Fantasy Football 2014: Panthers at Falcons 12/28/14 Week 17 Preview
Carolina Panthers (6-8-1) at Atlanta Falcons (6-9)
Sunday, December 28, 2014; 1:00 PM ET
Heading into Week 17, the Panthers-Falcons game jumps out as a potential gem in the Sunday NFL schedule. This will be a battle for the playoffs, as the winning team will clinch the NFC South. Carolina (6-8-1) is coming off a big win over Cleveland, and Atlanta (6-9) managed to take care of the Saints in Week 16.
Let’s check out some of the notable fantasy contributors on both sides, as this game will be very important for championship week in lots of leagues. Here’s a closer look at the major names.
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers: Newton was a big question mark heading into the Browns game, as he was trying to recover from a back injury he sustained in a car accident several days back. He ended up playing, and playing well. Newton would finish with 201 pass yards, a TD and a pick. He would also pick up 63 yards and a score on the ground.
It’s good to see Newton putting up nice rush numbers again, and now that we know he’s healthy he’s a nice start for the Falcons game.
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Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons: Ryan had a pretty busy day against the Saints, racking up a 30-for-40 line for 322 yards and one touchdown. It was his fourth consecutive game with at least 300 yards, but brought an end to his four straight games of multiple touchdown passes.
Ryan has played surprisingly well against some relatively tough defenses in recent weeks, so it seems he’s hitting his stride at the right time. He should play well here also.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers: Stewart was great on the ground for the Panthers in Week 16, tossing up 122 yards on 24 carries (with seven more and a TD on two grabs).
With DeAngelo Williams out once again due to a hand injury, Stewart got the heavy load for the Panthers. Owners will want to watch Williams’ status this week, but we’d still imagine Stewart will get the lion’s share of the reps even if they both play.
Steven Jackson, RB, Atlanta Falcons: Jackson would leave due to a quad injury in the Saints game, finishing with just nine yards on four carries with one catch for 14 more. Jacquizz Rodgers was the workhorse in his absence, with 11 carries and a catch.
Jackson owners will obviously want to watch his status this week to see how severe his injury turns out to be. If he doesn’t play, Rodgers will be the guy to have.
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina Panthers: This past week was something of a letdown for Benjamin, as he came up with just 47 yards (but still led the team in receiving).
This seemed like more of a game-flow issue for Benjamin, and he’ll match up a lot better with the Atlanta secondary. Keep him planted in your lineup for this one.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons: Jones had a nice game against the Saints, asserting his dominance on seven receptions for 107 yards in all. He was second in targets (8) to Roddy White (9), however.
Even though Jones isn’t totally over his hip injury, he still says he intends to play here. If indeed he does, he’s a no-duh start in fantasy.
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