Welcome to the Thursday Night Showdown Slate for NFL Week 8!

This is actually shaping up to be a fun game tonight. The Falcons were a Todd Gurley mistake TD away from winning their second game in a row following the firing of Dan Quinn and the Panthers have suddenly become the darlings of the NFC as few people thought they would have three wins all year, let alone seven games into the season. While we won’t get the return of Christian McCaffrey many were hoping for, we do have two high-octane offenses squaring off against two of the worst defenses in the game. That should hopefully mean points galore and a lot of fun in showdown contests.

Before we start, please allow me to reiterate that while we all love having a little skin in the game, these showdown slates are basically lottery tickets. Sure, there are times when the chalk hits and everyone shares in the prizes, but more often than not, you need that random, differentiate yourself from the herd dart-throw to hit in order to claim that top prize. As a result, we encourage to play responsibly. Stick to the GPP contests (single-entry preferred), don’t blow your whole bankroll and understand that, unless you are a max-entry player, you should prioritize having fun.

OK, lecture over. Let’s get to tonight’s action.

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers

Spread: Panthers -2

O/U: 51.5

Betting Facts:

Money line: Panthers -125; Falcons +110

Panthers are 0-5 against the spread in their last five Thursday night games.

Falcons are 6-1 against the spread in their last seven road games


Low 70’s w/ thunderstorms and rain; winds SW 8-10 mph

Last 5 Match-Ups:

Falcons lead series 4-1

Average margin of victory of all games: 14.8

Last Match-Up: Panthers beat the Falcons 23-16 in Atlanta on 10/11/20

Notable Injuries:


Christian McCaffrey , RB (ankle – not expected to play)

Russell Okung , LT (calf – doubtful)


Takkarist McKinley , DE (groin – out)

Defensive Rankings (Using DVOA):


vs Pass: 17th  

vs Run: 28th


vs Pass: 31st   

vs Run: 7th

Prop Bets to Watch:

The reason we are listing these here is to help you understand what the Vegas expectations are. If you aren’t routinely amazed by how accurate spreads and totals are, you haven’t been paying attention and you’re missing out on a valuable tool. Take a look at the list below and understand how to utilize for DFS. When you see the over and under have the same money line, that’s Vegas’ way of saying it can go either way. You have the base number and can determine whether you use a player or not based on that. But when there is a different money line on the over and unders (highlighted in green), Vegas is telling you what to expect. A negative money line means they feel it is more likely to happen which can help you make decisions regarding which players to play.

  • Matt Ryan Passing Yards: 285.5 (over & under -112); TD Passes: 1.5 (over -190; under +150); 2.5 (over +185; under -225)
  • Teddy Bridgewater Passing Yards: 280.5 (over -118; under -106); TD Passes: 1.5 (over -200; under +158); 2.5 (over +175; under -225)
  • Todd Gurley Rushing Yards: 63.5 (over -143; under +115); Receiving Yards: 17.5 (over +102; under -125)
  • Brian Hill Rushing Yards: 18.5 (over & under -112)
  • Mike Davis Rushing Yards: 60.5 (over & under -112); Receiving Yards: 39.5 (over & under -112)
  • Calvin Ridley Receiving Yards: 73.5 (over -125; under +101)
  • Julio Jones Receiving Yards: 70.5 (over -143; under +115)
  • Robby Anderson Receiving Yards: 75.5 (over -125; under +101)
  • D.J. Moore Receiving Yards: 67.5 (over -125; under +101)
  • Curtis Samuel Receiving Yards: 39.5 (over & under -112)
  • Hayden Hurst Receiving Yards: 35.5 (over & under -112)
  • Ian Thomas Receiving Yards: 11.5 (over +105; under -130)


Matt Ryan , QB ATL – While the Panthers may give up the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, this is a much more rejuvenated Ryan, the likes the Panthers did not see back in Week 5. This version of Matty Ice now has all his weapons on the field and has averaged 355 passing yards over his last two games with five touchdowns in total. He’s ready to exact his revenge.

Teddy Bridgewater , QB CAR – When he faced the Falcons in Week 5, Bridgewater threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns in a win that sealed the fate of then Atlanta coach Dan Quinn. While the Falcons have seemingly benefitted from the change, the defense continues to struggle and has allowed 23 points per game over the last three weeks (30 ppg for the year) and allows the most fantasy points per game to the QB position.

Julio Jones , WR ATL – Since his return to the field, Julio has seen 19 targets in two games which he has turned into 16 catches for 234 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan continually feeds him the ball and we should him take full advantage of five-inch height advantage over Carolina DB Donte Jackson . Jones also has no injury designation this week which alleviates concerns over whether his hip is okay.

D.J. Moore , WR CAR – While Robby Anderson has been the star of the show, we’ve seen the tide turn a bit lately and it is Moore who is now seeing the stronger target share. It’s not by a wide margin, but 16-13 over the last two games. Moore is starting to come out of his early-season shell and this match-up against Kendall Sheffield only fuels the Captain/MVP fire for me.


Calvin Ridley , WR ATL – Tough to decide between which Falcons receiver is more Captain/MVP worthy, so we’ll go with the greater target share. Over the past two games, Ridley has seen 14 targets to Julio’s 19 and that’s really the only reason. Ridley is just as deserving of the top spot, especially when you factor in the consistent TD production and that his match-up against Troy Pride Jr is softer on paper.

Robby Anderson , WR CAR – He’s really become a multi-dimensional receiver since getting away from the Jets and is having a career season. He does a fantastic job of stretching the field with his speed, but he’s also been coming across the middle a lot more this season. He is probably worthy of the Captain spot just as much as Moore, but as stated, I’ll lean towards the guy who is seeing the greater number of targets in recent weeks.

Todd Gurley , RB ATL – Carolina has the 28th-ranked run defense according to DVOA totals and they’re allowing 124 rushing yards per game with 10 rushing touchdowns allowed on the season. While Gurley hasn’t been heavily used in the passing game, it is still worth noting the Panthers rank 29th against running back pass plays, so we expect to see Gurley utilized more often this time around.

Mike Davis , RB CAR – Surprisingly, the Falcons so a pretty good job against the run. They’ve allowed just six rushing touchdowns all year and are only allowing 92.4 rushing yards per game. But Davis is still seeing plenty of work, including in the passing game, and he gets all the goal-line touches. With McCaffrey due back, you know Davis wants to shine bright in an effort to hopefully retain some touches in the future.

Dart Throws

Curtis Samuel , WR CAR – The Panthers get creative with Samuel, running a lot of jet sweeps, bubble screens and reverses. He’s their gadget guy and one heck of a slot receiver. And if we’re looking at coverage issues, have you ever seen Atlanta slot corner Isaiah Oliver shut anyone down? Me neither.

Russell Gage , WR ATL – While Ridley and Julio dominate the targets, Gage still gets a little attention, including inside the red zone. He’s become a real nice possession guy and this match-up against Jeremy Chinn definitely favors the Falcons.

Ian Thomas , TE CAR – Why not, right? The Falcons are horrible against the tight end and while Thomas didn’t do anything against them in Week 5, he’s still an interesting dart-throw. If he can come away with a couple of catches and a score, that’s a big win.