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Fantasy football Week 4: Jonathan Stewart start or sit on Sunday?

The Panthers offensive struggles have hurt Stewart's fantasy value.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers veteran running back Jonathan Stewart has not completely passed the torch to rookie Christian McCaffrey; however, the offensive struggles have put Stewart on Carolina’s back burner.

In the running game, Stewart has 45 carries for 162 yards and zero rushing touchdowns so far. He has added three receptions for 21 yards and one receiving touchdown to the Panthers offense through the first three games.

The Panthers have been forced to play comeback a lot this season. That will likely be the case again against the New England Patriots Sunday, as the Panthers will be forced to keep up with New England’s explosive offense. The Patriots passing defense is dead last in the NFL; however, the Panthers have no one to throw the ball to. Panthers QB Cam Newton does throw a lot of checkdown passes, but almost all of those targets have been to McCaffrey, not Stewart.

Fantasy impact: Circumstances are bad for Stewart in Carolina. With Newton stinking things up, everyone else on the offense suffers — Stewart perhaps more than others because opposing defenses can zero in on shutting down the Panthers rushing attack since Newton is able to create anything with his arm downfield. Stewart cannot get into the passing game either. The Panthers rookie rusher, McCaffrey, leads the team in targets, receptions, and receiving yards. The Panthers get a soft defense this week, but that will not do anything to help Stewart’s fantasy chances.

Recommendation: Sit