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Greg Olsen's 2018 Fantasy Football Outlook

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

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What You Need to Know:

  • A broken foot last year snapped Olsen’s streak of 5 straight top-7 PPR finishes.
  • He topped 100 yards in 2 of his final 4 games last season and then got a 2-year, $17.1 million contract extension in April.
  • He faces increased target competition in 2018 but remains a good bet for mid-range TE1 production.

The injury

Olsen’s streak of 5 straight top-7 PPR finishes was snapped last season. The culprit was a broken right foot suffered in Week 2. Olsen had surgery and landed on short-term IR.

The return

He returned for Week 12 but lasted just 24 snaps before aggravating the foot injury. He then sat out Week 13 before returning again in Week 14.

This time went better. Although he went catch-less on 1 target vs. the Vikings, Olsen played 92% of Carolina’s offensive snaps. Then he exploded for a 9-116-1 line the following week. Olsen totaled just 4 catches for 37 yards over the final 2 regular-season games but saw 15 targets and played 93% of the offensive snaps. Olsen had another big one in the Panthers’ playoff loss to the Saints, tallying 8 catches on 12 targets for 107 yards and a score.

2018 outlook

While we didn’t see much of Olsen last year, the 33-year-old certainly appeared to have gas left in the tank when active. The Panthers evidently agree, handing him a 2-year, $17.1 million extension this offseason. He's now the league’s 5th highest-paid TE in terms of annual average salary.

Olsen was a perennial fantasy force prior to last season. His PPR finishes from 2012 to 2016: 7th, 7th, 4th, 5th and 3rd. No other TE ranked among the top 7 in each 5 of those seasons. Olsen led his position in yards over that stretch (4,844) while ranking 2nd in catches (383) and 5th in TDs (27).

There’s more competition for targets this year than there was in those others. WR Devin Funchess is coming off a career-best 63-840-8 line. RB Christian McCaffrey led all RBs with 113 targets last year. And the Panthers added 1st-round rookie D.J. Moore and veterans Torrey Smith and Jarius Wright this offseason.

Olsen still figures to be vying for the team lead in targets, though. He’s formed a strong rapport with QB Cam Newton, who has completed 62.0% of his career passes to Olsen while averaging 7.76 yards per attempt. Newton’s numbers to all other targets: a 57.6% completion rate and 7.2 yards per attempt.

It’s also worth noting that the Panthers hired Norv Turner as their OC this offseason. Turner has a long history of getting big production from the TE position. He was HC or OC for career-best seasons from Kyle Rudolph, Jordan Cameron, Antonio Gates and Jay Novacek.

Draft Sharks Bottom Line:

Olsen’s 2017 was wrecked by a broken foot suffered in Week 2. He exploded for 100+ yards in 2 of his final 4 games, though, and got a 2-year contract extension this offseason. So it sure looks like there’s gas left in the 33-year-old’s tank.

Olsen had finished as a top-7 PPR TE in 5 straight seasons prior to last year. Despite facing increased target competition from rookie D.J. Moore and returnees Devin Funchess and Christian McCaffrey, Olsen is a good bet for another mid-range TE1 campaign. And he's coming cheaper in fantasy drafts, with an ADP sitting in the middle of the 6th round as of mid-July.

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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