Will Darren Waller keep a good thing going vs. the Carolina Panthers?
Darren Waller has firmly asserted himself as an unquestioned TE1 in pretty much any fantasy football league you play in. His breakout season last year gives the Las Vegas Raiders hope for a bright future tomorrow, possibly in their first season in Southern Nevada. Will Waller be able to keep a good thing going with more than five catches in Week 1 vs. the Carolina Panthers?
The Fantasy Footballers are big fans of Waller for obvious reasons. With an over/under of 5.5 catches for him on the road vs. the Panthers in Week 1, the guys believe the Raiders tight end will get over that receiving threshold for a few reasons. Sunday will be a great opportunity for him to dictate target share in what should be a revamped Raiders receiving corps for the 2020 campaign.
Las Vegas drafted three SEC wide receivers in the first three rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft. Henry Ruggs III projects as their burner on the outside, an Al Davis track star fever dream so to speak. While they ended up trading Lynn Bowden Jr. to the Miami Dolphins, the Raiders have another promising rookie running back in Bryan Edwards out of the University of South Carolina.
Does an improved receiving corps hurt Darren Waller down the line?
Last year saw Waller average 5.6 catches per ball game. According to the guys’ data, they project Waller will have 6.2 catches in Week 1’s road date vs. the Panthers. Though we have to expect Edwards and Ruggs will emerge as more vibrant parts of the Raiders receiving corps down the line, expect Waller to have a big day against what is clearly a rebuilding team in Charlotte.
Though head coach Matt Rhule did a fantastic job rebuilding the AAC’s Temple Owls and the Big 12’s Baylor Bears, this is the NFL and it usually starts out incredibly rough in the first year of one of his rebuilds. He won two games in his first year at Temple and a single game in his first year at Baylor. Carolina will win more than two games, but the Panthers are by no means a playoff team.
Ultimately, look for Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to build on his great rapport with Waller early in the season. If Waller gets you seven catches for 85 yards and a trip to pay dirt, you would take that every day and twice on Sunday. Though his target share may decrease as the season rolls along, this is a fantastic match up for him vs. a Panthers team that might struggle out of the gate.