NFL Free Agency Fantasy Fallout: Panthers moving on from Cam Newton with Teddy Bridgewater and Robby Anderson
Cam Newton is out. Teddy Bridgewater and Robby Anderson are in. Here's what it means for the Panthers' 2020 projections.
Whether the Carolina Panthers are rebuilding or reloading, one thing is for sure; They won't look much like the 2019 version. Matt Rhule is taking over as head coach. Cam Newton is being replaced by Teddy Bridgewater. Greg Olsen is being replaced by Ian Thomas. And on Tuesday, Robby Anderson agreed to join the receiving corps. If nothing else, this will be interesting. I'll get to Anderson below, but let's start with how I felt about Bridgewater when that was announced.
Filling in for Drew Brees, Bridgewater completed 67.9% of his passes and posted a quarterback rating of 99.1. While we don't know exactly what the Panthers offense will look like, we expect it will be somewhat similar to New Orleans with a lot of short area targets. This makes sense, because Bridgewater and Brees both ranked at the bottom of the league in terms of average depth of target in 2019.
If you were going to design a team to for Bridgewater's skills, it would have Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore on it. Both are phenomenal after the catch and should elevate Bridgewater's play past his skill level.
Of course, the idea of a short-area offense makes the acquisition of Anderson even more interesting. For most of his career, Anderson has been a low-volume receiver with big-play ability. He's never reached 120 targets but the one year he topped 110 he was a top-20 receiver in Fantasy. Anderson fits very well opposite Moore, but it will be interesting to see what this means for Curtis Samuel.
The target share picture is still a bit blurry, but I expect McCaffrey and Moore to each see close to 24% of the team's targets with Anderson as the third option at 19%. There's room still for an Ian Thomas breakout, but if it happens that's likely to squeeze Samuel out. I'll draft McCaffrey in the first round and Moore in the second, but everyone else will be a late-round pick at best.
Here are the rest of my updated 2020 projections for the Panthers as of March 24:
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