable rates on the single game slate. A fade is also just fine given his history.

If you are throwing darts in showdown, Jarius Wright dwarfed Chris Hogan in route participation and snaps. He’s probably not going to do anything, but does get the best individual matchup in the slot against M.J. Stewart.

Quick Summary: McCaffery is a lock button worthy smash. Cam is playable in full slate GPPs, and high-end for showdown. You can’t just say to play all the good plays in showdown though. Curtis Samuel is the best mix of cost savings with projectable opportunity share.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Projections Breakdown

Team Projections

QB Team Proj Rank ProjAtt ProjYds
Jameis Winston TBB 18.88 QB9 39.56 281.14
RB Team Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar%
Peyton Barber TBB 6.33 RB57 32% 3%
Ronald Jones TBB 8.96 RB38 47% 4%
Dare Ogunbowale TBB 5.57 RB60 10% 6%
WR/TE Team Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar
Mike Evans TBB 17.35 WR9 26% 10.09
Chris Godwin TBB 16.17 WR12 24% 9.30
Breshad Perriman TBB 8.05 WR77 12% 4.75
O.J. Howard TBB 11.92 TE5 18% 6.92
Cameron Brate TBB 4.41 TE35 8% 2.97

CAR 2018-19 Fpts Allowed: QB Rank 11/RB Rank 27/WR Rank 9/TE Rank 7

Rushing Opportunity Metrics of Note:
MS Rush: Jones 50% / Barber 31 %
Routes Run: Ogunbowale 19, Barber 11, Jones 2

Rushing Efficiency Metrics of Note:
Jones Evaded Tackles: 6 (Rank 13)
Jones Average Defender in the Box: 7.5 (Rank 2)

This is a fairly easy run game to break down for DFS this week. You can’t play time share backs who don’t run routes as 7 point road underdogs in weekly contests. Both Jones and Barber are instantly out of play there, and may not even be worth the ownership they’ll garner in showdown slates. Especially on the PPR scoring sites like DraftKings, Dare Ogunbowale is more appealing given his 5 targets and potential to usurp either of these other jabronis for a more featured role at any moment. Being half the cost is just icing on the cake.

Passing Game Opportunity Metrics of Note:
MS AirYards: Evans 38% / Perriman 20% / Godwin 20% / Howard 10%
MS Targets: Godwin 18% / Evans 15% / Perriman 15% / Howard 15%

Passing Game Efficiency Metrics of Note:
Jameis Winston On-Target : 61.1 (2nd worst)
Jameis Winston Expected Points Added passing: -25.3 (worst)

Winston had a terrifying performance in week 1 that was part limited protection (rank 21 protection rate) and part his flaws as a QB. We’re just going to see a wide range of outcomes from him for as long as he’s in the league. Carolina wasn’t able to make Goff uncomfortable, which is a carry over from last season where they ranked just 20th in adjusted sack rate. If given the time, Winston could do damage and have a bounce back week. He’s not an optimal play for the week, but this offense carries upside in tournaments and Winston is no exception.

By the numbers, both the WR crew and O.J. Howard could be in line for better days here. I don’t expect Tampa Bay to have any success on the ground, which should lead to a heavy pass % and a lot of target volume team wide. We’re still bullish on Godwin despite being dwarfed in air yards by Evans. He continues to feel like a primary option near the goal, and led the team in target share by a slim margin week 1. In showdowns, Noto is calling him a core play and I can’t fight that. Howard had a bad drop, a fumble, and maybe one of the worst days of his career against Tampa Bay. Carolina is the 11th worst schedule adjusted defense against TEs since the start of 2018, and we saw Winston target the TEs multiple times in the end zone (including two Brate TDs that were called back). At $6,600 in showdown, that’s a fair price for something like 18% of targets and upside near the goal. Mike Evans remains a potential slate breaker after another week of 22.8 aDOT football. I wouldn’t play him on a full slate thanks to Winston’s downside, and he could see some James Bradberry in coverage. Bradberry graded #1 via PFF in Week 1, and while that doesn’t mean much… we still have plenty of spots that aren’t attached to Week 1’s least efficient QB we can rely on more.

In Showdown, Breshad Perriman at 4.6k is the guy who could do something on more limited snaps. He was at 66% last week and ran 28 routes, though he wasn’t able to reel in a big one. That’s what you’re wanting with him, and he did have the second best aDOT on the team at 12.2. He’s a downfield option who can get it done on a single play, and is worth throwing darts at for cheap. I also mentioned Cameron Brate earlier as having 2 TDs called back. If one of those sticks this week at $4,000, you might need him to take down the slate.

Quick Summary: You can’t play Tampa RBs, and this isn’t a team to focus on for weekend long GPPs. In showdowns, Godwin is among the best options. For cheap, you can try your hand at Dare Ogunbowale or Breshad Perriman to make the more obvious plays work in your roster.

DFS Recommendations – For Single Slates

Optimal DFS Plays: Christian McCaffrey, Chris Godwin

Salary Relief Plays: Dare Ogunbowale, Breshad Perriman, Cameron Brate, Panthers DST, Kickers

Secondary Values: D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, O.J. Howard

Secondary Spends: Mike Evans, Cam Newton, Jameis Winston

Possible Fades: Peyton Barber, Ronald Jones, Chris Hogan, Greg Olsen (risky – health), Tampa DST

About the Author

  • RotoGrinders (RotoGrinders)

  • RotoGrinders is the heart of the daily fantasy sports community. Let us connect you with strategy, tools and content that can make you more money playing DFS.


  • l_smith7

    Just came to see if there was a chance that they might reverse the decision to make this premium only (outside of non-main slate games). Didnt change, I’ll check back on this site around NBA time it’s been fun guys!

  • nick723

    Seems like there is no free content anymore on rotogrinders used to be my favorite place for fantasy.

  • bhdevault

    • Lead Moderator

    • Blogger of the Month

    @nick723 said...

    Seems like there is no free content anymore on rotogrinders used to be my favorite place for fantasy.

    Hello sir,

    If you visit the following forum post, Ross links many free offerings from RG 1/2 way through the thread.

  • paulmsr

    can we at least list this as a premium feature in the headlines instead of free?

  • X Unread Thread
  • X Thread with New Replies*
  • *Jumps to your first unread reply

New to DFS?

Be sure to click through our links and use our exclusive promo codes to receive the industry's best sign-up bonuses, including free access to our premium content. is the home of the daily fantasy sports community. Our content, rankings, member blogs, promotions and forum discussion all cater to the players that like to create a new fantasy team every day of the week.

Bet with your head, not over it!
Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-Gambler