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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Team Talk: Carolina Panthers

By Adam Filadelfo (@FNTSYArchitect)

Sticking with the team previews, let's head over to the NFC South and take a look at the Carolina Panthers who took a step back from their 2013 season. There is quite a bit for fantasy owners to get excited about regarding the Panthers heading into the 2015 fantasy football season. For starters, Cam Newton signed a monster extension and now seems to have two quality receivers to throw to. The ground game doesn't appear to look too intimidating and the defense doesn't look as formidable as it did two years ago but on the offensive side of the ball, fantasy owners may like what they see. It's time to delve into the Carolina Panthers.

Cam Newton- Quarterback- After signing a monster extension this offseason, Cam appears poised to have a big 2015 for both the Panthers and his fantasy owners. Newton's fantasy numbers took a dip last year mainly because the rushing numbers went down. Cam rushed for 555 yards and a touchdown while passing for over 3,500 yards and 22 touchdowns. Since his value comes mostly from his legs, fantasy owners were a bit disappointed in the Panthers signal caller in 2014 but Cam did still manage to score double digit fantasy points in eight games and average over 22 fantasy points per game last season. Fantasy owners should expect a big season from the former Auburn standout in 2015.

Kelvin Benjamin- Wide Receiver- It's safe to say the second year wideout had a pretty productive rookie season last year averaging almost ten fantasy points per game and scoring double digit fantasy points in eight of the 16 games he played. He finished with 73 catches on 145 targets for over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns. Benjamin was also a favorite red zone target for Cam and should continue to improve in his second year.

Devin Funchess- Wide Receiver- The rookie receiver was drafted out of Michigan in the second round of this years draft and is a converted Tight End. While his college numbers are not exactly eye popping, his frame is what will make him a tough cover in the NFL. Standing at 6'4 and weighing 232 pounds, he's another big body for Cam Newton to throw to who should have no problem throwing defensive backs out of his way. With defenses focusing on Benjamin and tight end Greg Olsen, there should be a lot of opportunities for Funchess to make a name for himself among fantasy owners.

Greg Olsen- Tight End- Olsen remains a steady fantasy option at a slim position. He averaged almost nine fantasy points per game last year and scored double digit fantasy points in eight games as well. His 84 receptions for over 1,000 yards were a career high for him while his six touchdowns were second most in his career.

Jonathan Stewart- Running Back- In the 13 games Stewart played in last year, he averaged almost ten fantasy points per game and scored double digit fantasy points in five of those games. He failed to reach the century mark in rushing yards and scored only three rushing touchdowns. He did manage to give fantasy owners 25 catches for almost 200 yards and an additional touchdown but fantasy owners shouldn't expect too much from him heading into 2015. He's difficult to trust due to his health and the Carolina run game hasn't scared defenses outside of Cam Newton.

D/ST- Not quite the stifling defense they were two seasons ago, Carolina ranked middle of the pack in fantasy defenses in 2014 while allowing 25 passing touchdowns. With fantasy defenses being fickle from year to year, the Carolina Panthers D/ST will probably end up middle of the pack again in 2015.