The Carolina Panthers have officially declared running back Jonathan Stewart as inactive, meaning that DeAngelo Williams will once again serve as the starting running back in Week 16 against the Oakland Raiders. Stewart was expected to miss this game, although the team was holding out some hope that he would be able to play in a limited capacity.
In the end, Carolina felt as if the risks outweighed the rewards in playing Stewart in a game with absolutely no playoff implications. Williams has been playing rather well in Stewart’s absence over the past two weeks, and could continue to do so against a porous Raiders’ defense on Sunday.
If you have Williams on your fantasy football team, it is good news that Stewart is not going to suit up for this week’s contest. That does not necessarily mean that he is a must-start running back for your Week 16 matchup, which is either in the semi-finals or the championship round, but rather that he is a safer play than if he were to split carries and time in the backfield with Stewart.
Over the past two games, with Stewart relegated to a spectator role, Williams has improved his play in a drastic fashion. While he has not scored on the ground in either of the past two weeks, Williams has run the ball well while scoring on receiving touchdowns in each of the past two games.
Aside from worrying about Cam Newton vulturing any short yardage or goal line touchdowns from Williams, he is a decent play against the Raiders, although, due to some always possible questionable play calling, Newton remains the only must-start on the Panthers.