Rest of Season Fantasy Outlook on the Emerging Curtis Samuel, Sinking DJ Moore, Robby Anderson - Roto Street Journal
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Rest of Season Fantasy Outlook on the Emerging Curtis Samuel, Sinking DJ Moore, Robby Anderson

In Week 9 versus the Chiefs, Curtis Samuel was the Panthers’ highest-scoring fantasy receiver for the second game in a row. And, he didn’t need rushing production to do it. His three rushes for 13 yards accounted for only 1.3 of his 26.8 PPR points. The rest came on 105 receiving yards and a touchdown, catching all nine of his targets. Even without his carries and the touchdown, Samuel would’ve been good enough for the week’s WR17.

Samuel has an excellent 88 percent catch rate this season and has been a rock for Teddy on third down.

What it Means for Panthers Receivers Moving Forward

Here are Carolina’s top-3 receiving options, ranked by highest fantasy scorer to least, each week this season:

Wk 1: Robby/DJ/Curtis
Wk 2: DJ/Robby/Curtis
Wk 3: Robby/Curtis/DJ
Wk 4: Robby/DJ/Curtis
Wk 5: Robby/DJ/Curtis
Wk 6: DJ/Robby/Curtis
Wk 7: DJ/Curtis/Robby
Wk 8: Curtis/Robby/DJ
Wk 9: Curtis/Robby/DJ

Clearly, Samuel’s emergence has now formed a frustrating three-man wide-receiver-by-committee, and deciphering what to expect can get complicated.

The Effect on DJ Moore

Robby Anderson was the established deep-threat receiver with the Jets, so it was natural to assume that usage would transfer over, and be more effective when he signed with Carolina.

But through nine weeks, it’s Moore who’s been utilized deep. As Fantasy Alarm’s Andrew Cooper points out, Moore is only behind DK Metcalf and Justin Jefferson in total receiving yards from receptions over 20 yards, while Robby is feasting under ten yards, particularly over the middle.

As our own CJay touched on prior to the year, Teddy’s deep ball became efficient as he got in rhythm with the Saints in 2019. But this year, as Andrew Cooper also points out, Teddy is the QB25 in deep-pass percentage.

How will Carolina’s Passing Game Evolve Next?

With football being a game of constant adjustments, it’s fair to wonder what kind of scheme tweaking could happen now that Samuel’s established his presence. Defenses now having to pay more mind to Samuel better allows OC Joe Brady‘s vision of applying pressure on a defense by making them “defend every blade of grass” to be realized.

Fantasy players who largely thought they were drafting DJ Moore really got Robby Anderson, and vice-versa. Who’s to say that as defenses adjust to the roles that Moore and Robby have occupied so far, that their roles flip at any point. Robby’s already familiar with a deep-threat role, and DJ is plenty familiar being a target hog in the intermediate game, with 135 targets and 13.5 yards-per-catch in 2019 (as opposed to 18.3 yards-per-catch this season). And, that was largely with Kyle Allen throwing him the ball.

Regardless of who the deep threat is, Samuel’s highly efficient emergence may tempt defenses to sell out more to contain the Panthers’ short/intermediate game. That would pressure Teddy to take more shots down the field and test how well the Panthers truly are in the deep game.

Carolina Not an Ideal Candidate to Punt the Season

Bridgewater and the Panthers’ coaching staff are, by all accounts, quite respected and not the type to start checking out if they fall out of the playoff race.

Samuel and Mike Davis are the only notable offensive skill position players not signed past 2021. With a first-year QB and coaching staff, the Panthers could benefit from every opportunity they get to build chemistry.

Accepting a Frustrating, but Likely Outcome

There are only so many Davante Adams out there who can anchor down your lineup without you giving it a second thought. Samuel’s emergence means that there’s a third Panthers receiver with a realistic shot to finish as a week’s top fantasy scorer of the three.

And now through nine weeks, each Panthers receiver has at least two games as the top scorer, with no clear indication of who it’s going to be in a given week moving forward.

What that means is, ideally you’re not relying on any option as more than WR3/flex with upside. Even Robby Anderson is only scoring at the WR38-rate in PPR through the last four weeks. DJ still currently carries the volatile boom-or-bust stigma, to the detriment of his drafters.

Going into week 10, Robby ranks as the WR15 (+1 vs ECR), Samuel the WR40 (+6), and DJ the WR41 (-10) according to The Wolf’s Rest Of Season Big Board And Rankings. Tune in every Monday evening to see how those rankings evolve with FantasyPros Accuracy Challenge’s 4th-ranked participant on Facebook, Youtube, or Periscope.

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