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.
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
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.
QB Teddy Bridgewater, WR Robby Anderson, LB Tahir Whitehead
QB Cam Newton, TE Greg Olsen, LB Luke Kuechly
73 wide receiver targets, 82 tight end targets
Rankings and Projections
| ||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|
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
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.
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.
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.
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.