After an amazing season in 2015, the Carolina Panthers played like they did in Super Bowl 50 and completely sucked in all of 2016. They sucked bad enough that they were able to draft from the 8th spot in the draft, which helped them draft some youth at the running back position. While I think they could be far more relevant in Fantasy Football this season, it’s likely that they still suck this year.
Must Draft Players
- Jonathan Stewart – Running Back
- Christian McCaffrey – Running Back
- Greg Olsen – Tight End
You’re probably surprised to see that the first person I mention that you need to draft is Jonathan Stewart, but it’s the truth. I don’t care that they brought another running back onto the team as he is going to be the pass catching back. Stewart is the starting running back for a team that will run the ball a lot in 2017, and he is currently being drafted in the 9th round behind guys who may not even get a chance to play this year! If in the 9th round I can get a player that averages almost 1,000 total yards and 7 touchdowns a year, I’ll be happy to take him and make him my flex play all year.
Now, the reason Stewart is being drafted so late. Everyone believes that Christian McCaffrey is the running back to own in Carolina. The Panthers are going into a direction of passing more, and Cam Newton likes to throw short passes, which will be McCaffrey’s bread and butter. McCaffrey did have a very successful rushing career at Stanford, but he won’t have to play that role unless Stewart is hurt.
In the last 5 seasons, Greg Olsen has been as consistent of a Fantasy Football player as anyone else in the league. During those 5 years, he has averaged 77 receptions for 967 yards and 5 touchdowns. If a tight end plays all 16 games (which Olsen does) and scores 12.7 point on average per game (which Olsen does), then he’s someone to target in all drafts and allow you to not draft a second tight end.
Players You Should Probably Be Drafting
- Cam Newton – Quarterback
- Kelvin Benjamin – Wide Receiver
The 2015 NFL MVP played like crap in 2016. He dropped significantly in all statistical categories. In 2015, he averaged 31 points per game for owners between his passing and rushing stats. In 2016, that number dropped significantly to 21.4 points, and that was over 15 games. There is a lot of talk that Newton will not be running as much in 2017, even though he has expressed that he doesn’t want to stop rushing the ball. If Newton doesn’t have over 4,000 passing yards and 35+ touchdowns and doesn’t rush the ball, he may not be worth drafting at all. I do think he will still get his rushing numbers this season though.
Kelvin Benjamin has had almost identical seasons in the two years he has played in the NFL. He is a 68 receptions for 975 yards and 8 touchdown player in those two seasons. That’s 13 points per game on average, which is great for a number 2 receiver for your team. If the Panthers are going to try and be more of a passing team in 2017, I think Kelvin’s numbers could go up enough to put him in the realm of a low end number one receiver.
Players You Could Draft If Your Rosters are Deep
- Fozzy Whittaker – Running Back
- Devin Funchess – Wide Receiver
Fozzy Whittaker can be the handcuff for either Stewart of McCaffrey as he can run the ball as well as catch passes. He will only have relevance if one of the two is out.
Someone else is going to need to catch passes from the wide receiver position, and my guess is that it will be Devin Funchess. In two seasons, he has only managed 54 receptions for 844 yards, but he has scored 9 touchdowns. He is someone if you want to take a flyer on late in your drafts, you could probably do worse.
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