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Fantasy Football News 2021

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The Panthers are set to trade TE Dan Arnold and a 3rd-round pick to the Jaguars in exchange for CB C.J. Henderson, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Henderson was the 9th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft but has obviously fallen out of favor in Jacksonville. It's a good pickup for the Panthers, who just lost rookie CB Jaycee Horn to a broken foot. Meanwhile, Arnold will have a good shot to emerge as the lead TE for a Jaguars team in desperate need of help at the position. Arnold will be worth monitoring -- but we'd only be adding him in deep fantasy leagues at this point. Carolina is left with Ian Thomas and rookie Tommy Tremble at TE.

Panthers QB Sam Darnold opened the final preseason game with 6 straight completions against the Steelers en route to a productive night. He finished 19 of 25 for 162 yards and 2 TDs. Darnold found Terrace Marshall and Robby Anderson for 2nd-quarter red-zone scores, while D.J. Moore led all Panthers with 6 catches and 48 yards on a team-high 6 targets. Carolina opens the season with a favorable schedule, including a home date with the Jets in Week 1 and a Week 3 visit to Houston. Keep Darnold in mind as a late-round fantasy football option -- especially if you wait on addressing QB in your draft. As for the WRs, Anderson and Moore operated as the clear leaders, playing 38 snaps apiece among Darnold's 41, according to Pro Football Focus. Marshall worked in for 23. TE Dan Arnold played 30 snaps, with TE Ian Thomas taking the field for 22.

Panthers OC Joe Brady indicated recently that we should expect a lot more from the team's TEs in his 2nd season there. "The tree that I grew up in, the tight ends are the most important position on the field, the matchups that they create, and everything," Brady said in early July, according to the team website. "It's been a point of emphasis this offseason, just trying to get those guys going in the passing game. And I think those guys have kind of taken and ran with it." Ian Thomas led Panthers TEs with just 20 receptions last year, and no team threw a smaller percentage of its targets to the position. Sounds like that should change significantly in 2021. But Carolina signed Dan Arnold in free agency and drafted Tommy Tremble in Round 3. HC Matt Rhule has also said Thomas is having a "tremendous offseason." There's too much going on that the position right now for us to target any Panthers TE in fantasy drafts. We'll see whether Thomas or Arnold can step ahead of the other as an upside option for August drafts.

The Panthers signed TE Dan Arnold to a 2-year, $6 million deal. He's coming off a career-best 31-438-4 line in Arizona last year, ranking 17th among 43 qualifying TEs in yards per route run. Arnold will battle with Ian Thomas for TE targets in Carolina. Panthers TEs TOTALED just 41 targets last year -- although there could be more for the group in 2021 with WR Curtis Samuel gone.

Panthers TE Ian Thomas (toe) put in a full practice on Wednesday. That obviously puts him on track to play in this weekend's opener against the Raiders. Thomas starts the season as a low-end TE2.

Panthers TE Ian Thomas has been sidelined with a hyperextended toe, according to The Athletic's Joseph Person. HC Matt Rhule expects Thomas back "pretty soon," but his availability for Week 1 is uncertain. Thomas is just a waiver-wire watch-list guy outside of deep and TE-premium fantasy leagues.

The Panthers and TE Greg Olsen announced that they're "mutually parting ways." Olsen has spent the past 9 seasons in Carolina. But he turns 35 in March and has missed 18 games over the last 3 years. Releasing Olsen will save the Panthers $8.1 million against the cap and leave TE Ian Thomas with a big opportunity to capture the starting job. We'll see if Olsen wants to continue his NFL career -- and then how much interest he garners on the open market. Fox Sports has said that they're ready to hire him as an analyst as soon as he retires.

The Panthers have named Joe Brady their new OC. It's been a rapid rise for the 30-year-old, who spent 2017 and 2018 as an offensive assistant under Sean Payton in New Orleans and this past year as LSU's passing game coordinator. Brady won the 2019 Broyles Award as the top assistant coach in college football and was given a lot of credit for QB Joe Burrow's massive 5,671-yard, 60-TD campaign. It's an exciting -- albeit risky -- hire by the Panthers.

The Panthers are hiring Matt Rhule as their new HC, Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel reports. Rhule has been a hot name in coaching circles after he led a 1-11 Baylor team in his first season to a combined 18-9 record over the past 2 years. He spent 4 seasons as Temple's HC prior to that and also has 1 year of experience as the Giants' assistant offensive line coach under Tom Coughlin. Rhule's Baylor squads ranked 25th, 19th and 43rd in the nation in passing yards per game.

Panthers TE Greg Olsen said Monday that he's cleared the concussion protocol. Barring a setback, he'll return for this weekend's game against the Colts. Olsen should step back in as Carolina's lead pass-catching TE and will be a low-end fantasy starter for Week 16.

Panthers TE Greg Olsen (concussion) is out for Sunday's game against the Seahawks. He returned to limited practices this week but remains in the protocol. That means another game as lead TE for Ian Thomas, who posted a 5-57-1 line on 10 targets with Olsen out last week. Thomas is a viable TE1 for Week 15.

Panthers TE Greg Olsen (concussion) was limited again on Thursday and remains in the concussion protocol, HC Ron Rivera said. We'll see how much progress he's able to make over the next 48 hours. Ian Thomas will be in the TE1 mix if Olsen misses Sunday's game against the Seahawks.

Panthers TE Greg Olsen (concussion) returned to a limited practice on Wednesday. That gives him a shot to get full clearance ahead of this weekend's game against the Seahawks. We'll get another update tomorrow. Olsen's return would take TE Ian Thomas out of spot-start consideration.

Panthers TE Greg Olsen (concussion) is out for Sunday's game against the Falcons. He didn't practice all week and isn't a lock to return for Week 15. Ian Thomas will serve as Carolina's lead TE this weekend. He averaged 5.3 targets, 3.9 catches and 35.5 yards in the 9 games Olsen either missed or left early last year.

Panthers TE Greg Olsen (concussion) remained sidelined for Thursday's practice. He's not going to play against the Falcons this weekend, making TE Ian Thomas a spot-start option. Thomas averaged 3.9 catches and 35.5 yards in the 9 games Olsen either missed or left early last season.

Panthers HC Ron Rivera confirmed after Sunday's loss to the Redskins that TE Greg Olsen is in the concussion protocol. It's his 3rd documented concussion. We'll track Olsen's progress this coming week, but consider him no better than 50/50 for Week 14. Olsen's absence would leave lead TE duties to Ian Thomas, who averaged 3.9 catches and 35.5 yards in the 9 games Olsen missed all of most of last season.

Panthers TE Greg Olsen (back) is listed as questionable for Thursday night's game against the Bucs. He didn't practice at all this week but said Tuesday that he "plans" to play. We'll find out his official status around 7 pm ET on Thursday. If Olsen can't go, TE Ian Thomas will be an intriguing spot starter. He racked up 27 targets, 20 catches, 200 yards and 2 TDs over last season's final 4 games, with Olsen sidelined.

Update: Olsen was listed as a full participant on Wednesday, so expect him to play.

The Panthers are shutting down QB Cam Newton for the rest of the season, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. It's a smart move by Carolina. Newton's shoulder has obviously become a bigger problem over the past few weeks, and the Panthers are all but eliminated from the playoff picture. We'll see if Newton needs another surgery on that shoulder or if some rest will get him back to 100%. His absence will leave Taylor Heinicke as Carolina's starter for the last 2 weeks. Undrafted out of Old Dominion back in 2015, Heinicke has attempted just 5 regular-season NFL passes. He's not a Week 16 fantasy option and is a downgrade for all of Carolina's skill-position guys. RB Christian McCaffrey is the only reliable fantasy play on the team.

Panthers TE Greg Olsen told reporters after Sunday's loss that he ruptured the plantar fascia in his right foot and expects to miss the rest of the season. This is the same foot that Olsen has broken twice over the past 2 seasons, and he believes the latest injury was a result of trying to compensate for those previous breaks. Olsen's absence will leave Ian Thomas as Carolina's lead pass-catching TE the rest of the way. In the 3 games Olsen missed earlier this year, Thomas totaled 8 catches on 14 targets. He'll be a low-end spot-start option moving forward.

Panthers TE Greg Olsen is out for the rest of Sunday's game against the Bucs with a right foot injury. That's the same foot he's broken twice over the past 2 seasons. Olsen's 2018 campaign might be very well be over. That'd leave rookie Ian Thomas as Carolina's lead TE.

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