The Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton will be without WR Kelvin Benjamin this season, after he tore his ACL at practice yesterday. Benjamin was selected with the 28th overall pick in the NFL Draft last season, and caught 73 passes for 1,008 yards and 9 touchdowns as a rookie. Newton targeted Benjamin a team high 146 times last season. Jerricho Cotchery was 2nd on the team in WR targets with 78, followed by Jason Avant with 40 targets. The Panthers are what we call, WEAK, at the WR position.
TE Greg Olsen was 2nd on the team in targets with 122, and he is going to be the player opposing defenses build their game plan around. I am still comfortable drafting Olsen late in the 5th round of fantasy football drafts.
The Panthers drafted WR Devin Funchess with the 41st pick in the NFL Draft, hoping to play him alongside Benjamin. Now they will have to develop him as quickly as they did Benjamin, and hope for another productive season from a rookie WR. At 6'4 230lbs, Funchess could play a big role in the Red Zone, which would make fantasy owners very happy. I would not expect him to duplicated Benjamin's rookie year, but he could easily be a solid WR3 with WR2 upside.