Fantasy Football Rankings: Panthers Players You Should Draft, Avoid This Season

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Editor’s note: To help you prepare for your fantasy football draft, NESN.com will profile each NFL team and analyze which players are worth picking and which players aren’t worth your time. Today, we look at the Panthers.

The Carolina Panthers once again will be Super Bowl contenders, so it’s no surprise you’ll want a few of their players on your fantasy football rosters

In advance of the upcoming fantasy season, we took a closer look at the Panthers players you should draft, avoid and peg as sleepers.

DRAFT-WORTHY
Cam Newton, Quarterback: You can make a case for Newton as the No. 1 QB on your draft boards, and it seems most would agree with you — he’s currently being selected 18th overall, 12 spots ahead of the next quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. Newton, when healthy, is a dual threat through the air and on the ground. We’re even OK with drafting him a few slots higher in the first round, especially if you’re afraid someone else will nab him before your next pick.

Greg Olsen, Tight End: After Rob Gronkowski is off the board, the next five or so tight ends really are pretty equal. Olsen is in that tier of elite tight ends not named Gronk, and he’s currently going toward the end of the fourth round as the third tight end selected. After you miss out on Gronkowski, we’re OK waiting on everyone else. If tight ends aren’t flying off the board and you can get Delanie Walker in the sixth round or Gary Barnidge in the ninth (where they’re currently being drafted), pass on Olsen and opt for another pressing need.

Kelvin Benjamin, Wide Receiver: Benjamin had a terrific rookie campaign, then tore his ACL and missed all of last season. He’s Newton’s favorite target and is being taken 40th overall between Julian Edelman and Demaryius Thomas. That’s great value for someone with his potential.

Panthers Defense/Special Teams: Defenses are hit or miss, but this is easily one of the best. The Panthers’ Dfinished with the fourth-most fantasy points last season and had four defensive touchdowns. It’s going early in the ninth round as the second defense off the board. Carolina won’t hurt you, but if you have another need and want to wait two rounds and grab the Denver Broncos, where they’re currently being taken, we wouldn’t blame you.

Jonathan Stewart, Running Back: Stewart finished as the 16th-best back last season and is being taken 17th this season among backs, in the fifth round. That feels a bit high for someone who’s always a risky fantasy play. If you’re in a PPR league, there are better options. Don’t overdraft him and get burned.

AVOID
Ted Ginn Jr., Wide Receiver: With Benjamin back, Ginn’s targets will significantly decrease. He played well for the Panthers, but he’s not a reliable starter. He’s being taken in the 14th round, and even that might be too high.

SLEEPER
Devin Funchess, Wide Receiver: Funchess wasn’t ready to step into Benjamin’s shoes as a rookie last season, but with a year of experience under his belt and now not having to face the best defenders, he could slide nicely into a No. 2 receiver role. He’s going in the 15th round and might be worth a spot on your bench.

Thumbnail photo via Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports Images

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