Carolina heads north to take on Philly in the final game of Week 12. We break down the fantasy implications.
The Panthers taking on the Eagles isn't exactly the most enticing Monday night game we could have asked for, especially with the string of injuries affecting Philly these days. Fantasy owners continue to adjust to the constant changes from Andy Reid's squad.
Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy are still out with concussions, leaving Nick Foles and Bryce Brown to lead the offensive charge into Week 12. Not exactly the ideal situation, but you can find some value from the matchup here.
Let's take a look at who you need to start for Monday Night Football, and who needs to take a seat on your bench.
Cam Newton, quarterback - The Eagles defense is, well, not very good lately. They gave up four touchdowns and 84 rushing yards to RG3 last week, so given Newton's somewhat comparable style of play, you can expect him to be in for bigger numbers than he's been posting in recent games. Newton did manage 40 yards on the ground last week, his highest total since Week 7. Expect a better Cam on Monday night.
Jonathan Stewart & DeAngelo Williams, running back - Believe it or not, Philly only gave up two rushing touchdowns to running backs in its first 10 games. The timeshare in Carolina isn't doing anyone favors. Stewart finally scored his first rushing touchdown of 2012 last week. He controls a larger workload these days, but Williams limits his value still. If you have to start one of the two, Stewart is your guy. Williams has 24 rushing yards in his past two games. Yeah, stay away.
Steve Smith & Brandon LaFell, wide receiver - Since their bye week the Eagles have given up six touchdowns in four games to opposing wideouts. Smith's numbers aren't impressing anyone these days, but his value goes with Newton. Assuming Cam can take advantage of the Eagles secondary, Smith should see a revival in fantasy impact. You'll want to start him this week. LaFell broke out last Sunday with 93 yards and a touchdown. He's more of a flyer given his spotty production, but if you're in need of a last minute option, he might be worth a look.
Greg Olsen, tight end - Speaking of inconsistent, Olsen fits that bill pretty well. After a monstrous two-touchdown game in Week 11, he rescinded back to mediocrity last week against the Bucs. Newton still targets him a fair amount, but the Panthers offense is all over the place each week. Olsen is bound to go off if Cam decides to stop throwing 30-yard passes every play. Consider Olsen a TE2 who's worth starting unless you have a dominant option at this position.
Panthers defense/special teams - Carolina gave up an average of 31.5 points per game the past two weeks. Fortunately the Eagles offense continues to stall, only producing six points in Nick Foles first start. With a rookie starter you're probably going to get at least a turnover or two, so the Panthers D/ST is actually worth starting this week for those of you playing the matchups week to week.
Nick Foles, quarterback - Well, this is an easy decision. Don't start Foles. He managed just 204 yards to accompany two picks in Week 11. This is only his second NFL start. McCoy isn't playing. Nothing is appealing about his Week 12 value.
Bryce Brown, running back - Despite the offensive woes, Brown stands to gain the most from Monday night. Shady McCoy is out, leaving Brown to handle the majority of the workload with Dion Lewis taking some third-down snaps and doing nothing with them. The Panthers rank 20th against the run and towards the bottom of the league in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. Starting Brown is a good option in Week 12. He should be relied on and will see several dump offs with a rookie quarterback under center.
Jeremy Maclin & DeSean Jackson, wide receiver - How did Week 11 go? Jackson: two catches for five yards. Maclin: zero catches. It was a regrettable day for any owners who trusted these two wideouts. Carolina's defense has only given up two touchdowns to wide receivers in the last four games. If you're looking for a safe bet in Week 12, run as far away from the Eagles receivers as possible. Jackson might be worth a flex play since he saw nine targets last week, but there's honestly no telling what will happen with Foles starting again.
Brent Celek, tight end - Celek is becoming a solid option to tip passes into defender's hands. He's done in it twice in three weeks now. Aside from that, Celek isn't much for fantasy points. He did catch five passes last week, as Foles targeted his No. 1 tight end often. You can't get excited about his potential. Celek is a TE2 with little upside.
Eagles defense/special teams - Philadelphia is allowing 32 points per game since the bye. While the Panthers offense isn't exactly tearing apart every defense, you can't feel confident about playing the Eagles D/ST against many teams. Look elsewhere.