The C3FF Mega-League is around the corner and more importantly, so is the unveiling of the "new look Carolina Panthers" -- especially on offense -- which is exactly why those who want to dominate their FFLs of ANY sort need to look for VALUE in Carolina's players' picks...especially in 2017.
"Change" IS the reason, to put it simply. LOTS of moving parts from last season to this one, not to mention Cam's shoulder surgery and the questions around Mike Shula's ability/lack of such to adapt to his personnel.
While I think Shula is more likely than not to change the offense into a new-look, quicker-hitting get-the-ball-out type of offense in 2017, there's always the chance that old habits die hard, for one. Shula's O has been built around pounding the rock and throwing deep, with intermediate passes to Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin to keep the chains moving, but we're not even sure of the positions the first two draft picks will be manning on a given play.
There's the added uncertainty in the rookie learning curve to consider...something that factors in to a degree to every rookie and even 2nd-year players who were injured their rookie seasons and/or didn't see many snaps for whatever the reason.
With Cam's injured (but now nearly healed) shoulder, his historically inconsistent passing mechanics, tons of new faces at skill positions, AND a "new offensive system," there are really too many things to prognosticate accurately.
Fans tend to overvalue players from their favorite teams to begin with, but doing that especially this season could bring disappointing FF returns. Even Christian McCaffrey, a top-ten overall pick, isn't a lock to be the best fantasy scorer on the Panthers' roster at the RB/WR positions, although it appears he will.
Curtis Samuel was the East of the Mississippi version of "Run CMC" in the collegiate ranks last year, and the now-departed Dave Gettleman who drafted them doubled-up as he had a history of doing, which devalues BOTH players in fantasy ranks.
The thing is, especially early in the season, McCaffrey might get more touches than Samuel or vice-versa. Both have great elusiveness and Samuel is even faster in the 40 than is McCaffrey. We don't even know if Samuel will be used in the slot or the backfield or some combination of both. Same with McCaffrey, but it looks like Mac should see a lot more snaps as an RB than a slot receiver, but will see his share in the slot. Samuel could have backfield carries.
We just don't know.
Lastly, there's still Jonathan Stewart, who will at least be a short yardage specialist and a "TD Vulture" siphoning fantasy points away from the others. Predicting who gets what on a weekly basis could be VERY spotty and likely will be.
Here are the results of a mock draft from today, so bookmark this article and check back as perceived players' values rise and fall until your draft or at least keep an eye on things. For example, Jacksonville OL Branden Albert just announced his retirement, which could well push the uber-talented rookie RB (and 4th overall pick) Leonard Fournette's fantasy numbers down and his draft status back a bit.
Fantasy drafts are pretty hit-or-miss and often the league winners, aside from keeping an eye on the waiver wire throughout the entire season, often win due to a "lucky break" of a pick at some point....for example, the year Cleveland Browns' WR Josh Gordon led the NFL in receiving yards, I spent either a 10th or a 12th-round flier on him, but wasn't expecting 1600+ yards from him! Obviously, neither was anyone else!
I do think of all skill position players on the team that TE Greg Olsen is the safest choice because his production should be at least 900+ yards receiving and he'll have only a couple of "fantasy stinker" games that every player has.
It just goes to show that fantasy football success depends largely on not "reaching" for a favorite player from your favorite team because it will come back to bite you.
Follow me on Twitter @Ken_Dye