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Fantasy football projections, Week 12: Panthers-Raiders featuring Cam Newton, Kelvin Benjamin, Derek Carr, more

We break down the Week 12 matchup between the Carolina Panthers and the Oakland Raiders.

NFL: International Series-Houston Texans at Oakland Raiders Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Week 12 matchup between the Carolina Panthers and the Oakland Raiders features a rejuvenated defense against a high-octane offense. We've got the fantasy projections courtesy of numberFire.

Carolina Panthers

While the Panthers have won three of their last four games and the defense appears to be rejuvenated, Cam Newton’s performance has been subpar from a fantasy perspective. He has thrown for less than 230 yards three times in the past month. He also has just three touchdown passes since Week 6. While he does make up for that by calling his own number at the goal line for some rushing scores, he simply hasn’t lived up to the standard of an MVP quarterback in 2016. Maybe a game against the high-octane offense of the Oakland Raiders will inspire Newton to gun the ball down the field, but it’s unlikely. It’s hard to count on him to play above expectations right now.

The same could be said for wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin. He hasn’t had more than 86 receiving yards in a game since Week 2. He also hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 4. The good news is that the Raiders have been generous to wide receivers from a fantasy standpoint this year. It only takes one or two big plays for a player like Benjamin to rack up the points. Keep in mind however that even though Benjamin has averaged close to nine targets per game this season, he’s seen less than that number of looks in three of the last four games. Fantasy owners who start him against the Raiders must be hoping for a high-scoring game.

Oakland Raiders

A few people around the NFL are starting to sing the praises of quarterback Derek Carr. Some even think he has an outside shot at being named the MVP. He deserves all the praise that he’s getting. Not only has Carr led the Raiders to four straight wins, he’s provided fantasy owners with eight touchdown passes compared to just one interception during the winning streak. He’s proven that he can connect with receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, and now Carr has a healthy Latavius Murray to toss to out of the backfield. He should be in for another impressive performance even against a Panthers defense playing well right now.

Fantasy owners know the passing game is going to be there for the Raiders, so let’s focus in more on Murray. He’s still dealing with ankle problems and averaged 2.8 yards per carry against the Houston Texans in Week 11. It’s clear that most of his short term value will have to come via the passing game. In PPR formats that means he’s just as valuable as ever. In standard formats it means he’s going to be touchdown dependent. Murray may not reach his projected totals depending on which format your league has adopted this season.