After a 6-10 season in 2016, the Carolina Panthers bounced back in 2017, compiling a record of 11-5. The Panthers offense finished 2017 ranked 12th in scoring offense. The Panthers seem to be back on track with Cam Newton and second year running back Christian McCaffrey. The Panthers offense should produce respectable fantasy numbers this season. These are the players worth drafting this season.
One of the most dynamic players in the NFL, Cam Newton has been a fantasy stud since his rookie season in 2011. Newton consistently finishes among the top fantasy quarterbacks and has never played less than 14 games in a season. Last season, Newton finished as the number 2 fantasy quarterback, producing 299.5 ESPN standard fantasy points. ESPN has Newton projected to score 307.5 fantasy points this season. ESPN also ranks Newton as the number 3 fantasy quarterback for 2018, behind only Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Cam Newton is a top tier fantasy quarterback and fantasy owners should choose him anywhere between rounds 4-6.
A true dual threat, McCaffrey provided the Panthers with 651 receiving yards, 435 rushing yards and 7 total touchdowns. Those numbers translated to 228.6 fantasy points, ranking McCaffrey 10th among running backs. McCaffrey is expected to see a larger number of rushing attempts this season and that should increase his fantasy value. ESPN has McCaffrey ranked as the 12th best fantasy running back in 2018. McCaffrey is projected to score 253.3 fantasy points and his value in the passing game can only add to that total. McCaffrey should have a great fantasy season this year and fantasy owners should select him in rounds 3-4.
After a 1,007 yard season with Denver last year, the Broncos released Anderson during the offseason. Anderson signed with the Panthers back in May after the departure of Johnathan Stewart. Anderson’s role in the Panthers offense is unclear right now, but he could be a potential red zone and goal line back. If Anderson finds himself in the goal line running back position, he immediately gains a lot of fantasy value. ESPN has CJ Anderson slated to score 108.4 fantasy points but that number could rise depending on Anderson’s role in the offense. Anderson could be a player to stash on your roster and should be available late in drafts.
After two disappointing seasons, Devin Funchess put together a solid campaign in 2017. Funchess totaled 63 receptions for 840 yards and 8 touchdowns last season and started all 16 games. Funchess scored 195 fantasy points, finishing the season as the 22nd ranked wide receiver. ESPN has Funchess projected to score 186.6 points this season, making him a respectable WR2 or flex option. Funchess could be a late find anywhere between rounds 7-9.
One of the most reliable tight ends in the game, Olsen has been a productive fantasy player since his time in Chicago. Olsen had some injury trouble in 2017, but he is still a great option at tight end this season. ESPN has Olsen projected to score 194.4 points this season, 4th among tight ends. If Olsen stays healthy expect a strong fantasy season from him. Olsen should be picked between rounds 6-9.
Honorable Mentions: Graham Gano (131.4 projected), DJ Moore (115.3 projected), Curtis Samuel (87.5 projected), Torrey Smith (32.8 projected).