Whether it’s injuries, bye weeks, or a hot waiver wire claim that muddles fantasy lineups, the factors which fantasy owners have to consider before hitting the submit button are always present and rarely uncomplicated. There’s only one way to combat this, and that’s parsing each game, one at a time. Here’s what needs to be considered when the Carolina Panthers take on the New Orleans Saints:
With the 1-4 Panthers needing their leader back in the lineup more than ever, fantasy owners can expect Cam Newton to have another big game on Sunday. The Saints have surrendered an average of 301 passing yards per game, and Newton’s talent and this matchup at hand ought to give his fantasy owners a boon, as well as the desperate Panthers. Newton is a high-end QB1, and he propels Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin to high-end fantasy designations as long as he is in the huddle.
Jonathan Stewart returns to the lineup after sitting three games due to a hamstring injury, although it remains to be seen what his workload will be like. It would be reasonable to expect Fozzy Whittaker and Cameron Artis-Payne to be sprinkled into the mix if Stewart isn’t 100 percent. After Stewart ran rampant over the Saints in 2015, fantasy owners can expect upside, but he should be considered a risky RB2.
With Stewart back, Artis-Payne and Whittaker may still have roles, but ones that won’t likely garner standalone fantasy value.
New Orleans Saints
The Panthers’ secondary took a step forward in Week 5, but after getting torched for 504 passing yards by the Falcons, the only direction to go was up. What remains is a vulnerable unit that Drew Brees, Brandin Cooks, and Coby Fleener should be able to exploit while playing underneath their own dome. All three need to be in lineups of all formats.
Though the Panthers’ secondary is a mess, Luke Kuechly and the rest of the front seven are anything but. The Panthers have allowed just one rushing touchdown in their last four games, and Mark Ingram could be in for tough sledding and a negative game script if the Saints have to play catchup. Ingram is a solid RB2, but downside needs to be considered.
With Willie Snead on the mend, projecting targets between him and Mike Thomas can be a dangerous game. Both have good matchups at hand, but the fantasy wealth may not trickle as far down the depth chart as fantasy owners have been accustomed to regarding the Saints. Both receivers have flex value, but should be viewed as extremely volatile for Week 6.
Brandon Coleman, Travaris Cadet and the rest of the Saints’ complementary players don’t deserve fantasy consideration.