A wild Sunday in the NFL yesterday serves as enticing prelude to tonight's Monday Night doubleheader. Two games tonight give you twice the pool to draw from to close out week two with a nice DFS win. Did your DFS plays yesterday disappoint? Did you come up a dropped touchdown pass out of the money? Did your rosters just totally stink up the joint yesterday? Don't worry. I got you tonight. Let's peep some good plays in tonight's Saints/Panthers and Browns/Steelers matchups.
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
Of the four quarterbacks playing tonight, Derek Carr is the only one who's played consistently in the league over time. Just two years removed from throwing for 4800 for the Raiders, Carr can still sling it after nine seasons in the league and started his tenth season in solid fashion. In a slug fest of a game last week versus the Titans Carr managed to throw for 305 with a TD and a pick. The Titans defense sacked Carr four times and Carr suffered some heavy hits but managed to tough it out and threw some key passes to secure the win for New Orleans. Tonight, Carr faces a Panthers defense that held Desmond Ridder in check in a losing week one effort to the tune of 115 yards passing and sacked the young Falcons quarterback four times. With all the faults people claim Carr has, he's no Desmond Ridder which should spell trouble for Carolina and make Carr a great play tonight. Carr has four solid targets to throw to and that's not including whatever plays may be drawn up for utility man Taysom Hill.
With Panthers cornerback Jaycee Horn on IR with a hamstring injury, the door is wide open for Carr & company to have a big night. Horn would most likely be covering Saints wide receiver Chris Olave if he were playing but now the Panthers secondary will likely try to double team Olave, who opened the season with eight catches for 112 yards on ten targets last weekend against the Titans. Should Carolina successfully cover Olave, Carr can still go to wide receivers Rashid Shaheed and Michael Thomas or tight end Juwan Johson. All three options each saw at least five targets against Tennessee with Shaheed and Thomas making the most of those targets compiling 89 and 61 yards receing respectively. Shaheed turned one of those receptions into the lone and go-ahead touchdown in the game against the Titans. Olave and Thomas are going to get the most attention from the Panthers tonight which makes Shaheed a great play tonight.
Carr's carries a $6000 price tag tonight, the second highest to DeShaun Watson, while Shaheed is a great value buy at $4200. If you roll with the two stud Saints receivers, it's going to cost you $7200 for Olave but only $5200 for Thomas.
As for the Panthers the pickings are a bit slimmer. While the team patiently waits for rookie quarterback Bryce Young to assimilate to the NFL the offense is certainly going to struggle. Young was held to 146 yards passing by Atlanta with a touchdown and two picks. New Orleans held Ryan Tannehill to under two-hundred yards passing and kept Derrick Henry well in check as a rusher limiting the stud back to just sixty-three yards rushing so it's hard to imagine Young & Co. doing much better. That being said, there are some intriguing options to play on the Panthers.
Like last week against the Falcons, the Panthers are likely to roll out their two-headed "monster" at running back and feature ample carries for both Chuba Hubbard and Miles Sanders. Sanders had a nice start to his post-Eagles career rushing for seventy-two yards on eighteen carries and hauling in four catches for twenty-six yards on six targets. For his part, Hubbard ran for sixty yards on nine carries. The Hubbard-Sanders duo doesn't exactly have defensive coordinators running for the hills, but it's components could prove productive especially in DFS formats. Hubbard is carrying a DraftKings DFS price of $5000, which is a great price for a guy who should see a lot of work tonight, while Sanders is a bit pricier at around $5700.
The Panther I really like tonight is Tight End Hayden Hurst. Carolina is Hurst's fourth stop in the NFL in only his sixth season and his second time playing in the NFC South after playing for the Falcons in the 2020 & 2021 seasons. Hurst proved to be a reliable safety valve for Young last week hauling in five catches for forty-one yards and a touchdown in the season opener. Young targeted Hurst (7) the most last week and although he'd like to expand on the passing game it would be no surprise to see a reliable tight end lead this young team in targets again tonight against a tough defense that will look to take away any deep threats down the field. Hurst carried a $4000 price tag tonight.
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Browns and Steelers could not have opened their seasons any more differently. The Browns dominated Joe Burrow and the Bengals to the delight of frenzied fans in the Dawg Pound while the Steelers were trounced at home by the 49ers. Are the Browns for real? Does Mike Tomlin's streak of sixteen season of .500 ball or better come to an end? If week one is any indication this game could get ugly quick.
For the visiting Browns this season is all about DeShaun Watson. Can he recapture the promise of glory he showed before everything went down in Houston? Eventually, probably, but I don't expect a Mike Tomlin defense at home to lay down in front of a national audience with their backs against the wall early in the season. Cleveland dominated Cincinnati last week, but Watson's numbers were hardly pedestrian. Although in a win, Watson was only 16 of 29 for just 154 yards passing with a TD and a pick. Not exactly the stuff of legends but hey, a win is a win, right? Tonight, one of the receivers who got the most targets from Watson last week is questionable to play. Amari Cooper, who was tied with fellow receiver Elijah Moore in targets (7), is dealing with a groin injury and may not be as reliable as Browns fans would like. Moore, who edged out Cooper in yards receiving last week (43 to 37 yards) is really well priced at $4500. If you roll with Cooper and his groin it's going to cost you about $6100, yet I see another member of the Browns passing game who provides huge value tonight.
Tight End David Njoku had a quite season opener to the tune of two catches for twenty-four yards off three targets, but with Cooper potentially limited tonight Njoku's role in the offense should expand in Pittsburgh tonight. Njoku is in his seventh season in the league, all with Cleveland, and seems poised for a breakout season, especially with a DeShaun Watson a bit more settled in with the Browns. Pittsburgh managed to limit George Kittle to three catches for nineteen yards, but that game was over early as San Francisco turned to McCaffery and the wide receivers for a lot of the second half. Njoku is the highest priced tight end going tonight with a $4700 price tag.
Speaking of McCaffery leads us to Nick Chubb. The Browns lead running back may be no Christian McCaffery but if last week is any indication, he could have a McCaffery-like night tonight. Last week Chubb ran for 106 yards while hauling in all four of his passing targets for twenty-one yards. Given what the 49ers did to the Steelers on the ground last week combined with Cooper's questionable status the gameplan could call for a lot of ground and pound by Cleveland tonight which makes Chubb's high $8500 price tag a potential bargain.
For the Steelers I'm not really a fan of many of their options. There's a good chance Kenny Pickett might not be the guy which impacts the whole passing game negatively. If the Browns are smart, they'll neutralize Pittsburgh's rushing game and make Pickett beat them. Last week Steelers running back Najee Harris ($6200) only rushed for thirty-one yards. With wide receiver Dionte Johnson out with a hamstring injury, Pickett will rely on a trio of Calvin Austin III ($3500), George Pickens ($5400) and Allen Robinson II ($4300) at the receiver spot. All three receivers saw at least six targets in the season opener with Robinson (64 yards) the only guy who went over fifty yards receiving. If you end up passing on Hurst and Njoku at the tight end spot you could roll with Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth who was a non-factor last week with just three yards receiving. Freiermuth has been a reliable target his first two seasons in Pittsburgh and the Steelers will most likely need him to come through in the clutch tonight. Freiermuth holds a $4500 price tag tonight.
Good luck tonight and enjoy the Monday Night doubleheader!