Strickly Panthers: Fantasy or reality?

Following wide receiver David Gettis' breakout performance last week against the San Francisco 49ers, a reporter asked Gettis about the preponderance of people picking him up for their fantasy team rosters.

"I'm not really focused on that," Gettis said. "I have to put that in the past and look forward."

For the first time in a while, fantasy football players have something to look forward to when it comes to the Panthers.

Running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, both coming off 1,100-yard seasons, still are on rosterd in the majority of fantasy leagues despite their slow starts to this season. Their owners now have a renewed reason for optimism, with the Panthers' passing performance against the 49ers opening up the possibility that teams won't stack the box against the run as consistently as they have.

(Short term, optimism for Williams has to be tempered by a foot sprain that kept him from practicing Wednesday and Thursday).

Wide receiver Steve Smith remains on rosters as well, and his owners have to like that he returned punts against the 49ers, providing him with another way to possibly score.

Beyond those three, however, few Carolina players dotted fantasy rosters before last week. The defensive unit held some appeal, and some owners might have picked up John Kasay on a given week if their kicker was on a bye, but that was about it.

That changed with the 49ers game.

Gettis, coming off his eight-catch, 125-yard effort – highlighted by a pair of touchdowns – is one of the hot pick-ups of the week. According to CBSSports.com, Gettis was owned in zero percent of the site's leagues last week but is now owned in 14 percent of leagues.

The man who got the ball to Gettis, quarterback Matt Moore, has seen a spike in his fantasy stock as well after throwing for 308 yards in his return to the starting lineup. Tight end Dante Rosario caught the eyes of some owners with five catches, and Kasay kicked three field goals, including his third from 50-plus yards this season.

So, what exactly is the value of the Panthers suddenly being discussed in fantasy circles?

For most of them, with the Panthers still scoring an NFL-low 12.5 points per game, their immediate value lies mostly in niche leagues.

Gettis could prove to be an exception, but either way he's now a white-hot prospect in dynasty leagues – deep leagues where owners retain most of their players year after year (That already was the case for fellow rookie receiver Brandon LaFell, who added six catches for 91 yards against the Niners).

Moore is now a serious consideration in leagues that start two quarterbacks; Rosario could get some looks in point-per-reception leagues; and Kasay's appeal has grown in leagues that give bonus points for 50-plus-yard field goals.

The biggest winners, however, might be the Panthers already on fantasy rosters. Williams and/or Stewart could explode with more scoring opportunities and fewer stacked boxes, and Smith's game could take off with a threat occupying the other receiver spot.

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