Now one-quarter into the season, we have reached our first scheduled set of bye weeks – of course, Tampa Bay and Miami were forced into a makeshift bye week on Opening Day due to Hurricane Irma – and, as a result, we only have 13 games to assess. Thankfully, there are some fantastic matchups – as well as a few potential lopsided affairs – that create reasonable expectations in terms of game flow. As an added bonus, we even have a pair of night games that can provide immense value in Primetime tournaments if played properly.

Sporfolio’s NFL Daily Fantasy Sports game-by-game analysis columns are driven by expected game flow. Based on a combination of our Week 5 NFL picks against the spread and our expectations for a given game, we project the actions necessary to make these picks come to fruition. We aim to pinpoint players integral to our predicted game flow for each game of the week.

Luke May is our resident NFL DFS expert, and Mario Mergola operates Sporfolio as our expert for NFL Picks Against the Spread.

Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions

Luke’s DFS Take: Cam Newton and the Panthers performed exactly as we expected them to last week as they went into Gillette Stadium and stole a win from the Patriots. While this was a promising turn of production for the Panthers offense, this week’s opposition boasts a much stronger defense. Newton will likely be able to work himself back into the conversation as an every week starter, but the Lions’ defense has been solid this year and is forcing turnovers at an incredible pace. Newton and his receivers are likely best suited for another week. Christian McCaffrey was a disappointment last week, but it was solely due to how badly the Patriots’ defense played. Wide receivers were running wide open all over the field which caused Newton to not have to look at McCaffrey for the most part. The Lions will make things much tougher for the Panthers receivers which should leave Newton to turn back to the trusty McCaffrey more often this week. He should return to being a strong option that possibly goes overlooked after last week’s performance. The Lions’ offense continues to run through Matthew Stafford, despite the strong showing from Ameer Abdullah last week. The Panthers’ defense will likely be able to bottle up Abdullah who rarely produces on the ground like he did last week, which should leave the ball in Stafford’s hands quite often. Despite his high usage projection, the matchup is not particularly favorable and is enough to keep me away this week in what likely won’t be a famous Lions high-scoring matchup.

Mario’s DFS Take: I was ready to go back to the proverbial well with Cam Newton for a second consecutive week after proudly using him in my DFS lineups against the Patriots, but he suddenly has a looming, self-inflicted distraction over his head. Often times, exterior distractions help unify a locker room, but not when a player acts alone and takes an unnecessary shot that is universally unacceptable. Newton’s output on Sunday just became a bit more unpredictable and I will, instead, turn to Carolina’s defense as my main target from its matchup with the Lions. Detroit has scored the tenth-most points in the league, but ranks 24th in yards. It’s defense ends up doing much of the scoring, and the offense lacks the explosiveness to burn the Panthers. The only other noteworthy realization out of an inter-conference matchup between Buffalo and Carolina is that Panthers tight end Ed Dickson might be one of the more playable tight ends for his insanely low price point on Sunday. He has been asked to step into Greg Olsen’s role, and he had three catches for 62 yards in Week 4.

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