Steve Smith Boosts Fantasy Value With Return To Practice

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01: Steve Smith #89 of the Carolina Panthers celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Steve Smith is back to practice in Carolina. We break down the fantasy implications.

Steve Smith returned to Panthers practice on Sunday after missing nearly two weeks with a foot infection. Carolina was not wearing pads, but this is a promising sign for the team's No. 1 receiver.

Fantasy Impact: The Panthers are beginning their preparation for the regular season opener now, so Smith participating in practice provides a boost in confidence for fantasy owners. His situation began with rumors of staph infection exploding to news outlets everywhere, but it has been confirmed that is not the case, which is a big positive. Smith was a primary beneficiary of having Cam Newton on the team last season. After two seasons of subpar performances, Smith bounced back nicely in 2011 with 79 receptions for 1,349 for seven touchdowns. If Brandon LaFell can emerge as a solid No. 2 receiver this season, Smith will have a much easier time getting open downfield.

For more on the Panthers, check out Cat Scratch Reader. For more fantasy info, check out the SB Nation Fantasy War Room 6-10pm Monday through Friday, 4-9pm Saturday and Sunday.

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