NFL Carolina Panthers

Top 5 Fantasy Football Players on the Carolina Panthers Roster

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Top 5 Carolina Panthers who will dominate fantasy football

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With the last bit of preseason games being played, teams are making their final cuts to prepare for the start of the 2013 NFL season. However, the NFL head coaches are not the only ones preparing a roster for the season. Fantasy Football owners are setting their draft dates and beginning to strategize. It is always difficult planning the draft picks because nobody knows who is going to remain healthy, who will have a break out season, or who will have a bust year.

Every league has different point systems and rules. For the most part, points are earned by touchdowns and yards gained while lost for turnovers and negative yards. The key is to pick players who always find a way to get the ball and score touchdowns. It’s easy to pick star veterans who have performed year after year in the league, such as Drew Brees, Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson, etc. What’s difficult is picking the young players with high expectations, but very little experience to prove their worth yet.

The Carolina Panthers have an amazing team this year and are easily considered in contention for first place in the NFC South division. They also have an early bye week, along with the Green Bay Packers, at Week 4. The Panthers will have both young and older, more experienced players on the roster. They have five key performers on the team who will not only help them to victory on the field, but will also help the fantasy owners who are lucky enough to pick them up for the 2013 season.

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No. 5 - Cam Newton

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Cam Newton is first on the list for the Panthers. He is entering his third season as the starting quarterback and he is already looking like an experienced veteran. Although he is only 24 years old, he has matured a lot as a person and a player, becoming one of the leaders of this football team. He seems confident in the pocket, but has the legs to scramble and hurt the defense on the ground. He was the NFL AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2011, and had another solid year after that. Although the preseason started off a little slow for him, he is expected to lead this team into this season the way they ended last year, with a four-game-win streak. He will be a solid pick up as a No. 1 quarterback.

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No 4. - Steve Smith

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Next on the list is Steve Smith. This 13 year veteran is not only known for his high intensity, but also for being the number one target on the offense for Newton. No other Panthers receiver compares to Smith when it comes to receiving yards and touchdowns. Smith has led the team in both categories the past two years with Newton at quarterback. Smith has all the qualities of a star wide receiver, including the speed that makes him a deep threat. As long as Smith can remain healthy plus disciplined on and off the field, expect Smith to make plays and find the end zone multiple times this season. He would be a solid flex or second spot wide receiver in the fantasy leagues.

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No. 3 - DeAngelo Williams

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In 2008, double trouble was created for the Panthers. They had the best pair of running backs in the league with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. In 2009 they set a record for most individual rushing yards by two players on the same team. Since then, double trouble has slowly faded into the middle of the pack. However, the Panthers are starting the 2013 season with Stewart on the Active / Physically Unable to Perform list. This means that Williams will be getting most of the carries because the back-ups aren’t quite up to par yet. Williams is entering his eighth year, but still has the speed and quickness of some of the younger players. If the offensive line can remain healthy, expect Williams to bounce the ball outside the tackles and rush for big gains. He will be a good No. 2 or back-up running back on a fantasy team.

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No. 2 - Greg Olson

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Tight end is a position in fantasy football that took off a few years ago once Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski took over for their respective teams. The position was never a dominant one, like wide receiver or running back. However, recently the position has gotten a lot more respect and is becoming a bigger offensive threat than ever before. Not all teams utilize their big tight ends to their advantage. But the Panthers have learned that they can use their veteran Greg Olson numerous times and in different situations. He is a big target with fantastic hands and is great at making tough catches in the middle of the field. Newton tends to look for him on quick throws down the middle for a few yards or when the defense brings the blitz. He is also a favorite target once into the red zone. Olson will be handling a lot of receptions as a No. 2 option for Newton. Expect to see him scoring throughout the season.

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No. 1 - Luke Kuechly

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Fantasy football leagues have different roster structures. In some leagues, you are only required to pick several individual defensive players, while in other leagues you are required to pick up an entire defensive team. The Panthers' defense has looked amazing in the preseason, leading them to a 3-1 record. In four games the defense recorded ten interceptions resulting in three touchdowns, 13 sacks, six fumbles, and one safety. This is no fluke, expect the Panthers defense to hold their ground and really take it to their opponents. Leading that team will be sophomore linebacker Luke Kuechly. He will be a fantastic individual defensive pick-up in fantasy leagues. He led the NFL last year as a rookie in tackles, and he is looking even better now. With only a few minutes of playing time in each preseason game, he recorded one interception, one forced fumble, and 13 total tackles. As long as these five players remain healthy, the Panthers, and fantasy football owners with them on their rosters, should both expect to have a good winning season

Patrick Newton is a Carolina Panthers writer for Follow him on Twitter @SirNewton17, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google