Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith (knee) has been ruled out for the team's Week 17 game against the Atlanta Falcons. Smith sprained his PCL in Week 16 and never had a shot at playing this week, as the Panthers want him fresh for the playoffs.
Fantasy Impact: With Smith out, Ted Ginn and Brandon LaFell will start and Domenik Hixon will man the slot. While Ginn has had a better season than most expected, he is far from an appealing fantasy option. He has four touchdowns on the season, but hasn't managed a game with more than 80 yards receiving all year.
LaFell offers slightly more upside than Ginn, but his numbers have also left much to be desired. LaFell has 49 receptions for 627 yards and five touchdowns on the year and managed to top the 100-yard receiving mark once in Week 6. Three of his five touchdowns came in the first six weeks and he hasn't offered fantasy owners much consistency.
The Falcons defense has given up big plays all year and presents both receivers with a solid matchup. Fantasy owners shouldn't get carried away, though. Both receivers are risky WR4s and owners should look elsewhere for production.