NFL Free Agency Fantasy Fallout: Sky is the limit for the Carolina Panthers’ offense with Teddy Bridgewater

Imagine the look on someone’s face if you’d told them even a year ago the Panthers were encouraging Cam Newton to seek a trade and signing Teddy Bridgewater instead. Life comes at you fast.

The thing is, after what Bridgewater showed last year in New Orleans, this is probably the right call. Filling in for Drew Brees, Bridgewater completed 67.9% of his passes and posted a quarterback rating of 99.1. While we don’t know exactly what the Panthers offense will look like, we expect it will be somewhat similar to New Orleans with a lot of short area targets. This makes sense, because Bridgewater and Brees both ranked at the bottom of the league in terms of average depth of target in 2019. 

If you were going to design a team to for Bridgewater’s skills, it would have Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore on it. Both are phenomenal after the catch and should elevate Bridgewater’s play past his skill level. 

I project the Panthers to be slightly below average in terms of offensive plays run and slightly above average in terms of pass rate. Both of these facts relate to the fact that Panthers currently project to be a losing team with a bad defense. That volume won’t be enough to make Bridgewater more than a second quarterback in a two-QB league but it could unleash D.J. Moore in a way we haven’t seen.

Moore averaged 8.7 yards per target as a 22-year-old second-year receiver catching passes from Kyle Allen and Will Grier. Bridgewater is an enormous upgrade even if he’s a league-average quarterback. I project Moore for a 25% target share in this offense, which puts him at a median projection of 93 catches and 1,287 yards. Because of his terribly low touchdown rate, I only have Moore projected at 5.3 scores. Even at that paltry total, he’s my No. 7 receiver in PPR. If he has a normal touchdown rate, he may be the best receiver in Fantasy. 

Christian McCaffrey will continue to be the most valuable player in Fantasy and Ian Thomas projects as a potential breakout as well. Wish I could say the same for Curtis Samuel. Here are the rest of my updated 2020 projections for the Panthers as of March 17:

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