TOP PASSING MATCHUPS
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Carolina at Atlanta
The Panthers' pass attack continues to improve incrementally in coordinator Joe Brady's image. It's armed with several dynamic weapons - even with Christian McCaffrey on the shelf - and a quarterback capable of facilitating those talents. Teddy Bridgewater comes fresh off his best game as a Panther; he turned 37 attempts into 276 yards and 2 touchdowns Sunday against the Cardinals. Bridgewater doesn't test the waters downfield very often, and he doesn't boast much arm strength when he tries. But he's trending upward as a game manager type, and he's building an impressive connection with wideout Robby Anderson, who's caught 82% of their targets and put up 94 yards a game in an across-the-field role.
The Falcons entered the season undermanned and lacking in coverage talent in the secondary. Now, with their two best cornerbacks and a starting safety out of the lineup, the outlook has gotten even worse. First-round rookie A.J. Terrell may return from the COVID list by Sunday, but they still make for a dream fantasy matchup regardless of opponent. Even on his best day, Terrell wouldn't be enough to paper over the many holes in this secondary. Darqueze Dennard, who's serviceable, is on injured reserve, leaving a huge burden on the shoulders of Isaiah Oliver and Blidi Wreh-Wilson in coverage. Last week, they suffered another blow as free safety Damontae Kazee was lost to an Achilles rupture. The reserves haven't been up to the task thus far, and opposing receivers have taken advantage - through 4 weeks, 7 have topped 85 yards. Their biggest problems tend to come in the slot, which is bad news in this matchup. The Panthers throw liberally to the slot and flat areas, and it's hard to see the Falcons jumping consistently on Anderson, D.J. Moore, and Curtis Samuel.
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