The Carolina Panthers added all sorts of weapons in the 2017 NFL draft. We break down the fantasy impact of dual-threat Curtis Samuel.
The Carolina Panthers drafted wide receiver/running back Curtis Samuel with pick No. 40 in the 2017 NFL draft. He joins Christian McCaffrey as an explosive weapon the Panthers can use in a variety of roles. Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen will be the team’s leading pass catchers, while Jonathan Stewart will be the lead running back. Samuel and McCaffrey will mix among all of them.
The hybrid running back/wide receiver fits the offensive weapon role similar to how Percy Harvin was often utilized. In 2016, Samuel’s snaps from the slot nearly doubled his usage as a traditional running back at Ohio State, and it is easy to imagine this trend continuing in the pros. He is a strong runner, but he’ll likely be called on more in the passing game where his speed and route-running skills can really shine. To be truly successful, he will need to make better decisions in the open field and work on catching the ball with his hands.
Fantasy impact: Samuel said after the draft that the Panthers told him he would work primarily as a slot receiver. We suspect he will get more work than just that, but for the time being, that suggests his biggest value will be in PPR leagues. He is likely no more than a bye week fill-in as a rookie, but he is worth keeping on your radar in re-draft leagues. He holds a little more value in keeper leagues, but his main value for now is dynasty leagues while we figure out how active he will be in a Panthers offense that suddenly is loaded with weapons.