There really is nothing like a game against the Arizona Cardinals to cool off a quarterback's fantasy numbers. At least that's the case with the Falcons' Matt Ryan. Ryan attempted a career-high 61 passes against the Cardinals trying to overcome a second-half deficit. Although he did manage to throw for 301 passing yards, only one of his passes went for a touchdown and he also threw four interceptions. That's not the type of game that Ryan's fantasy owners have been accustomed to seeing from him over the last few years. Against the Panthers in Week 9, Ryan will face a very good Panthers secondary. However, with Roddy White being cleared to practice on Friday, Ryan's owners have a glimmer of hope for a bounce-back game.
On the ground, the Falcons will rely on Steven Jackson to carry the load. In his first game back from injury, Jackson managed just 13 total yards on 14 touches against the Cardinals. There's no doubt he's a competitor and wants to be in the lineup for the Falcons, but fantasy owners have to wonder whether he is better served sitting out longer. The Panthers have one of the better run defenses in the league, so starting Jackson in Week 9 may not be a good proposition.
It appears that quarterback Cam Newton has elevated his game for the Panthers of late. The former No. 1 overall draft pick is the first quarterback in NFL history to throw 50 touchdown passes and rush for 25 of them within a three-year span. He rushed for a season-high 50 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 8 and is a good candidate to go for over 300 yards passing against the Falcons, who have a subpar secondary unit.
Newton should have plenty of help from the ground game against the Falcons with the return of running back Jonathan Stewart. Stewart has had issues with both of his ankles and has not played in almost a full year. Before getting hurt, he was actually getting just as much, if not more, action in the Panthers' backfield than teammate DeAngelo Williams. Fantasy owners can bet that coach Ron Rivera will use all his running options with Stewart returning, and Mike Tolbert proving effective.