Jake Delhomme- The Panthers are sticking with Delhomme, who hasn’t played a good game since last December, going up against a team that made him look like a 75-year old quarterback in their last meeting. What’s worse is that this year’s Cardinals defense is better. Luckily, you weren’t idiotic enough to invest 42.5 million dollars in Delhomme, so you can stay away—very far away.
DeAngelo Williams- DeAngelo is always dangerous, no matter how good the No.1 ranked Cardinals rushing defense has been playing. Still, if you have other options it is not wise to bank on stellar production this week. By the same token, what else are the Panthers going to besides run the ball?
Jonathan Stewart- Stewart may see around the same amount of touches, and like Williams could put up decent numbers. I wouldn’t count on huge stats.
Steve Smith- Smith’s production could increase even if Delhomme struggles, because Muhsin Muhammad is likely out due to a knee injury. Then again, the Cardinals will have an easier time shutting down Smith with the under-performing Dwayne Jarrett split to the opposite side.
Dwayne Jarrett- Nothing strikes less fear into a secondary than a second round draft choice that has posted 19 receptions in three years.
Gary Barnidge/Jeff King- With Dante Rosario ailing and likely sitting this one out, the Panthers three-headed TE mini-monster is down to two. Of these two, Barnidge is the most athletic and has the most speed. He has the potential to be a very sneaky play this week. I just can’t bank on Delhomme to do much of anything.
John Kasay- The Panthers are averaging 15 points per contest and Kasay is one of the last kickers you want to consider so…
Panthers Defense- The Panthers have some things going for them on defense. They are first against the pass and fourth in total yards allowed. If the Panthers win this game it will likely have to be from a great defensive effort. Yet the Cardinals weaponry is scary good. You can likely find a better option.
Kurt Warner- Kurt is playing great ball right now, but the Panthers are best against the pass, so temper your expectations. He is almost always good for 250 yards and 1-2 TDs, but the Cardinals may try to make this Beanie Wells’ game to break out, against a Panther team that is not very good in stopping the run.
Tim Hightower- It is hard to say with certainty what Hightower’s production will look like from this point forward now that the Cardinals are giving Beanie some of Hightower’s screen passes. I would consider him as a flex option this week and compare him to your other options. It is possible that as long as Hightower doesn’t fumble, he stays in the game and gets his usual amount of touches, warding off a complete Wells takeover. He does have four TDs on the year after all.
Beanie Wells- It just seems to me to be the perfect game to give Beanie a chance to breakout. He had a career high 14 carries last week and the Panthers are exploitable on the ground. These three stars should have an asterisk though; three stars for those willing to gamble. This is no lock, just a hunch.
Larry Fitzgerald- Larry is heating up and he torched the Panthers last postseason.
Anquan Boldin- Q is healthier this week than last, but as my colleague Craig Davis astutely notes, he has a high ankle sprain that won’t heal until he rests. Q doesn’t rest, which means he will be somewhat slow coming out of his breaks for awhile. Luckily, Warner is accurate and Boldin has the hands to catch most of the balls that come his way so he is still a threat.
Steve Breaston- One of the best No.3 WRs in the business.
Ben Patrick- Doesn’t touch the ball enough to consider unless you are desperate.
Neil Rackers- Quietly having a great year, and I expect the Cardinals points average to climb so he could be a top five kicker by year’s end.
Cardinals Defense- I have rolled the dice on the Cardinals defense for three years, with mixed results. Even when they used to give up a ton of big plays, they would also force a lot of turnovers so it justified owning them. I have been waiting for this moment though, when they are not only fun to watch, they are now limiting some of the big plays and starting to live up to their immense potential. This defense is young and for real. The Panthers offense is weak. A must start.