Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 9: DeAngelo Williams

Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

The Panthers running back is banged up, and backup Jonathan Stewart is expected to return Sunday. Can Williams maintain his fantasy value anyway? We break down the fantasy implications.

Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams was hampered by a quad injury in practice this week, missing practice Wednesday and Thursday. He's expected to play Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, and looks to keep up his good yardage production so far this year.

Williams is tenth in the NFL in rushing yards through eight weeks, with 477 yards, but has only reached the end zone once. He has added 121 receiving yards, putting him near 600 total yards for the season, a pace of more than 1,350 over a full year. However, backup running back Mike Tolbert has gotten more involved in the team's offense, and Jonathan Stewart is likely returning from injury to make his season debut in Sunday's game.

Fantasy impact: Yards-wise, Williams has been a big value in fantasy so far this year, even as he's struggled to score. With his injury concerns, and Tolbert and Stewart both available, Sunday could be Williams' least productive game of the year.

That said, if he plays, he's probably worthy of at least a flex look -- the Panthers aren't likely to give Stewart a full complement of touches in his first action in almost a year, and Tolbert is more of a goal-line back than an every-down option. There's risk inherent in using Williams this week, to be sure, but he's still the best running back on the roster, for now at least.

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