Fantasy Preview: Sunday Afternoon Slate (10/2/22)

  • Cardinals (-110) @ Panthers (+1) O/U 43.5

    Patriots (+9.5) @ Packers (-450) O/U 40

    Broncos (+2.5) @ Raiders (-140) O/U 45.5

    The truly elite fantasy football managers will do in-depth research on every game of the slate to determine who their best options are for their starting lineup and which players are worth benching for one reason or another. In this preview, we’ll be looking at the three games that are set to kick off just after 1pm PST/4pm EST.


    Cardinals @ Panthers

    Key Storylines/What to Watch

    The Cardinals needed a miraculous comeback from Kyler Murray to earn their first victory in Week 2 over the Raiders and while Murray remains one of the most intriguing players to watch due to his unworldly athleticism, the team leaves a lot to be desired from a play-calling perspective. It seems like their best offensive plays occur when Murray has to make something happen out of nothing, and that doesn’t seem to be a recipe to win in this league. Coaches are there to try and make things easy for their players and that just hasn’t been the case for the Cardinals so far. Fortunately, they get an easier matchup in Week 4 after facing off against the Chiefs, Raiders and Rams.

    After losing their first two games of the season by a field goal or less, the Panthers got themselves in the win column against their divisional rival, the Saints. Baker Mayfield has struggled getting the ball to his receivers, failing to eclipse 60% in completion percentage and it even dipped below 50% in their Week 3 win. Christian McCaffrey continues to be the key to the Panthers offense and they’ll look to feature him early and often.

    Marquise Brown popped up on the injury report on Friday with a foot injury, and his status is clearly worth monitoring as he’s commanded a 23.4% target share and is Murray’s clear WR1.

    Can the Greg Dortch breakout fantasy campaign continue against the Panthers and will D.J. Moore ever be able to deliver on his potential with Mayfield under center.

    Christian McCaffrey’s thigh/quad injury that has limited him in practice this week is obviously the biggest concern for the Panthers as he’s essential to everything they do on offense even if he hasn’t been as involved in the passing game as fantasy GMs would like.


    Top Starts

    QB Kyler Murray – The rushing ability and explosive athleticism that Murray brings to the table allows him to be a consistent top-12 option at the position, although he will have a much more difficult time if his college teammate, Hollywood, is ultimately ruled out.


    WR Marquise Brown – If he suits up, he’s an absolute must-start option and gets an additional boost in PPR formats due to how often Murray looks his direction. If for some reason Brown is unable to play through the injury, Dortch becomes the must-start option among the wide receiver room.


    TE Zach Ertz – He’s not as sexy as the top-tier options like Mark Andrews, Travis Kelce, Darren Waller and Kyle Pitts, but Ertz continues to get the job done and should be a primary beneficiary if the team is without either Brown or Dortch. He’s the TE4 on the season in 0.5 PPR formats, putting him above both Waller and Pitts.


    RB Christian McCaffrey – McCaffrey is an obvious must-start option anytime he is able to suit up, although expectations should be slightly tempered with the quad/thigh injury. The Cardinals defense have performed better in run-stopping than through the air through three weeks.


    Boom/Bust Dart-Throws

    WR Greg Dortch – The early-season success from Dortch has allowed him to enter the conversation here, but Rondale Moore’s return from injury this week might put an end to the fantasy discussion we’ve had through the early going.


    WR D.J. Moore – Moore has definitely not lived up to his draft-day value with Mayfield under center, and this talented wide receiver continues to be under-utilized due to poor QB play. He’s a much safer option than the next two wideouts we are going to talk about on the Panthers, but both Shenault and Anderson have had higher fantasy peaks so far this season and are both averaging more fantasy points per game than the supposed WR1.


    WRs Laviska Shenault & Robbie Anderson – Both of these players have exploded for big weeks but consistency has not been a part of their fantasy profile so far through their careers. Anderson is your safer bet especially with the injury-concern for Shenault, but both are the essence of boom/bust.


    RB James Conner – Similar to Josh Jacobs, who we’ll discuss later, Conner belongs in his own little section since he has a relatively safe floor with the expected workload. That being said, his fantasy ceiling is capped by the rushing ability of Murray as well as the pass-first nature of the offense.


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    Patriots @ Packers

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