I will give you advice on who to start, and who to avoid. There will be sleepers and players to out right cut from your team. From time to time I will provide information for players outside the Panthers’ match that week. Remember though, this is just advice and if you have any questions as to who you might start, always refer to official fantasy rankings. Check back after the break to see the fantasy breakdown for Week 1: Carolina Panthers @ Arizona Cardinals.
Must Start: DeAngelo Williams Owned: 99.2%
The Panthers are going up against the 30th ranked run defense in the league. Last year the Cardinals allowed 145 rushing yards per game. The last time Williams played Arizona was November 1, 2011 and in that game he ran for 158 yards on 23 carries. Now many people may worry about Williams health, but rest assured all signs point towards D-Will having a full healthy season. The Cardinals made no significant upgrades to their defense in the off season, and they traded Rodgers-Cromartie away as well. If you are wondering who to start in your 2nd RB position or in the Flex spot, go and start D-Will. If he is available in your league, you are lucky and you need to pick him up immediately.
Bench NOW: Panthers D/ST Owned: 1.3%
The Panthers have been atrocious in the preseason thus far. Normally I would never use the preseason as a means to determine what fantasy players to sit or start, but they looked terrible. Last year the Panthers were 11th against the pass allowing only 212 yards a game, but they were 23rd against the run, allowing 123 yards a game. Andy Dalton and Co. were able to pick apart the Panthers’ pass defense in the preseason. Also, in all four preseason games the Panthers’ run defense looked terrible. The Panthers’ D should be avoided at all costs, unless you are in a 20 team league and you don’t like any of the other D’s.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Greg Olsen Owned: 18.2%
It doesn’t matter who starts at QB for the Panthers because Olsen is going to be solid all season. Going up against the 23rd ranked pass defense in Arizona spells sleeper for Olsen. Olsen is available in about 80% of leagues, and if you are dying for a TE he could be your guy. But remember, as with all sleepers, don’t be upset if he doesn’t put up elite numbers.
Must Start: Larry Fitzgerald Owned: 100%
I feel as though this is a no-brainer. Last season Fitz had 90 receptions for 1137 yards with John Skelton and Derek Anderson at QB. With Kolb now in the starting position, look for Fitz to light it up with over 100 catches this year. The only week you should sit Fitz is on his bye week; yet, he still might put up double digit points that week too.
Bench NOW: Any other Cardinals Receiver
With Steve Breaston gone, Kevin Kolb is going to focus 95% of his passes to Fitz, Beanie Wells and Todd Heap. Andre Roberts and Early Doucet are apparently fighting for the No. 2 WR spot; however, WHO CARES? With Fitz, Heap and Wells on the team, no other WR will produce.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: LaRod Stephens-Howling Owned: 0.3%
LSH is a sleeper pick depending on your league. If you are in a league with return yards, LSH will have decent game. Another thing to consider is the possibility of a Beanie Wells injury. The Panthers are a hard hitting team, and Beanie Wells is an injury-prone RB. LSH has the potential to be a flex RB further down the line, but in deeper leagues where talent is spread thin, he is a decent pick-up. He will rush behind Wells, probably on third downs, and could put up decent yardage.
Well guys that’s it for this week. If you want to know my projections for this week or if you have questions about who to start, comment below or email at [email protected]