Carolina Panthers: Glance at Fantasy

May 24, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) at Carolina Panthers practice fields. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
May 24, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) at Carolina Panthers practice fields. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

The Carolina Panthers picture entering this fantasy football season is pretty clear cut, now we just need Kelvin Benjamin to come back 100%.

The Carolina Panthers have been going through OTAs and we have learned that Ron Rivera thinks Cam Newton can still improve everywhere. There are people that would be pleased to hear that. Those people are the fantasy football guys. They are already predicting big things from Cam Newton too.

How big? They have him at number one on their draft boards. The fantasy football community are assuming that Newton will have to shoulder the load much like he did last year. They figure there will be plenty of Dabs again for the Panthers quarterback.

Part of me thinks that this is perfectly reasonable. Why wouldn’t the Panthers quarterback have another MVP type year? Then it hits me, Newton had an MVP type year and won the MVP trophy last year. By some definitions he could not do any better than that.

More from Cam Newton

Newton also feasted on what turned out to be one of the NFL’s weakest schedules last year. The AFC South and NFC East turned out to be basket case divisions in the same year and while both were due to play the Panthers. The Panthers’ native NFC South could not produce a second playoff team. Of the Panthers’ 16 games, twelve were played against teams that would not make the playoffs.

One thing in Newton’s favor was the Panthers ability to ramp up their offense quickly against big opponents. Green Bay, Arizona, and Seattle could never seal the deal late after a Panther half that nobody was really looking for.

So putting Newton in a stronger schedule should mean a step down, but that is not the only factor.

Kelvin Benjamin will be a fascinating fantasy play. The big wideout had good chemistry with Cam as a rookie only to miss the Super Bowl campaign with injury. Now he comes back. How good will he be? Will he lift Cam’s stats to another level? How many Ted Ginn drops would have been touchdowns if Benjamin had been the target?

Two years ago Benjamin shared the receiving spotlight with Greg Olsen. Olsen was still Pro Bowl level productive last year so he remains an obvious fantasy play at the tight end position even with the return of Benjamin.

More from Old North Banter

I’m not sure that the Panthers’ number 2 receiver is good fantasy play even if you are trying to fill out three receivers on your fantasy team. First, we don’t exactly know it will be on that side of the ball. Ginn makes more sense in slot, but so does Corey Brown. Is Devin Funchess ready to take that spot over? Too much uncertainty.

For all the love the Panthers defense got last year they gave up a lot of points at times. That will greatly reduce the value they have as a fantasy defense. It worth noting that they were also a turnover machine at the same time. Consult your league’s scoring system to figure out whether to bring them on board.

Next: Shaq Thompson in Car Wreck

That’s it for my first look at fantasy. Draft Newton, draft Olsen, take Benjamin if he slips, and that should do it for right now. Happy drafting.