Kelvin Benjamin established himself as the WR1 in Carolina last season, rewarding all fantasy football managers who took a gamble on him late in their drafts. With an ADP of 39 before his ACL tear today, the projected early 4th round selection wasn’t slipping by anyone on draft day. His injury renders pretty much all Carolina Panthers’ players useless in fantasy football this season, except one:
Greg Olsen, TE
Greg Olsen has been pegged as the 3rd best TE this season, and you can expect his ADP of 49 to rise into the late 30s to low 40s in the wake of Benjamin’s injury. He’s the best offensive weapon Cam Newton has at his disposal, and there is suddenly 100 more targets to go around in Carolina.
Before you flip your shit and tell me Jonathan Stewart RB, Cam Newton QB, and Devin Funchess WR are worth drafting, hear me out. Cam Newton’s stock takes a huge hit after the news, and rookie WR Funchess will go from undrafted to owned in all leagues. I admit Stewart’s ADP of 47 isn’t going to change much, but I’m not targeting any of these guys on my fantasy team. Newton drops from QB9 to QB14 in my books as Stafford, Manning, Brady, and Tannehill become safer options (yes, even with Brady missing 4 games). The price of Jonathan Stewart is a late 4th round pick, which best-case scenario will net you about 800 total yards and less than 5 TDs. People are drafting him as the RB18 when he’s projecting to be more like the RB25. Expect this Carolina team to play from behind often in 2015, and that means throwing the ball instead of running it if I have to spell it out for you. As for Funchess, I actually liked the kid as a 11th-13th round sleeper, but people are starting to take him as early as the 8th round now! What? Are they on crazy pills? You can’t just plug-and-play in the NFL (well, sometimes you can ::cough:: Knile Davis, Kirk Cousins ::cough::) and although this kid may have a bright future, it won’t be in 2015.
So feel free to grab Greg Olsen in the 4th round and reap TE2 benefits this year. He’ll be a distant 2nd to Gronk, but the He-Man doppelganger is going to eat in the absence of Kelvin Benjamin. Oh, and the over/under on the Panthers is 8.5 wins this season. Put the mortgage on the under.