Carolina Panthers 2021 Fantasy Preview
2020 Record: 5-11
2021 Over/Under: o/u 7.5
2021 Divison Odds : +1000
2021 Super Bowl Odds: +6000
As you prepare for the fantasy season, whether it be your home league, a big money squad or with us at Champions Round, we want you to be as prepared as possible heading into the season. And most of all we want to see you win!
The Carolina Panthers come into the 2021 season still clearly in the midst of a rebuild, but one that is heading in the right direction. The team has found a promising head coach in Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady established himself as a legitimate head coaching candidate going forward. The team still has significant work to do on the defensive side of the ball, but should be improved this season. Meanwhile, the offense returns superstar Christian McCaffrey and still has an elite 1-2 receiver punch with D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson.
The most important move the Panthers made this offseason was replacing Teddy Bridgewater with Sam Darnold, formerly of the New York Jets. Darnold now has legitimate weapons around him and two offensive minded head coaches who should put him in a position to succeed right away. Don’t get it twisted, this is a make or break year for Darnold, who is still only 24 years old. If the Panthers maximize Darnold’s potential, the Panthers could surprise in 2021.
Champions Round “JUICE” Projections
2021 Expected Record: 8-9
2021 Expected Points Per Game: 24.1
2021 Expected Points Allowed Per Game: 24.5
Sam Darnold - Rank: QB15
JUICE Projections: 416-660 Passing, 63% Completion, 4574 Passing Yds., 27 TD, 18 INT; 148 Rushing Yds, 2 Rush TD
Darnold struggled in New York. Who hasn’t. The former USC Trojans walks into a great situation in Carolina and is now surrounded by some of the best playmakers in the NFL. Joe Brady should be able to put Darnold in a position to succeed. In fact, it would not surprise at all if he wins Comeback Player of the Year. In terms of fantasy, I really like Darnold in superflex leagues and he’s probably still a good buy in all dynasty formats. In standard redraft leagues, Darnold may be a decent late round QB stash.
Christian McCaffrey - Rank: RB1
JUICE Projections: 270 carries, 1188 Rushing Yds, 12 Rush TD; 94 receptions, 746 Receiving Yds, 4 Rec. TD
It’s CMC. Don’t think too hard about this one. He’s the number 1 pick in redraft leagues. The Panthers offense runs through him and if he’s healthy you should expect another big year.
Chuba Hubbard - Rank: RB57
JUICE Projections: 84 carries, 344 Rushing Yds, 2 Rush TD; 20 receptions, 131 Receiving Yds, 1 Rec. TD
Just as we saw last season with Mike Davis, the Panthers No. 2 running back is in a prime position to succeed should McCaffrey go down. Hubbard likely won’t have a significant role if CMC is healthy, but he’s an interesting prospect who had an unbelievable season for Oklahoma State in 2019.
D.J. Moore - Rank: WR11
JUICE Projections: 86 receptions, 1206 Receiving Yds, 8 Rec. TD
People continue to sleep on D.J. Moore. He is a productive receiver who can play anywhere on the field. He’s going to see more targets this season and should be able to produce a near WR1 season for your fantasy teams. I would be targeting him in the third round in standard redraft formats.
Robby Anderson - Rank: WR24
JUICE Projections: 80 receptions, 928 Receiving Yds, 6 Rec. TD
Anderson had a big year in 2020 and is reunited with a QB he is familiar with. I expect him to have another solid season. If he’s able to produce in the red zone, he could be a high end WR2.
Terrace Marshall Jr. - Rank: WR54
JUICE Projections: 56 receptions, 679 Receiving Yds, 4 Rec. TD
The rookie from LSU is reunited with his old college offensive coordinator. Marshall should immediately be the Panthers’ third leading receiver and will have a nice role on a team that figures to be playing from behind. Marshall is an elite red zone target who should provide value at the flex spot in most leagues. I love drafting Marshall late if people forget about him.
Dan Arnold - Rank: TE53
JUICE Projections: 23 receptions, 197 Receiving Yds, 1 Rec. TD
Ian Thomas - Rank: TE63
JUICE Projections: 15 receptions, 114 Receiving Yds, 1 Rec. TD
The projections do not love Arnold and Thomas. The Panthers have three players (CMC, DJ, Anderson) who should dominate all the targets this season with Terrace Marshall being the fourth option. That being said, both Arnold and Thomas may have a chance to blow past expectations if injuries come into play. Darnold isn’t known for targeting Tight Ends, which could also be an issue. I would probably pass on both players unless you’re in best ball leagues.
TL;DR 2021 Carolina Panthers
- If Christian McCaffrey is healthy, watch out. RB1.
- DJ Moore full breakout season is here
- If Sam Darnold can’t succeed this season, it’s probably over for him
Thanks for reading and good luck in your drafts! Next Up: Chicago Bears!