2020 Fantasy Football Carolina Panthers Preview

by Mike LaPlant
2021 Fantasy Football Targets & Touches Week 12

Welcome to the 2020 Fantasy Football Carolina Panthers Preview. In this article, I will give you an in-depth analysis of the players that could help you win your league. The Panthers finished last in the NFC South at 5-11 last year but still had players that provided fantasy value. If you had Christian McCaffrey last year, there’s a good chance you won your league.

If you weren't that lucky, there were some other players like D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, or Greg Olsen who provided some fantasy value. After letting Cam Newton walk in free agency the team decided to sign Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year deal worth 63 million. They even signed XFL star P.J Walker to a two-year 1.6 million dollar deal to back up Bridgewater. Who knows, he could be the future of the franchise.

The team decided to hire Matt Rhule out of Baylor to take the reigns of the team. They added some more speed at the wide receiver position by signing Robby Anderson to a two-year deal worth 20 million. Rhule coached Anderson back when he played at Temple for college, so he knows how to use him. They also added the likes of Seth Roberts and Pharoh Cooper to add some depth at wideout.

Now that Greg Olsen signed with the Seahawks, they're looking at Ian Thomas to fill some pretty big shoes. On top of that Luke Kuechley decided to call it quits and retire in the offseason. Losing their defensive leader is big, and it means that the offense could be on the field a lot more this year; which could translate to even more fantasy points for players you might not expect to see.

2020 Fantasy Football Carolina Panthers Preview

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Last year Drew Brees went down with a torn ligament in his thumb on his throwing hand. This thrust Teddy Bridgewater into the starting role for five weeks and the team never lost with him starting. He posted a 9:2 touchdown/interception ratio in the five games with 1,384 passing yards.

What people didn't know is Teddy had a 46.7% deep ball completion rating last year which is pretty good for a back-up. Our 2020 Rankings have him at QB26 which is a safe bet for a guy who hasn't played 16 games since 2015.

One way to help your fantasy value is having Christian McCaffrey on your team. All it takes is one screen pass to him and suddenly Bridgewater has a touchdown. This team has speed almost everywhere you look from Curtis Samuel to Robby Anderson. Then add in D.J. Moore and with all that I think his ceiling could jump to QB15.

Until he starts to show the potential he has in this offense he's not the quarterback I think you need. However, they paid him to be the starter so I expect him to be the day-one starter.

In the XFL's first season there was a clear candidate for MVP and his name was P.J. Walker. Before the season ended abruptly after 5 games, he had 15 touchdowns and 1,338 passing yards. He also had 99 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown, so he's not afraid to take off on the defense. He also had four interceptions so there's still some things he can improve on. Let's get real here, Teddy is injury-prone so P.J. Walker has a good chance to play this year.

Running Backs

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Last year Christian McCaffrey exploded onto the scene and finished as the number one fantasy scorer in PPR formats. He became only the third player in NFL history to collect 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 receiving.

His 15 rushing touchdowns were second in the league behind only Derrick Henry and Aaron Jones. He also finished third in the league with 1,387 rushing yards. This team's offense revolves heavily around McCaffrey and as a result, he had 116 receptions on 141 targets and 1,005 receiving yards leading all other running backs.

Being that involved in the passing game you would think he would have more than just four receiving touchdowns but that was the case. With 'Teddy Two Gloves" at quarterback I expect McCaffrey to catch a lot of check-down passes giving him even more opportunity to score.

It's tough to repeat as the top fantasy scorer in back to back years, but it's possible. I think he has the best chance to accomplish that and should be the unanimous number one pick this year in drafts.

There's just too much volume for him in this offense and volume translates to opportunity, and more opportunity means more points. If he stays healthy there's no doubt in my mind he's number one again in PPR this year. I bet he becomes the only player in history to get 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in two seasons - he's that good. If Matt Rhule wants to control the game with his defense then he's going to rely heavily on McCaffrey.

Reggie Bonnafon was the back-up last year to McCaffrey and only managed to get 16 carries for 116 yards and one touchdown. Christian McCaffrey hasn't missed a game in his career yet and I don't expect him to miss one this year. With that said he's is probably only going to get carries if McCaffrey is tired. If you're looking for a handcuff there are better ones out there.

Wide Receivers

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Last year for D.J. Moore was a breakout year for this guy as he finished WR16. He only had four receiving touchdowns but backed it up with 1,175 yards receiving, placing him 8th in the league in receiving yards on only 87 receptions. That's 13.5 yards per catch so expect him to get close to 1,000 yards receiving almost every year. He was also 10th in the league last year in contested catch rate percentage with 55.6%. He's got a little better than a 50/50 chance to catch the ball at any given time, so that's always good to hear.

If Moore could collect those stat lines with Kyle Allen at quarterback last year I think there's a good chance he could do it again. He's looking like the number one option at wideout, and the second overall option behind McCaffrey.

With Bridgewater at quarterback now I don't expect a lot of downfield passes, so he's going to need to make some plays to score. I just can't see him having a better season with Bridgewater at QB so his ceiling is around where he finished last year at WR16. The floor is more around WR20, being the number one wideout on this team.

Coming over from the New York Jets in free agency, Robby Anderson looks to make his impact on a new team. It's safe to say Anderson last year was very inconsistent as he finished at WR40. He managed just five touchdowns and 778 receiving yards on just 52 receptions with 96 targets. Not a lot of volume there, but he did average a stout 15 yards per catch. All he needs is to get the ball in his hands and let his speed do the rest of the job.

Maybe his old college coach Matt Rhule knows how to put his talents to use in this new offense. With a new coach on the team that knows him and trusts him, there's a decent chance at a breakout year. It will be tough to do since Bridgewater doesn't have the arm strength to throw it deep to Anderson. Our 2020 Rankings currently have him at WR47 so if you need some depth in the late rounds at wideout he should be available for you to scoop up.

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Curtis Samuel was the gadget player in this offense last year finishing at WR36. He finished with six receiving touchdowns with 627 yards on 54 receptions with 104 targets. He also carried the ball for 19 times for 130 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. I don't know if new coach Matt Rhule sees Samuel as the same gadget player as Rivera did, but like Anderson, he has the speed to take it to the house.

He's going somewhere in the 13th round of most drafts, so if you're looking for more depth at the position this could be your guy. The strength of the schedule for Panthers receivers is 3rd easiest according to Fantasypros.com. With that easy of a schedule, there can be weeks he could help you out. Any injuries to your team or some untimely bye-weeks it's nice to have him as an option on the bench.

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Seth Roberts signed a one-year deal to come over from the Baltimore Ravens, where he had just two touchdowns and 271 receiving yards on 21 receptions. He probably won't see much time getting the ball unless there's an injury to some key players on this team. Until then I would leave him alone and look elsewhere.

Tight Ends

Possibly the toughest challenge the Panthers must overcome is trying to replace three-time Pro Bowler Greg Olsen. The top candidate to replace him is Ian Thomas. He didn't do a whole lot last year behind Olsen though. In his three years in the league, he's only amassed three touchdowns for 469 receiving yards on 52 receptions. He's the number one tight end on the roster as of now and he's the TE21 in our 2020 Rankings. He has the potential for a break-out season this year with a new coach and a new offensive scheme.

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If the offense is run-heavy, I expect them to run some play-action plays to counter it. With play-action comes the opportunity for tight ends to leak out and get easy catches behind the pass-rushers. The team has Chris Manhertz and Seth DeValve as back-ups to Thomas to add depth and some veteran presence. It's a toss-up who will fill Thomas's spot if he can't get the job done. If you can, try and stay away from this team for your tight-end needs.

Final Verdict

Overall, there's only one fantasy stud you need from this team and that's Christian McCaffrey. I'm saying it here first, I think McCaffrey will repeat as the top fantasy football scorer in PPR.

If you can scoop up D.J. Moore in-between rounds 5-7 of your draft, which is unlikely to happen, he would be a solid low-end WR2 for your team.

With Robby Anderson joining the team I think Curtis Samuel will be the main guy in the slot but won't be the only guy lining up there. The team may not make the playoffs but some players on this roster could help you make the fantasy playoffs for your league.

Visit the F6P Fantasy Football page for more advice to get you prepared for the 2020 season.

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