Cam Newton run
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We are hours away from the start of the eighth week of the 2013 NFL season as the Carolina Panthers take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It’s also the kickoff for the eighth week of the fantasy football season. Here’s a look of players that should be in your lineups tonight.
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Quarterbacks
Cam Newton is a borderline starting option this week. He’s averaging 221.8 yards and 1.7 touchdowns through the air and 29.8 yards and 0.3 touchdowns on the ground. He has only threw more than 250 yards in one game this year. There are so many quality quarterback options that you may have a better alternative. That said, don’t be afraid to start him against Tampa Bay. The Bucs have allowed 252 yards and 1.8 touchdowns.
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Mike Glennon is decent option in two-quarterback leagues. He has formed a nice rapport with Vincent Jackson. Glennon has averaged 264.5 yards and a pair of touchdowns (all to Jackson) in his past two games. He’s added 16.5 yards per game on the ground. He’s not a good desperation QB1 play though as Carolina has allowed just 217.7 yards and 0.8 touchdowns per game.
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Running Backs
DeAngelo Williams is a decent fantasy option this week. He hasn’t scored a touchdown this year, but he is averaging 91.2 total yards per game. Tampa Bay has only allowed one rushing score and 88.8 yards per game. In a heavy bye week, D-Will can be trusted for RB2 duty. Mike Tolbert has scored four touchdowns in the past four games. He averages just 31.3 total yards per game. It’s touchdown or broke for Tolbert. His main value comes in touchdown-only leagues.
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Mike James takes over for the injured Doug Martin. He had 53 total yards last week. He’s a decent desperation play based on volume, but temper your expectations. The Panthers have allowed 84.5 yards per game.
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Wide Receivers
Steve Smith has scored a touchdowns in back-to-back weeks. Like his quarterback, Smith is a little inconsistent. He is a solid WR2 option, but keep in mind he’ll be dealing with Darrelle Revis. Brandon LaFell is a borderline WR3 or flex option, mainly if you just want some action in the game. That’s not a good reason to start someone. Look elsewhere in most cases.
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Vincent Jackson is a must-start. He has four touchdowns in the past two games. He has 36 targets during that span. V-Jax is averaging 90.7 yards per game. Mike Williams had 32 yards in his return from a hamstring injury. He’s a stretch at WR3 this week.
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Tight Ends
Greg Olsen is averaging 56.5 yards per game, but he only has one score. When the Panthers get in the red zone, Tolbert or Newton are more likely to get the score, which hurts Olsen’s value a bit. He’s still a decent TE1 play.
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Timothy Wright had 91 yards in Week 6 only to drop to 15 yards last week. He’s too inconsistent to trust.
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Kickers
Graham Gano has 43 points on nine field goals and 16 extra points. He has made every kick this year. Tampa has allowed 13 field goals and 13 extra points. Gano is a decent play this week.
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Rian Lindell has 33 points on eight field goals and nine extra points. Carolina has allowed 10 field goals and five extra points. He’s not a good option.
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Defenses
The Carolina Panthers rank third in the league in total defense with 302.2 yards per game allowed and second in scoring defense with 13.8 points per game allowed. They have 19 sacks and 14 takeaways. The Panthers are a strong option in a short week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs rank 31st in total offense (297.8 ypg) and scoring offense (14.5 ppg).
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Tampa Bay ranks 13th in total defense (340.8 ypg allowed) and scoring defense (22 ppg). They are a borderline play, but I’d likely go a different direction.
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Sell High on DeAngelo Williams

29 September 2013


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We already  determined that now is a good time to buy low on Eddie Lacy. On the flip side, it’s a good time to sell high on DeAngelo Williams.
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It’s not that I dislike D-Will or don’t believe that he is a capable back. I just don’t think that the 30-year old will sustain it.
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Through three games he’s averaging 97 yards rushing at 4.7 yards per carry. With a career mark of 4.9 ypc, that number is real. I just don’t see him continuing to carry the ball 20.7 times per game. D-Will has also caught four passes for 11 yards.
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Williams passed a tough test by putting up 100 total yards in Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks. While that is quite impressive, he did have two favorable matchups against the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants the past two games.
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D-Will has to break a long run in order to score a touchdown as Cam Newton and Mike Tolbert get the touches near the goal line. Despite a lack of weapons in the passing game, Williams doesn’t get much use there. He combined for 29 catches over the past two years.
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Jonathan Stewart’s return is looming as he recovers from an ankle injury. He should be activated in Week 7 and immediate begin to steal touches from D-Will. He isn’t as explosive as DeAngelo, but he can get them tough yards. He’s also a better option in the passing game.
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Don’t just give D-Will away, but if the right opportunity presents itself, jump on it.
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Jonathan Steward running
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Jonathan Stewart came into the league in 2008 full of promise. Despite sharing the load for two seasons, he was able to average 1,076 total yards in his first two seasons. Over the past three seasons J-Stew has averaged just 846.7 total yards. After scoring 21 touchdowns in his first two years, Stewart has combined for just 10 touchdowns in the past three seasons. Injuries limited Stewart to nine games, 493 total yards and two touchdowns last year. Can he return to fantasy relevance in 2013?
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Stewart has been a solid fantasy play in three of his five seasons despite nagging injuries and a shared workload for the bulk of his career. Double-digit touchdowns are likely out of the question with Cam Newton and Mike Tolbert  sniping short touchdown runs. Tolbert scored seven touchdowns last year, and combined for 19 in the previous two seasons with the San Diego Chargers. Newton has 22 rushing touchdowns in two seasons. There is still room for Stewart to be productive.
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What we’re looking for out of Stewart is a year similar to 2011 when he recorded 1,174 total yards and five touchdowns. The Panthers will be utilizing a more traditional rushing attack this year, which is good news for Stewart. Unfortunately, the Panthers have three capable back , which minimizes his value.
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The problem is his health. He has continually had issues with his lower extremities. Prior to last year he had only missed two games in his first four seasons, though he often missed practice and was a game-time decision. He is capable of playing in pain, it just starts to wear on fantasy owners.
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Stewart recently had to withdraw from a golf tournament, see Charlotte Observer’s report, because of the ankles he had surgery on this offseason. This doesn’t mean that he won’t be ready for training camp, but it certainly sends out some red flags.
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Stewart ranks 31st among running backs in the FantasyPros rankings, putting him as an RB3. That’s a fair place for him, but I would understand if you wanted a less risky option as your primary backup fantasy running back. Overall, he ranks 85th, which puts him in the 8th rounds. Personally, I would want to hold off a little bit on him, perhaps a round or two. If you do draft him, prepare to deal with missed practices and finding his name on the injury report.
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Have you wrote J-Stew off or would you take another shot with him?
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Earlier this year I asked if Cam Newton owners should hit the panic button. I preached patience. He has rewarded his owners with three incredible performances in a row. Can he continue to put up big numbers?
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Newton had been decent most of the year, but was not living up to the expectations he came into the season with. Things started to turn in Week 12 when he threw for 306 yards and two touchdowns, while picking up 52 yards and two more scores on the ground against the Philadelphia Eagles. That was the type of game that fantasy owners were banking on.
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In Week 13 he didn’t run a touchdown in, but he had 78 yards rushing. He only threw for 232 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs, but his three touchdown passes made up for it.
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Week 14 is the start of the fantasy football playoffs in most leagues. Cam got his owners off to a great start with an early 72-yard touchdown run. He finished the day with 287 yards passing and two touchdowns. On the ground he had 116 rushing yards and a touchdown. A performance like that will almost assure that his owners will live to fight another day.
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Next week he faces the San Diego Chargers. They are by no means a defensive stalwart.  With Steve Smith and Greg Olsen giving Cam a terrific 1-2 punch, I like Cam’s prospects.
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In Week 16, which is most league’s championship, Cam has a juicy matchup against the Oakland Raiders. Even if your league plays the season out, you’ll be happy to know that the Panthers finish up against the New Orleans Saints.
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It was a bit of a bumpy road for Cam Newton. I don’t know if the lack of team success got to him. Cam has turned it on though, and the Panthers have responded by winning two of their past three games. Perhaps he can quietly provide the fantasy championship that you expected from him.
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Jonathan Steward running
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Despite a mere 142 rushing yards and 51 receiving yards the outlook for Carolina running back Jonathan Stewart is promising.
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Probably not this week as Carolina has the misfortune of facing the Bears, but brighter days lie ahead.
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Stewart dealt with a toe injury earlier in the season and has yet to touch the ball more than 13 times this season. Not to mention the struggles the Panthers have had on offense.
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Cam Newton has clearly regressed and team is sitting at 24th in the league in total offense (335.7 yards per game) and 28th in scoring offense (17.7 points per game).
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They rank 13th in the league in rushing yards per game at 113.7 ypg, but that number is misleading thanks to Cam Newton’s 45.5 ypg and 9.2 ypg they are getting on receiver runs . Plus, keep in mind that last year they were third in the league with 150.5 ypg.
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The Panthers have made a shift with J-Stew assuming lead back duties. They could also be making a change schematically.
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Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer suggests that the Panthers will “shift from the zone read package to more reliance on a power running game”. If they can get Johnson 12-15 carries things should start turning around for the Panthers and J-Stew’s fantasy owners.
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The biggest hurdle to clear will be the Panthers’ offensive line. If they can patch it together enough there could be some decent days ahead. His fantasy playoffs match-ups against Atlanta, San Diego, and Oakland looks promising.
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If you’re looking for some help at running back, give his owner a shout. Maybe you can get him on the cheap.
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After three games Cam Newton has more turnovers (five interceptions, one fumble) than touchdowns (two rushing, two passing).
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He is averaging 266.0 passing yards and 27.0 rushing yards. His passing total is up from the 253.2 he averaged last year, but he is well off the mark of the 44.1 rushing yards he averaged.
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Many of you were counting on Cam as your first or second round pick to deliver the goods. So far he has had one good game and two poor showings.
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In leagues that score passing yards at 0.05 points, rushing yards at 0.1 points, passing TDs at four points, rushing TDs at six points, and all turnovers at negative two points his weekly average has dropped from 25.44 ppg to 17.67.
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The Giants played a heck of a game on Thursday. That will happen. The fact that he failed to deliver the goods against Tampa Bay is more troublesome. Sure, he threw for 303 yards, but he only ran for four and his two INTs negated his touchdown pass.
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Although this week’s game was a disaster, there are some things to take away from it. For starters, by playing the Thursday game the team will have more time to prepare for next week’s meeting with Atlanta.
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It will also give Steve Smith and Jonathan Stewart more time to heal so hopefully they’ll be at full strength at the skill positions.
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Another good thing that happened in Thursday’s bloodbath was the emergence of Greg Olsen. Newton repeatedly looked to Olsen (14 targets), who caught seven passes for 98 yards. It’s nice having that safety net. When Stewart (47 receptions last year) returns he’ll also help in that regard. Plus, Smith and LaFell give him excellent options on the outside.
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While Newton has not met expectations thus far, it’s not time to make any drastic moves. No way would you get equal value. You just have to show some patience and hope he turns things around. If you’re looking to acquire Newton, it’s a good time to send out the feelers in case his owner has become jittery.
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Carolina Panthers’ tight end Greg Olsen has shown signs of being a high-end tight end, most notably in 2009 when he caught 60 passes for 612 yards and eight scores. The Panthers are expecting  big things from Olsen (see Associated Press article). Should fantasy owners follow suit?
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Olsen has scored at least five touchdown in the past four seasons, and is coming off a decent 45 catch, 540 yard, five TD campaign. As they mention in the article, Jeremey Shockey, who isn’t expected to return, put up solid numbers as well. In fact, the two combined to catch 82 passes for 995 yards and nine touchdowns>
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While Panthers Coach Ron Rivera may be exaggerating a bit when he says that Olsen can put up numbers similar to Rob Gronkoswki and Jimmy Graham, it does stand to reason that Olsen can be more productive without sharing the load with Shockey.
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Will he reach the 700 yard mark for the first time in his career? There is a good chance. The odds are even longer that he’ll reach double-digit touchdowns, but it isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
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He’s a big dude at 6’5″ and 255 pounds, and though he doesn’t quite have the size as Gronk or Graham, he does have similar athletic ability. With offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski’s ability to tight ends , there is some pretty big potential there.
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Personally I still would rather have Olsen as my back-up fantasy tight end, but he does have some pretty good upside. You shouldn’t have to invest too heavily to acquire his services and he could easily outplay his draft position.
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