Carolina Panthers: Fantasy football outlook for Week 1 vs. Jets
Sam Darnold – Carolina Panthers QB
After a tumultuous first three seasons, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2018 draft will take on his former team; the New York Jets. Darnold’s calm and collected demeanor will likely not lead to any bulletin board material leading up to this game, but one has to assume the 24-year old quarterback wants to prove his naysayers wrong, and quickly.
On that note, this should be one of Darnold’s best games of the season. The Jets are still as much of a rebuilding team as they were when they selected Darnold in 2018 and will be playing on the road with rookie QB Zach Wilson from BYU.
To make matters worse, Carl Lawson, whom they hoped would answer their prayers for a dominant pass rusher, is out for the season with an Achilles injury. The Panthers may not be world-beaters this year, but if they want to be taken seriously, they have to beat the Jets at home. If Darnold wants to be taken seriously, he has to dominate.
Start or Sit in Week 1?
Chances are you didn’t draft Darnold unless you’re in a 14 or 16 team or 2 QB league. If you did draft him or are just unsure about your signal caller’s matchup in Week 1, I’d feel really good about starting him here. Robert Saleh is a good defensive coach, but the Jets don’t have enough talent on the defensive line to exploit the Panthers’ lackluster offensive line. With the help of Carolina’s treasure chest of weapons, Darnold should have a great game.
Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers RB
CMC’s Comeback Player of The Year campaign begins in Charlotte on Sunday and what a sight he’ll be for sore eyes. It’s hard to believe his tenure as a Carolina Panther has come to Year 5, but by all accounts, McCaffrey is ready to reclaim the title of best running back in the NFL. In just three games in 2020, the All-Pro netted 76 total touches, 374 yards from scrimmage, and six total touchdowns.
With the injuries that derailed last year’s campaign in the rearview, fantasy analysts have been pretty much consistent in advising owners to grab McCaffrey with the No. 1 pick. Based on the results of drafts so far, it looks like owners have been listening.
Start or Sit in Week 1?
No need to go into lengthy detail. McCaffrey will have the green light all season and with the exception of the Panthers bye week, should always be in your starting lineup. For those curious about Panthers rookie Chuba Hubbard, I’d be patient. There’s not much to indicate what Hubbard’s production will look like with McCaffrey taking the majority of the team’s carries.