Fantasy Football

Fantasy Team Preview: Panthers

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John Halpin

John Halpin has been a fantasy contributor for FOXSports.com since 2007. He has written and co-hosted webcasts about fantasy football for FOXNews.com, and managed websites for the NHL, the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Network. Listen to his "Fantasy 15 Podcast" on FOXSportsRadio.com and follow him on Twitter.

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Overall outlook: Cam Newton is the fantasy headliner here, but Steve Smith and Greg Olsen will be weekly starters as well.

Bye week: 4

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Quarterback: Cam Newton

Ranked sixth among 2012 fantasy quarterbacks with 361.5 points on FOXSports.com … Was 13th in passing yards (3,869) and T-21 in touchdown passes (19), but led quarterbacks with eight rushing TDs and placed second with 741 rushing yards … Had a strong second half, with 13 touchdown passes against four interceptions in his final eight games … Consensus top-five fantasy QB in 2013.

Running back: DeAngelo Williams

Ranked 21st with 130.4 fantasy points in 2012 … Ran 173 times for 737 yards (23rd among RBs) and five touchdowns, and caught 13 passes for 187 yards and two scores … Seems to be going as an RB3, mainly because Jonathan Stewart’s health is up in the air.

Running back: Jonathan Stewart

Injuries limited Stewart to just 93 carries for 336 yards and one touchdown in 2012, along with 17 receptions for 157 yards and a score … Had surgery on both ankles during the offseason … Started preseason on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, and status for season opener is TBD … Durability is biggest issue, and it’s hard to trust Stewart as anything more than an RB4.

Running back: Mike Tolbert

Ranked 31st with 87.1 fantasy points in 2012 … Ran just 54 times for 183 yards, and caught 27 passes for 268 yards, but scored seven times as a short-yardage runner/human bowling ball … Could post similar fantasy production in 2013, but should only start as a bye-week play due to workload.

Wide receiver: Steve Smith

Ranked 19th with 142.1 fantasy points in 2012 … Had 73 receptions (19thamong WRs) for 1,174 yards (12th) and four touchdowns (T-40) … Smith’s lack of TD production has often held him back from fantasy elite status … Consensus among expert rankings has him at the WR2/WR3 bubble … At age 34, has to slow down sometime – doesn’t he?

Wide receiver: Brandon LaFell

Ranked 48th with 95.2 fantasy points in 2012 … Played 14 games, caught 44 passes (T-60) for 677 yards (T-50) and four touchdowns … Has settled in as a WR5 on most draftboards, where he could have some upside.

Tight end: Greg Olsen

Ranked an impressive sixth among tight ends with 114.3 fantasy points … Caught 69 passes (sixth) for 843 yards (fourth) and five touchdowns (T-10) … Was also fifth among tight ends with 104 targets – Newton LOVES him … A repeat season seems likely, and Olsen could produce as a top-five TE.

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Placekicker: Graham Gano

Converted nine of 11 field goals and 20 of 21 extra points in six games as a Panther in 2012 … Gano and Justin Medlock (cut at midseason) combined to make just 16 of 21 field goal attempts, both of which were last in the league … There’s no need to consider Gano on draft day.

Team defense

Ranked 19th with 111 fantasy points in 2012 … Ranked 10th with 5,329 yards allowed, T-8 in fumble recoveries (12) and T-9 in sacks (39), but were 18th in points allowed (363) and T-23 in interceptions (11) … A healthy Jon Beason could make this unit interesting, but they shouldn’t be in your top 12 on draft day.

Tagged: Panthers, Steve Smith Sr., Jon Beason, Greg Olsen, Jonathan Stewart, Graham Gano, Cam Newton

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