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Fantasy football start/sit, Week 9: What to do with Jonathan Stewart

Stewart looks out of gas in his age-30 season. We break down the fantasy implications.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There are several reasons why the Carolina Panthers’ running game is struggling this season — a bad offensive line chief among them — but some blame has to be placed on Jonathan Stewart, who’s spent most of the season smashing into brick walls and looks older than ever at age 30.

Through eight games, Stewart has carried the ball 110 times for just 329 yards, averaging a career-low 3.0 yards per carry. He also has only two touchdowns on the year and did not score between Week 1 and Week 8. Despite the presence of rookie Christian McCaffrey, Stewart is still the Panthers’ lead back, but he simply hasn’t been getting it done so far.

Fantasy impact: Stewart’s main fantasy appeal lies in his theoretical goal-line usage, but given the low amount of touchdowns, he hasn’t even been doing that this season. This makes him an extremely risky use in standard 12-team leagues where he can tank your starting lineup if he doesn’t push the pile in short-yardage situations.

The Panthers figure to double down on the run game after trading away Kelvin Benjamin, but Stewart hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt so far. The Atlanta Falcons are allowing the 10th-most fantasy points to running backs, making Stewart an absolute last-gasp play for fantasy owners in a bye-week crunch.

Recommendation: Start if you’re extremely desperate.