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Fantasy Football Projections: Carolina Panthers

Every year scores of fantasy players make Cam Newton one of the first five or six QB’s off the board in drafts, hoping to reclaim his 2015 mojo that carried many to the title that year. The reality is, outside of that season, Cam has been fairly consistent. He’s failed to crack 60% completion percentage in five of the last six seasons and carries a high INT/TD ratio and a low YPA rate. What keeps Cam from being a total fantasy bomb is the fact that he’s had 500+ rushing yards and 5+ rushing TD in five of the last six seasons. So what will 2018 hold for the gunslinger?

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Put him in your top five again this year folks, in fact, maybe a little higher even. It’s been awhile since Newton has had an arsenal like the one he’ll have in 2018. He’ll have Christian McCaffery and a very adept CJ Anderson out of the backfield, Greg Olsen back healthy and an emerging Devin Funchess with highly touted rookie WR DJ Moore and deep threat Torrey Smith. I’d like to see a little more of a threat outside, but these receivers will find ways to help Cam out and I have the quarterback eclipsing 4000 yards for the first time since his rookie campaign. Draft with confidence folks.

McCaffery is a PPR machine and a solid RB1/2 in standard leagues and for a minute it looked like we would see him take the next step with the exit of Jonathan Stewart, but enter Anderson. Anderson is a bit of a plodder, but he is a powerful one-cut runner who will wear down defenses. I think Anderson is going to see a lot of the early down work here, probably more than even Stewart did. McCaffery will still get his touches both through the air and plenty of carries so I would expect a dip in the carries department for Newton, taking him closer to the 90-100 range than the 140 he had last year. I’m drafting McCaffery as an RB1/2 for his all-around contributions and Anderson as a FLEX, RB4 handcuff.

Funchess took a BIG step forward in 2017 contributing 63 catches, 840 yards, and 8 TD in his first season as a full-time starter and he enters 2018 as the veteran of this offense. I expect another step forward and have Funchess squarely in my WR2/3 range. He’ll be joined by three complete wild cards in Moore, Smith and second-year burner Curtis Samuel. I like Moore a lot as a big-time playmaker but with Funchess, Olsen and the Panthers run game, touches may be hard to come by. He’s draftable as a WR4/5 flier who could blow up as a steal down the stretch. Smith and Samuel will likely have big games at various points this season, but neither is rosterable.

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Greg Olsen is back folks, after missing games in 2017 for the first time since 2008, he enters 2018 at 33 years old. I don’t care. If Olsen stays healthy, he’s going to get his 75/1000/5, it’s that simple. He’s a Top 5 fantasy TE.

2018 Projections

NAME POSITION CMP ATT PASS YD PASS TD INT RU YD RU TD
Cam Newton QB 370 600 4200 26 13 575 6

 

NAME POSITION CARRIES RU YD RU TD REC  REC YD REC TD FUM
Christian McCaffery RB 160 705 4 85 700 6 2
CJ Anderson RB 190 795 4 20 180 1 1

 

NAME POSITION CARRIES RU YD RU TD REC  REC YD REC TD FUM
Devin Funchess WR 70 915 7
Curtis Samuel WR 2 15 35 385 1
DJ Moore WR 3 20 40 500 2
Torrey Smith WR 30 450 3
Greg Olsen TE 80 995 5
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Ben Stecker

Ben Stecker

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Writer, sports connoisseur, Pacific Northwesterner. Rarely met a sport I couldn't be great friends with. Follow me on twitter @Softball_Guy
Ben Stecker