Jonathan Stewart has his chance

      October 26, 2012 @ 18:40:40 PDT


The Carolina Panthers gave Jonathan Stewart the start against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7. He responded with, well, nothing spectacular (10 carries for 35 yards, three catches for 11 yards). DeAngelo Williams had a measly two carries for four yards. Williams was on the field for only five of the team's 62 offensive snaps against Dallas.

In an effort to freshen up the squad's rushing attack, Ron Rivera and his staff is sticking with J-Stew in the starting role again in Week 8 versus the Chicago Bears, the league's most dominating unit against the run. Not exactly the best timing, I'd say.

Carolina Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart
J-Stew little consolation

Da Bears are allowing a paltry 8.7 fantasy points to running backs in standard scoring per week, and they are allowing only 59.2 rushing yards per contest. Opposing rushers have averaged 15.7 rushing attempts per game.

This doesn't bode well for Stewart, but with the coaching staff wanting to implement a more standard rushing attack, Stewart's value in the coming weeks should be at its season peak. It's no coincidence that this move to shake things up came after GM Marty Hurney was ousted earlier this week.

Rivera and the rest of his coaching staff are firmly on the hot seat. Seeing more of Stewart out of the backfield probably gives them the best chance to win now. Williams and Mike Tolbert, who hasn't seen more than four carries in a game this year, are best left to the waiver wire.

Stewart's owners have to be pleased, but as was mentioned up top, don't expect a sudden breakthrough this week against Chicago. As far as the rest of the way, Carolina has tough matchups in the Washington Redskins (Week 9) and Philadelphia Eagles (Week 12). The Denver Broncos (Week 10) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 11) present mildly intriguing matchups.

The Kansas City Chiefs (Week 13) and Oakland Raiders (Week 16) could be big days for Stewart, assuming he's still the starting halfback by then and Rivera still has his job - which are big ifs.

If you heeded my advice before the season started, hopefully you avoided any part of this rushing attack. But if you didn't, take solace in the fact that at least they've named a lead backů for another week.

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About Keith Hernandez

Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.

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