2010 NFL Fantasy Football Team Analysis: Carolina Panthers

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2010 NFL Fantasy Football Team Analysis: Carolina Panthers
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

In 2009, the Carolina Panthers experienced a multitude of ups and downs that vicariously affected the fantasy world in a similar fashion.

Jake Delhomme’s penchant for turnovers, Thomas Davis’s Pro Bowl-type year coming to a screeching halt, thanks to a torn ACL, and Steve Smith’s failure to reach 1,000 yards were all part of the dark side of the Panthers’ 2009 season—a dark side that left many fantasy owners taking a lot of Tylenol on Monday mornings.

But the upside was also apparent: a bruising ground game that accounted for over 2,500 all-purpose yards and 20 all-purpose TDs; a bright, young, rising star who took over the helm and led the team to four out of five victories and a small glimpse into the promise of a brighter future—a future most fantasy owners will hopefully be a part of in 2010.

 

Quarterback

Well it was a shocking move to some, but Jake Delhomme is gone and Matt Moore is the signal caller in Carolina for at least the 2010 season (Moore was only signed to a one-year tender). In the five games he started, Moore went 4-1, and his total combined stats for last year were pretty impressive:

·         85/132 (61.6 percent competition rate), 1,053 yards, 8 TD and 2 INT.

Moore is a great signal caller who makes sound decisions and doesn’t turn the ball over, as well as being a pretty mobile QB. Because of his tender, though, most have to wonder whether the Panthers will be looking to bring up Jimmy Clausen as soon as possible, making Clausen an excellent value pick for Dynasty Leaguers, and Moore a potential sleeper pick.

 

Running Back

The one-two punch of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams is the heart and soul of the Panthers’ offense—not to mention one of the best one-two punches in the NFL last year— and much of what we saw in 2009 should repeat itself in 2010.

Jonathan Stewart had a stellar year in 2009, rushing for 1,133 yards on 221 carries with 10 TDs, 139 yards receiving with a single score receiving, five 100+ yard games; and he did it while splitting time with DeAngelo Williams.

Stewart is a bull dozer-type runner who is a great end zone threat and was ranked 12th in RB fantasy points last year. Don’t be surprised if you find him in the Top 10 of fantasy points at the end of this year.

DeAngelo Williams, the other monster of the gruesome twosome, had his own fantastic year, rushing for 1,117 yards on 216 carries with seven TDs, 252 receiving yards on 29 grabs, and four 100+ yard games despite missing four games during the regular season. He ranked 14th in fantasy points for RBs.

Williams along with Stewart enter 2010 as the same dangerous duo they were in 2009, and if you can’t grab both of them, you should at least target one or the other and enjoy the ride. Although a nice handcuff would be sweet.

 

Wide Receivers

The Panthers receiving corp are a group led by Steve Smith that have a huge ceiling for success and a new season to prove they are better than most think. With no other true impact veteran on the team, the Panthers are relying on Smith to put 2009 behind him, and hoping a crop of youngsters step up.

Steve Smith didn’t quite have the fantasy year most of us thought he was going to have, as he failed to even reach 1,000 yards (982) or double digit TDs (7). But he did at least place 20th in overall WR fantasy points.

This year, however, could breathe life back into the dangerous speedster with Moore at the helm, as both showed a good early QB/WR relationship. You can draft Smith with confidence once again.

Dwayne Jarrett is expected to take over the No. 2 position, and while I admit he could become a sleeper, he carries a lot of risk with him and should be watched more than he should be drafted. Last year Jarrett caught 17 balls for 196 and a TD in eight games.

Brandon LaFell, the 6’2”, 211 lb rookie out of LSU, on the other hand, is a definite sleeper candidate to watch and should have a significant impact for the Panthers early. He is a big target who is used to being utilized as a red zone threat, as shown by his 11 TDs in 2009 at LSU—and that was a down year for him!

LaFell racked up 2,547 yards on 170 catches with 23 TDs from his sophomore year to his senior year.

 

Tight End

Both Dante Rosario and Gary Barnidge showed their worth at times last year, but were a bit too inconsistent to be considered among the elite, which was a shame because it was the year of the TE in 2009.

Rosario hauled in 26 catches for 313 yards and two TDs, while Barnidge racked up 240 yards on 123 grabs. Both TEs are expected to see an increased role in the offense this year, but I don’t see them being anything special. If you have to pick one in your draft, though, I would go with Rosario, who is the better of the two.

If you don’t draft either, we won’t tell ;)

 

Defense

The Carolina Panthers may look a little different this year, but make no mistake, this team is chock full-o players that are fantasy studs. Everett Brown gets the full time nod, replacing Julius Peppers, and Chris Gamble and Richard Marshall return as the coverage anchors in the secondary…Marshall had the better fantasy year than Gamble.

The strength of this team, however, is their linebackers.

The Panthers play a lot of modified Cover 2, which gives the linebackers plenty of opportunity to “roll towards the ball,” as shown in Thomas Davis’s performance before the ACL tear last year.

Jon Beason also benefits greatly in this system as a MLB, and it showed in his performance last year, as he was second among all linebackers in fantasy points and figures to be a force again this year.

The biggest IDP blow is WLB Thomas Davis being lost for the season. Thomas was one of the most valuable players on the Panthers defense and had huge upside for fantasy coming into 2010.

But whomever gets the job (James Anderson, Dan Connor, or Jamar Williams), you have to think there will be plenty of chances for fantasy points, as the WLB position in Carolina’s scheme sees the most traffic.

 

2010 Regular Season Schedule

 

 

Wk

Date

Game

Stadium

Time (ET)

Network

1

Sep 12

CAR @ NYG

New Meadowlands Stadium

1:00 PM

FOX

2

Sep 19

TB @ CAR

Bank of America Stadium

1:00 PM

FOX

3

Sep 26

CIN @ CAR

Bank of America Stadium

1:00 PM

CBS

4

Oct 03

CAR @ NO

Superdome

1:00 PM

FOX

5

Oct 10

CHI @ CAR

Bank of America Stadium

1:00 PM

FOX

6

Bye

7

Oct 24

SF @ CAR

Bank of America Stadium

1:00 PM

FOX

 

8

Oct 31

CAR @ STL

Edward Jones Dome

1:00 PM

FOX

 

9

Nov 07

NO @ CAR

Bank of America Stadium

1:00 PM

FOX

 

10

Nov 14

CAR @ TB

Raymond James Stadium

1:00 PM

FOX

 

11

Nov 21

BAL @ CAR

Bank of America Stadium

1:00 PM

CBS

 

12

Nov 28

CAR @ CLE

Cleveland Browns Stadium

1:00 PM

FOX

 

13

Dec 05

CAR @ SEA

Qwest Field

4:15 PM

FOX

 

14

Dec 12

ATL @ CAR

Bank of America Stadium

1:00 PM

FOX

 

15

Dec 19

ARI @ CAR

Bank of America Stadium

1:00 PM

FOX

 

16

Dec 23

CAR @ PIT

Heinz Field

8:20 PM

NFLN

 

17

Jan 02

CAR @ ATL

Georgia Dome

1:00 PM

FOX

 

 

 

Coaching Strategy

Offense

The Panthers will put the same emphasis on the ground game as they did last year, making each running back in Carolina just as valuable as they were in 2009. But don’t be surprised if you see the Panthers open up the passing game a bit more as Moore progresses through the season.

Luckily for fantasy owners, there are still some familiar names you can target early and ride their wave of success.

Remember:

·         Moore is an immediate sleeper pick, especially as a QB No. 2

·         Steve Smith will bounce back in 2010

·         The ground game is as dangerous as it gets, and should produce yet again in 2010

·         Jimmy Clausen is a great Dynasty and/or Keeper pick up

 

Defense

As we talked about before, the Panthers play a slightly modified version of a base Cover 2, which means a couple of things:

1. Most of the traffic (especially against the run) gets redirected towards the WLB, meaning those players, such as James Anderson, Dan Connor, or Jamar Williams, will get a ton of work (whoever wins out, of course) and tackle chances simply by default, making them solid options to consider.

2. Because of their style of play, MLB Jon Beason is free to do damn near whatever he wants, whether it be in pass coverage or ground support, making him a Top Five IDP linebacker.

The only question for the Panthers is their suspect defensive line minus Everett Brown. The consensus is they won’t get at the QB as much as they did in 2009, potentially hurting the value of players like Charles Johnson and Tyler Branton, but a sub-par D-Line also means a ton of work for those corners….can someone say interceptions?

The safety position in Carolina offers very little in IDP leagues, considering the other top notch options out there for you to consider, so I wouldn’t bother.

If you enjoyed this article please check out the rest of our 2010 Fantasy Football Team Analysis. Green Bay - Philadelphia - WashingtonDenver and much more.

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