Analyzing fantasy performances in Panthers’ Week 1 loss

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey /

The Carolina Panthers season began with a loss to the Las Vegas Raiders but a few players put up big numbers in fantasy football.

The Carolina Panthers opened up their 2020 campaign with a 34-30 defeat to the Las Vegas Raiders in a desolate Bank of America stadium. The offense came out humming on the first drive before flattening out through most of the second and third quarters.

Although the score suggests otherwise, the young defense surprisingly kept the Carolina Panthers competitive against an experienced Raiders team. An early injury to starter Donte Jackson didn’t make matters any easier.

New head coach Matt Rhule will have to learn quickly, such as using his best weapon with the game on the line. But from a fantasy standpoint, owners of Panthers players should have reason to be optimistic after yesterday’s game.

Here’s who stood out in Week 1.

Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers RB

Let’s get the obvious player out of the way. In Week 1, Christian McCaffrey proved he was well worth the top overall pick in fantasy football.

McCaffrey ended the day with 28.40 points, the second-highest total among running backs. Raiders back Josh Jacobs had the highest individual score, taking advantage of Carolina’s below-average run defense.

Start or sit McCaffrey in Week 2? Start, definitely start.

Robby Anderson – Carolina Panthers WR

It was a quiet afternoon for Robby Anderson until he had a beautiful 75-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. That score catapulted his fantasy total to 25.50 points, fifth among wide receivers on Sunday.

Anderson’s deep threat playmaking ability came in handy once again for fantasy owners savvy enough to start him. And the wide receiver is a nice Flex option in Week 2.

Teddy Bridgewater gave Anderson plenty of targets and offensive coordinator Joe Brady will be looking to stretch the field to neutralize the Buccaneers’ pass rush.

Teddy Bridgewater – Carolina Panthers QB

A modest day by fantasy quarterback standards, Teddy Bridgewater ended the game with 19.40 points. The Panthers signal-caller should have had more but missed a few open targets.

The good news for fantasy owners moving forward is Bridgewater looks comfortable in this offense and continues to take care of the football, although starting him in Week 2 is a risky proposition.

The Tampa Bay defense held Drew Brees to a measly 14.40 points which is very unusual for a signal-caller of his caliber. Unless you’re in a two-QB league, it’s likely you’ll be able to find a much better matchup.

DJ Moore – Carolina Panthers WR

Despite getting the most targets, D.J. Moore managed just under ten fantasy points. It’s hard to believe he won’t be more productive as he builds chemistry with Bridgewater and settles into his role in Brady’s offense.

Start or sit in Week 2? Sit. Although I’m confident Moore’s production will increase, Bucs’ cornerback Carlton Davis will most likely have the responsibility of covering him.

Why does that matter? Davis covered Saints’ star wideout Michael Thomas in Week 1 and dominated the matchup. The All-Pro was limited to 17 yards on three receptions and less than five fantasy points.

Joey Slye – Carolina Panthers K

Joey Slye put up a solid ten fantasy points tying several kickers for the third-highest total on Sunday. He made two 40 yard field goals look pretty easy, but missed one extra point.

Start or sit in Week 2? Start. Slye seems to be very comfortable kicking from deep which could be beneficial if the Carolina Panthers offense stalls against the Bucs. If it doesn’t, look for the kicker to try to redeem himself on extra points.

Carolina Panthers defense

We’ll keep this brief. This defense is a work in progress. It allowed 34 points, only got one sack, and didn’t force a turnover.

Must Read. Carolina Panthers: 3 practice squad players who could be on the team by Week 4. light

Start or sit in Week 2? Sit. In fact, leave this defense off of your roster completely. Tom Brady and the Bucs offense had a rough game against the Saints and will undoubtedly be looking to take advantage of a young defense with a lot of holes.