Continuing our DraftKings Showdown coverage of the 2021 season, we look at the Carolina @Houston matchup. I’m not too sure many would have believed you if you’d said that Houston would be top of the AFC South through two games, but here we are. After a convincing win over the Jaguars in Week 1, and almost having enough to take down Cleveland last week, this Texans team have certainly surprised many. Carolina have had a hot start too, going 2-0 with victories over the Jets and the Saints.
Houston’s Tyrod Taylor hit IR on Tuesday, giving rookie third-round pick Davis Mills his first NFL start, following a decent outing on Sunday, going 8/18 for 102 yards, a TD and an interception.
Carolina has been led mostly by CMC, but Sam Darnold looks to be having a nice start to the season, although it should be noted Carolina haven’t really faced a solid defensive side yet – and still won’t have by the end of this game. The Panthers come into this one as 8-point road favourites, with the O/U sitting at a measly 43. Mills faces a huge task under the lights, against a solid Carolina defence.
DraftKings Showdown 2021- Carolina @Houston
Christian McCaffrey ($20,100/$13,400)
CMC is a lock in the captain spot in cash games tonight. No one else on this slate has a ceiling as high as his, and despite only finding the end zone once so far, he’s still averaging 26.2 DKPTS per game – helped mostly by his elite PPR potential. CMC has seen 15 targets so far this year, catching 14 for 154 yards, to go with his 170 yards on the ground. This guy is an absolute monster, and he should have a nice game against this poor Texans defence that currently has the 2nd-worst DVOA against the rush. He’s also seen a team-high 12 red zone touches, making up a 67% share of Carolina’s touches inside the 20.
Brandin Cooks ($15,000/$10,000)
Cooks has been the unquestioned WR1 in this Texans offence through two games but could have his work cut out now with rookie Mills under centre. Even so, Cooks still has a high ceiling in this one. Despite only have an 8% share of red zone usage (2 targets), his talent levels shouldn’t be questioned. Given that Houston is likely to be playing this one from behind, Cooks should see plenty of targets through the air. Whilst by no means a safe, cash play, I think Cooks is certainly viable in GPP line-ups.
Chris Conley ($2,400/$1,600)
Given the crazy amount of high-priced options on this slate, a value captain choice could certainly be a viable route to jam the studs into your line-ups. This is not an attractive play by any means, but with Amendola and Nico Collins out of this one, the Houston WR rooms become very thin. Anthony Miller should make his regular-season Texans debut, but I’m taking the guy who’s already got a couple of regular-season games in this offence under his belt.
DraftKings Showdown 2021- Carolina @Houston Flex Picks
Sam Darnold ($11,200)
Darnold is quietly having himself a solid opening to the season for his new team. In a game expected to be fairly low scoring, Darnold’s floor and ceiling make him an attractive choice, and it’s always difficult to fade the favoured team’s QB. He hasn’t really wowed so far this year, but he looks to have improved on his seasons in New York under Adam Gase.
DJ Moore ($10,600)
Moore has really solidified his position as the true alpha in this WR corps. He’s seen a team-high 19 targets so far, with a receiving line of 14-159-1. However, with salary constraints in this one it’s difficult to roster Moore, Darnold and CMC together. Similarly, given the predicted low-scoring affair, and CMC’s role as a workhorse back in this offence, it’s difficult to predict Moore seeing a crazy high number of targets. He’s a solid play if you want to try and get different, but I think there are better ways to approach this slate.
Davis Mills ($8,400)
Coming into this one off a short week, Mills is unquestionably an iffy play. The volume could very well be there for Mills, but he is hard to trust in cash games given his turnover potential, with 5 in 3 preseason appearances, and an interception last week. However, if you want to get contrarian, Mills is your guy.
Mark Ingram ($6,600)
Ingram has seen a team-high 46% share of red-zone touches so far this year and is a solid choice on this slate. I imagine that Houston coaches will try to keep the ball out of Mills’ hands as much as possible and may look to rely on the ground game if this one stays fairly close. That is a big ‘if’ and the danger here is that this could get out of hand. Ingram’s work in the passing game is limited, but if Houston makes its way into the red zone on multiple occasions, Ingram is definitely in with a shout of hitting paydirt.
David Johnson ($5,400)
Johnson seems to have secured the third-down passing-back role in this Texans offence. In a game they’ll likely be playing from behind, Johnson fits the game script perfectly, providing Mills with some nice check-down opportunities from the backfield.
Jordan Akins ($2,200)
This is more of a value play to really fit those high-priced studs in. TEs are always reliable targets for inexperienced QBs, and he really only needs a few receptions at this price to hit value. His floor is zero, however, so there does come with a fair amount of risk.
Anthony Miller ($1,000)
The final value play of this Texans offence is former Bears wideout Miller. With Amendola and Collins out, Miller should see some snaps in his first game for Houston. His O/U receiving yardage is set at 25.5, which is a nice amount for such a cheap price. He definitely has the potential to make a big play and will probably be highly owned in this one.
Defences and Kickers
I think that both Kan Gonzalez ($3,800) and Joey Slye ($3,600) are perfectly viable in this one. These two conservative offences may be forced into FGs here and there, and with such a low-scoring game being projected, either kicker may just be in the optimal. Joey Slye revenge game anyone?
In terms of defences, Carolina ($6,200) should certainly have plenty of opportunities for a nice score, especially with an NFL-high adjusted sack rate of 15.8% and Mills’ questionable ball security. However, at such a high price, they likely need a TD to outscore some of the similarly priced guys.
So, there are our DraftKings selections for the 2021 Showdown of Carolina @Houston! Remember any DFS questions, you can check out our articles here. Or you can find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or jump into our Discord server
Image Credit: Bob Donnan – USA TODAY Sports