Week 4 Recap:
Carolina Panthers vs Atlanta Falcons
So this was the biggest question from the week. What the hell happened to the Panthers? The simple answer is that offensive line is dreadful. There was no time for anything but a screen to develop. As a result, Whittaker had a big day.
Quarterback: Cam Newton is a big man, but there’s a point where they need to start protecting him. And he needs to protect himself. I do not blame Deion Jones for the hit that wound up giving Cam the concussion. He was finishing the play. Cam should have just run the ball in without pulling up, and this could have been avoided. He HAS to start making better decisions. It wasn’t just this play. On a few occasions it seemed Cam kept the ball on a read-option when he should have given it. He really didn’t have much time to do anything though. Usually hit his first read or take off. His touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin was a zinger, and it was one of the few good things from Cam on the day. I saw several erratic passes fly out of Cam’s hands.
I really think this was all due to how poorly their line played. Their tackles really struggled in this one. It started as early as the first drive when the Panthers left tackle Mike Remmers looks to have a guy blocked, but then he inexplicably spins around. His defender levels Cam a few seconds later after blowing by him. He also got hit by the Falcons interior defensive linemen. It seemed like the Falcons were bringing extra pressure but often got home on Cam with only four rushers.
Derek Anderson came in for a few series at the end of the game. He looked alright in relief of Cam, but he was plagued by the same offensive line woes. I really noticed guys running around the edge of their tackles, and in some cases just bull rushing them. If they don’t address this offensive line, I think the Panthers offense will struggle.
Running Back: FOZZY WHITTAKER! Sorry, it just feels good when you say someone looks better than their counterpart and the fantasy results agree. However, that should not mislead you. Cameron Artis-Payne is typically their early down back, and Fozzy relieves him for a few plays and on passing downs. Tolbert gets sprinkled in every now and then. The Panthers got down early, and their line struggled. One of the best things you can do for a struggling line and throw a lot of screens. Cue Fozzy.
Carolina Panthers running back touch breakdown against Atlanta Falcons Week 3. Statistics used from www.pro-football-reference.com.
If the Panthers offensive line continues to struggle, then Fozzy Whittaker would be the guy to own. If the Panthers kept this one close, I don’t know that Whittaker would have had quite the day. He’s a RB4 or hope and a prayer player unless they start featuring him. He has definite big play ability though. Cameron Artis-Payne is hard to justify keeping until they figure out their line issues.
Wide Receiver: Oy vey. I had high hopes for Benjamin. I thought last week was a mirage, but this line does not allow his best usage to become viable. Throw the ball up and let him go get it. Benjamin’s routes are a little sloppy, but he is just so big. I had to include G-reg here because he was the leading receiver here for all intents and purposes. Part of this was helped by Derek Anderson coming in late, and throwing the ball to him it seemed like on every play. Olsen is an excellent blocker and rarely leaves the field, so the snap counts are a little skewed his way. He is also exactly where he is supposed to be. I have to include that coming into last week, Greg Olsen had 27 targets to Benjamin’s 22.
The other receivers targets are shown below but I’m not sure this will be a consistent target share. Ted ginn made a couple of nice catches, but there were definitely some poor throws from Cam that made his catch percentage seem worse than it was. He’s still Ted Ginn though. Funchess made a couple of nice catches in key moments, but I don’t see him being a viable season long option unless he starts getting more work. He is now the third receiver in terms of the number of targets on the season. Corey Brown was impressive this week. He runs better routes than Benjamin, but he is by no means a technician. Other than Olsen, Benjamin, and Ginn (as a flier) I don’t know that I’m using any of the Panthers auxiliary receivers in anything but the deepest of leagues. I would be alright with dropping Funchess and possibly snagging Corey Brown.
Carolina Panthers receiver target distribution against Atlanta Falcons Week 4
|Ted Ginn Jr.||2||5||40||14||0|
Carolina Panthers receiver target distribution in 2016. *Snap counts had not been updated as of the writing on www.sportingcharts.com. I will keep an eye on this and update.
|Player||Rec||Tgts||Catch %||Yds||TD||Snap %|
|Ted Ginn Jr.||8||17||47.1||132||0||61.8|
Tight End: Greg Olsen. Nothing else to say here.
Quarterback: I’m not sure whether to give Matt Ryan all the credit here, or the poor Panthers defensive game plan. I’ll get to what happened with Julio in a bit. Matty Ice looks comfortable in the offense. The addition of Alex Mack at center really seemed to bring this line together. He had a lot of time or a clean escape path out of the pocket. He was also helped with some nasty play-action passes. I think you have to keep rolling him out there depending on your options. Even against a tough matchup next week against the Broncoes. If he does it against the Broncos next week, I think he will solidify himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the league for this year.
Running Back: I maintain what I wrote in the breakdown of the Falcons at Raiders game from Week 2. Freeman is the better back here. Tevin Coleman is fast, but he cannot cut. Freeman can though. Look at the play starting at 1:11 in the first quarter. Freeman should have been dead to rights, but sticks his foot in the ground and bursts around the edge for a 19-yard gain. Meanwhile Tevin Coleman got Matt Ryan sacked on one play, and he ran into the backs of his blockers. He is really fast though. As long as the coaching staff keeps throwing Coleman into the mix I think he’s going to maintain flex value. Freeman is still a RB2 for me.
Atlanta Falcons running back touch breakdown against Carolina Panthers Week 4. Statistics used from www.pro-football-reference.com.
Wide Receiver: I’m not an expert here, but I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to single cover Julio Jones. It happened over and over and over again. It didn’t matter where Julio lined up. It also helped that the play-action pass game was excellent, and the Panthers linebackers bit on more than one occasion. See several of Julio’s deep bombs.
Outside of Julio Jones I don’t know that any other receivers will be consistent or reliable here. My boy A. Robinson got himself a touchdown and a couple of nice catches here. Taylor Gabriel snagged all three of his targets for 49 yards, but who knows if he keeps that going. Mohamed Sanu was the lesser of the Bengals receivers that left. I don’t expect much other than occasional big games. Really, don’t add any of these guys unless you’re in a deep league and want to stir up the end of your bench or are in a jam.
Atlanta Falcons receiver target distribution against Carolina Panthers Week 4. Statistics used from www.pro-football-reference.com.
Tight End: So Tamme saved his day with a touchdown catch, but his other catch was a very impressive grab. He was on his back and Ryan dumped it off to him; Tamme stuck his hand up and snagged the ball for a short completion. Austin Hooper really has a knack for being so unassuming that the linebackers forget about him. The Panthers bit on the play-action and Hooper snuck out the second level for a 42-yard TD grab. On the year, Tamme has 22 targets to Hooper’s 5. The Broncos’ defense only weakness appears to be tight ends. So I’m rolling Tamme out there again.
Written By: Adam Drewery – Follow Adam on the Fantasy Life App @ad87 or on Twitter @adrewery87
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