Fantasy Football Thursday Night Start 'Em or Sit 'Em: Giants vs. Panthers

Eric StashinSenior Writer ISeptember 20, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 16:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants plays against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a game at MetLife Stadium on September 16, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Must-Start Options

Quarterbacks: Eli Manning (NYG), Cam Newton (Car)

Running Backs: None

Wide Receivers: Victor Cruz (NYG), Steve Smith (Car)

Tight Ends: None


Options to Discuss: Wide Receivers

Rueben Randle/Ramses Barden: New York Giants

On Wednesday came the shocking news that Hakeem Nicks would be out for Thursday night’s matchup with the Carolina Panthers. While the Giants will lean on Randle and Barden to try to fill the void, the truth is that they will probably depend on Victor Cruz and Martellus Bennett that much more. 

There is too much risk involved to trust either of these receivers at this point. If you are in a bind, I would probably go with Barden, but that’s just for the desperate in the deepest of formats.

Verdict: Sit ‘Em


Brandon LaFell: Carolina Panthers

There is some risk in starting LaFell, as there is the potential he will do very little and put you in a hole early in the week. That said, we all saw the Tampa Bay Buccaneers make big play after big play against the Giants secondary just a few days ago.

With no time for them to make major adjustments and LaFell showing that he can produce (nine receptions for 155 yards and one TD through two games), the potential reward is worth the risk in deeper formats.

Verdict: Worth using as a WR3


Running Backs

Ahmad BradshawNew York Giants

He has already been ruled out, so this decision is pretty easy.

Verdict: Sit ‘Em


Andre Brown: New York Giants

He stepped in well against Tampa Bay with 90 total yards (13 carries for 71 yards and two receptions for 19 yards). It is clear that the Giants trust him more than rookie David Wilson, at least for now.

But can we say for certain that he will be the “lead” back? Would it surprise anyone if Wilson got hot early and the Giants rode him instead? While I wouldn’t count on that, this is a passing attack and Brown is no sure thing.

Verdict: FLEX option, but not more


David Wilson: New York Giants

He clearly remains in Tom Coughlin’s doghouse and, unless something changes, may get very few opportunities.

Verdict: Sit ‘Em


Jonathan Stewart: Carolina Panthers

He looked pretty good in his first appearance of the season, rushing for 51 yards on 11 carries and catching one pass for 17 yards and a touchdown. However, he apparently didn’t come out of this game unscathed. According to Joe Person (via Twitter), “RB Jonathan Stewart did not practice all week, listed as questionable. In same scenario Week 1 at Tampa Bay, Stewart did not play.”

Fantasy owners are going to want to monitor the pregame news but should ultimately be planning for using another option this week.

Verdict: More of a FLEX play, due to the injury risk

DeAngelo Williams: Carolina Panthers

He definitely looked better in Week 2, with 14 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown. However, we can’t just ignore his pitiful Week 1 performance (six carries for minus-one yard) or the potential for Stewart to be the lead back.

There’s a lot of risk here, especially since Stewart is the more dynamic player at this stage of their careers. However, if Stewart is ultimately scratched, I would be much more comfortable using him as a low-end RB2.

Verdict: FLEX play for the desperate/deepest of formats if Stewart plays; low-end RB2 potential if Stewart misses the game


Mike Tolbert: Carolina Panthers

There are only so many carries to go around, and there is no chance he gets nearly enough of them, even if Stewart doesn’t play.

Verdict: Sit ‘Em


Tight Ends

Martellus Bennett: New York Giants

Yes, Bennett has dropped some passes, but Eli Manning keeps going back to him and he has made plays. He has scored a touchdown in each game, totaling nine receptions for 112 yards and two TD.

If you use him, however, comes down to who else you have and how deep your league is. He isn’t going to score a touchdown every week, but he should be productive, especially with Nicks out. Bennett becomes that much more important.

Verdict: Now a good play in most formats.


Greg Olsen: Carolina Panthers

A popular breakout tight end leading into the season, Olsen has barely made an impact with seven receptions for 69 yards. With the Giants secondary weak on the outside, it’s easy to imagine Cam Newton taking shots down the field, instead of focusing on Olsen. There likely are far better options available at this point.

Verdict: Sit ‘Em


Make sure to check out the rest of our Week 3 rankings: