2024 Fantasy Football Overvalued, Undervalued & Sleeper: Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers

Things went horribly for the Panthers last season, as they saw the #1 overall pick they traded to the Bears for Bryce Young become Caleb Williams. This happened thanks to a subpar set of weapons around Young, as well as Young failing to live up to expectations. Now, nobody really wants a part of the Panthers thanks to this Carolina Stink (David Tepper please don’t fight me). But, like every other team, fantasy football drafters need to find value. So, let’s look at an overdraft and underdrafted player, as well as a sleeper, on the 2024 Carolina Panthers.

Overvalued: Diontae Johnson, Wide Receiver (WR40, Pick 82 Overall)

An easy rule to follow is to not take the costliest part of a bad offense, especially a bad passing game. Running backs can grind out value, but receivers are completely dependent on a questionably talented offensive line protecting a questionably talented quarterback long enough to get him the ball. Because of that, I am not going to snag the most expensive part of the Panthers’ offense. That would be Diontae Johnson, in this case.

Johnson gave up on the Steelers last season, and I say that as a non-hot-take artist bent on creating narratives out of thin air. He simply gave up on a bad team with a bad quarterback and a bad offensive line. Sounds familiar. Sure, the Panthers could keep him happy, but the Steelers targeted him one out of every four pass attempts last year (#23), without anyone pushing to be the #1 opposite him (George Pickens is better suited as a #2). Now, he has Adam Thielen to push him for targets, which means his grasp on the #1 role is more tenuous than ever.

There’s just too much bad juju around Diontae Johnson for me to take him at pick 82. He’s WR40, and his upside is WR30, and that’s if he doesn’t split on his team.

Undervalued: Jonathon Brooks, Running Back (RB35, Pick 104 Overall)

Drafters are pushing Jonathon Brooks down their board because he is currently dealing with the recovery from a torn ACL. But, once he’s recovered, he is undoubtedly the best running back on that roster.

From a talent perspective, he’s just #goodatfootball. There isn’t much else to say about him, or any real other way to put it. Brooks has a preternatural ability to be where he needs to be on the field to make the ball move forward, toward the end zone. He has slick hands, good burst and acceleration, and creativity in the open field. You pair this with his ability to take one cut and go, and hit home runs, as well as his great contact balance, and you have the best all-around running back in the class. While Lloyd is a better runner, Brooks’ hands and ability to make things happen make him the most versatile back in the class.

The ACL tear will likely find him starting the year slowly, behind Penny and Hubbard. But, there’s nothing those backs can do to stave off a fully healthy Brooks, who is a better runner than Hubbard and a better pass-catching back than Penny. He’s the whole package, though he is likely to start the season slowly and come on as an end-of-season force.

Sleeper: Adam Thielen, Wide Receiver (WR63, Pick 144 Overall)

Adam Thielen had the quietest 100-catch, 1000-yard season in NFL history. Granted, he quietly squeaked over the line, but he finished with 103 catches for 1,014 yards when all was said and done. You could cry and scream about the seventeen-game season, but the Panthers all but shut it down in week eighteen, and he had 101 catches for 1,002 yards in the first sixteen games of the year. This marked the second time in Adam Thielen’s career that he pulled this off, and he is one of just 9 currently rostered wide receivers with multiple 100-catch and 1,000-yard seasons (with Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs, Keenan Allen, DeAndre Hopkins, Tyreek Hill, CeeDee Lamb, Amon-Ra St. Brown & former teammate Justin Jefferson).

I’m not saying that Thielen will go 100/1000 again. I would bet everything I own against that especially since the Panthers brought in Diontae Johnson in the offseason. But, with Thielen and Johnson together, that brings the number of established pass catchers on the Panthers to… two.  Thielen is in line for over 100 targets yet again, and he’s free in drafts. Nobody wants him because of the Panthers Stink, so you can scoop up last year’s WR25 for a song.

About Jeff Krisko

You can follow me on twitter, @jeffkrisko for the same lukewarm takes you read here.

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