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Fantasy Football Picks: Panthers vs. Bears DraftKings NFL DFS TNF Showdown Strategy

Garion Thorne preps you for Thursday’s 8:15 p.m. ET contest between the Panthers and the Bears with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

Chicago Bears v Washington Commanders Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images

Thursday Night Football has been a little underwhelming in recent weeks and things don’t get much better with this evening’s matchup between the Carolina Panthers and the Chicago Bears. Honestly, the only fun subplot would’ve been a battle between two teams tanking for Caleb Williams, but even that’s ruined by the fact that the Bears own the Panthers’ pick. It’s a stinker.

Still, that’s what they invented daily fantasy for. Let’s make this thing interesting, shall we?

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Thursday Night Showdown [$500K to 1st] (CAR vs CHI)


Captain’s Picks

Adam Thielen ($17,700 CP) - Thielen had a down week in last Sunday’s loss to the Colts, but the veteran wideout is still putting up very impressive numbers for the season as a whole. Receptions are gold in a full-point PPR setting and few receivers have done a better job than Thielen of converting elite volume into actual DKFP. To wit, among the 52 WRs with at least 40 targets so far this season, Thielen owns the highest catch rate at a stunning 81.6%. The 33-year-old also sports the NFC’s highest red zone target share (40.0%) and a top-25 targets per route run rate (22.9%). Basically, he’s the complete package and the clear no. 1 option in this Carolina aerial attack. Yes, Thielen is the most-expensive asset on this slate, yet there are places to save salary elsewhere.

Editor’s Note: Bears RB Khalil Herbert (ankle) is not expected to play in tonight’s game vs. the Panthers, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

Khalil Herbert ($6,300 CP) - Alright. There’s a lot to break down when it comes to Herbert and his viability. First and foremost: It would be helpful to the cause if Herbert was active. Technically speaking, the former sixth-round pick hasn’t even been taken off the Bears’ IR, yet with three consecutive full practices under his belt on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I’m fairly confident that Herbert plays through his questionable tag. Once that’s official, Herbert’s salary becomes an absolute steal. A T-bone steak with a mislabeled price tag at your local grocery store. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Herbert will be splitting snaps and carries in his return with D’Onta Foreman ($8,600), but the former was regularly seeing snap shares above 60% prior to his injury — topping out at a 77.8% snap rate in Week 4. If Herbert is simply above 50% on Thursday, he should be in line to do copious amounts of damage to a Panthers D/ST ($4,000) that ranks dead-last against the run by DVOA and is currently surrendering the second-most DKFP per game to opposing RBs.

FLEX Plays

Cole Kmet ($6,600) - I’m confused by Kmet’s price tag. While I’ll certainly concede that D.J. Moore ($10,600) is locked in as Chicago’s top option in the passing attack, Kmet being less expensive than teammate Darnell Mooney ($7,400) feels like a mistake — even with Mooney on the heels of a season-best performance in Week 9. Kmet has appeared to find quick chemistry with Tyson Bagent ($9,200), who will be making the fourth start of his career against the Panthers. In fact, the Notre Dame product leads the Bears with a 28% target rate in the team’s past two games. Kmet also converted two of those targets into touchdowns last Sunday versus the Saints, finishing that contest with 23.5 DKFP. He has a pretty high ceiling for a tight end.

Bears D/ST ($4,600) - This contest has a total of just 38.5 on DraftKings Sportsbook. To be perfectly clear, I’d be fine utilizing either one of these defensive units against a rookie quarterback on Thursday. However, I’ll give the slight advantage to Chicago. That’s how underwhelming Bryce Young ($9,800) has looked in leading Carolina to a putrid 17.5 points per game in his freshman campaign in the NFL. Only the lowly Giants are averaging fewer yards per play than the Panthers this season (4.2), as Young has struggled to find his footing in the league. The constant pressure isn’t helping matters — Young has been sacked 24 times in his last six starts combined — but the former first-overall pick is also less than a week removed from tossing two pick-sixes to Indianapolis. The Bears are equally generous, conceding two whole turnovers per contest, yet I’d look for the newly inked Montez Sweat to make some noise in this one for Chicago.


Bryce Young ($9,800) - There’s just no world where I’m dropping nearly $10K on Young, even with how many fantasy points opponents have racked up against the Bears secondary this season. In his brief professional career, Young has yet to throw for over 250 yards in a start. In all but one of his seven games, the Alabama product has failed to exceed 15.0 DKFP or manage multiple touchdown passes. In fact, Young comes into Week 10 averaging an absurdly low 0.31 DKFP per drop back. The only qualified QB with a worse figure? Zach Wilson. That is not the kind of company you want to be keeping, even as a rookie.


Woof. These two teams enter the week ranked 29th and 31st in DVOA. This matchup couldn’t reek of Thursday Night Football more without the presence of Blaine Gabbert or Blake Bortles. The Bears have lost eight consecutive games against teams below .500. They’re 1-5 ATS in their last six contests in Chicago. Still, they’re not the Panthers and they’re incentivized to keep Carolina in contention for the No. 1 pick. That’s enough.

Final Score: Chicago 21, Carolina 13

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Thursday Night Showdown [$500K to 1st] (CAR vs CHI)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.