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Greg Olsen, Tight End, Ranked 198th (ESPN)
When your head coach says that you have the potential to be right in there with the likes of Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski, you've got fantasy owners turning their heads.
Greg Olsen has always had the potential to be a great tight end. But in being held back by Jay Cutler's interceptions, Mike Martz and Jeremy Shockey haven't helped him emerge as the player he can be.
You have reason for optimism this year. Last year, Shockey and Olsen combined for 82 catches, 995 yards and nine touchdowns.
Shockey is no longer in Carolina.
I won't suggest that Olsen will accumulate all of the targets Shockey got, but chances are he will receive a fair amount of them.
There is a very strong connection between Greg Olsen and the potential to be great. Olsen transferred to the University of Miami in 2003. The offensive coordinator and former tight end coach there was Rob Chudzinski, the current OC for the Panthers.
After being in Miami, Chudzinski was hired as the Cleveland Browns tight end coach. After a brief spell there, he went to San Diego to be the Chargers tight end coach. It was during his first spell in San Diego that Antonio Gates had his first 1,000-yard season.
Chudzinski then went back to Cleveland to be the offensive coordinator. In his first year back in Cleveland, Kellen Winslow, another former Miami tight end, went over 1,000 yards receiving and received his one and only Pro Bowl invite.
After two years in Cleveland, he returned to San Diego as a tight end coach. Antonio Gates, who hadn't put up 1,000 yards since his first year with Chudzinski, reached that total again, finishing with 1,157 yards.
Chudzinski is now in Carolina and can implement his full playbook now that Cam Newton has had a full offseason. Don't be surprised if Olsen comes out of nowhere to steal the fantasy spotlight in Carolina.
Cam Newton, Quarterback, Ranked 23rd (ESPN)
Cam Newton got off to a sensational start to the season last year. Then, he fizzled out.
In his first eight games of the season, Newton threw for 2,393 yards and 11 touchdowns. Newton threw for more than 220 yards in seven of the eight games.
In the last eight games, Newton threw for 1,658 yards and 10 touchdowns. He threw for more than 200 yards in just two of the eight games.
His rushing stats stayed pretty much the same throughout the season, with 319 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in the opening eight games and 387 yards and seven touchdowns in the last eight.
It wasn't as though Newton's passing numbers were decreasing because his rushing numbers were increasing. The reason was that defenses were able to game-plan against him.
The Panthers brought in Mike Tolbert in free agency, who will take away some of Newton's goal-line touchdowns. It won't significantly lower Newton's fantasy value, but anytime someone else is brought in to take some of your touchdowns, it's never a positive.
Possibly the best Newton statistic I found was that in the six games that Carolina won last year, Newton averaged just 177 passing yards per game. In the 10 games that they lost, he averaged 265.5 passing yards per game.
The Panthers now have a healthy defense and should be able to stay in games longer than they did last year. As a result, Newton's offense won't be in a position where they have to play catch-up as much, leading to a more conservative offensive approach.
Moral of the story? The Panthers win games when the defense keeps the game close and Cam Newton plays sensibly. As the stats show, a sensible Cam Newton is someone who warrants a first- or second-round pick in fantasy football.