Devin Funchess has been playing really bad this year, giving second-year receiver Curtis Samuel an opportunity to shine, and he’s seized that opportunity.
Let’s first talk about Funchess. I was big on him in 2017 over Kelvin Benjamin because I hate Benjamin, but this year, Funchess just hasn’t been getting it done.
First of all, he leads the league in drops right now, has the second highest drop rate, and has a 56.8% Catch Rate which ranks 80th in the league. Even when you account for uncatchable targets, Funchess’ True Catch Rate is only 76.4% which ranks 83rd in the league. He just can’t squeeze the ball.
Cam hasn’t been great throwing him the ball either, giving him a Target Quality rating of 8.0 (32nd in league) and a Target Accuracy rating of 2.6 (91st in league).
The thing is though, Funchess hasn’t been doing Cam any favors. Target Premium is an efficiency metric that factor out QB play, but his -17.2% Target Premium ranks 91st in the league. That’s really bad.
Curtis Samuel on the other hand has been nothing but efficient. Samuel’s Target Premium is sitting at a sweet +37.2%, which is the 9th best in the league. On top of that, Samuel’s Production Premium, which is an overall situational efficiency metric, is the 8th best in the league.
In the last two weeks, it seems as if Samuel has completely leap frogged Funchess on Carolina’s depth chart.
Samuel is averaging a 88.1% Snap Share in the last couple of weeks, with Funchess only seeing 42.2%. In that same span, Samuels is running 33.5 routes per game with Funchess only running 15.5.
On top of all that, Samuels has been able to put up 12 or more fantasy points in 5 of the last 6 weeks.
The Panthers are clearly opting to go for a more explosive offense with D.J. Moore, Christian McCaffrey, and now Samuel.
This week, Carolina is facing the Saints on Monday night in a must-win game for them. I think Samuel has the upside of someone that can deliver you a Monday night miracle for the fantasy playoffs in a game that has serious shootout potential.
Make sure to pick up Curtis Samuel this week in fantasy, and FLEX him if you need to shoot for the stars!