The Panthers have been searching for their QB of the future, and they think they found him in Bryce Young, the No. 1 pick in this year's NFL Draft. They're still deep in rebuilding mode, but they made a few splashes in free agency that should help him out. This will likely remain a pretty middling offense for 2023 even in a best-case scenario, but there's light at the end of the tunnel now that they're done trying out various retreads.
Record: 7-10 (20)
PPG: 20.4 (20)
YPG: 306.2 (29)
Pass YPG: 176.2 (29)
Rush YPG: 130.0 (10)
PAPG: 26.9 (29)
RAPG: 28.4 (12)
2022 Fantasy finishes
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Number to know: 0
That's how many projected holdover starters there are among the skill players on offense for the Panthers -- maybe that number climbs as high as one, depending on how you feel about Terrace Marshall. But, for the most part, this is going to be an entirely new Panthers offense, and that's without even getting into new coach Frank Reich, who comes over after five years as the head coach for the Colts. We can make some assumptions about what this offense is going to look like -- I'm betting on a very run-heavy slant, both based on Reich's history, his public comments since taking over, and the presence of a rookie QB they'll look to protect, but we don't know for sure. The stakes are relatively low for Fantasy, with only one player even inside the top 150 in NFC ADP as of early July, but that means there's a lot of room for profit if you guess right on who will star here.
288 RB carries, 52 RB targets, 145 WR targets, 0 TE targets
Rankings and projections
Chris Towers' projections
|QB||Bryce Young||PA: 493, YD: 3354, TD: 20, INT: 12; RUSH -- ATT: 47, YD: 189, TD: 2|
|RB||Miles Sanders||CAR: 283, YD: 1218, TD: 10; TAR: 40, REC: 32, YD: 253, TD: 1|
|RB||Chuba Hubbard||CAR: 142, YD: 567, TD: 5; TAR: 35, REC: 28, YD: 221, TD: 1|
|WR||Adam Thielen||TAR: 114, REC: 79, YD: 824, TD: 5|
|WR||Jonathan Mingo||TAR: 79, REC: 41, YD: 575, TD: 3|
|WR||D.J. Chark||TAR: 94, REC: 51, YD: 659, TD: 5|
|WR||Terrace Marshall||TAR: 40, REC: 26, YD: 467, TD: 2|
|TE||Hayden Hurst||TAR: 59, REC: 45, YD: 451, TD: 3|
Is Miles Sanders a three-down back?
He hasn't been one since his second season, when issues with drops saw his passing game role disappear, and it's made him a pretty middling Fantasy option as a result -- he was RB22 in points per game last season despite nearly 1,300 rushing yards and double-digit touchdowns. Sanders should get a ton of carries as the Panthers lead back, but if he can get back to being a 50-catch guy, there's still top-12 upside here. And, for what it's worth, Reich has described Sanders as a "" who "can do a little bit of everything," so there's at least a chance here.
One sleeper, one breakout and one bust
The case for Mingo as a Fantasy option is kind of a mixed bag. On the one hand, there really isn't a ton of competition for targets here -- newly-signed veterans Thielen and Chark aren't exactly superstars. On the other hand, Mingo wasn't even the most productive receiver on his own college team, despite his primary competition coming from a player who didn't even get drafted. Mingo is a good athlete, with size (6-foot-1, 226 pounds) and speed (4.46 40-yard dash, 96th percentile speed score), but the lack of a track record of production in college makes him hard to trust. As a late-round flier, he's a fine sleeper, but he is by no means a sure thing.
Reich has talked openly about how the Colts inability to run the ball effectively last season played a big part in his firing, and given the presence of a rookie QB and the investment made in Sanders, I think we're going to see the Panthers make a point of establishing it this time around. Sanders should get plenty of opportunities in the running game, and this offense ended up being quite good at running the ball last season. Whether he actually has a chance to break out will be tied to his passing game role, however. Sanders was a very productive pass-catcher as a rookie, but struggles with drops in Year 2 cost him any chance to take that role on again for the Eagles. If he can put those issues behind him, there's a chance here for 100-plus total yards per game, 50-plus receptions, and perhaps double-digit touchdowns. There's top-10 RB upside here, for sure.
There really isn't a good choice for a "bust" on a team with just one player with an ADP inside of the top 150 as of early July. Maybe training camp hype will push Mingo or Sanders to the point where it's hard to justify drafting them, but I kind of doubt it -- Sanders is the highest-drafted player right now, with an ADP of just 68.2. There's nothing to argue with there. So I'll go with Young, who carries some hype in as the No. 1 overall pick, but probably won't be a particularly useful Fantasy option in Year 1. He wasn't much of a runner in college, though he has decent functional athleticism, and this figures to be a run-heavy offense. Young has plenty of long-term upside, but I don't expect him to be even a viable QB2 for his rookie season.