Teddy Bridgewater upped his profile in 2019 when he took over for an injured Drew Brees and went 5-0 in five games started. His path to Panthers starting quarterback was a tough one, as he suffered a horrific non-contact injury in 2016 training camp with the Vikings. The injury was a torn ACL and dislocated knee joint, which caused other structural damage. His surgeon said it was the worst knee dislocation he’s ever seen in sports. His return has been nothing short of miraculous.
Teddy Bridgewater is signing with the Carolina Panthers this week, and that will impact the skill position players greatly — but for good or ill? We’ll take a look at the Panthers fantasy players for the 2020 season.
Bridgewater wasn’t asked to take over games as a passer while starting for the Saints last season, but he still managed a couple of strong fantasy games, The Saints are built to survive for a short while without Brees, as they have one of the best rushing offenses in the league and great underneath and mid-range receivers, but the good news is that the Panthers have a similar offense with Christian McCaffrey as their do-everything offensive star and two strong after the catch receivers in D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel.
Last season, Kyle Allen even managed a few good fantasy days with the Panthers strong offensive players helping him out. Bridgewater is an accurate passer, but isn’t going to wow you with his arm. His adjusted completion rate last season in seven games played ranked only behind Drew Brees and Derek Carr and those two are a good pair to compare Bridgewater. He’s not Brees, but he can be better than Carr. But, even if he does end up being Carr-like over a full season, his new offense should be able to keep his upside high, giving him plenty of streamable options in good matchups during 2020.
D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel
Curtis Samuel didn’t live up to the off-season hype in 2019 but he also had Kyle Allen throwing him the ball for most of the season. Moore, on the other hand, was still able to have a breakout season, catching 85 passes for 1,175 yards and four touchdowns. Those touchdown numbers hurt his fantasy upside, but Bridgewater’s efficiency should help the overall offense, giving both Samuel and Moore an uptick in red zone work and fantasy upside.
McCaffrey’s usage was extreme last season, as he touched the ball a league-high 403 times on his way to 2,392 total yards and 19 touchdowns. We’d be crazy to expect a follow up season with the same usage and production, no matter the quarterback or coach. But, Bridgewater is a big upgrade over Allen and can only help McCaffrey on a per touch basis. Add in the fact that Bridgewater is a good short yardage passer, and McCaffrey should again be used well in the receiving game, which will keep him as the unanimous top fantasy running back going into 2020.
Thomas will get his chance now that Greg Olsen is gone for sure. He’s shown flashes, but hasn’t had a consistent workload. The Panthers offense will likely be dictated by their defense, which should take a hit this season with Luke Kuechly retired. If they need to amp up their passing attempts, Thomas will become a useful fantasy tight end, but likely not a consistent one with three strong targets ahead of him.