Watch Now: 2020 NFL Schedule: Carolina Panthers (2:56)

The Panthers turned the page on the Cam Newton era, and they're hoping Teddy Bridgewater can provide the steadying presence they've been seeking since injuries derailed Newton's career. Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore figure to continue to be the focal points of the offense, and we're hoping Joe Brady can recreate the magic that made the 2019 LSU Tigers offense one of the most explosive we've ever seen.       

2019 Review

Record: 5-11 (26)
PPG: 21.3 (20)
YPG: 341.8 (19)
Pass YPG: 228.1 (20)
Rush YPG: 113.7 (14)
PAPG: 39.6 (2)
RAPG: 24.1 (24)

Relevant Fantasy players

QB Kyle Allen* QB24
RB Christian McCaffrey RB1
WR D.J. Moore WR16, Curtis Samuel WR36
TE Greg Olsen* TE13
*No longer on team

Number to know: 633

The Panthers 633 pass attempts in 2019 were the second most in the league. That's likely to come down in 2020, which could be a problem for the secondary options in the passing game if McCaffrey and Moore continue to gobble up more than 45% of the team's targets. It's possible that one of Robby Anderson, Ian Thomas, or Samuel could be Fantasy relevant. But if two or more of them are heavily involved then it will likely mean none of them are startable.

2020 Offseason

Draft Picks 

1. (7) Derrick Brown, DT
2. (38) Yetur Gross-Matos, DE
2. (64) Jeremy Chinn, S
4. (113) Troy Pride Jr., CB
5. (152) Kenny Robinson Jr., S
6. (184) Bravvion Roy, DT
7. (221) Stantley Thomas-Oliver, CB

Additions

QB Teddy Bridgewater, WR Robby Anderson, LB Tahir Whitehead

Key Departures

QB Cam Newton, TE Greg Olsen, LB Luke Kuechly

Available Opportunity 

73 wide receiver targets, 82 tight end targets

Rankings and Projections

Player
Teddy Bridgewater QB24 QB21 QB24
Christian McCaffrey RB1 RB1 RB1
D.J. Moore WR7 WR9 WR7
Robby Anderson WR57 WR50 WR49
Curtis Samuel N/A N/A WR51
Ian Thomas TE21 TE20 TE21
Joey Slye K18 K30 K14
Panthers DST DST29 DST27 DST25

Heath Cummings' projections
QB Teddy Bridgewater 4,133 YD, 26 TD, 13 INT; 152 Rush YD, 1 TD
RB Christian McCaffrey 1,378 YD, 9 TD; 106 REC, 877 YD, 6 TD
WR D.J. Moore 138 TAR, 90 REC, 1,236 YD, 6 TD
WR Robby Anderson 103 TAR, 58 REC, 793 YD, 5 TD
WR Curtis Samuel 92 TAR, 55 REC, 628 YD, 5 TD
TE Ian Thomas 86 TAR, 57 REC, 540 YD, 4 TD

Biggest Question

Can Joe Brady bring his college success to the NFL?

"Brady's LSU offense had a ton of talent, particularly guys who could consistently win one-on-one battles. He has that at skill positions in Carolina, with elite underneath passing game weapons Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore perfectly matched for Teddy Bridgewater's skill set. The addition of Robby Anderson also gives them more field-stretching ability, but the key might be whether an offensive line that could feature three new starters will consistently hold up or will need help from extra blockers." - Ben Gretch

Two sleepers and one breakout

Sleeper
CAR Carolina • #80
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
2019 Stats
REC
16
TAR
30
REYDS
136
TD
1
FPTS/G
2.2

With Olsen off to Seattle, Thomas will be the primary tight end in Carolina. He's still just 24 years old and entering his third year in the league, so there's no reason to think we've seen anything close to the best from him. Because of injuries to Olsen, we've already seen a glimpse of what Thomas could be. Eight times over the past two seasons he's seen at least five targets in a game. In those eight games he's caught 35 passes for 359 yards and three touchdowns. Double that and you've got a low end starting tight end in Fantasy.

We don't know exactly how often Joe Brady's offense will target the tight end position, but the LSU tight ends combined for more than 70 catches, 700 yards and four scores in 2019. At the very least, Thomas won't be ignored. And he's available at the end of most drafts.

Deeper Sleeper
CAR Carolina • #5
Age: 27 • Experience: 7 yrs.
2019 Stats
PAYDS
1384
RUYDS
31
TD
9
INT
2
FPTS/G
12

It's hard to get much deeper as a sleeper than Thomas. But unless you're in a Best Ball or two-quarterback league, Bridgewater may not even get drafted. That could be a mistake. The Panthers sought  out Bridgewater because of his familiarity with the system and his short-area accuracy. The Saints didn't miss a beat with Bridgewater under center in 2019, and his Fantasy points per game in those five starts was better than Tom Brady, Jared Goff and Jimmy Garoppolo.

The key for just how good Bridgewater is in Fantasy may just come down to how quickly the rest of the team catches on to the new system. With the abbreviated offseason it's hard to trust them at the start of the season, but their schedule is loaded with explosive offenses and they're likely to be chasing the score often with six of their first 10 games coming against the Chiefs, Falcons, Buccaneers and Saints. 

Bridgewater is an excellent sleeper in any format where you need more than one quarterback and he may just be a good streamer in one-quarterback leagues as well.

Breakout
CAR Carolina • #12
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
2019 Stats
REC
87
TAR
135
REYDS
1175
TD
4
FPTS/G
15.3

Yes, Moore already broke out in 2019. No, he's not done yet. While the numbers above are impressive, what's more impressive is that he did that as a 22 year-old catching passes from Kyle Allen and Will Grier. Oh yeah, he also did it with rotten touchdown luck and missing most of two games. 

No matter what you think of Bridgewater as a starting quarterback, he's an obvious upgrade over what Moore dealt with last year. You should expect at least 140 targets for one of the more efficient receivers in the league with a possibility for significant touchdown regression. You should expect Moore's first top-10 season, but don't rule out a finish even higher.

Fantasy Previews 
AFC East: Bills | Jets | Patriots | Dolphins 
NFC East: Giants | Cowboys | Eagles | Redskins 
AFC South: Colts | Texans | Jaguars | Titans 
NFC South: Panthers | Bucs |  Falcons | Saints 
AFC North: Ravens | Steelers | Browns | Bengals 
NFC North: Packers | Vikings | Bears | Lions 
AFC West: Chiefs | Broncos | Raiders | Chargers 
NFC West: Seahawks | 49ers | Rams | Cardinals  

Which players are poised for breakouts, which sleepers do you need to jump on, and which busts should you avoid at all costs in your Fantasy football league? Visit SportsLine now to get early rankings, plus see which WR is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.