Finally a little respect! One of my favorite fantasy football writers, Andy Behrens from Yahoo Sports, has ranked the Carolina Panthers as the #8 most useful fantasy offense. A ranking that puts us ahead of other offensive phenoms like Dallas, Green Bay, and Arizona. He absolutely loves DeAngelo Williams and explains how our own D-Will single handedly decided fantasy football championships last year.
Here are some of the things he had to say about our beloved players. First up, DeAngelo Williams:
Last year, many of us went into the Week 16 Sunday night game loaded with confidence. We held commanding leads in championship matchups – in highly incentivized leagues – against opponents whose hopes rested with DeAngelo Williams(notes).
If there was a fantasy version of the prevent defense, we would have fallen into it. The setup for Williams wasn't great. He faced the Giants' D in the Meadowlands in a game that seriously mattered. Cigars were lit. Concession calls were made. We felt good.
And then Williams absolutely crushed us. He carried 24 times for 108 yards and four TDs against a terrific defense, on the road, when you knew exactly what the Panthers wanted to do. (Four touchdowns. [Expletive]. Some of us could have survived three).
Williams was unquestionably the fantasy MVP last season. Anyone who disagrees simply wasn't paying attention over the final weeks. He broke the plane 11 times between Weeks 13 and 16. For the year, he rushed for a total of 1515 yards and 20 TDs. His offensive line, anchored by tackles Jordan Gross(notes) and Jeff Otah(notes), was a dominant run-blocking unit. Williams finished as the top-scoring fantasy running back in '08, and by a comfortable margin.
Now you see why I was thrilled to land D-Will at #5 overall in the CSR fantasy football draft. (I'm going to crush you all) Now a word about Steve Smith:
The Carolina receiving corps is led by Smith, a top-tier talent who's proven that he can maintain his fantasy relevance through lean times. He suffered a shoulder injury in early-August, but he made his preseason debut last Saturday against the Ravens, catching two passes for 37 yards. He's fine. Take him in Round 2 as needed; he's a gift in Round 3.
And finally, the Behrens perspective on Jake Delhomme (Jake haters rejoice):
Quarterback Jake Delhomme(notes) is...well...if I were a Panthers fan, he would be dead to me. That six-turnover playoff game against the Cardinals would be an unforgivable offense. When something like that happens – particularly at home, against a team you know you can beat – it's honestly tough to feel anything for the player again. Negative plays have always been part of the fantasy story with Delhomme, but he also has a pair of 20-plus TD seasons on the second page of the resume ('04 and '05). Entering 2009, he's just the guy who hands off to Williams and lobs the occasional pass to Steve Smith. The Panthers were dead-last in the NFL in pass attempts last year (25.9 per game). Delhomme offers little fantasy upside, which explains his position in the composite QB rankings (No. 22).
Ouch! Add one more soldier in the hate camp. Behrens also mentions Stewie and Mike "The Goods" Goodson, saying that Stewie is a key cog to the offense but is afraid of that lingering achilles injury, and that Goodson has had a remarkable preseason. He also declines to give any fantasy relevance to any of our TEs, which is probably 100% right. Also one last little blurb that made me laugh...
Finally... we have plenty of nicknames for D-Will and Stewie, but I think it is time we drop one on Mike Goodson. Here are my suggestions: