Week 9: Falcons at Panthers
First, let's look at the Panthers. It was a typical fantasy day for Cam Newton, who, despite missing a lot of throws, found a way to get it done in the end. He threw for 249 yards and a touchdown to tight Greg Olsen. Those are pedestrian numbers, but, as usual, Newton augmented his passing statistics with a rushing touchdown and 22 yards running the ball. That’s good for about 22 fantasy points in most scoring formats.
When we look at Cam’s value the rest of the way, we see a somewhat favorable schedule. He is also past his bye week which is a plus. He’s a QB1 in any format or league size.
Now for the bad news, the rest of the Carolina skill players were fairly nondescript. The playing time in the backfield was split evenly amongst DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert, which is always bad news for fantasy purposes. Further complicating matters is the fact that all three backs look healthy and are running well. This situation may not get cleared up anytime soon. When you consider that Cam Newton also steals touchdowns and carries from this backfield, you have nothing but flex options for the foreseeable future, and not very good ones. These are the types of players that will lose value quickly as we near the end of the major bye weeks.
The Carolina receivers were a bit better. Brandon LaFell, Greg Olsen and Steve Smith were all involved, with Olsen having the best day for fantasy purposes due to the score. LaFell is clearly winning his battle for playing time with Ted Ginn, who had just a single reception. That’s one take away from this group in Week 9.
Lastly, I want to touch on the Carolina Defense which looked good again. The Panthers have a nasty front seven and are an athletic group overall. They are a great play in plus matchups going forward and can be trusted in tough matchups too.
As for the Falcons, I have to say that Matt Ryan is really earning my respect this year. He’s playing with a lot of heart and he’s making plays without all his weapons in far less than ideal circumstances. Ryan won't be a QB1 down the stretch, but I think this bodes well for the Falcons in 2014 and for Ryan's 2014 fantasy value. I mean, let’s be realistic, the 2013 season is toast. That reality is going to affect the fantasy value of these players as we move through the second half of the season. They are not going to take chances with the health of Steven Jackson or Roddy White in the later weeks. If you can get decent value in a trade for either one of these players I would suggest that you do it now. Jackson actually looked pretty good against Carolina, but the schedule is not friendly going forward. Again, moving him now makes perfect sense if you can find someone willing to take him. There's usually at least one RB-depleted team in every league if not more. Go to those teams with Jackson.
The Atlanta receivers look pretty good, especially Harry Douglas and Tony Gonzalez. Douglas caught three balls for 82 yards and Gonzo had 81 yards on six grabs one of which went for a touchdown. Gonzalez looks like he could play another five years right now. The guy is a freak.
I would say that overall the news is good for the Atlanta offense. If they can get Roddy White back healthy they could certainly have a decent run down the stretch, but again, they are not going to take chances with these players once they are out of the playoff race. The exception is Gonzalez, who is retiring at the end of the year. Gonzo is a player to hang onto for now.
Jacquizz Rogers played well again, but with Steven Jackson back, he is looking more like a flex option in 12-team leagues and a bench player in smaller formats.