2023 Coaching Changes: Frank Reich to the Carolina Panthers

Jeff Smith

Savvy fantasy football managers focus on all positions of a football team. This includes the coaching staff. The off-season changes can hugely impact skill players’ production at certain positions. Each week we will look at one of the five coaches who have found new homes and examine the potential dynasty impact on the key members of that team.

Carolina Panthers: Frank Reich

It didn’t take long for Reich to land on his feet. He was fired by Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay after a week nine loss to the New England Patriots. Reich had been the head coach since 2018 and compiled a 40-33-1 record, including three of four winning seasons.

Carolina also fired their head coach Matt Rhule after week five of the 2022 season. Rhule never appeared to be fit for the NFL and has since returned to the college ranks, being hired to lead the Nebraska Cornhuskers in 2023. The Panthers rebounded after his departure and finished the season winning five of their final eight games and going 6-6 under interim coach Steve Wilks.

The roster is much more talented than the Houston Texans team we covered last week. The Panthers have seven picks in the draft, including the number nine pick overall. Reich’s background is on the offensive side of the ball, and he has some work to do to improve on the 31st-ranked scoring offense in the league that scored only 17.0 points per game. Here is a look at the current roster as it sits before the draft and free agency.


A position that will need to be addressed right away is quarterback. The only signal callers under contract are Matt Corral and Jacob Eason. Corral spent his entire rookie season on IR, and Eason has ten career passing attempts. Baker Mayfield was shipped off to Los Angeles, and Sam Darnold and PJ Walker are free agents in 2023. Look for the front office to address this position in free agency, the draft, or both.

Matt Corral

Rookie quarterback Corral saw his rookie season end before it even started. He went down late in the fourth quarter of the second preseason game versus the New England Patriots with a Lisfranc injury. It ended up being a tear and landed him on injured reserve. The Ole Miss product was playing well but was likely to be third on the depth chart behind Darnold and Walker to begin the season.

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Data Courtesy of Sports Reference.

Said season turned into a nightmare, and he would have likely seen playing time given the injuries and ineptitude of others that played the position for Carolina in 2022. We can see from the numbers above that the 24-year-old put up solid numbers in college through the air. Corral also fared well on the ground, displaying his athletism and adding 614 yards rushing and another 11 touchdowns on the ground with his legs.

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Data Courtesy of Sports Reference.

At this point, it is hard to say if the third-round pick (94th overall) from 2022 will be given a fair shake at the starting position. At this point, we would have to say it is not very likely, especially given some of the off-the-field concerns that accompany the soon-to-be second-year pro. If you want to read more on Corral, click here for the profile David Wright did before last season kicked off.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Coaching History App.

Reich does have a history of doing work with sub-par talent. He was able to pull a QB8 finish out of Carson Wentz in 2018. Philip Rivers, while much more talented, managed finishes of QB10 and QB11 under Reich during his time with the Chargers. There is hope for whomever the front office brings in.

Running Back

Shortly after head coach Rhule was fired, the Panthers sent their best player packing. Christian McCaffrey was traded to the San Francisco 49ers after week six. Left on the depth chart of any significance were D’Onta Foreman, Chuba Hubbard, and Raheem Blackshear. Only Foreman and Hubbard saw substantial playing time.

D’Onta Foreman

Veteran running back Foreman did well with his opportunity (again). If you will recall, Foreman filled in admirably for Derrick Henry in Tennessee last year when Henry went down with an injury. From week seven, the former Texan and Titan finished as the RB25 in PPR formats and averaged 11.4 points per game.

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Data Courtesy of Draft Buddy.

The problem with Foreman is age. The Texas Longhorn alum will be 27 years old when the 2023 season kicks off, and he is a free agent. The Panthers may reward him for his performance in 2022 and bring him back on a team-friendly contract, or they may rely on 2021 fourth-rounder Chuba Hubbard, who also filled in admirably.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Player Gamelog App.

We see from the table above that he can play big when given a chance. Foreman had four RB2 or better finishes, including a top-five versus the Atlanta Falcons in week eight.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Coaching History App.

Like the quarterback position, the former Colts head coach has had mixed success with his running backs for fantasy purposes. We all know what Jonathan Taylor can do. Danny Woodhead pulled off an RB3 finish in 2015 in a Reich run offense, and Marlon Mack put up back-to-back RB2 seasons before injuries derailed his career. There is hope for the position for fantasy purposes here. Pay attention to the draft and free agency here, as is the same case at quarterback for Carolina.

Chuba Hubbard

Younger and more productive on a per-touch basis, Hubbard is likelier to see work in 2023 than the aforementioned Foreman (if he is even brought back). The second-year pro out of Oklahoma State averaged nearly five yards a carry (4.91, to be exact). He was also more involved in the passing game. This is important in PPR formats.

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Data Courtesy of Sports Reference.

Before his junior year in Stillwater, Hubbard had been heavily involved in the passing game for the Cowboys. Seeing the involvement of Danny Woodhead in the passing game in Reich’s offense makes this noteworthy.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Player Scoring History App.

We can see from the line charts above that Hubbard was better at rushing and receiving with his opportunities. He could be a buy-low candidate out there in dynasty land. We mentioned Blackshear in the open, but he often looked slow when given his chance, and it showed in the 3.3 yards per carry gained on the 23 totes he had in 2022. Blackshear and Spencer Brown are the only other backs under contract in Carolina, making Hubbard a high-volume back this season if there are no noteworthy additions to the position.

Wide Receiver

The wide receiver for the Panthers is the deepest of all the skill positions. This is really saying something because outside of DJ Moore, there is not a lot of proven talent on the roster. Andre Roberts and Rashard Higgins are veterans but are free agents in 2023, and likely won’t be brought back by a team in rebuild mode. Terrace Marshall Jr and Laviska Shenault are young and talented. It will be interesting to see how Reich utilizes them in his offensive scheme.

DJ Moore

Can we please get Moore a serviceable quarterback? Even Cam Newton wasn’t good enough for the star wideout. Believe it or not, Moore has been better throughout his career without Cam at the helm. That list of “quarterbacks” include Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen, Will Grier, Teddy Bridgewater, PJ Walker, Sam Darnold, and Baker Mayfield. Phew. And yikes.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Player Splits App.

The soon-to-be 26-year-old is a total of 2.5 points per game better without Newton, which is a bit surprising considering the list of names mentioned above. Despite the inconsistency at the position, Moore has been able to pull off nearly four consecutive WR2 finishes.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Player Gamelog App.

Moore has been a model of consistency and health, playing nearly every game possible since playing only ten games in his rookie season. The biggest issue is that he is the epitome of boom or bust every week. You may get a top-ten finish, or he may finish 70th on the week.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Player Scoring History App.

The arrival of Reich may not provide the desired results dynasty managers are looking for. Based on the historical chart referenced below, Reich has never coached a WR1. He has gotten solid seasons out of Alshon Jeffery, TY Hilton, and Michael Pittman Jr., but things are not looking up for Moore, especially given the quarterback situation.

Terrace Marshall Jr/Laviska Shenault Jr

We are covering both Jrs at once here. If we are having difficulty projecting Moore to succeed, it is equally as hard to have these two firmly planted on the dynasty radar moving forward. Marshall probably has the most upside and is the younger asset of the two. Shenault has been in the league for three seasons and has not lived up to the hype (or draft capital, for that matter).

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Data Courtesy of DLF Player Scoring History App.

Looking at the total weeks by position and average points per game charts, we see that either player has yet to truly break out. Shenault has had one top-12 finish but has not averaged double-digit points since he hit 11.22 in 2020. We would not blame you if you wanted to stash Marhsall on your bench in deeper leagues, but Shenault can be safely left on the wire. Both are in trouble if Carolina adds a big name wideout somehow or in some way.

Tight End

Woof. Look away. There are currently three tight ends on the Panthers roster. They are Tommy Tremble, Ian Thomas, and Stephen Sullivan. Combined, they have 152 receptions across 133 games. That is all you need to know about the production from that position. Reich has had some success in the position in the past, and perhaps with the right draft pick, this could be a position of interest for the future in Carolina for fantasy purposes.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Coaching History App.

Antonio Gates and Zach Ertz performed well in the offense, but it begs the question, are they elite talents that did well despite the scheme, or did Reich fit them into his plan? We may never know if they don’t do something different at the position. Tight end is definitely a spot that needs to be addressed if they want to be dynamic on this side of the ball.


Much like the Texans last week, there are a lot of holes to fill here. We would not spend a lot of capital on this offense unless sweeping changes are made. The direction they go at quarterback will go a long way in determining the franchise’s future. The running back position could provide some value for Hubbard if given the opportunity. Moore could continue to see WR2 production, but we are concerned. Tight end is a wasteland. Look elsewhere for your dynasty assets for 2023. There is too much work to be done.

jeff smith
2023 Coaching Changes: Frank Reich to the Carolina Panthers