The Week 2 matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the Carolina Panthers features teams that pride themselves on solid defensive play. We've got the fantasy projections courtesy of numberFire.
San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers opened the 2016 NFL season with a bang. They smoked the Los Angeles Rams by a final score of 28-0. Running back Carlos Hyde looked fantastic, particularly running between the tackles and up the middle. He finished the Monday night game with 88 rushing yards on 23 carries to go with two touchdowns. The Los Angeles Rams defensive line is nothing to sneeze at, but the Carolina Panthers are going to be hungry for their first win of the season, so Hyde might have a tougher time finding the end zone in Week 2. That said, he will still see his fair share of opportunities this week. Fantasy owners can only hope that quarterback Blaine Gabbert can keep the team in the game long enough so that Hyde isn’t completely abandoned in favor of the passing game, particularly in the second half.
Should the 49ers struggle to move the ball on the ground, which is a distinct possibility, Gabbert will rely on a brand new face in the passing game to try to get first downs. That brand new face is slot receiver Jeremy Kerley. Kerley was only recently added to the team’s roster after being acquired from the Detroit Lions. Against the Rams he managed to catch seven out of 11 passes for 61 yards. Those totals aren’t exactly outstanding but in PPR formats, Kerley might be worth taking a look at. He should be busy against Carolina, given it will be tough for Gabbert to throw down the field. Short passes will be the name of the game for the 49ers this week no doubt.
It had to be quite a letdown for the Panthers to lose to the Denver Broncos on the opening night of the 2016 NFL season, especially given the team was up against a rookie quarterback. That said, there are still plenty of reasons for Panthers fans and fantasy owners of Panthers players to be incredibly optimistic about the rest of the season. Quarterback Cam Newton took some hard hits against the Broncos. Newton only posted 194 passing yards, but he also did a great job rushing the ball and totalled 54 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He should be able to lead the Panthers to their first win of the season over the 49ers and hopefully he leads his fantasy owners to victory as well.
A big day from Newton could also mean lots of fantasy points for wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin. Benjamin used his size and speed effectively to get past a strong Broncos secondary unit last week. It was great to see after he missed all of last year thanks to a torn ACL. He played 52 snaps last week and didn’t appear to miss a beat. Newton targeting Benjamin 12 times also put smiles on the faces of fantasy owners as it appears the team’s number one receiver no longer has to be tight end Greg Olsen.