DeAngelo Williams will get the "bulk" of the carries for the Carolina Panthers throughout the first six weeks of the season, according to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Williams is one of the few healthy running backs on the roster, as Jonathan Stewart has to begin the regular season on the physically unable to perform list.
Stewart is eligible to return in Week 7 from his right ankle injury. He underwent offseason surgery and while it was thought he could be back sooner rather than later, it's not healing up as the Panthers hoped. They've had an odd situation at running back for some time, jumping between Stewart and Williams. Last season, Williams was benched prior to Stewart's injury, and Cam Newton ended up leading the team in rushing.
Rookie Kenjon Barner was thought to be a candidate to get some playing time, but he's still wearing a protective boot since spraining his ankle against the Baltimore Ravens. He's "day to day," meaning the only players in the way of Williams getting carries at this point are Tauren Poole and Armond Smith, two undrafted running backs.
Fantasy impact: Williams has shown in the past that he can be a very productive ball-carrier. Whether he's the starter or the backup to Stewart, he really only disappointed last season. Given that he's the sure-fire starter, barring injury, throughout the first six weeks of the season, he represents a very interesting boom-or-bust candidate for fantasy owners. Don't put all your eggs in the Williams basket, but he could end up being a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners.