Samuel finished the 2018 regular season with 39 catches on 65 targets for 494 yards and five touchdowns in 13 games played. He also rushed eight times for 84 yards and two more scores. Samuel's rookie season was hindered by injuries, and although he missed a few games again this time around, he became a bigger factor in Carolina's offense over the course of the campaign. The 2017 second-rounder scored four times through his first six appearances, including twice on the ground, evidencing his upside as a gadget player. However, Samuel started getting featured more through the air in Week 11, when he posted a then-career-best 55 receiving yards. Over his final seven outings, Samuel topped 70 yards three times and caught three touchdowns. That run came while fellow wideout Devin Funchess was phased out of the team's offense. With Funchess not expected back next season, Samuel and 2018 first-rounder D.J. Moore currently project as the top wideouts in a Panthers scheme looking to take advantage of their run-after-catch ability. Sure, all-purpose tailback Christian McCaffrey should still be a leader in the receiving game, and a healthy Greg Olsen (foot) would remain in the mix at tight end, but Samuel's trajectory clearly seems to be heading in the right direction going into 2019.
Samuel caught seven of 13 targets for 41 yards during Sunday's 24-10 loss to the Falcons. Samuel tied for the team lead in targets while finishing with a new career high in catches. Unfortunately, most of his looks came around the line of scrimmage and he finished averaging just 5.9 yards per catch. Samuel has enjoyed an uptick in production down the stretch, averaging 4.5 catches and 56.5 receiving yards per game. Those numbers only really give him fantasy value in deeper leagues and daily contests, which should remain the case in next week's season finale against the Saints.
Samuel caught one of four targets for 17 yards and rushed twice for eight yards in Monday night's 12-9 loss to the Saints. Samuel's performance was reflective of Carolina's struggles through the air Monday, when quarterback Cam Newton finished with a season-low 131 passing yards. In fact, besides backfield dynamo Christian McCaffrey, only rarely used tight end Chris Manhertz hit 50 receiving yards, and that actually entirely came thanks to a touchdown pass from McCaffrey himself. That left just eight catches for 64 yards between Samuel, D.J. Moore, Ian Thomas and Jarius Wright, evidencing the Panthers' rough passing night. Having entered Monday with back-to-back 80-yard outings, Samuel will look to get back on track Week 16 versus the Falcons, but Newton's ongoing shoulder issue is maybe a factor to consider going forward.
Samuel caught six of 11 targets for 88 yards and carried one time for an additional eight yards during Sunday's 24-17 loss to the Buccaneers. Samuel led the team in targets and catches while notching a new career high in receiving yards. He recorded a long gain of 31 yards and made several catches around the line of scrimmage that could have turned into bigger gains. Samuel shined as the team lost Greg Olsen (foot) and eased Devin Funchess (back) back into the lineup, and he now has a touchdown or 96 scrimmage yards in four of his last five games. He'll hope to continue his recent success in Week 14 against the Browns.
Samuel (hamstring) was a full participant in Thursday's practice, David Newton of ESPN.com reports. Samuel's absence from Wednesday's session came as a surprise after there was no indication he got banged up in the Panthers' Week 12 loss to the Seahawks, during which he played a season-high 54 offensive snaps. The wideout's return to full activity a day later suggests his restrictions Wednesday were likely maintenance-related, leaving no concern about his status for Sunday's game in Tampa Bay. While Samuel will draw a favorable matchup against a dreadful Tampa Bay secondary, he may not be tasked with filling as prominent of a role on offense with No. 1 receiver Devin Funchess (back) potentially in line to return from a one-game absence.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/08||Los Angeles Rams||19||22.05|
|2||09/13||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||28||25.00|
|6||10/13||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||28||25.00|
|8||10/27||@San Francisco 49ers||30||26.13|
|10||11/10||@Green Bay Packers||26||24.75|
|12||11/24||@New Orleans Saints||31||26.67|
|17||12/29||New Orleans Saints||31||26.67|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||46||27||304||2||15||11.26||55|