Anderson caught 3 of 11 targets for 11 yards and 1 TD in Carolina's Week 6 loss to the Vikings.
It was a dismal performance from Darnold and the Panthers as Robby caught just 3 of 11 balls. Anderson saved his day with a 7-yard TD with under 2 minutes left in the game to send the game into OT.
Anderson struggled with drops in this one and Darnold struggled with accuracy, which is a terrible combination for efficiency. It led Robby to catching a putrid 27% of targets in his direction.
Anderson has seen some better volume recently but is tough to trust as anything more than a WR3/WR4 as the Panthers continue to struggle offensively.
Another game, another missed opportunity.
A week after garnering 11 targets to trail D.J. Moore by just 1 for the team lead, Anderson tied Moore for the lead with 7 looks in Sunday’s loss to the Eagles. He caught only 2 of them for 30 yards, though.
Anderson narrowly missed an early 2nd-quarter connection that would have been a 50-yard TD when CB Avonte Maddox made a tremendous play to cut in front and knock the ball away. Otherwise, QB Sam Darnold struggled through a game that produced 3 INTs and his worst passer rating of the season by a wide margin. To be fair, there were also a couple of catches Anderson probably could (should?) have made but didn’t.
Anderson’s usage the past 2 weeks still leaves some room for optimism. He has seen 23.7% target share over that span after just 10.3% through the 1st 3 weeks. And those 2 games have followed HC Matt Rhule saying they needed to get Anderson the ball more.
Don’t be shocked if it finally clicks 1 of these weeks. The fact that it hasn’t through 5 games, though, means we can’t trust Anderson too high in the WR rankings.
Carolina's next 3 opponents:
New York Giants
Anderson was both targeted and missed often at Dallas in Week 4. He caught 5 passes for a modest 46 yards, but QB Sam Darnold missed Anderson on 6 other attempts. The WR’s 1 carry on an end-around added just 3 yards. Anderson was targeted fewer times than WR D.J. Moore and yielded 2 targets to WR Brandon Zylstra.
Coming off a 1,000-yard season in his 1st year with Carolina, Anderson has just 10 catches in 2021 with only 1 going for more than 18 yards. His reduced role this season has been mostly as a short-yardage receiver. In his last 3 seasons with the Jets, he averaged 6 TDs per year. Anderson has just 4 TDs in his 20 games as a Panther and is not currently a viable fantasy option.
Another dud. On a night when QB Sam Darnold chucked for 304 yards, Anderson finished with just 8. He caught 1 ball on 2 targets. Four Panthers -- D.J. Moore, Terrace Marshall, Chuba Hubbard and Dan Arnold -- saw more targets.
Anderson has now TOTALED 11 targets and 5 catches through 3 games. This after averaging 8.5 targets and 5.9 catches per game last year.
And the crazy thing is that Anderson’s playing time hasn’t changed. He’s played 73% of Carolina’s offensive snaps and run a route on 87% of pass plays. Last year’s rates: 78% of the snaps and 88% of the routes. Simply put, Darnold just isn’t looking Anderson’s way. It’s clear that Moore has emerged as the top dog in this passing game.
Better days are ahead for Anderson if he continues to be on the field as much as he has so far. But they’ll need to be MUCH better if he’s going to be a fantasy asset. We’d hang on to Anderson in fantasy leagues of 12+ teams. But make him earn his way back into your starting lineup.
Anderson ran 35 routes in Week 2; only 3 fewer than D.J. Moore. Yet Anderson was out-targeted 6-11 and posted just 3-38 receiving. This follows a 1-57-1 opener. Sam Darnold did miss Anderson on a couple of deep balls, including 1 that could have gone for a score. Overall, though, it’s becoming clearer that this offense favors the catch-and-run ability of Moore over Anderson. Treat the former Jet as a matchup-based WR3 going forward. An indoors matchup with Houston at least provides hope of a bounce-back.
Anderson caught just 1 pass in the opener vs. the Jets. Luckily, it went for a 57-yard score when he easily got behind the defense on a deep post. But, other than that, Anderson saw just 2 other targets. The 1st fell incomplete when Anderson broke toward the sideline when QB Sam Darnold expected him to break inward. Anderson had a step on the defender on his 3rd target but was overthrown.
RB Christian McCaffrey (9), WR D.J. Moore (8) and WR Terrace Marshall (6) all saw more targets than Anderson in this one.
The good news is that Anderson played 81% of the offensive snaps and ran a route on 89% of pass plays. Those numbers are right in line with Anderson’s 2020 rates (78% snaps, 89% routes). So as long as that continues, busier days are coming.
But we also shouldn’t be surprised if we get a few more low-volume games from Anderson considering how deep this Carolina pass-catching corps is. Consider him a volatile WR3 going forward.