The Carolina Panthers had themselves a helluva season. Things aren’t going well for a squad when the head coach admits he might use three quarterbacks in a game, and then invokes Jay-Z in a presser. The Carolina Panthers’ season started circling the drain almost immediately, and a mid-season firing of Joe Brady, shockingly, did not fix matters. What should we remember from the 2021 Carolina Panthers when considering their players for 2022 fantasy football leagues?
- Through the first four weeks of the season, Sam Darnold did a big ol’ trick on the fantasy football community. He was averaging over 300 total yards and 2.6 touchdowns per game with just 0.8 picks per game. Did he get better or was he just throwing more? Well, the answer was really… neither! He ran for five touchdowns in that timeframe, which stands as half of his career total. This might shock you but Sam Darnold was worse with the Panthers than the Jets. In 2020, Darnold finished with a 2.5% touchdown rate, 3.0% interception rate, a 59.6% completion percentage, and 10.2 yards per completion. In 2021, he has a 1.9% touchdown rate, 3.3% interception rate, 58.8% completion rate, and 10.8 yards per completion. Yikes.
- D.J. Moore seemed to have a disappointing fantasy football season, but that’s only because we thought he would have a better season than he would have had in the past. In reality, he was basically the same player he’s always been, despite Darnold’s issues. He had 67 yards per game, after averaging 78 the last two years, but he also averaged an additional catch per game, which evens out the lost yardage in full PPR leagues. He also had his trademark four touchdowns; classic D.J. Moore.
- Robby Anderson set a new standard for futility in 2021. He had four games with 38 combined targets which he turned into… 101 yards. He became the fourth player to get at least seven targets in four consecutive games while notching 101 or fewer yards; he joined Sterling Shepard, Mike Wallace, and Larry Fitzgerald in that club. Fitzgerald has the career-low for this, notching 1.8 yards per target in that timeframe; Robby Anderson is second with 2.7 yards per target.
- This might not shock you, but Christian McCaffrey is still really good at football. Unfortunately, modern-day gladiatorial combat has taken its toll on CMC. McCaffrey averaged 112 yards per game on 19.4 touches (including 5.3 touches per game). So, he’s still incredible. But, have we seen Peak McCaffrey? His rushing and receiving yards per game decreased for the second-straight year after peaking at 86.7 and 62.8, respectively. He’s still as efficient as ever, but he played just ten games in the last two years, indicating his workload might be the problem. He had 136 touches in seven games, which would have put him fourth on the year in total touches, behind Najee Harris, Jonathan Taylor, and Joe Mixon.
- Despite spending a third-round pick on Tommy Tremble and having talented pass-catching tight end Ian Thomas on the roster, the Panthers were one of the worst teams at passing to the tight end. They targeted the position just 75 times, the second-fewest in the league (and the third-lowest rate, ahead of the Jets and the Bills). This likely is the reason why the Panthers were dead last in tight end touchdowns, yards, catches, and fantasy points per game.