Aug 11, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA Carolina Panthers wide receiver Brandon LaFell (11) comes out of the tunnel before the preseason game against the Houston Texans at Bank of America Stadium. The Texans defeated the Panthers 26-13. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE
Since my last fantasy report I've got an update in the 'Sleeper' category. The Panther offense was top 10 last season and has the potential to be even better this season. The Panthers have added more weapons to an already potent attack but the real question is will anybody beside Steve Smith be a worthy starter? More weapons typically means fewer touches to spread around which is a fantasy owners nightmare. Hence its much harder to predict a sleeper when there are so many options whose value may change week to week based on the match-up.
My early sleeper prediction was WR Brandon LaFell. LaFell was proclaimed the #2 WR by HC Ron Rivera over the offseason and he has looked the part early in training camp. He's running crisp routes and goes up for the ball with authority. Yet LaFell is still going to get a run for his money by the way of number of touches with the emergence of my new #1 Sleeper pick for the Panthers, which I will reveal...after the jump...
My top Panthers Fantasy Sleeper pick is now...WR Louis Murphy!
Murphy had the most impressive WR performance in limited action last week against the Texans. Though he only had two catches both were impressive and were nice gains (42 yards total). Murphy can QB Cam Newton have been friends since being teammates at Florida and have quickly shown that connection on the field. The two can often been seen chumming it up on the sideline so that might the added connection that produces results.
Other potential sleepers on the Panthers roster are:
- FB Mike Tolbert - We know he's a TD vulture but will he carry the rock outside of the red zone? If the number of swing passes to Tolbert in TC means anything then the answer is 'Yes'. He is worth a late round flyer if you're looking for a 4th RB slot to fill.
- WR Brandon LaFell - LaFell will get the starts but will he get enough targets to make a fantasy impact? It's hard to predict at this point and I don't think the preseason is going to be any help. If Muphy doesn't emerge it could be because LaFell has finally put it all together. If he does, then a 1,000 yards is in the realm of possibility for LaFell.
- TE Greg Olsen - On paper Olsen is a mismatch on most LBs and he should get enough targets to be a top 10 fantasy TE now that Jeremy Shockey is gone. The key is avoiding those really bad drops in the red zone that has plagued Olsen in past seasons. If he is going to have a career year this would be the year.