Fantasy Football Fanatics; Carolina Panthers 2012 Offseason Breakdown

Fantasy Football Fanatics

Carolina Panthers; 2012 Offseason Breakdown

By, Eric  Hartvigson


Stadium: Bank of America Stadium (Outdoors)

Schedule Strength: 15th

Postseason Weather issues: None

Offensive Line Ranking: 5th


Head Coach – Ron Rivera;     Rivera is among the fraternity of NFL Head Coaches with a pedigree as a Defensive player and a Defensive Coordinator.  Like so many defensive minded Head Coaches, Rivera does have input towards the Offensive System, but likely not involved with the day-to-day Game Planning and / or in-game Play Calling. See; Offensive Coordinator below.

Offensive Coordinator – Rob Chudzinski;     Examining Chudzinski’s history we find he was a 3 year starter at TE for the Miami Huricanes, winning two National Championships.  Amongst the coaching ranks Chudzinski’s has predominantly been a TE coach at both the collegiate and professional level.  We can assimilate ties to the Air Coryell “vertical passing game” utilized during time spent with Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner.  Whereas most coaches shape the players to the Offensvie System, Chudzinski has tailored his System around the strength of his players – namely his QB Cam Newton.  Entering the 2012 season we should expect more of the same, allowing Cam Newton to supply explosive offense with both his legs and his arm, including the deep downfield aerial attack.  As for the running game, all indications point towards another year of Running-Back-By-Committee (ugliest four words in Fantasy Football).

QB – Cam Newton;    Raise your hand if you saw that coming this time last year.  Liar.  Newton entered 2011 with multiple concerns regarding play calling, ability to read defenses, maturity and poor accuracy – to name a few.  Becoming the first rookie signal caller in the past 15 years to finish inside the top 10 in QB scoring, Newton proved that Talent, Team Talent, Offensive Line and Offensive System are the dominant factors needed for Fantasy Football success.  We typically see a decline in production during a player’s second year – more commonly referred to as the “Sophomore Slump” – mainly because opposing defenses are given a full season’s worth of game-tape to study and adjust.  Although a repeat of last season’s production is highly unlikely, Newton proved his superior size, cannon arm, rushing ability and goal line presence warrant high praise in fantasy circles.  Also on the plus side, Newton is still surrounded with excellent Team Talent, topped off by one of the leagues more dominant Offensive Lines.  Newton garners a projected Offseason Player Rating of 8.8.


RB1 – DeAngelo Williams;

RB2 – Jonathan Stewart;

Arguably the league’s worst RBBC, D-Will and J Stew continue to cancel each other out providing another huge headache to fantasy owners.  To make matters worse, the Panthers also added former Chargers RB / FB Mike Tolbert into the mix.  Now factor the fantasy points stolen by Cam Newton’s goal line prowess and no Carolina RB should be considered trustworthy in 2012.  All factors considered, both D-Will and J-Stew carry a Player Rating of 6.8.

WR1 – Steve Smith;      Just as Newton’s 2011 emergence was stunning, so was the revival of Steve “Smitty” Smith.  We’ve known for years that no player in the league has more grit, heart and toughness than this 5’ 9”, 185 lb WR.  The frequent use of Cam Newton’s arm strength to stretch the field vertically plays right into the strengths of Smith who continues to display amazing body control, excellent leaping ability and vice grip hands.  The only knock on Smitty is a Yellow Flag Injury risk.  As one of the league’s toughest WRs to defend, we should expect more of the same from Smith with an Offseason Player Rating of 8.8.

WR2 – Brandon LaFell;    In 2011 LaFell and then teammate Legadu Naanee split time as the Panthers #2 WR, as neither was considered “fantasy worthy”.  Few teams in the NFL have the ability to produce enough fantasy points to sustain multiple WRs, and the Panthers just aren’t there yet.  LaFell is a player to watch during the Preseason, but as of this writing should remain undrafted with a Player Rating of 6.9.

TE – Greg Olsen;      Reread Offensive Coordinator’s Rob Chudzinski’s profile. Ok, now apply that knowledge to TE Greg Olsen.  Olsen is amongst the league’s most underutilized TEs dating back to his time in Chicago, due to a goofy Mike Martz interpretation of the Air Coryell system whereby a TE is “just another linemen” (don’t get me started).  Last season Olsen’s production was hindered by fellow TE Jeremy Shockey, each competing with for playing time and targets.  Combined Olsen and Shockey produced 995 yards and 9 TDs, which would have ranked 3rd in TE scoring.  With Shockey now departed all production falls squarely on the shoulders of Greg Olsen. Coming into 2012 Olsen has big time “Sleeper” status with a Player Rating = 8.4.

K – Olindo Mare;      Kickers who continue to finish the season inside the top 6 in fantasy scoring typically play alongside a prolific offense.  Although Carolina’s offense is above average, better kickers are available as Mare carries a Player Rating of 7.9.

Def – Carolina Panthers;       The Panthers have made strides to improve their defensive unit drafting future Pro-Bowler Luke Kuechly.  However, we still find numerous holes at multiple positions (DT, DE, S, CB), while rookie production can be sporadic.  Also, playing in the tough, offensive driven NFC South is a downgrade.  Find better options as the Panthers Def enters 2012 with a Rating of 6.4.



*Player Rating on a scale of 1-10

About Eric Hartvigson