This article is part of our Showdown/Single Game DFS Breakdown series.
Thursday night's matchup features teams going in opposite directions. The Panthers, led by star RB Christian McCaffrey and new QB Sam Darnold have been impressive while going 2-0 to begin the season. The Texans were picked by many to be the worst team in the league this year. They've been surprisingly competitive through two weeks, but after losing Tyrod Taylor to injury on Sunday, the immediate future looks bleak. Third-round rookie Davis Mills will make his first NFL start. Consequently, Carolina is an eight-point road favorite in a game that features a rather low 43-point total. That could lead most to construct lineups that are heavy on Panthers. Planning for a Houston victory would be an easy way to be different. Whichever way you choose, focus on building lineups to fit specific scenarios and game scripts. It's more important to find viable ways to be unique as opposed to worrying about which player has a slightly higher projection. For this slate that probably means leaving some salary on the table rather than fading Christian McCaffrey.
Sam Darnold ($11,200 DK, $15,000 FD) is coming off another stellar performance Sunday as the Panthers upset the Saints. He completed 26 of 38 passes for 304 yards and two touchdowns with one interception against a New Orleans defense that had just shut down Aaron Rodgers. Thursday's matchup against Houston looks especially favorable. The Texans only managed to hit the opposing QB a combined six times in the first two weeks of