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2023 Fantasy Football Preview for Every Single Player on the Carolina Panthers


2022 was another sad campaign for the Carolina Panthers in their attempt to find their way from the Ron Rivera/Cam Newton days, finishing 7-10 and suffering another losing season for the 5th straight year.


They fired Head Coach Matt Rhule after 2.5 seasons (38 games) and an embarrassing 11-27 record (.289 win percentage) where Rhule's offenses finished 21st and 30th in yards, and 24th and 29th in scoring.


Under interim coach Steve Wilks, last year's Panthers performed better than the 2019-2021 versions of the team, but it was still an ugly campaign, especially from a fantasy football standpoint.


From 2019 through 2022 (2022 in bold), Carolina has finished:


🔴 20th, 24th, 29th and 20th in scoring

🔴 19th, 21st, 30th and 29th in offensive yards

🔴 15th, 21st, 25th and 29th in 1st downs

🟠 2nd, 22nd, 14th and 29th in pass attempts

🔴 20th, 18th, 29th and 29th in passing yards

🔴 31st, 28th, 31st and 28th in passing TDs

🟠 24th, 21st, 14th and 12th in rushing attempts

🟠 14th, 21st, 20th and 10th in rushing yards

🟡 4th, 10th, 13th and 11th in rushing TDs


It's been predictably as ugly at the individual level as well.


The Panthers have had 5 different leading passers in the last 5 seasons (Cam Newton, Kyle Allen, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield) - none of which have finished better than fantasy's QB 18 since Newton was the QB 13 way back in 2018.


They've also had 4 different leading rushers in the last 4 seasons (Christian McCaffrey, Mike Davis, Chuba Hubbard and D'Onta Foreman).


McCaffrey was a predictable beast in 2018 and 2019, and Davis was fantasy's RB 12 in 2020, but no Carolina back has been better than RB 36 in the last 2 seasons.


Likewise, no Panthers' Tight End has finished inside the top 46 of fantasy tight ends since Greg Olsen was the TE 13 back in 2019.


Carolina did have sporadic success at the WR position over the last few years:


⚫ DJ Moore was fantasy's WR 36 and Curtis Samuel was fantasy's WR 49 in 2018


⚫ Moore was the WR 16 and Samuel was the WR 36 in 2019


⚫ Robbie Anderson was the WR 19, Samuel was the WR 23 and Moore was the WR 25 in 2020


⚫ Moore was the WR 18 in 2021 and Anderson was the WR 49 in 2021


⚫ Moore was the WR 24 in 2022


But of all the names discussed above, Chuba Hubbard is the only one that's still on the Carolina Panthers.


Excitingly for Panthers fans, Carolina is starting from scratch in 2023 with a new coach, new QB, and a completely revamped offensive structure and roster.

2023 Fantasy Football Preview: Looking Ahead

Carolina has been arguably the busiest team in the NFL this offseason as they look to rebuild the franchise from scratch. So far, they:


✅ Traded DJ Moore, the 9th overall pick in the 2023 draft, the 61st overall pick in the 2023 draft, a 1st round pick in 2024 and a 2nd round pick in 2025 to the Bears in exchange for the 1st overall pick in the 2023 draft.


✅ Spent that 1st overall pick on Alabama's Bryce Young, a 22-year-old QB that they hope will be the cornerstone of their franchise after cycling through 5 team-leading passers in the last 5 seasons.


✅ Replaced the DJ Moore and Robbie Anderson days with free agents Adam Thielen and DJ Chark while spending the 39th overall pick on Mississippi's Jonathan Mingo.


✅ Signed free agent TE Hayden Hurst to a three-year, $21.75 million contract, including $13 million guaranteed.


✅ Lost D'Onta Foreman but upgraded at RB anyways, signing 26-year-old free agent RB Miles Sanders to a four-year, $25 million contract—including $13 million guaranteed.


✅ Replaced Matt Rhule with Frank Reich, who went 41-35-1—including a 1-2 playoff record—in 77 games (4.5 seasons) as the Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts.


Vegas Sportsbooks are expecting an immediate improvement from recent years in the first season of the Reich/Young era, projecting the Panthers for over 7.5 wins (-120) in a 3rd place finish (Carolina is +380 to win the NFC South).


👇 So what does it all mean for 2023 fantasy football? 👇


Carolina's offense *should* start to improve as soon as year 1.


It's been a mostly solid career for Reich after 8 full seasons (leaving out 2022's half season) as an NFL Head Coach or Offensive Coordinator with the Chargers (OC, 2014-2015), Eagles (OC, 2016-2017) and Colts (HC, 2018-2022).


From oldest to most recent (Head Coaching years in bold), Reich's units have finished:


🟢 17th, 26th, 16th, 3rd, 5th, 16th, 9th and 9th in scoring


🟢 18th, 9th, 22nd, 7th, 7th, 25th, 10th and 16th in offensive yards


🟢 23rd, 22nd, 10th, 6th, 17th, 5th, 10th and 5th in rushing attempts


🟡 30th, 31st, 11th, 3rd, 20th, 7th, 11th and 2nd in rushing yards


🟡 29th, 32nd, 10th, 24th, 16th, 10th, 6th and 5th in rushing TDs


🟡 14th, 2nd, 6th, 13th, 2nd, 24th, 20th, and 27th in passing attempts


🟠 10th, 4th, 24th, 13th, 6th, 30th, 11th, 26th and 23rd in passing yards


🟡 8th, 13th, 28th, 1st, 2nd, 19th, 22nd, 12th and 24th in passing TDs


For context, Reich's Chargers teams were quarterbacked by Philip Rivers, his Eagles teams were QB'd by Carson Wentz, and his Colts teams were QB'd by Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett, and old buddies Philip Rivers and Carson Wentz.


While some coaches and Offensive Coordinators are known to have run-heavy or pass-heavy tendencies, Reich is one of the few capable of running a balanced offense and implementing a season that's coached around his talent instead of forcing the talent to fit "the system."


In other words, Reich is likely to implement a balanced attack that suits the personnel he's given.


And Carolina's offseason moves—losing their best WR, signing a free agent RB and drafting a rookie QB—would seem to indicate a likely run-heavy approach wherever possible in Bryce Young's first year.


To put it another way, the logical play would be to try and ease Young into the mix, limiting his attempts and riding Miles Sanders as much as they can instead of throwing Young into the fire too quickly.


👇 With that all being said, let's do a thorough 2023 fantasy football preview of each and every fantasy-relevant player on the Carolina Panthers! 👇

Carolina Panthers Quarterbacks

🟡 QB Bryce Young Fantasy Football Preview

After 5 different team-leading passers in each of the last 5 seasons, the Panthers traded a fortune—DJ Moore, the 9th overall pick in the 2023 draft, the 61st overall pick in the 2023 draft, a 1st round pick in 2024 and a 2nd round pick in 2025—to the Chicago Bears in order to move up to 1st overall and select Alabama's Bryce Young, who they hope will be the face of the franchise for the next decade or two.


In addition to impressive high school and collegiate careers, the 22-year old looks like a pro-ready QB with "off-the-charts playmaking ability...top-notch pocket feel...and uncoachable pocket movement and creativity throwing receivers open" per film genius Jonathan Chapman.


Carolina is doing everything they can to make the rookie comfortable, giving him:


✅ An experienced mentor in 12-year veteran Andy Dalton, who has 162 career starts on his resume.


✅ A formidable RB—Miles Sanders—that the Panthers can ride to limit Young's pass attempts.


✅ A makeshift WR room, albeit one with some depth and upside in Adam Thielen, DJ Chark and Jonathan Mingo (plus weapon Laviska Shenault and former 2nd round pick Terrace Marshall).


✅ A comfortable safety blanket in TE Hayden Hurst


Perhaps most importantly, the Panthers paired the kid with a known "quarterback whisperer" of a Head Coach in Frank Reich who in 8 full seasons as an NFL Head Coach (4 with the Colts) or Offensive Coordinator (2 with the Chargers, 2 with the Eagles) oversaw:


✅ a career high in passing yards from Philip Rivers (4,792)

✅ a career high in passing TDs from Carson Wentz (33)

✅ a career high in completion percentage from Andrew Luck (67.3%)

✅ a career high in passing TDs from Jacoby Brissett (18)


Despite a continuous rotation of QBs that Reich has had to work with, here's how each fared in fantasy football in all 8 seasons he's been calling the shots:


🟢 Philip Rivers was the QB 12 in 2014 (16.6 fantasy points per game).


🟢 Philip Rivers was the QB 12 in 2015 (17.8 fantasy points per game).


🔴 As a rookie in 2016, Carson Wentz was the QB 24 in 2016 (13.4 fantasy points per game).


🟢 Carson Wentz was the QB 5 in 2017 (21.7 fantasy points per game, which was actually tied for 2nd most).


🟢 Andrew Luck was the QB 5 in 2018 (20.5 fantasy points per game).


🔴 Jacoby Brissett was the QB 23 in 2019 (14.5 fantasy points per game). It was also a career year for Brissett.


🔴 39-year-old Philip Rivers was the QB 20 in 2020 (14.5 fantasy points per game).


🟡 Carson Wentz was the QB 13 in 2021 (15.2 fantasy points per game).


From oldest to most recent (Head Coaching years in bold), Reich's offensive units have finished:


🟢 17th, 26th, 16th, 3rd, 5th, 16th, 9th and 9th in scoring


🟢 18th, 9th, 22nd, 7th, 7th, 25th, 10th and 16th in offensive yards


🟢 23rd, 22nd, 10th, 6th, 17th, 5th, 10th and 5th in rushing attempts


🟡 30th, 31st, 11th, 3rd, 20th, 7th, 11th and 2nd in rushing yards


🟡 29th, 32nd, 10th, 24th, 16th, 10th, 6th and 5th in rushing TDs


🟡 14th, 2nd, 6th, 13th, 2nd, 24th, 20th, and 27th in passing attempts


🟠 10th, 4th, 24th, 13th, 6th, 30th, 11th, 26th and 23rd in passing yards


🟡 8th, 13th, 28th, 1st, 2nd, 19th, 22nd, 12th and 24th in passing TDs


While some coaches and coordinators are known to have run-heavy or pass-heavy tendencies, Reich is one of the few coaches capable of running a balanced offense and implementing a season that's coached around his talent instead of forcing the talent to fit "the system."


In other words, Reich is likely to implement a balanced attack that suits the personnel he's given.


And Carolina's offseason moves—losing their best WR, signing a free agent RB and drafting a rookie QB—would seem to indicate a likely run-heavy approach wherever possible in Bryce Young's first year.


To put it another way, the logical play would be to try and ease Young into the mix, limiting his attempts and riding Miles Sanders as much as they can instead of throwing Young into the fire too quickly.

2023 Fantasy Football Preview Bryce Young

For what it's worth, Vegas Sportsbooks have Young pegged for over/under 3,500.5 passing yards and over/under 22.5 passing TDs.


Just 14 QBs had more than 3,500 passing yards last season, and just 13 had more than 22 passing TDs.


3,500 passing yards and 22 passing TDs would net Young 228 fantasy points, a number that just 15 QBs were able to hit last season, and that doesn't even factor in any bonus rushing statistics.


Like any rookie QB, Bryce Young is likely to have growing pains in year one, especially if Reich rides Miles Sanders wherever possible in an effort to limit Young's exposure.


Still, Young is an exciting prospect for Panthers fans and fantasy football players alike.


He's best approached in 2023 fantasy football as a mid-low-level QB 2 with upside.


Dynasty Leagues: 🟢 Bryce Young checks in at #15 in the BBFF Rookie Rankings!


Redraft Leagues: 🔴 Bryce Young is currently the QB 24, drafted around pick 179 overall (late 15th round). In 1QB redraft leagues, Young is not worth drafting but could serve as an in-season streamer at times.


Superflex Leagues: 🟢 Bryce Young checks in at #3 in the BBFF Superflex Rookie Rankings!


Best Ball Leagues: 🟠 Bryce Young is currently the QB 24, drafted around pick 179 overall (late 15th round). That could prove to be a real value, but he's a much a better 3rd QB than 2nd QB in best ball.


Other names worth considering in the 15th round include D'Onta Foreman, Kenny Pickett, Taysom Hill, Ezekiel Elliott, and Wan'Dale Robinson among others.


Max best ball exposure: 25%

🔴 QB Andy Dalton Fantasy Football Preview

Andy Dalton enjoyed a career high in completion percentage (66.7%) in 2022.


And that's about it. He otherwise suffered career lows in pass attempts, completions, and yards (minimum 13 games) with just 18 TD passes, the 4th lowest of his career.


Dalton will almost certainly enter September as Carolina's QB 2 and mentor for #1 overall pick Bryce Young.


But as one of the "better" backup QBs in football, Dalton is a name to remember in Superflex leagues in the event that anything happens to Young (or if the rookie struggles and Carolina pulls him for Dalton).


In 158 career games where Andy Dalton has thrown at least 17 passes, he's averaged:


⚫15.3 fantasy points per game


⚫ 33.6 pass attempts and 21 completions per game (62.6%)


⚫ 238.4 passing yards per game


⚫ 1.5 passing TDs per game (241 total)


⚫ 0.9 interceptions per game (142 total)


⚫ 0.1 rushing TDs per game (22 total)


⚫ 0.2 lost fumbles per game (26 total)


Dalton has been a relatively "safe" play when in the game, scoring 15 or more fantasy points in 80 of 158 games (51%) with more games over 20 fantasy points (33) than games under 10 fantasy points (31), not to mention 4 career games over 30 fantasy points


In 2023 fantasy football, Dalton is best approached as a QB 3 that could enter the QB 2 radar if Bryce Young struggles or gets hurt.


Dynasty Leagues: 🔴 Andy Dalton goes undrafted in every type of 1 QB league. Don't change that.


Redraft Leagues: 🔴 Andy Dalton goes undrafted in every type of 1 QB league. Don't change that. That said, he *could* enter the streaming radar if Bryce Young struggles or gets hurt.


Superflex Leagues: 🟠 Andy Dalton is one of the "better" backup QBs in football, making his name one to remember in Superflex leagues in the event that Bryce Young struggles or gets hurt.


Best Ball Leagues: 🔴 Andy Dalton goes undrafted in every type of 1 QB league. Don't change that.


Max best ball exposure: 0%

Carolina Panthers Running Backs

🟢 RB Miles Sanders Fantasy Football Preview

2022 was somewhat of a breakout campaign for Miles Sanders—at least as a rusher—as he toted 259 carries for 1,269 rushing yards and 11 TDs, all of which were career highs.


The downside to Sanders' 2022 season was that he was all but eliminated as a receiver, suffering career lows in targets (26), catches (20) and receiving yards (78).


And that matters big time in fantasy football, as a lack of involvement in the passing game severely hampers a running back's upside.


With no use in the receiving game, the 2019 2nd round pick from Penn State suffered a career low 4.8 yards per touch (previous low of 5.5) and finished as fantasy's RB 15 (12.7 PPR points per game) despite having more rushing yards than all but 4 players and more rushing TDs than all but 7.


That said, his lack of usage in the receiving game was all more a product of the Eagles' system than it was Sanders himself, as we've already seen two campaigns of 50+ targets, one of which resulted in 50 receptions.


Sanders caught 50 of 63 passes as a rookie in 2019, finishing with just 20 fewer scrimmage yards than he did in 2022 despite 50 fewer touches.


In mid-March, the 26-year-old Sanders left Philadelphia and signed a four-year, $25 million contract—including $13 million guaranteed—with Frank Reich and the Carolina Panthers to take over as the team's lead back and likely focal point while they get #1 overall pick Bryce Young acclimated with the NFL level.


In 8 full NFL seasons as a Head Coach or Offensive Coordinator, Reich's units have finished (recent head coaching experience in bold:


🟢 17th, 26th, 16th, 3rd, 5th, 16th, 9th and 9th in scoring


🟢 18th, 9th, 22nd, 7th, 7th, 25th, 10th and 16th in offensive yards


🟢 23rd, 22nd, 10th, 6th, 17th, 5th, 10th and 5th in rushing attempts


🟡 30th, 31st, 11th, 3rd, 20th, 7th, 11th and 2nd in rushing yards


🟡 29th, 32nd, 10th, 24th, 16th, 10th, 6th and 5th in rushing TDs


While some coaches and coordinators are known to have run-heavy or pass-heavy tendencies, Reich is one of the few coaches capable of running a balanced offense and implementing a season that's coached around his talent instead of forcing the talent to fit "the system."


In other words, Reich is likely to implement a balanced attack that suits the personnel he's given.


And Carolina's offseason moves—losing their best WR, signing a free agent RB to a big contract, and drafting a rookie QB—would seem to indicate a likely run-heavy approach wherever possible in Bryce Young's first year.


To put it another way, the logical play would be to try and ease Young into the mix, limiting his attempts and riding Miles Sanders as much as they can, giving Sanders real workhorse potential in 2023.


Here's how individual running backs have faired in Reich's system over the years:


🟠 Branden Oliver was fantasy's RB 26 in 2014, averaging 10.4 PPR points per game on 196 touches—including 36 catches on 45 targets—for 853 scrimmage yards and 4 TDs, all of which went down as career highs for Oliver.


🟢 Danny Woodhead was fantasy's RB 3 in 2015, averaging 15.2 PPR points per game on 178 touches—including 80 catches (career high) on 106 targets (career high)—for 1,091 scrimmage yards (career high) and 9 TDs (career high).


🟠 Melvin Gordon was fantasy's RB 48 in 2015, averaging just 7.7 PPR points per game on 217 touches—including 33 catches on 37 targets—for 833 scrimmage yards and no TDs in 14 games as a rookie.


🟡 Darren Sproles was fantasy's RB 24 in 2016, averaging 10.8 PPR points per game on 146 touches—including 52 catches on 71 targets—for 865 scrimmage yards and 4 TDs.


🟠 Ryan Mathews was fantasy's RB 30 in 2016, averaging 11.1 PPR points per game on 168 touches—including 13 catches on 14 targets—for 776 scrimmage yards and 9 TDs (career high) in 13 games.


🔴 LeGarrette Blount was fantasy's RB 44 in 2017, averaging 6.7 PPR points per game on 181 touches—including just 8 targets/catches—for 816 yards and 3 TDs.


(For what it's worth, during that same season, Jay Ajayi was fantasy's RB 36 after splitting time between Miami and Philadelphia, averaging 9.6 PPR points per game but 10.3 PPR points per game with the Eagles which would have made him RB 30 in a full season).


🟡 Marlon Mack was fantasy's RB 21 in 2018, averaging 14.8 PPR points per game on 212 touches—including 17 catches on 26 targets—for 1,011 scrimmage yards and 10 TDs (career high) in just 12 games played.


🟡 Nyheim Hines was fantasy's RB 27 in 2018, averaging 10.1 PPR points per game on 148 touches—including 63 catches on 81 targets (career high)—for 739 scrimmage yards and 4 TDs.


🟡 Marlon Mack was fantasy's RB 22 in 2019, averaging 13 PPR points per game on 261 touches (career high)—including 14 catches on 17 targets—for 1,173 scrimmage yards (career high) and 8 TDs in 14 games.


🟢 Jonathan Taylor was fantasy's RB 6 in 2020, averaging 16.9 PPR points per game on 268 touches—including 36 catches on 39 targets—for 1,468 scrimmage yards and 12 TDs as a rookie.


🟢 Nyheim Hines was fantasy's RB 15 in 2020, averaging 12.1 PPR points per game on 152 touches (career high)—including 63 catches (career high) on 76 targets—for 862 scrimmage yards (career high) and 7 TDs (career high).


🟢 Jonathan Taylor was fantasy's RB 1 overall in 2021, averaging a whopping 21.9 PPR points per game on an absurd 372 touches—including 40 catches on 51 targets—for 2,171 scrimmage yards and 20 TDs (all of which are current career highs).


The lead back in Reich's system averages about 13 touches per game.


Over 36 career games where Miles Sanders handled at least 13 touches, he's averaged:


⚫ 15.2 PPR points per game

⚫ 18.3 touches per game

⚫ 3.7 targets per game

⚫ 2.6 catches per game

⚫ 97 scrimmage yards per game

⚫ 0.5 TDs per game (19 total)


He's scored 15 or more PPR points in just 15 of those 36 games (42%) and had more games under 10 PPR points (10) than games over 20 PPR points (9).


(Of course, 4 of those sub-10-point games occurred last season).


And in Reich's more recent years with Indianapolis, his lead backs average much closer to at least 17 touches per game, which seems much more in line with what to expect from Sanders given the 2023 personnel on the Panthers' roster.


In 22 career games where Sanders handled at least 17 touches, he's averaged:


⚫ 18.2 PPR points per game

⚫ 20.9 touches per game

⚫ 4 targets per game

⚫ 2.9 catches per game

⚫ 112.9 scrimmage yards per game

⚫ 0.7 TDs per game (16 total)


Sanders scored 15 or more PPR points in 13 of those 22 games (59%), with much more games over 20 PPR points (8) than games under 10 PPR points (3), including 2 performances over 31.

2023 Fantasy Football Preview Miles Sanders

For what it's worth, Vegas Sportsbooks have Sanders pegged for over/under 925.5 rushing yards (-110) and over/under 7.5 rushing TDs (-145 under).


16 RBs were able to reach 926 rushing yards last season—including Sanders—and 13 RBs were able to reach 8 rushing TDs last season—including Sanders.


Interestingly, just 3 RBs in Reich's 8 years as an NFL HC or OC have been able to reach 925 rushing yards. 5 in 8 years have been able to reach 8 rushing TDs.


Ultimately, Miles Sanders is best approached as a rock solid RB 2 with some workhorse-based upside for more in 2023, especially considering recent reports that "the goal" is to get Miles Sanders "back to where he was as a rookie in 2019 when he caught 50 passes."


As a possible workhorse and a safety blanket for rookie Bryce Young, a top 12 finish for Miles Sanders wouldn't surprise me in the slightest.


Dynasty Leagues: 🟡 Miles Sanders is a hold for current managers with some slight "buy low" appeal.


Redraft Leagues: 🟢 Miles Sanders is currently drafted as the RB 19 around pick 63 overall (early 6th round).


He's one of my favorite 6th round selections, especially in drafts where I've gone Zero or Hero RB.


Other considerations in the 6th round include Tyler Lockett, Alexander Mattison, Diontae Johnson, Mike Evans, Treylon Burks and Kadarius Toney.


Best Ball Leagues: 🟢 Miles Sanders is currently drafted as the RB 19 around pick 63 overall (early 6th round).


He's one of my favorite 6th round selections, especially in drafts where I've gone Zero or Hero RB.


Other considerations in the 6th round include George Kittle, Marquise Brown, Tyler Lockett, Alexander Mattison, Diontae Johnson, Mike Evans, Kyle Pitts, Treylon Burks and Kadarius Toney.


Max best ball exposure: 25%

🟠 RB Chuba Hubbard Fantasy Football Preview

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