There is no offseason when it comes to football. Even though the 2014 NFL season officially ended on February 1st, the 2015 NFL season started the very next day. The NFL has seen busy with re-signings, contract extensions, releases, free agency signings, mock draft predictions, and more.
The Carolina Panthers offseason hasn't been as busy as we fans have hoped for, so far in free agency there have only been a total of 14 players who have been signed, re-signed or had contracts extended. The Panthers so far have spent $20,044,166 of their 2015 salary cap.
How have these moves affected the Carolina Panthers fantasy football stars?
There were only six players last season on the Panthers roster that had over 100 fantasy points. They were Cam Newton (237), Kelvin Benjamin (144), Greg Olsen (131), Graham Gano (126), Jonathan Stewart (110), and the Panthers defense (102).
When you think of fantasy football rankings Carolina Panthers players don't normally stick out. But after some minuses and pluses to the roster in this offseason, there might be some Panthers getting drafted in the first four rounds of your fantasy football draft. All of the fantasy numbers should improve this season for those six Panther players above.
Cam Newton – I see Cam Newton having a career year in 2015. He will be a top 10 fantasy quarterback because of how well the offensive line played, chemistry with Kelvin Benjamin, top five tight end Greg Olsen, and don't forget it is also a contract year. The resigning of tight end Ed Dickson could develop into a solid combination with Olsen. Also bringing back Tedd Ginn Jr. will give the Panthers the ability to spread the field, and throw some bombs. The possible additions of a quality offensive lineman and wide receiver from the draft can only improve Cam's play.
2014 Fantasy Output: 237 Points (3,127 Passing Yds 18 TD 12 INT/ 539 Rushing Yds 5 TD)
2015 Fantasy Prediction: 304 Points (3,500 Passing Yds 22 TD 10 INT/ 600 Rushing Yds 6 TD)
Jonathan Stewart – As of right now Stewart is labeled as the starting running back for the Carolina Panthers. He really earned this role over the last five games of the 2014 regular season, because he rushed for 486 yards. He was second only to DeMarco Murray. The offensive line should be better next season, and so should Stewart. I see Stewart rushing for over 1,000 yards but he has to stay healthy. Fozzy Whittaker and Mike Tolbert will take some carries away from Stewart.
2014 Fantasy Output: 110 Points (809 Rushing Yds 3 TD/ 181 Receiving Yds 1 TD)
2015 Fantasy Prediction: 158 Points (1,100 Rushing Yds 8 TD)
Kelvin Benjamin – Benjamin would of been the offensive rookie of the year if it wasn't for the amazing Odell Beckham Jr.. Kelvin Benjamin was a great pick for the Panthers in the 2014 NFL Draft, and is now Cam's number one target. Benjamin finished his rookie campaign with 1,008 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Benjamin had some ugly drops and penalties that could have been avoided. Once Benjamin realizes that he doesn't need to push off because of his size, he can be even more dominant in this league. His numbers will improve as his knowledge of the game improves, and the possibility of a solid number two wide receiver on the other side.
2014 Fantasy Output: 144 Points (1,008 Receiving Yds 9 TD)
2015 Fantasy Prediction: 176 Points (1,100 Receiving Yds 11TD)
Greg Olsen – Greg Olsen has to be one of the most underrated players in the NFL. He is a top five tight end in this league and finished fourth last season for a tight end with 131 fantasy points. He was only six points behind Jimmy Graham who accumulated 137 fantasy points. Olsen recently signed a three year contract extension, which means that his relationship will continue to grow, and develop with Cam Newton. Greg Olsen is reliable and creates a mismatch for the opposing defense. The reason I think Olsen will get less receiving yards is because of the positive development of Benjamin, and the possible addition of a reliable number two receiver.
2014 Fantasy Output: 131 Points (1,008 Receiving Yds 6 TD)
2015 Fantasy Prediction: 138 Points (900 Receiving Yds 8 TD)
Graham Gano – Graham Gano will be an important part of the Panthers offense. He is not a top 10 kicker in the NFL, but he is reliable. He only averaged 7.9 fantasy points per game last season, but I do see his numbers improving this season. The Panthers offense has improved which means Gano will get more opportunities for points.
2014 Fantasy Output: 126 Points
2015 Fantasy Prediction: 140 Points
Panthers Defense/ Special Teams – The Carolina Panthers defense finished last season ranked 19th out of all the defenses in fantasy football with 102 points. This bad ranking resulted from a slow start at the beginning of the season. The players who started in the defensive secondary struggled to do their job correctly. The Panthers eventually found the right formula for the defensive secondary with: Josh Norman, Tre Boston, Bene' Benwikere, and Roman Harper. The defense is young and has lots of potential. Gettleman has been busy this offseason by bringing back key defensive players for the Panthers. During this free agency period he has re-signed DT Dwan Edwards, DT Colin Cole, and LB Ben Jacobs. He has also signed safety Kurt Coleman. If you are playing special teams in your league the addition of Tedd Ginn Jr., and Teddy Williams should boost this team significantly.
2014 Fantasy Output: 102 Points
2015 Fantasy Prediction: 126 Points
Are you drafting any Carolina Panthers next season?
By, Justin Raymond
Follow Me On Twitter @JayRay19