Carolina Panthers Team Outlook
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Panthers Offense Outlook
A bum shoulder by Cam Newton led to fewer rushing attempts for a team that showcased a special RB in 2018. Carolina wants to be balanced on offense while playing well on defense. Last year they ran the 42.5 percent of the time.
A high-volume pass catching back led to Newton setting a career high in his completion rate (67.9). Over 14 games, Cam gained 3,883 combined yards with 28 TDs with 13 Ints. He passed for 300 or more yards in three games while delivering three TDs or more in four contests. After averaging about nine rushes per game over the first half of the season, Newton saw his value as runner slide in his next six starts (28/146) with no rushing TDs and only 4.7 rushes per game over this span. In January, he had minor surgery on his right shoulder. The Panthers are in transition at the WR position while no longer having a trusted asset at TE. Christian McCaffrey is the only playmaker who also a factor at the goal in TDs.
Newton should be ready for training camp, but Carolina will do their best to keep him healthy and prepared for the regular season. Viable QB2 who will be priced reasonably in the 2019 draft season. His floor is 4,000+ combined yards with about 30 TDs. If his WR core steps up and a bounce back in the run game, Cam can make a push to the top six range.
Other Options: Taylor Heinicke, Will Grier, Kyle Allen
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The Panthers figured out how to get McCaffrey rolling in 2018. He responded with an excellent step up in his yards per rush (5.0) after showing weakness in this area in 2017 (3.7). His rushes nearly doubled (219 – 217 in 2017) with a career-high in rushing yards (1,098). With Cam Newton taking fewer chances in the run game, Christian became more of a factor in the run game in TDs (7). His receiving opportunity improved by 20 percent (107/867/5) with an impressive catch rate (86.3). McCaffrey averaged 20.4 touches per game.
He rushed for over 100 yards in four contests (28/184, 17/125/1, 10/106, and 21/101) plus two games with over 100 yards receiving (14/102 and 11/112/1). His floor is high in most weeks due to five catches or more in 13 games. Special back in PPR leagues, but he does play behind a questionable offensive line. More of the same with his results pointing to 2,000+ yards with double-digit TDs and over 100 catches.
Over his final three seasons at Florida, Scarlett worked as a part-time player in two seasons (179/889/6 and 131/776/5) while missing 2017 with an off the field incident with the law (fraud). Jordan has a short resume in the passing game (15/108). He runs with a leg-churning style while showing the ability to bounce off defenders while doing an excellent job of holding onto the football. When given space, Scarlett shows some wiggle and open field ability while lacking a home run gear. This season he’ll compete for the top backup role for the Panthers at RB, which will lead to minimal chances.
In his only full season of action with Auburn, Cameron ran for 1,608 yards on 303 carries with 13 rushing TDs. He also caught 13 passes for 147 yards. CAP doesn’t attack the line of scrimmage when given the ball. He tends to wait for daylight, which hurts his timing to hit possible holes to the second level of the defense. Artis-Payne will run with power and some wiggle in the open field. With a weak offensive line, Cameron is going to deliver many carries with minimal gains. In his rookie season in the NFL, the Panthers gave him 50 touches for 241 yards with a TD and five catches with fading results in 2016 (36/144/2), 2017 (18/95/1), and 2018 (19/69/1). Cameron has ten career catches on 11 targets for 86 yards. Artis-Payne is a low-end insurance policy.
Other Options: Elijah Holyfield, Elijah Hood, Reggie Bonnafon
In his rookie season, Moore caught 55 of 82 passes for 788 yards and two TDs while strength in his catch rate (67.1). He started ten games while flashing in two games (7/157/1 and 8/91) midseason. Over his other 14 games, D.J. had four catches or fewer in 12 contests. He scored over ten Fantasy points in only four other games (1/51/1, 5/90, 5/67, and 4/81).
Over three seasons at Maryland, Moore caught 146 passes for 2,027 yards and 17 TDs highlighted by his junior season in 2017 (80/1033/8). When doing my research on incoming rookies in 2018, I read scouting reports to come up with my initial picture then watched player highlights to get a feel for a player’s movements in game action. When doing the first step of research on Moore, I got the feeling that he was going to project or work as a one-dimensional speed threat in 2018 for the Panthers. His highlights painted a different picture.
Moore is a physical WR who will break many arm tackles while working the short areas of the field on many plays. His open field ability will turn a short pass into long TD if given daylight at the second level of the defense. He didn’t create much separation in the deep passing game even with plus speed, but D.J. did show he could win tightly contested passes. I sense that the Panthers saw some of Steve Smith in his game, which allows Moore to test a defense all over the field. His next step is proving he can beat top CBs in the NFL when drawing WR1 coverage. His game will improve in the NFL, and his style should work well in Newton’s passing game.
In 2019, Moore will be the top WR in Carolina, which points to 70+ catches for 1,000+ yards and six to eight TDs. I expect him to be a back-end WR2 in PPR leagues with more upside if his game turns up a notch.
Coming into the NFL in his rookie season after getting drafted in the second round, I had high hopes for Samuel based on my research and scoring reports:
Ohio State listed Samuel as a running back for his whole career. He had minimal touches in his freshman and sophomore years (899 combined yards with nine TDs and 33 catches). His game shined in all areas in 2016. He rushed the ball 97 times for 771 yards with eight rushing TDs while making a huge step forward as a receiver (74/865/7). Curtis runs with vision, but his ability to outrun defenders drives his success. He has more strength than meets the eye with an excellent gear to create separation on pass routes.
He finished 2017 with only 19 touches for 179 yards and four catches, which in a way show his explosive upside.
Last year after missing the first three games with a chest issue tied to an irregular heartbeat, Curtis worked his way into playable stats in eight games (2/37/1, 1/25/1, 2/58/2, 5/55/1, 2/42/1, 6/96, 4/80, 7/41, and 2/72/1) thanks to his ability to score TDs. His catch rate (60.0) needs work, and Samuel only averaged five targets per game with some value in the run game (8/64/2).
His playmaking upside gives Cam Newton a second WR with upside. Possible 60+ catches for 700+ yards with surprising value in TDs. If he can add another 200+ yards in the run game, Curtis will deliver WR3 value while being drafted as a WR4. I’m intrigued, but I will avoid him if he has any news of an injury over the summer.
Other Options: Jarius Wright, Torrey Smith, Aldrick Robinson, Rashad Ross, DeAndrew White
After a great career, Olsen lost his way over the last two years due to multiple foot injuries.
Heading in 2017, Olsen had this player profile at Full Time Fantasy Sports: If a Fantasy owner is looking for a player to show up every Sunday, Greg is that guy at TE. He’s never missed a game in his career while setting a high floor over his last three seasons. Olsen has three straight years with over 1,000 yards receiving while averaging just over 80 catches over this span.
His targets have grown in each of his last six seasons (69, 89, 104, 111, 123, 124, and 129). The weaker play of Newton led to a career low in TDs (3) in 2016. Greg scored over 200 Fantasy points in PPR league in his last three full seasons (84/1008/6, 77/1104/7, and 80/1073/3). In 2016, his best success came over the first six games of the season (39 catches for 610 yards and two TDs on 60 targets) highlighted by Week 2 (5/122/1) and Week 5 (9/181). Olsen only scored one TD over the last 12 games of the season.
Well, the safe bet at TE in 2017 and 2018 ended up missing 16 games with minimal success over his other 16 games (44/482/5 on 76 targets). With Olsen out the Panthers’ line most of 2018, the TE position had 65 catches for 671 yards and seven TDs on 91 targets. At age 34, Olsen has become only a wild card at TE due to his foot concerns.
Other Options: Chris Manhertz, Jason Vander Laan, Marcus Baugh, Cole Hunt
In 2017, Gano led the NFL in success rate (96.7) while making 29 of his 30 field goals. A knee last year led to only 12 games played with respectable success (87.5 percent) in his field goals, but he only managed 16 attempts. Over his last five years with the Panthers, Graham made 132 of 155 FGs (85.2 percent) and 185 of 197 extra points. In his NFL career, Gano is 20-for-35 from 50 yards or longer. His field attempts before last year (35 per year over the previous four seasons) ranks in the top ten in the league. Last year Carolina scored 46 TDs while creating only 21 field goal attempts.
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