The cardiac cats may be the most unpredictable team in the NFL. It seems they compete one year and disappoint the next.
With John Fox’s seat seemingly getting warmer, they have a pivotal season ahead of them. Balancing the pressure to win and developing a large contingency of young players is an arduous task.
From a dynasty fantasy football perspective, the Panthers pose more questions than they give answers.
Can they develop a Quarterback? Can Steve Smith overcome his latest setback and still produce as a No. 1 Wideout? Can Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams repeat as back-to-back 1,000 yard rushers? Will someone step up in the Wide Receiver corps to give Smith the help he so desperately needs?
We analyze the fantasy values of the Carolina players in an attempt to answer some of those questions in the latest installment of our Dynasty Capsule Series.
Players in their Prime
DeAngelo Williams , RB
This is likely one of the last few years where Williams will fit this category. Normally, the committee approach diminishes the value of Running Backs. While it certainly has tempered expectations for Williams, the boost Jonathan Stewart has given the Panthers has likely extended his career.
If he stays in Carolina long-term, I’d expect at least a further two or three productive seasons. Dynasty owners would be thrilled with a repeat performance of 1,117 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Jonathan Stewart, RB
“The Daily Show” showed what he could do as a featured back when he had 440 yards and 3 touchdowns in the last three games of the 2009 regular season. Because of his late-season emergence, he led Carolina with 1,133 rushing yards and 10 rushing TDs, while averaging over five yards per carry.
The sky’s the limit for Stewart, especially when you consider there will likely be a time when Williams is no longer in his way. Stewart looks the part of a future No. 1 Running Back and you can’t help but compare this situation to that of Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson situation a few years back. Given the chance, Stewart is ready to explode.
Brandon LaFell WR
It’s very unusual for a rookie Wide Receiver to have a chance at starting on opening day, but it’s right there for LaFell. He has great size at 6′2″ and 211 pounds, but there are some questions about his speed after he ran in the 4.6 range before the draft.
His lackluster production in his last season at LSU cannot be discounted, but LaFell passes the eye test. He needs to take this golden opportunity and run with it.
Jimmy Clausen, QB
There weren’t too many mock drafts that predicted Clausen would end up in Carolina, but the Panthers won’t complain. He has all the ability and physical attributes to be a fine Quarterback at this level, but questions about his leadership remain.
It is time for Jimmy to hit the film room and make the notoriously cautious coaching staff believe he is a franchise quarterback.
Players with Falling Values
Steve Smith, WR
The broken arm is just the latest setback for the dynasty stock of the aging Smith. When you consider his recent comments about not wanting to be the No. 1 Wide Receiver, you have fantasy owners wanting to sell instead of buy.
Matt Moore, QB
It’s difficult to put Matt Moore in the “falling value” category when you consider how well he played at the end of the season. However, the drafting of Clausen clouds his future a bit.
The job is his for now, but the margin for error may not be as great as we anticipated. He would have been in the “rising value” category before the draft, but only a gypsy can tell what’s going to happen here.
Dwayne Jarrett, WR
We don’t need a fortune teller for this one! Jarrett has been another in the long list of USC disappointments. He struggles to run consistent routes and he simply can’t separate from defenders. He’s had so many opportunities and made virtually nothing of them. The Smith injury will likely be no different.
Armanti Edwards, WR
Fans of DynasyLeagueFootball.com know how much we like the former Appalachian State Quarterback's chances at the next level. He has an “it” factor that has shown up big time at Spring practices and what should be an incredibly difficult transition to Wide Receiver is coming much more naturally than expected.
Kenneth Moore, WR/KR
He’s more of a special teams weapon, but word has it that he lined up with the first-team offense ahead of many others at a recent practice. Is this a sign that he’s progressing towards a bigger role? It’s doubtful, but worth keeping an eye on.
Hunter Cantwell, QB
Many local beat writers believe Cantwell would be the choice if Moore fails to impress early. Can he really hold off Clausen?
Tyrell Sutton, RB
Three super sleepers off the same team, you ask? Well, it could easily be four if we counted Mike Goodson. Sutton has been very impressive in preseason action and played well in spot duty last year. He’s a long shot for production as long as Williams and Stewart are around, but either he or Goodson could be the next handcuff in a run-oriented offense.
The Panthers are very much a team in transition. Gone are the days of Jake Delhomme and Steve Smith carving up defenses. There are some very intriguing prospects on this roster, though. It’s very difficult to project where a fantasy gem may come from, but this certainly seems like a real possibility.