The Carolina Panthers running backs haven’t always been the guys you want to start from week to week. Jonathan Stewart, their main starter, doesn’t get a bunch of the carries because he’s had to share the backfield with veteran DeAngelo Williams.
If neither Stewart or Williams are running the ball, then chances are Cam Newton is making plays with his legs. With Williams out of the picture, and Newton took some tough shots last year, where does that leave Stewart in all of this? I’ll break down what the rushing situation is looking like in North Carolina.
Teams have yet to set their depth charts on official team sites yet. This comes as no surprise since OTA’s are just now getting underway. There’s still many obstacles, such as; post June 1st roster cuts, training camps and pre-season, in which teams will have to cut down to 52 players in between their four games.
I think the Panther backfield will go: Jonathan Stewart first, Fozzy Whittaker second, Cameron-Artis Payne third, and Darrin Reaves fourth. Don’t forget about Mike Tolbert though, I think the Panthers have him officially listed him as full back, and he’ll get some close goalline carries. Nothing is concrete yet, but I think this is how things are going to shake out.
Jonathan Stewart averages about 4.6 yards per carry. In my opinion, I think he’ll get 200 carries at most for about 900 rushing yards. Even if he gains 900 yards this year, the downside to Jonathan Stewart is the fact that he doesn’t score a lot. He only scored four touchdowns this past year and one of those were a receiving touchdown. These numbers are why I have Stewart at No. 18 for listed RBs this season. He doesn’t score high enough to be in the top ten, but he’ll be top 20 back.
If your league draft is coming up soon, I wouldn’t take Stewart anything higher than No. 40 overall. Stewart will turn out to be a weak RB2, and a decent FLEX option. If your draft isn’t until late August, you’re in good shape. It would be smart to wait and see how their depth chart pans out. I think if Whittaker gets the No. 2 spot, then Stewart will get the same amount of work as he did last year. Stewart also is getting up there in age at 28 years old, and hasn’t played a full season since 2011. If he falls past No. 40 you should get good value.