Miles Sanders’ fantasy football influence on the Panthers

After a career season in Philadelphia in which he rushed for 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns, Miles Sanders signed a four-year, $25,400,000 contract with the Panthers. This included a $5.9 million signing bonus and a $13 million total guaranteed. With just over half the contract guaranteed, the Panthers are out after 2024 with just $2.95 million in dead cap if they don’t want to keep Sanders on board for more than two seasons. On the surface, that seems like a lot for an explosive running back who turns 26 in May.

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Miles Sanders‘Running Back Profile

Sanders was a fantastic mid-to-late round pick in fantasy football drafts last season after recovering in touchdown rate and remaining healthy for most of the season. Heading into senior year, Sanders had 900 rushing yards in one season and just nine career rushing touchdowns, including zero in 2021. That all changed in 2022 with 11 rushing touchdowns and 1,269 rushing yards.

Miles Sanders Career Stats
Year tom G GS hurry Yds TD YPC Half PPR FP/G FP/G rank
2019 PHI 16 11 179 818 3 4.6 12.1 RB21
2020 PHI 12 11 164 867 6 5.3 13.0 RB19
2021 PHI 12 12 137 754 0 5.5 8.7 RB42
2022 PHI 17 15 259 1269 11 4.9 12.2 RB16
Career 739 3708 20 5.0

Sanders had played just one full season prior to last year, with injuries largely holding him back. Even last year, he technically played in all 17 games, but suffered an injury before the Week 16 game against the New Orleans Saints and wore a knee brace. He was still batted against the Giants the following week, carrying the ball for 33 yards (3.3 yards per carry) just 11 times. Short injuries aside, Sanders has been extremely efficient throughout his Philadelphia career, averaging 5.0 yards per carry.

Despite catching just 28, 26 and 20 passes over the past three years, Sanders is a strong receiver from the backfield. He showed that at Penn State and as a rookie with the Eagles when he caught 50 passes for 509 yards. The main reason for its lower production had to do with a two-down role and playing alongside Jalen Hurts. Kenneth Gainwell was the primary running back on third downs, and Jalen Hurts is much more likely to kick his legs than pass the ball to Sanders on early downs. It’ll be easy for people to put Sanders in an early role in Carolina, but he can be more than that if they want to.

The biggest question on Miles Sanders’ fantasy prospects will be related to his health. If he stays healthy all season, there should be plenty of opportunity to pick up a lot of fantasy points in Carolina.

Miles Sanders‘ fit in carolina

The Panthers are going through some serious changes. They recently traded with the Chicago Bears for No. 1 overall and are in a prime position to take on their quarterback of the future. They’ve also signed bridge quarterback Andy Dalton in case their rookie QB isn’t ready to start from the start. The trade-up came with heavy costs, including two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and top wideout DJ Moore.

Excluding Moore, the Panthers’ receiving corps currently consists of Terrace Marshall, Laviska Shenault and Shi Smith. Outside of Sanders, their running back room isn’t much nicer after they sold Christian McCaffrey midseason last year and didn’t re-sign D’onta Foreman. The Panthers maintained their offensive line by re-signing Bradley Bozeman and envision having an above-average unit for another season. No matter who the Panthers draft as quarterback, the way their team is structured calls for a run-heavy approach given the lack of weapons.

Sanders plays a big part in a planned run-heavy approach that could possibly match last season’s 15.2 carries per game. There might be some concerns about deviating from an elite offensive line in Philadelphia, but if we dive into the yards ahead of last season’s contact, that tells a different story.

If we look at all of the running backs from both teams who recorded 50+ carries, we see that both Christian McCaffrey and Chuba Hubbard had higher yards before contact per carry and similar expected yards per carry as Sanders. That’s great news for Sanders’ potential efficiency in 2023.

Fantasy prospects for the Panthers‘ Backfield

The Panthers’ current backfield consists of Miles Sanders, Chuba Hubbard, Raheem Blackshear and Browns1″ class=”player_name_link”>Spencer Brown. Sanders is considered the No. 1 running back – the main question is all about his role in passing and third downs Profiled as a change-of-pace back, Hubbard played 75% or more of the team’s third-down snaps over the final four weeks of last year’s season.Aside from that, there’s a new coaching staff in City.

Frank Reich hails from Indianapolis, where he used Jonathan Taylor in an early-down role and Nyheim Hines in a pass-catching-plus role. Sanders and Hubbard is a poor man’s version of Taylor and Hines, especially the latter, but there’s a chance Reich envisions a similar split. It’s important to pay attention to preseason usage related to their roles. Being two behind against a Panthers team that isn’t expected to score very many goals or be in a positive game script isn’t very valuable to the imagination. When they’re not scoring much, capping his touchdown, and constantly facing negative game scripts, Sanders’ workload is extremely low. If Sanders can capture some of the third down and pass catching work, it changes some of the equations as the game script tends to be less important. If he’s able to achieve bell cow status, Sanders could find his way to an RB2 finish.

Hubbard’s fantasy value also depends on its use in dissemination. If Sanders were to go down, I’m not sure Hubbard would have many injuries to his head other than a small dent in carries given his smaller stature at just 201 pounds.

bottom line

  • Miles Sanders signed a sizeable contract with the Panthers, locking him up for at least two years to help them rebuild.
  • Sanders finished last season in one fell swoop, but has been extremely efficient throughout his career when healthy (5.0 yards per carry).
  • Sanders downgrades his offensive line play, but Panthers running backs were able to gain similar yards before contact and expected yards-per-carry numbers.
  • With an ADP of 85th Overall and RB26, Sanders could massively beat his price tag if he gets a pass catcher role. Without that, there are minimal benefits.


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