TE Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers

HT: 6-5, WT: 255, Born: 3-11-1985, College: Miami, Drafted: Round 1, Pick 31

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2014 Projections

David Dodds16.060.071411.95.0101
Bob Henry16.072.081511.37.0124
Jason Wood16.074.080010.87.0122
Maurile Tremblay16.079.083310.56.0119

Average draft position

Current as of August 25th. [Full ADP list]

Overall: K Wright (77), Greg Olsen (78), P Thomas (79), S Jackson (80)
Position: J Cameron (54-TE5), J Witten (65-TE6), Greg Olsen (78 - TE7), K Rudolph (88-TE8), J Reed (89-TE9)
Click here for a comparison of these players.

PPR Average draft position

Current as of August 25th. [Full PPR ADP list]

Overall: J Reed (76), G Tate (77), Greg Olsen (78), B Cooks (79), L Miller (80)
Position: J Witten (66-TE6), J Reed (76-TE7), Greg Olsen (78 - TE8), K Rudolph (84-TE9), D Pitta (88-TE10)
Click here for a comparison of these players.


Greg Olsen enjoyed a career-high 111 targets for 73/816/6 receiving last year, and finished the season as the eighth-best fantasy tight end in the NFL. Since Cam Newton arrived in Carolina, Olsen has been his primary option at tight end (Olsen also joined the Panthers in 2011), and Olsen has seen over 100 targets for two straight seasons (he had 104 targets for 69/843/5 receiving during 2012) and has been a top-ten tight end both of those years. In fact, Olsen caught more passes than any other Panther during 2013 and scored the most receiving touchdowns as well. He caught all but one of the passes hauled in by a Panthers' tight end last season.

2014 Schedule

1at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2 Detroit Lions
3 Pittsburgh Steelers
4at Baltimore Ravens
5 Chicago Bears
6at Cincinnati Bengals
7at Green Bay Packers
8 Seattle Seahawks
9 New Orleans Saints
10at Philadelphia Eagles
11 Atlanta Falcons
Bye week
13at Minnesota Vikings
14at New Orleans Saints
15 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
16 Cleveland Browns
17at Atlanta Falcons
18 Arizona Cardinals
19at Seattle Seahawks

2013 Game Summaries

Week 1 - Carolina's lack of depth at wide receiver in the last couple of seasons has vaulted tight end Greg Olsen into a prominent role in the offense. After a solid, if sometimes sloppy, opening stanza against the Seahawks, that trend looks likely to continue for the former Miami product. Olsen lined up all over the field and did his damage both from an in-line position and split out as the single receiver in three-by-one bunch sets, where Olsen was isolated on a linebacker or cornerback. Quarterback Cam Newton riffed with Olsen early and delivered an inch-perfect pass down the seam, only for Olsen to allow the football to come loose after he had initially made a diving reception. Undeterred, Newton did not shy away from peppering his big tight end with passes, targeting him on a quick slant in the red zone. The pass was thrown a few inches too high for Olsen to make the grab in traffic, but Newton clearly trusts his tight end in these clutch situations. Olsen was able to get open with some smooth route-running, showcased on a seamless 27-yard catch on a deep dig. New offensive coordinator Mike Shula also called a tight end screen pass, but Seattle snuffed out the danger to force Newton to throw the football into the grass.

Week 2 - Olsen was the teams leading receiver in terms of catches as well as yards, providing Cam Newton a reliable target all over the field. His first catch came on a play-action fake on third down, where Olsen snuck out from the right side of the formation, working his way across the field and catching a lobbed Newton pass into the left flat for 31 yard gain. On third down from their own 40, Greg caught a short four yard out route to move the chains. On a quick hitting play-action fake, Olsen caught a three yard pass in the left flat. Olsen drew a defensive holding penalty with 1:18 left in the half, picking up five and setting up first down. The subsequent play was another short out route to Olsen, picking up five toward the right side of the field. Olsens touchdown came with fifteen seconds left in the half, crossing over the middle and catching the thirteen-yarder in traffic. Newton broke a tackle in the backfield, stayed on his feet, scrambled to the right, and was able to deliver the ball to a sliding Olsen for thirteen yards, and a first down, near the right sideline. Another catch for Greg on play-action dumpoff up the left sideline, Olsen leaked out of the backfield. The play totaled fifteen yards and a first down. Greg Olsen was a reliable target for Newton on Sunday. He did his job, averaging twelve yards a catch. No one will compare him to Jimmy Graham, but hes an above average receiving tight end, and his game on Sunday was further proof to support this claim.

Week 3 - With 26 targets through three games ranking third among all tight ends, Greg Olsen continues to play a significant role in the Carolina passing offense. The sure-handed tight end was lined up all over the formation as in previous weeks, including at split end, and proved a reliable target for Cam Newton, especially in the two-minute drill. The two continue to build a strong chemistry, with timing patterns their forte. With the Giants playing a two deep safety look, Olsen was able to work the underneath routes he excels at and work off the defender's leverage to find the open zones. An early seam pattern target for Olsen appeared to be well covered by New York's secondary, but Olsen showed some good burst out of his stance nonetheless. What continues to stand out week after week about the athletic tight end is his ability to snag passes that are wayward; on one play, Newton was unable to step into his throw, but Olsen managed to use his large frame to shield the football from a defender draped all over his back and secure the reception. In an improved outing from the Carolina offense, Greg Olsen continued to prosper despite his modest box score totals.

Week 5 - Boasting a yards-per-catch total of 20.1, the former first round pick Ted Ginn Jr. continues to impress in Carolina colours. Offensive coordinator Mike Shula has steadily integrated him into three-wide sets as a dangerous option for defenses to account for in the slot. In the two-minute drill, Cam Newton fired a pass between the hash marks to Ginn, who turned on the jets and seemed to surprise the Cardinals defense with his change of gear. Ginn was also able to break a nice 15-yard gain on a wide receiver screen pass. With a convoy of blockers ahead and the Cardinals bringing interior pressure on third down the play call was perfect and Ginn took full advantage. An underthrown pass down the sideline to Ginn in the third quarter fell harmlessly short as he and Newton seemed to be on different wavelengths Newton perhaps expecting his receiver to run a fade-type pattern. The chemistry between the pair is building nicely, but Ginn has some refinement to do on his route-running before he can overtake Brandon LaFell.

Week 6 - While maintaining a near every-down role in the offense, Greg Olsen had a quiet outing as the Panthers overwhelmed Minnesota. As Cam Newton settled into a rhythm early on, Olsen was a mere peripheral figure and was rarely even looked at by his quarterback. The Panthers' offensive game plan was designed to use the Vikings' pass rush against them to mask the weakness of the Carolina offensive line. As such, draws and screens - a play Greg Olsen gained 10 yards on in the third quarter after a stellar piece of improvisation by Newton - were prominent in Mike Shula's play calls. With the game script dictating fewer pass attempts - and with Olsen generally a player who thrives in two-minute and comeback situations he simply lacked the opportunity to make a mark on this game. Late on, he managed to stretch the seam of the Vikings defense and found an opening, but Newton slightly overthrew the big tight end.

Week 7 - Despite struggling to practice all week with an injury, Greg Olsen showed no ill effects. He corralled a beautiful seam pass from Newton early on, the football hitting him right in his hands, and made a couple of tacklers miss with nifty sidesteps. Newton continued to look Olsen's way even when his big tight end was covered, and almost hit him down the seam late on, only for a Rams defender to come across late and deliver a shot to Olsen. With the game script as slanted towards the running game as it was (38 rushing attempts to 17 passing attempts), there simply wasn't the opportunity for a bigger statistical outing from Olsen.

Week 8 - A three-catch performance is in keeping with Greg Olsen's paucity of targets recently, as a combination of Cam Newton's improved play and the success of the Panthers rushing attack has led to fewer opportunities in the passing game. It is not that Olsen is playing poorly; rather, he is staying in as a blocker more often and in general Newton is targeting Steve Smith and other receivers in his stead. With the Panthers set up on the goal line in a heavy set, Olsen managed to reel in Newton's first of two touchdown passes. The tight end ran a shallow crossing pattern and managed to sneak away from the attentions of the Tampa Bay in coverage. Newton's improvisational skill with a blitzer in his face allowed the play to happen, as he lofted a pass to Olsen wide open in the left side of the end zone. Olsen's involvement in the passing game will surely see a bump when the Panthers are forced to get away from their game plan in closer games; unfortunately for his fantasy owners, this was not one of them.

Week 9 - Greg Olsen returned to relevance this week after a quiet outing in Tampa Bay, proving a reliable target for Cam Newton throughout. Olsen was primarily utilised as a check down option, and ran mainly out-breaking routes, rarely testing the seam or stretching the defense deep. This strategy was presumably to counter Atlanta's aggressive blitzes, which they unleashed early on to decent effect. In the two-minute drill at the end of the first half, Olsen reeled in a beautiful 23-yard pass along the sideline. On fourth-and-one on the 14-yard line in the second quarter, Olsen caught Newton's first touchdown pass. Olsen sold a run block to the nearest Atlanta defender and quickly sprinted out to the right along with Newton, who executed the bootleg to perfection. With no Atlanta defender within 10 yards of him, Olsen did the necessary. Olsen will be a bigger factor in the offense if the Panthers are forced into more passing situations but, as with the last few games, they didn't have to against the Falcons.

Week 10 - In a close, hard-fought game Greg Olsen recorded only one reception and that came on a deflected Cam Newton pass that should have been intercepted by linebacker Navorro Bowman. Olsen gratefully received the batted ball after it flew into the air, landing in his bread basket. Neither passing offense was able to establish any rhythm as defenses dominated the day. Newton attempted to get the football to Olsen on a sideline shot in the first quarter, but a scattershot Newton missed it high and left as he struggled with accuracy in the opening stages. Olsen continued to attack the seam on third down when the Panthers were in obvious passing situations, but Newton continued to play it safe and go with the underneath completions against a salty Niners defense. Olsen was targeted on a deep pass down the left sideline in the fourth quarter, but he was well covered and although he caught it, he couldn't find the room to get his second foot down in bounds.

Week 11 - Greg Olsen made his presence felt in the passing game more than last week's outing in Candlestick Park. Olsen was moved all over the formation in an effort to get him matched up against cornerbacks and linebackers. Newton targeted Olsen on a red-zone fade route at one point, but the coverage forced Newton to throw it high and wide of his tight end. On third down Olsen was able to work the sidelines with crisp routes to find soft spots in the Patriots' two-deep coverages. An accurate Newton fizzed the football into Olsen time and again, who excelled on out patterns. Olsen reeled in Newton's second touchdown pass of the game to cap an impressive drive. Lined up in a stacked alignment with Brandon LaFell, Olsen forced the defender in coverage to open his hips and then broke for the pylon on a deep out. Newton found him on time and accurately as he had all game long to that point for a beautiful hook-up. With the Panthers' rushing attack as anemic as it was, Olsen's targets in the passing game were bound to see a bump and he delivered with an excellent display of sure hands and smooth route-running.

Week 12 - With Miami unabashedly sending blitz after blitz as it became obvious the Panthers offensive line was struggling, Greg Olsen was kept in as an extra blocker more often than usual and, as a result, wasn't as much of a factor in the passing game. Olsen did most of his work within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, providing Cam Newton with a reliable check down when the opportunity presented itself. Showing good chemistry throughout, Newton connected with Olsen on a pinpoint pass between three defenders in the middle of the field, Olsen settling down nicely to present a big target for his quarterback. Olsen was targeted on slower developing routes at other points, but Newton simply didn't have the time to get the ball to his tight end, or sailed it over his head and out of bounds, opting not to risk a throw into coverage that could be intercepted. However, Newton found plenty of time to hit a wide open Olsen in the waning seconds to score what would be the game-winning touchdown. Set up on the goal line in a three-point stance, Olsen got a clean release and ran a corner route, leaving the defender in his wake for an easy pitch and catch.

Week 13 - The leading receiver against Tampa Bay, Greg Olsen proved his usual reliable self for quarterback Cam Newton. Doing most of his damage within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage, Olsen presented a big target for Newton time and time again. Using his big frame to box out defenders, he made a pair of contested catches, displaying his excellent ball-tracking and soft hands. Olsen and Newton showed perfect chemistry and timing on a key third down conversion in the red zone, as Olsen came back to the football to shield a defender. Olsen was not targeted in the red zone as he has been in recent weeks, but contributed much more in the passing attack with the ground game stagnant throughout.

Week 14 - With the Panthers offense having to open things up as they trailed in the Superdome, Greg Olsen was utilised more often as a receiver split out wide. Olsen was targeted down the seam on a couple of occasions, but both times the football was thrown slightly too far for Olsen to reel in, with the Saints' coverage forcing Cam Newton to thread the needle. With the Carolina offense taking small chunks of yardage, Olsen became a factor as a check down option for his quarterback, and presented a nice target when he got open with subtle moves against the New Orleans linebackers. However, after the catch Olsen offered little in the way of moves to get free, and his high volume of targets was a consequence of the game script more than anything else.

Week 15 - Greg Olsen continues to relish in his role as Cam Newtons top downfield target. Olsen routinely exploited New Yorks linebackers and safeties as he found open space all over the field. Early in the second quarter, Olsen ran a deep post route and secured a 27-yard gain. Olsen got behind safety, Dawan Landry and effortlessly jumped and caught the pass. Late in the third quarter, Olsen picked on the much smaller Kyle Wilson and toasted him for a 23-yard gain down the right sideline. Overall, Olsen creates so many match-up issues in terms of size and speed. Hes absolutely fearless after the catch as he punished New York defenders by lowering his shoulder and inviting contact. This notion was on full display this afternoon.

Week 16 - Of Cam Newton's 13 completions on what was a poor day for the Carolina offense save for the final drive, four went to Greg Olsen. In truth, Olsen could have added to his modest 35-yard tally had Newton been able to deliver the football more accurately. The quarterback was hobbled early on with an ankle injury and seemed unable to push off to generate power and direction on his passes. Nevertheless, Olsen showed his reliability in tight quarters on more than one occasion, none more important than his 14-yard reception in the waning moments. Olsen ran a nice stick and nod route -- a typical pattern for tight ends down the seam - and boxed out the two defenders draped on him to make a tough catch. Conservative play-calling from Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula kept Olsen in as a blocker often, while he was mainly targeted as a check down option otherwise. Newton came within inches of laying the ball into Olsen's hands on a seam route, but the tight end couldn't make the acrobatic play.

Week 17 - Carolina's top target against Atlanta, Greg Olsen showed why Cam Newton trusts in him so much. Time and time again Newton was under pressure in the pocket, but when he didn't run himself his first instinct was to find No 88. Invariably Olsen found the soft spot in the Falcons' zone or managed to box out the defender in man coverage and present a target to his quarterback. Olsen reeled in Newton's second touchdown pass, a beautiful zipped ball low and hard in the red zone. Olsen kept himself available to receive the football as Newton bought time in the pocket, eventually settling down for the pass to be delivered.

Week 19 - Greg Olsen proved his usually reliable self, announcing his formidable presence early with a beautiful hands catch. Olsen was utilised more and more as a pass catcher running routes in this clash, eschewing the normal blocking duties with the return of Ben Hartsock and, to a lesser extent, rookie Brandon Williams. Newton and Olsen were on the same wavelength on a terrific seam pattern for 35 yards later; Olsen worked to get inside leverage on the two-deep safety, bending his route inside so that his quarterback could zip it into his midsection. Newton delivered an inch-perfect pass, but Olsen's savvy in finding the open area was an example of veteran tight end play. Otherwise Olsen was largely kept in check by a disciplined 49ers pass defense that kept passing lanes.