DeAngelo Williams hampered by Stewart's return, injury; hurts fantasy owners

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers' running back situation is a mess right now for fantasy players. We break down the fantasy implications.

The return of running back Jonathan Stewart and a persistent quad injury to DeAngelo Williams kept each of the Carolina Panthers' trio of running backs -- Stewart, Williams, and Mike Tolbert -- from having individual value. They combined to have a strong day, though, as the Panthers beat the Atlanta Falcons, 34-10.

Williams ran the ball 13 times for 42 yards, adding 12 receiving yards on two receptions. Stewart, in his first game in almost a year, had 43 rushing yards on nine carries, and 22 receiving yards on three receptions. Tolbert had the fewest overall yards -- 24 rushing, 13 receiving -- but was the only one of the trio to score, a four-yard touchdown in the first quarter that put the Panthers ahead, 7-0.

Fantasy impact: If Stewart is going to be as involved in the offense as he was this week, with 12 touches, it's going to be tough for any individual running back in Carolina to have significant value; there just won't be enough yards to go around.

In fact, all three had what might shape up as their typical games in this one; Stewart and Williams had between 50 and 70 yards, but didn't score, while Tolbert had far fewer yards, but found the end zone. These are the roles these guys play, and, with quarterback Cam Newton also fully capable of rushing the ball, it doesn't seem likely any single guy will stand out.

None of the three is better than a flex play going forward, and even then it seems likely most rosters will have a superior option for that spot.

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