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Fantasy Impact: Kelvin Benjamin Injury

By Jared Smola | Updated on Tue, 23 May 2023 . 1:27 PM EDT


Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin suffered a torn ACL in Wednesday’s practice that will cost him the entire 2015 season. To say it’s a massive loss would be an understatement. As a rookie last year, Benjamin’s 73-1,008-9 line accounted for 22.3% of the team’s catches, 26.3% of the passing yards and a whopping 39.1% of the passing TDs. His absence is a big blow to QB Cam Newton’s 2015 fantasy value. He moves down the QB rankings.

Carolina is now left with 1 of the weakest WR corps in the league. Corey “Philly” Brown was listed as the starter opposite Benjamin on the latest depth chart. He’s joined by veterans Jerricho Cotchery, Ted Ginn, Jarrett Boykin and Brenton Bersin. And the Panthers used a 2nd-round pick this spring to add Devin Funchess.

Funchess will be the popular pick to step in as Carolina’s new #1 WR. The 6’4, 233-pounder certainly has the most upside of the group. But insider Jonathan Jones notes that Funchess “hasn’t shown enough in his few months as a professional to take over the No. 1 spot.” The rookie is an intriguing bench stash for your fantasy squad, but don’t overdraft him.

Brown averaged 14.1 yards per catch and scored twice on 21 grabs as a rookie. But he went undrafted, goes just 5’11, 178 pounds and has piss-poor measurables. We’re not banking on him emerging as a serious fantasy asset.

Cotchery might open the season in the starting lineup if Funchess doesn’t prove ready, but the 33-year-old hasn’t topped 13.1 yards per catch since 2011. He’s a pure possession receiver with very little fantasy upside.

Ginn posted a 36-556-5 line with Carolina a couple of years ago. But that was the 2nd best season of his career. That tells you all you need to know about his fantasy value.

The big winner in Carolina’s passing game is TE Greg Olsen. His 123 targets last year ranked 2nd on the team and 4th among all TEs. He’s a strong bet to lead the 2015 Panthers in targets and could match or improve upon last season’s 84-1,008-6 line. We just raised Olsen’s projections.

RB Jonathan Stewart also got a bump up the RB rankings. Benjamin’s absence will mean an even greater reliance on the running game in Carolina. Stewart is also capable of picking up some of the slack as a receiver.

Draft Sharks Insiders can click here for all of our updated Panthers projections.

Jared Smola Author Image
Jared Smola, Lead Analyst
Jared has been with Draft Sharks since 2007. He’s now Lead Analyst, heading up the preseason and weekly projections that fuel your Draft War Room and My Team tools. He currently ranks 1st among 133 analysts in draft rankings accuracy.
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