Team Preview: Carolina Panthers
Continuing in the NFC South on our 32-Team Preview tour, we head to Charlotte, NC and the Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers scored the 9th fewest points in 2020 while throwing for the 18th most passing yards. They were 21st in rushing yards on their way to a 5-11 record. Vegas has them winning 7.5 games.
Sam Darnold: Was it Sam Darnold or Adam Gase that was responsible for his woes during his first three years in the league? I'm of the opinion it's a bit of both. Gase has been the laughing stock of the fantasy community for years now, but he was the OC in Denver in 2013 when the team broke pretty much every single-season passing record. Granted, he did have Peyton Manning at QB. Even so, much of the blame needs to be put on Darnold as he played awful to start his career. Perhaps a change in scenery is all he needs to restart his career, and he has the weapons to do it in Carolina, as well as a play-caller who helped Joe Burrow put up video-game numbers at LSU. How good he can be is up in the air, but I guarantee he will improve on his 2019 season. His TD-rate of 2.5% was near the bottom of the league and should easily come up. However, until I see it, I can only rank him as a bottom-tier QB2.
SUPERFLEX RANKINGS ADDED TO THE 2021 DRAFT GUIDE. GET YOUR NOW!
Christian McCaffrey: Those of you calling Christian McCaffrey injury-prone, PLEASE STOP! Last year was the first time he missed time with an injury for his entire college or NFL career. If you want to draft Derrick Henry over him in PPR leagues do so at your own demise. The King can't hold a candle to McCaffrey in PPR format. Henry's 2,000+ yard / 17 TD season was still 10 points per game less than what CMac has averaged over his past 19 games. He should be the first player taken and it's not close.
D.J. Moore: Moore has been solid since entering the league but has never broken out to the level the fantasy community would like, and I don't see it happening in 2021 either. His new QB is hardly an upgrade and he now has added competition from returning Christian McCaffrey and rookie Terrace Marshall. He could however be a value compared to his WR25 ADP. His TD-Dependency of 11.3% ranked 75th among WRs. I have him as a mid-range WR2 for 2021.
Robby Anderson: Anderson and D.J. Moore had very similar 2020 seasons where Anderson outscored him by just 13 points. Both were unlucky in the TD Department with only a combined 7 TDs (3 for Robby). The number will most certainly go up. Even so, Anderson's ADP of WR35 feels about right. I have him slightly higher than that, but I still have my reservations about this team and how good the QB play will be in 2021.
Terrace Marshall: It's difficult to stand out playing alongside Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase, which is why Marshall was not a well-known player by most coming into the 2021 NFL Draft. After the 2021 season, people will. The 2nd round pick is a big and fast WR who can ball and gets reunited with his former OC from LSU Joe Brady who helped him notch 13 TDs during his sophomore season. I'm not expecting much from him in 2021, but he's a player I'm excited about long-term.