Can Carolina Panthers' Greg Olsen Be an Elite Fantasy Football Tight End?

Ryan LesterSenior Writer IAugust 25, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 13:   Greg Olsen #88 of the Carolina Panthers is tackled by Gerald McRath #51 of the Tennessee Titans during their game at Bank of America Stadium on November 13, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen has shown signs of being a high-end option, most notably in 2009 when he caught 60 passes for 612 yards and eight scores. The Panthers are expecting big things from Olsen (see Associated Press article). Should fantasy owners follow suit?

Olsen has scored at least five touchdowns in the past four seasons and is coming off a decent 45-catch, 540-yard and five-TD campaign. As they mention in the article, Jeremy Shockey, who isn’t expected to return, put up solid numbers as well. In fact, the two combined to catch 82 passes for 995 yards and nine touchdowns.

While Panthers head coach Ron Rivera may be exaggerating a bit when he says that Olsen can put up numbers similar to Rob Gronkoswki and Jimmy Graham, it does stand to reason that Olsen can be more productive without sharing the load with Shockey.

Will he reach the 700-yard mark for the first time in his career? There is a good chance. The odds are even longer that he’ll reach double-digit touchdowns, but it isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

He’s a big dude at 6'5" and 255 pounds, and though he doesn’t quite have the size of Gronk or Graham, he does have similar athletic ability. With offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski’s ability with tight ends, there is some pretty big potential there.

Personally I still would rather have Olsen as my backup fantasy tight end, but he does have some pretty good upside. You shouldn’t have to invest too heavily to acquire his services, and he could easily outplay his draft position.

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