Every fantasy manager is looking for an edge. Just like watching the stock market for trends — attempting to make a solid educated guess on where values of players will go as the season progresses is the only way to make good decisions on trades, waiver moves, etc. Each week, I’ll try to provide a unique look at some possible trendy picks to help strengthen your team. I consider these segments the “Ninja Nuggets”.
Stewart, in all aspects of the game, became the primary running back for the Panthers in week 2 with 77 yards rushing and two touchdowns against a fairly stingy Chicago defense. Last week, Carolina faced a reinvigorated Minnesota defense, and Stewart struggled (15 yards rushing, TD) along with the rest of the Panther offense.
However, things are really looking up for the Panthers. First, Steve Smith is back on the field, and as he becomes re-acclimated to game play, the Carolina offense will be able to spread the field, opening more running lanes for Stewart. However, the main reason to get giddy about the Panthers is the upcoming schedule — which I consider the softest of any of the NFL teams in terms of run defense. After a game against Atlanta Sunday, the Panthers face Kansas City, Tampa Bay and New Orleans before their week 8 bye. Then, Carolina picks up with Oakland, Detroit, Atlanta, Green Bay, Tampa Bay and Denver (all of which have struggled against the run).
The bottom line is that Jonathan Stewart may be attainable in some leagues after struggling last week, but as early as this Sunday, he will be back in the top echelon of fantasy running backs. The next 24 hours may be the last time this season you could consider Stewart a buy-low candidate.
On a side note, looking at that same schedule, you will want to bump up each of your Carolina Panthers in fantasy rankings — including the Panther team defense/special teams.