Fantasy Football Reaction: C.J. Anderson Signs with the Panthers

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It’s no secret the Carolina Panthers needed an early down back to replace Jonathan Stewart, who was released by the team this February. As much as Christian McCaffrey owners would have loved to see him handle the lion’s share of carries, I think they knew deep down something was going to change that. On Monday, that change came. The Panthers signed free agent running back, C.J. Anderson to a 1-year deal for the 2018 season.

Fantasy Reaction: Panthers Backfield

C.J. Anderson will join Christian McCaffrey, Cameron Artis-Payne, and Fozzy Whittaker in Carolina’s backfield. Given the talent of the depth in this group, it’s no wonder the Panthers made a move for another back. In 2017, Cameron Artis-Payne and Fozzy Whittaker combined for 25 carries, 113 rushing yards, and a touchdown. It’s clear with this signing that the Panthers do not want them much more involved than that in 2018.

Christian McCaffrey led all RBs in the NFL last year with 113 targets and will still play a big role in this offense. He had nearly 100 more targets than the next RB on the team, so don’t be surprised if they leave McCaffrey on the field for entire drives at times depending on the game flow.

Jonathan Stewart led the team in carries, rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns in 2017. Stewart had 198 carries on the season, a number you can easily expect C.J. Anderson to take on this season. Don’t worry Christian McCaffrey owners, there will still be plenty of carries left over for CMC as the team combined for 340 attempts in 2017 McCaffrey made up for 34% of them.

Fantasy Reaction: C.J. Anderson

Coming off by far his best season since he came into the league in 2013, C.J. Anderson is now a Panther. Anderson will hope to carry his momentum into the 2018 season as the unquestioned early-down back in Carolina. He played in all 16 games last year with the Denver Broncos and rushed for over 1,000 yards with 245 carries for 4.1 yards per carry. An impressive stat line and something teams look for in their early-down bruiser. Unlike former Panthers running back, Jonathan Stewart in recent years, C.J. Anderson has shown the ability to catch passes as he has 859 receiving yards on 103 receptions since 2014.

The Panthers made the right moves here as they have upgraded from a 31-year-old running back that hasn’t had a 1,000-yard season since 2009 to a 27-year-old C.J. Anderson who just had his first 1,000-yard season as a featured back last year. Anderson may not get the volume he did last season but he could still produce better numbers with the Panthers than he did with the Broncos. There will be more scoring opportunities for him in this offense than the one he was a part of in 2017, which makes Anderson’s ceiling look much higher for fantasy purposes in 2018.