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Carolina Panthers

2024 Fantasy Football Preview: Carolina Panthers

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Player Outlooks (2024)


QB Bryce Young: Many have already declared Young a bust after a trying rookie campaign, but that’s obviously a foolish thought—and we expect last year’s No. 1 overall pick to have a much easier time in 2024 with Dave Canales replacing Frank Reich. After the Panthers couldn’t even stick with a consistent play-caller last season, Canales comes in with a scheme that has boosted Geno Smith (QB5) and Baker Mayfield (QB10) to breakout-type seasons in back-to-backs years, and Carolina also boosted the skill-positions with Jonathon Brooks, Diontae Johnson, Xavier Legette, and Ja’Tavion Sanders. That’s without even mentioning the $150+ million spent to upgrade the interior offensive line, and we are very high on Young’s ability based on what he showed at Alabama.


RB Jonathon Brooks: Brooks is coming off a torn ACL suffered at Texas, but he’s expected to be cleared by training camp—and it’s only a matter of time before he leads the Carolina backfield. The second-round rookie is a well-rounded back that should benefit from the bolstered offensive line, and Dave Canales showed last year that his backs can have plenty of production as Rachaad White totaled 1,539 yards. A slow start is possible coming off the injury, but Brooks is worth taking as a FLEX.


RB Chuba Hubbard: The efficiency might not have been there on the NFL’s worst team, but Hubbard took advantage of his opportunities last season to beat out Miles Sanders for the starting job, so we’ll see if he can begin 2024 as the starter with a strong summer. That said, it would only seem to be a matter of time before Jonathon Brooks is the clear starter in Carolina, and Hubbard might settle in as a tough-to-project option reliant on chunk gains or finding the end zone.


RB Rashaad Penny: Penny was an afterthought last year in Philadelphia as the Eagles leaned on D’Andre Swift, but he combined to average 6.2 yards per carry with the Seahawks in 2021 and 2022—so he’s a talent that should at least be on the radar. Although being a runner that is at his best with more touches could keep Penny from having much standalone appeal, there is handcuff value if his big-play ability forces him onto the field by impressing in training camp.


RB Miles Sanders: The situation did him no favors, but Sanders rushed 129 times for 432 yards (3.3 YPC) and one touchdown last year—and the Panthers aren’t suddenly going to be the Philadelphia offense that the former Penn State standout thrived in to begin his career. We’ll see if Sanders is even a lock for the roster just a season after signing a four-year deal to join Carolina.


WR Diontae Johnson: Johnson was acquired by the Panthers for cornerback Donte Jackson in a rare player-for-player trade (with a pick swap), and the move was clearly an effort to get someone that can separate for Bryce Young after it was such an issue for Carolina in 2023. The former Steeler might be more of a floor play, but he’s shown he can absorb heavy looks with an average of 153.3 targets per season from 2020 through 2022—and it sounds like Dave Canales wants to play through him when they air it out. Johnson would likely benefit from Xavier Legette starting slow to have even more opportunities come his direction.


WR Xavier Legette: The reason Legette could start slow is because he’s already missed time at OTAs with a hamstring injury, so staying healthy in August will be key for him to immediately show his potential as Carolina’s first-round selection in April’s draft. Eventually, the rookie might have a role somewhat similar to how Mike Evans was used in Tampa Bay last year as Dave Canales helped guide him to a 79/1,255/13 line, and while he doesn’t have the same upside out of the gates, Legette can also do damage on pop passes, screens, and reverses to complement the big-play potential.


WR Adam Thielen: Thielen is coming off a 100-catch season, but he is entering a much more crowded situation than last year, and the Panthers trading for Diontae Johnson was a huge drain on his stock considering the volume he is expected to draw. The hope would be that Thielen remains productive while stationed as a full-time player in the slot between Johnson and Xavier Legette, but he turns 34 in August, and the ceiling—without returning to 2020/2021 touchdown levels when he had 24 scores in 28 games—is not high enough to make up for the lowered floor compared to last year.


WR Jonathan Mingo: There is no denying that Mingo was a disappointment as a rookie, but the system, coaching staff, and overall situation in 2023 should give him a mulligan after showing he can win in a variety of ways at Ole Miss with 4.46 speed and a 39.5-inch vertical at 220 pounds. The problem is Carolina remaking the receiving corps with the starters locked in if all healthy, and Mingo has to prove he can hone everything in with a strong summer.


WR Terrace Marshall Jr.: Marshall has been subject of trade speculation for years, but he’s still a young player having just turned 24 yesterday—and possible durability concerns for Xavier Legette and Adam Thielen could allow him to see the field and breakout in a new offense. Still, the more likely path to redraft value would be a trade, and there are landing spots where he would have a decent shot of becoming the No. 3 wideout.


TE Ja’Tavion Sanders: Sanders lasted until the first pick of the fourth round in the 2024 NFL Draft, but we thought he was the second-best tight end in the class and could have gone as early as the second round. The fall could end up being a good thing with Carolina desperate for an option to step up at the position, and Sanders blocks at a high level, showed tremendous catch focus, and has experience lining up in the slot and out wide. He could have solid value in Year 1.


TE Tommy Tremble: Like Terrace Marshall Jr., Tremble is another young player for Carolina that just turned 24 this month—and his ferocity as a blocker has been apparent since his days at Notre Dame as something that could earn him a significant role. Ja’Tavion Sanders is expected to be the top pass-catcher at the position, though, and Tremble has totaled 548 receiving yards on about 50% of the offensive snaps played in each of his first three seasons.


TE Stephen Sullivan: A developmental-type tight end that has been in Carolina for the past three seasons, Sullivan will hope to have his athleticism—as a former wide receiver at LSU—fully unlocked in 2024. He’ll turn 28 in November, but tight end is the position that often seems to have late bloomers, so he’s someone to watch in training camp.


Other Notes


Best IDP value: DL Derrick Brown

Brown combined for a remarkable 103 tackles in his first season under defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero—and the 43-year-old coach remaining in place after the hiring of Dave Canales is a great sign for the unit’s chances of improving. The sack total has been limited for Brown with 8.0 sacks across his first four seasons, but he is fresh off signing a four-year, $96-million extension and certainly has the talent to be an impact rusher.


Stat to know (via draft guide)

In six career games with more than 15 touches, Rashaad Penny has gone for fantasy-point totals of 31.5, 28.2, 26.3, 25.0, 24.7, and 18.9.