NFL - Fantasy

Sam Darnold Fantasy Outlook Clouded by Week 7 Benching for PJ Walker

Max Staley
Sam Darnold fantasy outlook clouded after being benched for PJ Walker in Week 8.
Sam Darnold fantasy outlook clouded after being benched for PJ Walker in Week 8. / Al Bello/GettyImages
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Updated (Sunday, Oct. 24, 4:25 p.m. EST): Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule announced Sam Darnold will start in Week 8. He should be viewed as a decent QB2 option against the Atlanta Falcons.

Sam Darnold's resurgence was one of the biggest storylines of the first few weeks of the season. But the wheels have fallen off quickly. Through four weeks, Darnold was the QB5 in fantasy football.

Since then, however, Darnold has failed to reach even 16 points. And things got a whole lot worse in Week 7, as the former New York Jet was benched for PJ Walker in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants.

Sam Darnold Fantasy

Darnold was benched after completing 16-of-25 passes for 111 yards with 0 touchdowns to 1 interception while taking 3 sacks. He led the Panthers to just three points.

At this point, we don't know if Darnold will be back as the starter in Week 8. But if he's replaced, PJ Walker could be a really interesting fantasy option in two-QB leagues.

PJ Walker Fantasy

Walker was a stud in the XFL before joining the Panthers. We saw him get some limited action last season, throwing for 258 yards with 1 touchdown to 2 interceptions in his lone start. He also carried the ball 5 times (for -2 yards).

That rushing usage could make him a viable fantasy option if he does indeed get the start next week. Walker ran for 771 yards and 9 touchdowns through four seasons at Temple. We've already seen Darnold generate some real fantasy value with his legs this season, turning 26 carries into 110 yards and 5 touchdowns.

If Matt Rhule and Joe Brady can turn Walker into the red zone force that Darnold was, Walker could be a low-end QB1 in Week 8. He'll be a name to monitor when the Panthers face the beatable Atlanta Falcons' defense next week.


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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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