Game Predictions & Player Projections - CAR vs. WAS

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: CAR 24, WAS 34 (Line: WAS by 4.5, O/U = 51)

UPDATE: Jordan Reed is limited in practice but should at least be marginally better than last week when he was limited to one catch. Both Kelvin Benjamin and Cam Newton have been limited in their practices but will play though Benjamin will going against Josh Norman.

This is the Monday night game. The 5-8 Panthers take their 1-5 road record to face the 7-5-1 Redskins who are 4-2 at home. The Panthers won 44-16 when the Redskins visited in Week 11 last year. These are two very different teams from 2015. The only road win by the Panthers was 13-10 over the Rams.

Carolina Panthers

1 @DEN 20-21 10 KC 17-20
2 SF 46-27 11 NO 23-20
3 MIN 10-22 12 @OAK 32-35
4 @ATL 33-48 13 @SEA 7-40
5 TB 14-17 14 SD 28-16
6 @NO 38-41 15 @WAS ---
7 BYE --- 16 ATL ---
8 ARI 30-20 17 @TB ---
9 @LA 13-10      
News | Statistics | Roster
CAR @ WAS Rush Catch Pass
QB Cam Newton 30,1 250,1
RB Jonathan Stewart 60,1
WR Kelvin Benjamin 4-50
WR Devin Funchess 3-40
WR Ted Ginn, Jr. 4-70,1
TE Greg Olsen 6-80
PK Graham Gano 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Panthers are playing out their bad season and the final three games are not nearly as easy as it seemed last summer. What 2016 has proven - aside from my personal theory of the annual magic team - is that the schedule is a big component of the season. The Panthers swung from one of the very best schedules in 2015 to one of the worst for 2016. That and don't let your best defenders leave. Big difference.

QUARTERBACK : Cam Newton's season winds down with only ten passing touchdowns over the last ten games and while he added five rushing scores along the way, his yardage as a runner has been down as well. He's only thrown for two scores once in the last seven games and ends up with fewer than 200 passing yards in three of the last four weeks.

RUNNING BACK : Jonathan Stewart still has not rushed for more than 100 yards this year but did score eight times. He has no role as a receiver and averages just 57 yards per game. He gets the Lion's share of the carries but offers minimal fantasy value unless he scores. There has been no pattern or trend as to when he will score. He is just reliable for about 60 yards per week and a coin flip to see if he scores.

WIDE RECEIVER : Kelvin Benjamin started the year out with two big games but since has only scored twice and averaged about 50 yards per week with a high of 86 yards. Benjamin gets up to 14 targets per week but hasn't been better than around 70 or 80 yards. Devin Funchess just scored last week but he's never gained more than 56 yards in any game and totals just four touchdowns on the year.

TIGHT END : Greg Olsen only caught one score over the last nine weeks and has been stuck around 40 yards per game. Olsen is the second most targeted after Benjamin but he rarely ends up with more than four receptions..

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Redskins have allowed at last one touchdown to every quarterback and healthy yardage to those with better offenses. But the problem is that Josh Norman matches on Benjamin and that should keep him at that marginal 50 yard level of production. This should be a chance for Greg Olsen to show up against a defense that allowed Jared Cook, Tyler Eifert and Zach Ertz to all exceed 100 yards.

The Redskins have allowed a lot of rushing scores but mostly in road games. Only two rushers scored in Washington over the last four home games. And Newton is usually good to steal that touchdown. Stewart has upside here but he's rarely had more than 50 yards and his scoring is very inconsistent and difficult to call.

Benjamin should be handled by the secondary but both Ted Ginn or Funchess will have a shot at a touchdown.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CAR 8 28 22 7 17 4
Preventing Fantasy Points WAS 20 30 10 25 17 11

Washington Redskins

1 PIT 16-38 10 MIN 26-20
2 DAL 23-27 11 GB 42-24
3 @NYG 29-27 12 @DAL 26-31
4 CLE 31-20 13 @ARI 23-31
5 @BAL 16-10 14 @PHI 27-22
6 PHI 27-20 15 CAR ---
7 @DET 17-20 16 @CHI ---
8 @CIN 27-27 17 NYG ---
9 BYE ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
WAS vs CAR Rush Catch Pass
QB Kirk Cousins 330,3
RB Robert Kelley 60,1 2-20
WR Jamison Crowder 5-70,1
WR Pierre Garcon 5-70
WR DeSean Jackson 4-100,1
TE Vernon Davis 3-30,1
TE Jordan Reed 4-30
PK Dustin Hopkins 2 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes:Realistically the season is already over but there has been progress made in the offense. Kirk Cousins proved he belonged and Robert Kelley should keep the Skins from spending high on a running back in the draft or free agency. The defense still needs some help beyond Josh Norman. These final games should provide higher fantasy points just when fantasy leaguers want them.

QUARTERBACK : Kirk Cousins scored in every game since the season opener and totals 23 touchdowns with two more added via runs. Cousins has been a lock for high yardage and multiple scores in every home game and already totals six games with 300+ passing yards.

RUNNING BACK : Robert Kelley has been solid since taking over the primary rusher duties in Week 8 but he's also faced a streak of great defenses against the run. Kelley turned in six touchdowns this year and ran for at least 97 yards in his only two home starts. Unfortunately, he gets yet another top defense against the run. Chris Thompson ran in a score last week as well but he has produced fewer than 50 total yards in almost every game.

WIDE RECEIVER : DeSean Jackson was mostly quiet this year but over the last four games scored three touchdowns and broke 100 yards twice. That's a nice way to get re-signed by the Redskins instead of becoming a free agent in 2017. Jamison Crowder fell off over the last three road trips but was good for a score and 80+ yards in most previous weeks. Pierre Garcon also scored twice in the last four weeks but usually only produces around 60 to 70 yards. This unit combines for solid to great stats every week but calling the individuals is more of a challenge.

TIGHT END : Jordan Reed is playing with a bad shoulder and was limited to only one catch for ten yards last week. He was coming off a season best ten receptions for 96 yards and two touchdowns in Dallas. Reed gets one extra day to heal but unless he has full practices and reports are positive, he's a very risky start even against the worst defense versus tight ends. Vernon Davis also cooled off for the last month but those included three road games. His only two touchdowns came at home.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Oh baby.

On the road, the Panthers have allowed an average of 375 passing yards per game over the most recent five away venues. That includes Case Keenum with 296 yards as the worst. The Panthers could end up allowing a rushing score as well despite their ranking as they have softened in recent weeks.

Kirk Cousins, DeSean Jackson, Jamison Crowder and maybe even Pierre Garcon should be strongly considered.

The Panthers have allowed seven tight end touchdowns to the six road teams that they have faced. If Reed appears still limited - very possible - then Vernon Davis should be a a reasonable longshot to take.

Four of the last five road venues for the Panthers have resulted in their opponent scoring at least 35 points.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points WAS 6 15 8 2 3 19
Preventing Fantasy Points CAR 30 5 26 32 24 27

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