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  • Writer's pictureAaron Clanton


Carolina Panthers @ Dallas Cowboys

The Carolina Panthers have been the most surprising team in the NFL so far this season. Yeah, the schedule hasn’t exactly been murderers’ row, but they’ve handled their business and done so in convincing fashion. Sam Darnold has finally escaped the clutches of Adam Gase and is showing the potential that is expected from a former 3rd overall pick. The Christian McCaffrey injury is not season altering, however, it does change how the Panthers offense will be run, and I expect to see more responsibility placed on the shoulders of Darnold. DJ Moore and Robby Anderson look to anchor this wide receiving corps and pick up the slack that CMC leaves behind. The Panthers defense has improved dramatically and has led the way for the team en route to their 3-0 record. The Dallas Cowboys enter Week 4 after demolishing the Eagles on Monday night, behind their deadly running back duo of Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard. Dak Prescott has been efficient all season, and the Cowboys defense has been the most improved part by far. I don’t believe this defense is going to continue this run, but it allows the offense to play a bit looser which can relieve them of the burden of having to score every time they get the ball. Ceedee Lamb has taken the next step in Year 2 and both tight ends, Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz, have become viable threats for Dak to use on the field. I expect this matchup to show us more about the Panthers, but this will be a game that has my full attention come Sunday.

Arizona Cardinals @ Los Angeles Rams

There’s also a great divisional matchup this week that pits two undefeated teams against each other, battling for the right to sit atop the NFC West. The Rams have done so by playing solid defense and unleashing Matthew Stafford, which has resulted in him feeding targets to Cooper Kupp. Kupp enters Week 4 as the #1 wide receiver in fantasy, averaging four more points than the #2 wide receiver. The Rams run offense has struggled since the injury to Darrell Henderson and playing the Buccaneers last week didn't help matters either. However, it hasn’t prevented them from putting up massive point totals, and that’s a trend I expect to see continued. The Cardinals have won their games by showing out on both sides of the ball. Yeah, it hasn’t looked pretty at all points throughout their games, but there’s no denying that they’re an improved team defensively. The offense has picked up where they were last year but have taken the next step to showing it isn’t just a two-man show. Kyler Murray has been impressive and is showing that he can sustain more than one fantasy relevant wide receiver; the only question is figuring out who the 2nd option is. With a mix of Christian Kirk, Rondale Moore and A.J. Green as secondary options, this offense is finally living up to the hype that Kliff Kingsbury promised. This game will give an early indication of who the team to beat in the NFC West will be.

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