Carolina Panthers Fantasy Breakdown
It’s a new era in Carolina after nine seasons of Ron Rivera steering the ship, former Baylor HC Matt Rhule will bring his offensive prowess to lead this Newtonless Panthers offense.
Offseason additions: QB Teddy Bridgewater,
WR Robby Anderson, WR Seth Roberts,
WR Pharoh Cooper, WR Keith Kirkwood.
Offseason subtractions: QB Cam Newton,
Quarterback: Teddy Bridgewater is the new sheriff in town as Carolina opted to move on from their former 1st overall pick Cam Newton. Bridgewater hasn’t been a very productive fantasy option as of late. Last season’s sample, when he led the high powered Saints offense in 6 games, wasn’t very encouraging, only throwing 9 TDs and failing to hit the 200 yard mark in three of those contests. That lack of production is sure to leave a sour taste in most fantasy owner’s mouths. With that being said, Carolina does have a talented offense in their own right and should force “Teddy Checkdown” to throw the ball down the field and throw often due to game scripts favoring a pass heavy approach. In a division with two former MVPs and a guy named Drew Brees, Bridgewater should put up better numbers than he did in New Orleans. With an ADP of #184 there’s no risk here, Bridgewater has some nice upside and is sure to be a great streaming option or a solid QB #2.
Running Back: After a historic season Christian McCaffrey is the unanimous 1st overall pick this year and rightfully so. I’m not gonna take too much time on CMC since he’s locked in that #1 spot. He’ll most likely regress some but you can’t ask him to perform like that again, with 2,392 yards from scrimmage and 19 touchdowns on a whopping 403 touches. Even if he regresses a lot from that he’ll still be a top fantasy performer. Reggie Bonnafon and Mike Davis will battle for change of pace work and the honor of the top handcuff title.
Wide Receiver: This squad looks to have a “too many mouths to feed” problem especially when you consider how much receiving work CMC will take. D.J. Moore is the guy to own here. After a solid rookie season he blossomed in his sophomore campaign posting career highs across the board with a stat line of 87/1,135/4 on 135 targets. He finished as the WR #16 with an impressive 15.4 PPG even though he missed a game. Touchdowns are a concern as Moore has only caught 6 in his otherwise productive two year career. I think Bridgewater’s style of play could actually improve Moore’s numbers especially in PPR leagues. Newcomer Robby Anderson is someone that I’m avoiding in my drafts. He specializes in down field routes and that’s not Bridgewater’s forte. Anderson played in all 16 games for the Jets last season and finished as the WR #40. Yeah, the Jets were a mess last year but there’s so much more competition in Carolina. The reunion with HC Matt Rhule is a big positive for Anderson but I wouldn’t count on him as any more than a boom or bust bench player. Curtis Samuel has been praised by OC Joe Brady but Samuel simply isn’t going to get enough work to be a consistent performer for your fantasy team. He has proven himself to be a playmaker, scoring 14 touchdowns on just 120 touches the last two seasons. With an ADP of #192 (about 4 rounds behind Anderson) Samuel could be a nice stash in deeper leagues.
Tight End: Greg Olsen is now a Seahawk and that leaves 2018 4th round pick Ian Thomas first in line for the starting spot. Thomas has shown flashes in his limited usage over his first two seasons. He only has 79 career targets but already has four games with 14.8 or more PPR points. In nine games without Olsen, Thomas has caught 35 balls for 348 yards and 3 touchdowns. With a current ADP of #220, the 24 year old Indiana product could be a sneaky sleeper. Chris Manhertz is the next man in line, if the name Manhertz didn’t already give it away, this position has a shortage of talent.
Defense: With an average of just 5.7 PPG last season, there’s definitely more draftable options out there. With some upgrades they’ll most likely improve on their 21st D/ST finish but in a division of offensive power houses Carolina shouldn’t be more than a streaming option.
There’s a new regime in play and that leaves a lot of room for uncertainty but McCaffrey and Moore will most likely be relatively unaffected by the changes. The others could provide some decent value in the later rounds and on waivers.