| Running Back, Carolina Panthers
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|Draft: 2006 Round 1 (27)
Ht: 5’9” Wt: 217 DOB: 1983-04-25 Age: 31
|The Panthers showed their commitment to Williams in the off-season, signing him to a five-year, $43-million contract that included $21-million in guarantees. Then they showed their commitment to a RBCC approach by signing free agent Mike Tolbert to supplement an already crowded Panthers backfield. And, of course, kill Williams’ chances of duplicating the success he enjoyed during his career year in 2008 (1,518 rushing yards and 20 total touchdowns). There are two problems with owning Williams on your fantasy roster. One is that he sits 4th in the pecking order for short yardage touches behind quarterback Cam Newton, Jonathan Stewart and Tolbert. The other is that he doesn’t catch the ball with just 27 receptions over the past two years. So, his fantasy production comes from rushing yards (54.4 yards per game over the past two seasons) and long touchdown runs (five touchdown runs of 22 yards or more in 2011). That isn’t a recipe for fantasy glory but it is a recipe for major inconsistency (eight games with less than five fantasy points). Consider Williams a low end RB3 in 2012.
| DeAngelo Williams unlikely to play -- Fri Dec 19 12:15 pm --|
Could be used in an emergency situation
|Running back DeAngelo Williams listed as questionable. Rivera said he's getting close, but probably not enough to play. (David Newton on Twitter)|
FF Today's Take: Head coach Ron Rivera went to say that Williams could be used in an emergency. This is good news for Jonathan Stewart owners as Stewart should see the bulk of carries for the Panthers against the Browns that just gave up a monster rushing day to the Bengals.
|DeAngelo Williams "probably" out Week 15 -- Thu Dec 11 6:30 pm --|
|"Probably" another week away for DeAngelo Williams (hand). (Jonathan Jones on Twitter)|
FF Today's Take: Williams has been little more than a huge annoyance for Jonathan Stewart owners in recent years. With Williams "probably" out, Stewart is a decent start based on a good matchup (Tampa Bay) and the fact that Cam Newton will not be around to steal goal-line work. On the downside, Newton's absence greatly increases the chances the Bucs will load up against the run and dare Derek Anderson to beat them. As such, his Week 15 upside is probably as a low-end RB2.
| DeAngelo Williams misses practice Wednesday -- Wed Dec 10 11:40 am --|
|DeAngelo Williams (hand), Amini Silatolu (knee) and Chris Scott (unknown injury) not practicing. Ryan Kalil getting day off. (Joe Person via Twitter)|
FF Today's Take: Jonathan Stewart received 20 carries in Williams' absence last week and would be an RB2 consideration again this week if Williams doesn't play.
|Jonathan Stewart still not anointed as starter -- Tue Dec 9 10:35 am --|
Ron Rivera: DeAngelo Williams to remain "part of the mix"
|As one Carolina Panthers running back starts to look like the rusher of old while the other one gets older, Carolina coach Ron Rivera is still hesitant to name the more effective back the starter.
Jonathan Stewart rushed 20 times for 155 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s 41-10 victory over the New Orleans Saints, but it was still not enough for Rivera to definitively name Stewart the team’s starter.
A team source has indicated to the Observer that the coaching staff feels Stewart is better feeding off Williams rather than starting the game, and that he didn’t respond like the staff would have liked him to when he was named the starter midway through the 2012 season.
But with Williams sidelined with a broken hand, Stewart took control of the running game and had the second-best performance of his seven-year career.
“The number (of carries) he got we felt was the number we were looking for,” Rivera said. “Now if he gets more than that, so be it. If he gets less than that, so be it. We’re going to use him the way the flow of the game goes.
“(DeAngelo) certainly is part of the mix of guys we have. He’s part of who we are as a football team.”
Stewart did not start against the Vikings two weeks ago but had 12 carries for 85 yards in the 31-13 loss at Minnesota. Williams fractured a bone in his hand during that game.
Williams has had trouble gripping the ball and hasn’t been able to practice. Rivera reiterated Monday that Williams is day-to-day.
While Williams is on pace for the worst full season of his career, Stewart has rushed for more yards in the past two games (240) than Williams has all season (219 yards in six games).
“(Stewart) has played well the last two weeks, but DeAngelo is a really good runner, too,” Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula said. “In my mind, I see it as a good mix and a good changeup. Each of them does a lot of things very similarly and yet they’re kind of different in their own ways.”
When Williams returns, there will be carries for him, Rivera said.
“We’re not going to do things because it’s what everybody expects or thinks,” Rivera said. “We’re going to do things because that’s how things are working and successful.” (Charlotte Observer)|
FF Today's Take: Wow, Ron Rivera. Still with the DeAngelo Williams? Despite Rivera's incoherent squawking, all the empirical evidence points to Stewart being the more effective back and the player with more upside. Williams is still dealing with a hand injury and Stewart should be deployed as a mid-tier RB2 in Week 15.
| Jonathan Stewart set for expanded role -- Tue Dec 2 11:44 am --|
DeAngelo Williams hand injury could open door for more touches
|Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams fractured a bone in his right hand in Sunday’s 31-13 loss to Minnesota, and his availability is day-to-day.
It’s yet another injury for Williams this season, who has dealt with hamstring and ankle injuries, and it opens the door for Carolina to use Jonathan Stewart more in the backfield.
The injury occurred when Minnesota linebacker Jasper Brinkley’s helmet hit Williams hand on a second-quarter rush for 3 yards. Williams motioned to sideline for a substitute and did not return to the game.
X rays showed the fracture to be in the hand at the base of the middle finger. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Williams could play with the injury, but the swelling has to go down. He said Williams could see a hand specialist this week.
But after the game and again Monday, Rivera indicated that if Williams is healthy, he’ll be the starter. The franchise’s all-time leading rusher, Williams has not been as effective on the ground as Stewart.
Stewart rushed 12 times for 75 yards against the Vikings, good for a 7.1-yards-per-carry clip that was Carolina’s best all season.
A team source told the Observer recently that when Stewart was named the starter in 2012, he didn’t take ownership of the role. The coaching staff saw that Stewart runs better when he feeds off Williams, the source said, and believed Williams is more suited for the starting role.
Williams is on pace for the second least-productive season of his career. He has 219 rushing yards on 63 carries and no touchdowns. Only 2010, in which he played six games before being sidelined with a foot injury, was worse.
Should Williams be unavailable for this week’s game at New Orleans, he would be missing out on one of his favorite places to play. Williams has rushed for 401 yards on 54 carries - 7.4 yards per carry - in the past four years at the Superdome against the Saints. (Charlotte Observer)|
FF Today's Take: Stewart has been the far superior back for a while now, and has looked explosive when given the opportunity to carry the load for Carolina. He makes a solid RB2 in New Orleans this week.
| Cam Newton nursing foot injury -- Tue Nov 11 9:30 am --|
Panthers QB fighting through obvious discomfort on MNF
|Cam Newton isn't just dealing with his surgically repaired ankle. The Carolina Panthers quarterback has two bad wheels right now.
Newton is nursing a right foot injury the Panthers training staff believes might be the result of compensating for the lingering soreness in his left ankle, a source told FOX Sports. The combination of lower-leg issues could explain why Newton has appeared to be sluggish, particularly on Monday night while he was trying to escape Philadelphia Eagles pass rushers during a 45-21 loss for the Panthers.
"That ain't the same Killa Cam," former Panthers wide receiver and current New England Patriot Brandon LaFell tweeted during the game. "Gotta get healthy."
Newton was limping for much of the game and jogged gingerly to and from the sideline between series. Following one of the Eagles' nine sacks of him, Newton was stretching his groin or hamstring area, so he might have tweaked a muscle in that region as well.
Newton threw the first of three interceptions and DeAngelo Williams lost a fumble on Carolina's first three plays from scrimmage. The turnovers led to 10 points for the Eagles. Newton finished 25 of 40 for 306 yards and two fourth-quarter TDs to Kelvin Benjamin. More tellingly, Newton ran for only 6 yards.
"I have to protect the football better," Newton said. "I can't throw the football up for grabs and have to understand the difference between giving my guys a chance or opportunity and risking the football. In the pocket, man I got to do better."
This has been an injury-plagued year for Newton dating to his ankle surgery in the spring, a procedure he acknowledged recently was "bigger than I thought." He also suffered a rib injury in the preseason, which led to his being inactive for the Panthers' season-opening win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In addition to those ailments, Newton is battling a thumb issue on his throwing hand that's forced him to wrap it during games.
Newton's foot issue hasn't been listed on the team's injury report. He hasn't missed practice time for any injuries since September.
Newton is on pace to come in below last year's mark of 585 yards rushing, which was the lowest of his first three NFL seasons. (Fox Sports)|
FF Today's Take: While a dynamic player like Newton isn't ever "safe" to drop until he's sidelined for an extended period of time, the bloom really is off the rose and his Week 11 matchup against the Falcons doesn't look quite as sweet.
| DeAngelo Williams expected to return for Wk 9 -- Tue Oct 28 5:30 pm --|
Will "start" but should split time with Stewart
|Rivera is expecting running back DeAngelo Williams to start against the Saints. Williams is returning from a four-game absence due to an ankle injury.
"He is a little ahead of schedule, to be honest with you," Rivera said.
FF Today's Take: Even though Rivera said he expects Williams to start you can expect in typical Panthers timeshare between Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Stewart rushed for 79 yards on 16 carries last week. Neither RB can be counted on for anything better than a FLEX option in Week 9.
| DeAngelo Williams "ready to roll" for TNF -- Mon Oct 27 2:35 pm --|
Sidelined since Sept. 28 with sprained ankle
|Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams told HC Ron Rivera on Monday is he "ready to roll" for Thursday night's primetime game against New Orleans.
Carolina's all-time leading rusher with 6,733 yards hasn't played since spraining his ankle in the first half of a Sept. 28 loss at Baltimore. Prior to that, Williams missed two games with a hamstring injury. (ESPN)|
FF Today's Take: Williams' return would remove some of the luster from Jonathan Stewart's plus-matchup in Week 9 at home against the Saints. Stewart should still be expected to see the majority of touches since Williams has been sidelined for over a month, but neither player should be considered more than a low-end flex play now.
| Jonathan Stewart expects to start Week 7 -- Thu Oct 16 4:50 pm --|
Gets in first padded practice since Week 3 knee sprain
|After participating fully in practice on Wednesday, Jonathan Stewart was more definitive in saying he will play, and start, for the Panthers this week at Green Bay.
“Jonathan looked good. He had a good day,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “We’ll see how he is (Thursday), but he took the majority of the reps. He took all the reps that were slated for him as well."
Wednesday was Stewart’s first fully padded practice since before his injury. (Charlotte Observer)|
FF Today's Take: While Carolina appears to be a low fantasy-upside proposition for running backs, it is hard not to notice just how easy the second-half schedule appears to be (starting in Week 11). With Cam Newton now a realistic threat to run again and a likely 1-2 week window without DeAngelo Williams stealing carries, it is possible Stewart could become the clear lead back in this backfield by the time Williams gets back from his high ankle sprain.
| Panthers running game a complete mess -- Mon Sep 29 11:46 am --|
Rivera: "Darrin Reaves is our starter"
|DeAngelo Williams injured his right ankle on a first-half rush and did not return. After the game he had a protective boot on his right foot. “We’re playing two undrafted free agents right now at running back,” Rivera said. “As of right now, Darrin Reaves is our starter.”
FF Today's Take: The Panthers have lost their top three running backs to injury. Williams sprained ankle will be re-evaluated today but he likely won't be available for Week 5. Fozzy Whittaker and Darrin Reaves will likely handle the rushing workload moving forward holding RB4/5 value.
| Panthers' backfield in shambles -- Mon Sep 22 4:45 pm --|
Stewart to be reevaluated on Friday, Tolbert out Week 4
|Coach Ron Rivera is optimistic that DeAngelo Williams will return from a hamstring injury to play versus the Baltimore Ravens this week, but the Carolina Panthers' backfield woes aren't going away. Jonathan Stewart will be held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday with a severely sprained knee. Mike Tolbert, sporting crutches and a knee brace, will miss Sunday's game with a hairline fracture in his right leg. The fullback is week to week, per Rivera. (NFL.com)|
FF Today's Take: In the event that Williams cannot go, owners may need to consider Darrin Reaves, who was elevated from the practice squad over the weekend. The bigger problem, however, is that Cam Newton may not be healthy enough and the offensive line may not be good enough this year to mask the injuries that the Panthers overcame last year.
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