Miles Sanders Injury Update: Latest on Carolina Panthers’ RB

Carolina Panthers RB Miles Sanders seems set to shoulder a massive workload for this offense in 2023. Could an injury derail that possibility though?

One of the more interesting free agent signings this offseason came when Miles Sanders left Philadelphia to join the Carolina Panthers. The four-year pro now has a chance to take over an open backfield in Carolina that will likely have less of a committee approach than the Eagles did.

But before the season could even kick off, Sanders showed up on injury reports in Panthers’ camp. With a history of injury issues, this was an obvious concern for Carolina and fantasy football managers.

What is the latest on Sanders? When can we expect to see him playing? And how does this impact the Panthers and your fantasy teams?

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What Happened to Miles Sanders?

In mid-August, head coach Frank Reich told reporters after a joint practice with the New York Jets that Sanders had tweaked his groin. While the news of a tweak seemed minor, the Panthers remained cautious with his injury.

Sanders failed to see any action in Carolina’s three preseason games. However, he has returned to practice and has been able to participate as we get closer to the regular season.

For now, Sanders says that he is going to be ready to go for Week 1. But no official word has been given by the team. Sanders has had a number of minor injuries in his career and missed nine games in his second and third seasons total before being active his entire 2022 campaign. We will have to wait for team injury reports to be released before week one for Sanders’ official status.

What Are Carolina’s Options if Sanders Misses Time?

After Sanders, Carolina’s RB room is a bit thin. Chuba Hubbard is a capable back who already helped the Panthers when Christian McCaffrey was injured and later traded away to the 49ers. The third-year pro had 1,423 all-purpose yards and eight touchdowns in his first two seasons in Carolina.

For now, it seems like Sanders is on the mend and should likely be ready for Week 1. But if he’s unable to suit up, I would expect Hubbard to be the Panthers’ starter.

Raheem Blackshear, an unproven second-year back out of Virginia Tech, could also see action if Sanders misses time. Blackshear is currently the only other running back rostered by the team.

As we speak, I don’t believe the Panthers will make any moves to bring in any free agents. Sanders is on track to play, and if he were to miss time, I can’t imagine he’d be out more than one game based on all reports. But the sooner he can get back to help No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young and the Panthers’ offense, the better.

What Does This Mean for Sanders’ Fantasy Ranking?

In dynasty leagues, Sanders’ value is not shifting all that much based on this injury. It’s a minor tweak that shouldn’t cause any major time missed. Sanders is currently being drafted in the early 20s in dynasty startups, and this injury shouldn’t shift that.

From a redraft perspective, it gets a little more interesting. Sanders has a long injury history of minor tweaks and that could re-surface in 2023. Yet, in 2022, he was healthy and played a full season — one in which he had 1,347 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns.

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This was good enough for RB13 in half-PPR formats. And it came in an offense where Sanders’ QB (Jalen Hurts) had 165 rushing attempts and fellow backs Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell combined for over 100 attempts.

Last year, the Panthers ran the ball 483 times. While there is a new staff in Carolina, if Sanders is seeing the bulk of a 400+ rushing attempt team, I like his odds.

If Sanders is healthy, he could be a steal from his RB20/56 overall redraft slot. With the injury news seemingly being positive, I wouldn’t be dropping him in your fantasy draft at all. If anything, you may be able to get him at an even better value than before.

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