2023 Fantasy Football Carolina Panthers Preview

by Dylan Clemons

Welcome fantasy football nerds, into our 2023 Fantasy Football Carolina Panthers Preview. We are continuing our NFL preseason content to get you ready for your fantasy drafts this fall.

The Panthers are coming off a disappointing 5-12 season. They struggled mightily at the quarterback position starting out the season with Baker Mayfield. After Mayfield had an atrocious start they turned to PJ Walker and eventually Sam Darnold again.

None of those guys ended up being the answer and Matt Rhule was fired during the season. The Panthers had an eventful offseason starting with hiring Frank Reich as their Head Coach. They then traded D.J. Moore and some draft capital to the Chicago Bears for the number one overall pick. They hoped to have solved their quarterback woes by drafting Bryce Young out of Alabama with that first pick.

So without further ado, let's dive into Bryce Young and the rest of the 2023 Fantasy Football Carolina Panthers Preview.

2023 Fantasy Football Carolina Panthers Preview

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As mentioned above the Panthers moved up to the number one pick to solidify their quarterback position. They hope Bryce Young can do that and everything that we have heard is that he is as advertised. In college, you could tell that he could process things very quickly,  on top of his play-making abilities and that is the word out of OTA's.

There was some thought that Andy Dalton could start some games similar to what he did in Chicago when Justin Fields was a rookie. However, Young has jumped Dalton on the depth chart already and is trending in the direction of starting Week 1.

The big worry for Young in his NFL career is the fact that he is a small quarterback. He stands at just 5' 10" and weighs only around 200lbs. There isn't a large track record of quarterbacks who have played with that slight frame. It will be interesting to see if he can stay healthy to make the most of his career.

As for fantasy purposes, I am not sure he should be considered outside SuperFlex leagues. Rookie quarterbacks rarely finish as quarterbacks ones and the ones that do usually have a rushing floor, that is not Young's game.

Let's wait and see what Young can give us this year before considering him for a roster spot.

Running Backs

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I am a big fan of Miles Sanders heading into this season and he is someone I will be targeting at his cost. Sanders is coming off a career year behind the best offensive line in football with the Philadelphia Eagles. Sanders finished with the fifth most rushing yards in the NFL and finished with 11 touchdowns after being known as someone who couldn't put the ball in the end zone.

What really excites me about Sanders is that he will be playing with Bryce Young. The Panthers will want to lean on the running game with a rookie quarterback, and Bryce Young liked to check the ball down to the running back position in college. Jahmyr Gibbs caught 44 passes from Young in college last year. People may forget how involved Sanders was in the passing game during his rookie season. He caught a career-high 50 balls that season when he didn't play with a rushing quarterback.

I look for Sanders to put together another solid fantasy season. If the Panthers do end up being a decent team Sanders will have a big part in that and they play in a lousy division. Plus, we have seen Chuba Hubbard and Raheem Blacksheer before. They are nothing more than change-of-pace backs.

This is Sanders' backfield, and I believe he has an RB1 upside.

Wide Receivers

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The Carolina Panthers needed to reshape their wide-receiving corps after the departure of DJ Moore to Chicago. They did that by Signing veteran receivers Adam Theilen from the Minnesota Vikings and DJ Chark from the Detroit Lions. The Panthers also drafted Jonathon Mingo in the second round with the 39th pick, but he looks to be more of a project of a prospect. They also have a few stayovers with Laviska Shenault and Terrance Marshall who have each shown flashes at times.

I think it is safe to say that Adam Thielen's best days are mostly behind him. He did play all 17 games last season, catching 70 passes for 716 yards and six touchdowns. He is heading into his age 33 season and I feel is there to be a solid veteran presence for Bryce Young. Thielen is going extremely late in drafts and could be worth a late-round flyer. I just question his ceiling, especially with a rookie quarterback.

It has now been three seasons since DJ Chark put up 1,000 yards in a Jaguar uniform. Since then he has struggled with health, playing just 13, 4, and 11 games in the last three seasons. Chark should find himself in a similar role as he was in with Detroit last year as the deep target. He had the seventh-most yards per reception average in the NFL at 16.7. Chark also crushed man coverage last season ranking 13th in fantasy points per target vs. man coverage. His ceiling will also most likely be capped most likely only seeing a 13-15% target share.

I am going to wait and see what this Panthers wide receiving corps looks like this season before investing in that position for this team when I am targeting Miles Sanders.

Tight Ends

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Hayden Hurst comes over from the Cincinnati Bengals after a 54 reception 439-yard season. He finished as a TE1 just three times last season in 14 games. While the Bengals offense is one of the best in the NFL Hurst was the fourth or fifth option in the passing game which really capped his season. With him moving over to Panthers he could possibly be their third or fourth target behind Thielen, Chark, and possibly Mingo.

With that said, I do not feel the need to waste a draft pick on Hurst in any of my drafts. He is going for basically free in drafts, so if he has a decent few weeks, you'll be able to scoop him up off of the waiver wire.

I would much rather have guys like Irv Smith, Mike Gesicki, or even rookie Sam LaPorta who are ranked around each other in consensus rankings on Fantasypros.com.

Final Thoughts

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This Panthers team may surprise some people this season. They hope to have their future quarterback Bryce Young, a solid offensive line, plus a young solid defense led by Brian Burns. With Tom Brady leaving the NFC South it is not wide open. It would not surprise me if the Panthers took a solid step forward this season and were able to compete for a division title with 8-9 wins.

As for fantasy football purposes, the only player I am targeting in drafts from this offense is Miles Sanders who looks to be in line for a massive workload.

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