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Carolina Panthers Fantasy Football News | Shark Bites

Fantasy Football News 2024

Most Recent Fantasy Football News & Updates

The Panthers are set to sign RB Rashaad Penny, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. Penny is still rocking a career 5.6 yards-per-carry average. But he's suffered a multitude of injuries, most recently a fractured fibula in October 2022. He barely found any snaps on Philadelphia last year, finishing with just 11 carries for 33 yards. There's opportunity in Carolina, where Penny joins a backfield with rookie Jonathon Brooks, Chuba Hubbard, and Miles Sanders. But it'd be a surprise if the now-28-year-old Penny re-emerged as a fantasy asset.

Panthers HC Dave Canales talked up RB Jonathon Brooks' versatility in his post-draft press conference. "He's a bigger back. He's got range. There's so much that he brings from a versatility standpoint," Canales said. "That's probably the biggest thing that stood out. Vision, patience, contact balance, acceleration. He's got it all. He's the best back in this class and we're so fired up to be able to bring him in." Canales also talked about his system looking to flex RBs out wide and get them in space with the screen game. That's exactly what we saw from Canales' Bucs offense last year, with RB Rachaad White ranking top-9 among RBs in targets, catches, and receiving yards. Brooks flashed strong pass-catching skills in his 10 outings last season, averaging 28.6 receiving yards per game and 11.4 yards per catch. With RBs Chuba Hubbard and Miles Sanders as his only backfield competition, Brooks has a chance to capture a big role early in his rookie season. The only real roadblock is his recovery from his November ACL tear.

The Panthers selected Texas TE Ja’Tavion Sanders with the first pick of Round 4. He’s been overshadowed in this class by TE Brock Bowers, but Sanders is a damn good prospect in his own right. A five-star recruit and top-30 overall player in the 2021 class, Sanders broke out as a sophomore in 2022. He ranked second on that Longhorns team in catches (54), third in receiving yards (613), and second in TDs (5). Last year brought a career-high 682 receiving yards, despite the arrival of WR Adonai Mitchell. Sanders averaged a big 15.2 yards per catch, fueled largely by 7.7 yards after catch per reception. He’s a fluid athlete with plus speed, capable of making plays at all three levels of the field. Sanders also possesses nice ball skills and reliable hands. He was charged with just four drops (3.9% drop rate) over the last two seasons. Sanders needs to clean up his route running and consistency as a blocker. But he has all the tools to develop into a perennial top-12 fantasy TE. Sanders finds plenty of opportunity in Carolina, where he joins a TE room alongside Tommy Tremble, Ian Thomas, and Stephen Sullivan. The rookie has a good chance to win the Week 1 starting job.

Panthers RB Jonathon Brooks confirmed on Friday night that he's on track to be ready for training camp after tearing his ACL in November. “I’m out there, I’m running, I’m about to start cutting," Brooks said. "So I’m progressing well. I’m right on track on where I need to be." Despite the knee injury, Brooks was the only RB in the class to get Round 2 capital. And he landed in a backfield with Chuba Hubbard and Miles Sanders as the competition for touches. The Panthers might slow-roll Brooks early this season. But it shouldn't take him long to emerge as the clear lead back. He boasts top-20 upside in redraft leagues and already looks like a top-12 dynasty RB.

The Panthers selected Texas RB Jonathon Brooks in Round 2 of the NFL Draft. Brooks spent just 10 games as Texas’ lead back and is coming off a November ACL tear. But there’s a reason the Panthers made him the No.1 RB off the board. Brooks averaged 114 rushing yards and 1.0 rushing TDs on 6.1 yards per carry across his 10 outings last year. He ranked top-12 among 157 qualifying RBs in Pro Football Focus rushing grade, missed tackles forced per attempt, and PFF Elusive Rating. Brooks was also a weapon as a receiver, averaging 2.5 catches and 29 receiving yards per game. He ranked 21st among 112 qualifying RBs in yards per route and 12th in PFF receiving grade. Flip on the tape and Brooks impresses with elite acceleration, sneaky elusiveness, and enough long speed to break big runs. He’s a natural pass-catcher with good hands and plenty of juice after the catch. The 6’0, 216-pounder certainly has three-down potential in the NFL. We’ll track his rehab from that torn ACL, but Brooks is on track to be medically cleared by the start of training camp (confirmed by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport). If healthy, Brooks should slot in as the RB1 ahead of Chuba Hubbard and Miles Sanders. There’s a top-15 ceiling here if the Panthers can get significantly better play out of Bryce Young.

The Panthers traded up one spot to grab South Carolina WR Xavier Legette with the final pick of Round 1. Legette is one of the toughest evaluations in this year’s WR class. He did next to nothing over his first four college seasons, totaling just 42 catches. That stretch included a 2020 hamstring injury and a 2021 motorcycle accident – all after Legette spent his senior year of high school playing QB. Then he came out of nowhere for a huge 2023 campaign. Legette’s 1,255 receiving yards ranked eighth in the country. He accounted for 37.6% of South Carolina’s receiving yards and 33.3% of the receiving TDs. And he ranked top-16 among 286 qualifying WRs in both yards per route and Pro Football Focus receiving grade. Then Legette smashed the Combine, recording a 4.39-second 40 time and 40-inch vertical at 6’1, 221 pounds to earn a 9.90 Relative Athletic Score. That elite combination of size and speed pops off the tape. Legette can dominate on deep balls and after the catch. He also has a big catch radius and reliable hands. Legette is relatively raw in the route-running department, though, and isn’t the most agile player. It’s fair to wonder how much more room he has to grow considering he turned 23 in January. Legette lands in an offense with decent opportunity, but we wouldn't bet on big target share in 2024. Carolina acquired WR Diontae Johnson to boost a receiving corps that Adam Thielen led in 2023. Check our rookie rankings to see where Xavier Legette settles.

Asked this week about the Panthers' RB depth chart, new OC Brad Idzik didn't name a starter. "I think that kinda sorts itself out ... and you let them compete right up until Game 1," he said. Idzik added that "we have a lot of good runners" -- so it's possible he's been accidentally watching 2023 film of the wrong team. Carolina, of course, watched Chuba Hubbard and his 3.8 yards per carry (plus 6.0 per catch) seize the backfield lead from Miles Sanders. That came after Sanders signed one of the market's biggest RB free-agent deals last offseason. Don't be surprised if the Panthers add a RB in the draft or another source. As it stands, Hubbard has to be the favorite for work over Sanders. But the latter has enjoyed the more productive career to date. Heading into just his age-27 season, Sanders is capable of rebounding at least ahead of Hubbard. Neither should excite you for fantasy right now. Best ball ADP positions Sanders (RB59, Round 17) as the better value than Hubbard (RB39, Round 11).

The Panthers acquired WR Diontae Johnson and a seventh-round pick from the Steelers in exchange for CB Donte Jackson and a sixth-rounder, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. It's a relatively cheap price to pay for a guy with 332 catches over the past four seasons. Johnson's production has largely been volume-based, though. His 6.7 yards per target over those last four years ranks 67th among 71 WRs with 200+ total targets during that stretch. Johnson didn't rank better 23rd in yards per route in any of those seasons. That said, he immediately becomes the Panthers' clear No. 1 WR. And Carolina figures to throw it a bunch more than the Arthur Smith-led Steelers. QB play is a concern, of course, after Bryce Young's ugly rookie season. But the move is still a win for Johnson's 2024 fantasy value. In Pittsburgh, meanwhile, George Pickens will likely get a crack at No. 1 WR duties. The Steelers will certainly be adding to the WR corps this offseason, though. And Arthur Smith's run-heavy offense will keep Pickens' upside capped.

Texas TE Ja’Tavion Sanders measured in at nearly 6'4 and 245 pounds at the NFL Combine. Sanders underwhelmed in the 40-yard dash with a 4.69, but its certainly not a crushing number. His tape showed the play speed necessary to create chunk plays. Last year, it showed in the numbers with 15.2 yards per catch and 7.7 yards after catch per reception. Only 21, Sanders is a potential Round 2 draft pick with a runway to future TE1 value.

ESPN's Matt Miller said from the Combine on Saturday that South Carolina WR Xavier Legette reminds him of Eagles WR A.J. Brown "from a body type standpoint." Legette checked into Indianapolis at 6'1 and 221 pounds -- an inch taller and five pounds lighter than Brown. Legette's 4.39-second 40-yard dash actually beats Brown's time by a tenth of a second. Legette had a strong overall Combine showing, also registering a 40-inch vertical and 126-inch broad jump to earn a 9.92 Relative Athletic Score. He's a polarizing prospect who totaled just 42 catches across his first four college seasons before breaking out with a 71-1,255-7 line last year. Be careful not to overrate Legette's Combine performance -- but it certainly helps his upside case.

Texas RB Jonathon Brooks (knee) is expected to receive medical clearance by training camp. The news comes from Dr. Dan Cooper, Dallas' head team physician who repaired Brooks’ torn ACL late last year. The Texas product is likely to be a day 2 draft pick, but early-season fantasy contributions are unlikely.

The Panthers are making a surprise choice in hiring former Buccaneers OC Dave Canales as HC, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Canales arrives after spending just one year with the Bucs. But that season seems to have revived QB Baker Mayfield's career. Overall, the Bucs ranked just 20th in points, 23rd in total yards, tied for 19th in yards per play, and 20th in offensive DVOA. Before that, Canales spent 13 years coaching offense in Seattle, including three years as WRs coach, five as QBs coach, and two as passing-game coordinator. Canales drew praise for his role in QB Geno Smith's 2022 breakout. His work with Smith and Mayfield almost certainly excited the Panthers, who likely envision Canales as the guy to help QB Bryce Young rebound from a troubling rookie season. Of course, Canales goes from QBs coach for Smith and OC for Mayfield to HC in Carolina. So be careful about assuming too much from his influence. We'll see who Canales brings in to fill out his coaching staff and what the Panthers can add to an offense that sported unimpressive talent in 2023 (and doesn't have a 2024 first-round pick). This seems like a positive move for Young's dynasty outlook, but temper your excitement.

The Panthers fired GM Scott Fitterer on Monday. It’s not much of a surprise. Owner David Tepper fired HC Frank Reich after a 1-10 start, and the team proceeded to win only one more game. Overall, Carolina went 14-37 across three seasons with Fitterer as GM. A lack of progress from Bryce Young will make this job challenging for any incoming GM. Of course, the Panthers will also be without a Round 1 pick this year after trading up for Young. We’ll monitor potential HC/GM candidates in the coming weeks.

Steelers WR Diontae Johnson hauled in 4 of 5 targets for 81 receiving yards and a TD in Week 18 vs. Ravens. The veteran ends this season with a career-low in receptions (51) and the second-fewest receiving yards (717) he’s logged to date, though a good deal of this can be attributed to the four games missed due to a hamstring injury. Johnson will play next season at 28 years old in the final year of his contract. Unless the Steelers make a change at QB this offseason, there’s no reason to value Johnson any higher than as a WR3 in dynasty formats.

Panthers WR Jonathan Mingo has been placed on IR with a foot injury. We'll look for more details on the injury and whether it'll impact Mingo's offseason. But his rookie campaign was alarmingly bad. Mingo caught just 50.6% of his targets and averaged 9.7 yards per catch. He ranks 88th among 88 qualifying WRs in yards per target and 84th in yards per route. Mingo will be no more than a late-round flier in 2024 redrafts and is closer to a sell-low than a buy in dynasty.

Coming off a season-high 312 passing yards on a season-high 8.7 yards per attempt in Week 16, Panthers QB Bryce Young crashed back to earth in the Week 17 shutout loss to the Jaguars. He completed 19 of 32 passes (59%) for 112 yards (3.5 YPA), 0 TDs, and one INT. That against a Jacksonville defense that entered the week 29th in passing yards allowed. It was Young's 10th game of the season with fewer than 200 passing yards; his ninth under 6.0 yards per pass attempt; and his seventh without a passing TD. It's been a worrisome rookie season for the first overall pick. He's had little help from his coaching staff, offensive line, or pass catchers. But he's also done very little to elevate the offense. Young will be buried in the 2024 redraft QB rankings. And he's closer to a sell-low than a buy in dynasty.

Panthers RB Chuba Hubbard racked up 22 carries for 87 yards in the Week 15 win over the Falcons. That gives him a whopping 70 carries over the last three games, which Hubbard has parlayed into 278 yards and two TDs. Carolina has leaned heavily on the run under interim HC Chris Tabor -- and Hubbard has been the beneficiary. He's totaled just four catches on four targets over these last three games, which dings his value in full PPR leagues especially. But Hubbard is at least useable as a RB3 against the Packers' 21st-ranked RB defense. Week 17 brings a tougher spot vs. the Jaguars.

Steelers WR Diontae Johnson (knee) is not listed on the final Week 15 injury report. He returned to a full practice on Thursday after being sidelined on Wednesday and should be ready for his usual role vs. the Colts on Saturday.

Steelers WR Diontae Johnson was added to the injury report with a knee and did not practice on Wednesday. His availability for Saturday's game vs. the Colts is suddenly in question. We'll look for more details on Johnson's knee issue and see how he's listed on the final injury report tomorrow.

Panthers RB Chuba Hubbard carried 23 times in Sunday’s blowout loss to New Orleans. Carolina ran 79 plays, which helped Hubbard generate such a hefty workload. Once again, he played well ahead of Miles Sanders, who mixed in with 10 carries. A still-poor Carolina offense limited Hubbard to 3.8 YPC and stopped a 2-game scoring streak. Volume will keep him in the RB2/FLEX mix for the final few weeks.

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