2021 Fantasy Football: Sam Darnold Traded to the Carolina Panthers

by Keith Lott
Sam Darnold Panthers Fantasy Football

The New York Jets have traded quarterback Sam Darnold to the Caroli Panthers. This should give Darnold a slight bump in Fantasy Football rankings!

The Jets are all but locked in on drafting BYU QB Zach Wilson with the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Carolina will send their sixth-round pick in the upcoming draft to New York, along with a second and fourth-rounder in the 2022 NFL Draft.

This marks the third trade of the NFL offseason featuring quarterbacks. First, the Philadelphia Eagles traded Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts. Then, the Detroit Lions sent Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff. And then the San Francisco 49ers traded up to number three for the Miami Dolphins pick and will be selecting a quarterback.

Bob broke down the Wentz trade and I looked into the Stafford/Goff deal earlier this offseason.

I am one of the few out there, it seems, that believes Darnold never really had a chance to develop with the Jets. I think this trade will work wonders for him and if he does has any potential, Matt Rhule and Joe Brady will be able to get it out of him!

Below I will break down Sam Darnold's potential Fantasy Football impact for the upcoming NFL season with the Carolina Panthers.

2021 Fantasy Football: Sam Darnold Traded to the Carolina Panthers

Darnold's Career with the Jets

The New York Jets selected Sam Darnold with the 3rd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He has appeared in 38 games over three NFL seasons. The Jets were 13-25 in those games. The Jets do not have any first-round picks on their roster dating back to 2012!

His sophomore season showed promise, throwing for over 3,000 yards and 19 touchdowns while completing 62% of his passes. The Jets were 7-6 in his 13 games played.

But last year was just a disaster as Darnold averaged less than 200 passing yards per game. Despite adding Mekhi Becton in the 2020 NFL Draft, New York's offensive line was one of the worst in the NFL, according to PFF.

Darnold's 2021 Fantasy Football Impact

Sam Darnold just inherited Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore and his old buddy Robby Anderson.

In 2019, Darnold and Anderson hooked up for 11 touchdowns!

Last year, Rhule selected all defensive players so we can expect the Panthers to invest on the offensive side of the ball this year.

If Kyle Pitts falls to eight in the draft, this Panthers offense will be one to target in Fantasy Football this season! Even if Pitts is gone, there are some elite wide receivers that will still be available as we expect three or four quarterbacks to start the draft, plus Penei Sewell and if Pitts is gone that leaves one of the top three wideouts left for the Panthers - DeVonta Smith, Ja'Marr Chase or Jaylen Waddle.

Teddy Bridgewater just finished the 2020 Fantasy Football season averaging 16.7 points per game in this offense, without McCaffrey. We all know Bridgewater isn't going to take those tight-window throws Darnold is willing to make. While riskier, they produce more points and with a healthy CMC in the screen game, I can easily see Darnold besting Teddy's numbers from last year.

Speaking of Teddy, a team like the Denver Broncos should be calling about a trade!

I don't see why Darnold can't throw for 20-25 touchdowns and 4,000 yards in the upcoming season. We probably won't be starting him on a weekly basis. He will fill in when bye weeks roll around or the QB you draft gets injured. That being said, Darnold could easily play a role in Fantasy Football this season.

Interestingly enough, Darnold was ranked QB31 in Joe's latest Post-Free Agency Fantasy Football Rankings - one spot ahead of Teddy! I wonder how much Joe moves Darnold in his next update!

With the 2nd Pick in the 2021 NFL Draft...

It's pretty clear the Jets waited this long to trade Darnold so they could fully scout BYU QB Zach Wilson at his Pro Day.

They signed Corey Davis this offseason to go with Jamison Crowder and Denzel Mims. Nice weapons for a rookie to step into. But the Jets have no plan at running back currently.

I wrote about the Jets signing Davis earlier this offseason.

With a new coaching staff in place, it is expected New York will be a much more disciplined team moving forward. We just have no idea how they will operate offensively at the moment.

The direction they go in the draft will be very telling. They have four more picks in the top 100 after they will draft Wilson second overall - plus 108 overall!


The Jets had no other option but to move on here honestly. The talent at quarterback in this class is being drooled over. Darnold had worn out his welcome - and it wasn't all his fault either.

With a new coaching staff in place, they had no ties to Darnold. They should be allowed to find a guy who fits their game plan.

I hope this works out for him as I feel he was set up to fail right for the get-go being drafted by that organization.

New York is in a tough spot as the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins look ready to dominate the division for the foreseeable future while they just continue to hit the reset button.

For the Panthers, this was a relatively cheap way to get a former top pick into their quarterback room. They can now focus on adding pieces on draft night instead of hoping to find a hidden gem at quarterback.

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1 comment

2021 Dynasty Football QB/TE Buy and Sell - Fantasy Six Pack t April 30, 2021 - 6:31 pm

[…] out Keith Lott’s article if you’re looking for more insight into the Sam Darnold to Carolina trade and what it means for fantasy […]


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