Fantasy Football Scout 2017: Curtis Samuel

Arguably, football fans were treated to one of the most eventful trade deadline periods in NFL history. Playoff contenders acquired big-name playmakers (Eagles traded a fourth-round pick for Jay Ajayi), while woeful franchises failed to get their trades in before the deadline (see the Cleveland Browns embarrassing attempt and failure to trade for Cincinnati Bengals backup quarterback AJ McCarron). In the case of the Carolina Panthers, they boldly traded away one of their big-play wideouts in Kelvin Benjamin to the Buffalo Bills for a third and seventh round pick. While Panthers fans may be dismayed at losing one of their athletic weapons, it does provide a grand opportunity for one of their young draft picks to step up and become the next favorite target for quarterback Cam Newton.
Team: Carolina Panthers
Position: Wide Receiver
Percent Owned On Fantasy Teams: (Yahoo Fantasy): 4%
Fantasy Points Total Thru Week 8 (Half PPR): Projected: 47.38 Actual: 13.20
While wide receiver Curtis Samuel has yet to live up to his second-round draft selection, his 40-yard dash time (4.31 seconds) and his displayed versatility when he played for Ohio State points to a rookie that is overflowing with exciting potential. Although his 11.7 yards per reception statistic during his last year in college is impressive, Samuel also has impressive capabilities as a rusher as well. Given his breakneck speed, Samuel was able to rush for 771 yards on 7.9 yards per rushing attempt in 2016. Considering the Panthers have struggled to run the ball recently, Samuel could provide a unique wrinkle for Carolina to utilize in jet sweep and run pass option situations.

As a fantasy asset, Samuel certainly displays the versatility and athleticism to be incredibly valuable, although his poor usage rate is a bit concerning. While Samuel has flashed his dynamic capabilities as both a rusher and pass-catcher, his small target share of 14 on the season is not nearly enough to provide adequate insight into how the rookie will now be utilized. Although the potential is clearly there and his performance in college cannot be ignored, he cannot be considered a must-have waiver wire pick up right away until we see how he functions in his expanded role with the Panthers.
Still, Samuel has the ability to be the next great young wideout for the Panthers and could very well come close if not take over top receiving duties if he gets the requisite opportunities to do so. For now, fantasy owners should keep a close eye on Samuel when the Panthers take on the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Fantasy Football Scout 2017: Allen Hurns
Fantasy Football Scout 2017: Allen Hurns
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