The Fantasy/Dynasty Deep Sleeper/Key RB ‘Handcuff’ No One Realizes…
Did you know 2nd-year, UDFA RB Reggie Bonnafon (Louisville) was listed as the backup to Christian McCaffrey to start 2019 season (some might show rookie Jordan Scarlett #2, but I believe it’s Bonnafon)?
Apparently, I didn’t know this. I knew he existed and liked his preseason work a lot, but I thought there was no way he’d make this team. Credit to Ron Rivera.
Cameron Artis-Payne was released, finally, this weekend.
The Panthers did not reach for an RB during 53-man cut down weekend.
The Panthers rostered three RBs…McCaffrey, Bonnafon, and Scarlett.
We know McCaffery is ‘the man’. Jordan Scarlett is a try-hard, tough, slow RB prospect. Bonnafon is the interesting one…
Bonnafon is a former dual-threat QB for Louisville. After playing quite a bit his freshman year (with mixed results), he was beat out for the job as a sophomore (2015) by Lamar Jackson.
In his junior season (2016), he converted to wide receiver (because he has really good hands to go with his athleticism) – he caught just 13 passes that season, but five of them for touchdowns…among the team leaders that season in TDs in limited snaps.
In his senior season (2017), he converted to RB and had a nice season working with the mere scraps of rushing attempts leftover from Lamar Jackson’s final year. He was almost second (finished 3rd) on the team in rushing (459 yards) and had 7 rushing TDs (2nd on the team).
Bonnafon went undrafted, but you have to like the Pro Day numbers – 6’1”/212 (a frame that can add 5+ pounds of muscle), 4.52 40-time, 6.97 three-cone, 20 bench reps, 38” vertical. Terrific numbers all the way around.
He spent 2018 on and off the practice squad for Carolina and then re-signed for 2019.
He caught my attention in the 2019 preseason. I’m studying the Panthers-Bears Week 1 preseason game, and am thinking “Who is this Matt Forte-looking dude for Carolina?” I had never really paid attention to him before. I noted how good he looked in my game analysis/notes but assumed he would be a non-factor for 2019 behind the drafted Jordan Scarlett and the eternal flame for Cameron Artis-Payne. I assumed he had no shot of making the team.
Week 2 of the preseason, same thing… He caught the ball better than any Panthers RB in the preseason (ignoring McCaffrey). He ran the ball better, smoother, and more effectively than any Panthers RB in the preseason (and part of the reason is the Panthers have assembled awful RBs behind McCaffrey). Still, I thought this is the type of guy ALWAYS overlooked.
Bonnafon made the team.
He’s also listed as a #2 RB on some depth charts I’ve seen posted. I can believe that because Bonnafon is better in every aspect of the game than scrappy Jordan Scarlett.
Are you heavily invested in Christian McCaffrey for fantasy/dynasty? Today, for me, Reggie Bonnafon is the handcuff…with an upside.