This is a special edition of my Sit/Start reserved solely for tonight's Panthers/Dolphins game. Sometimes the added pressure of making an early-week decision compounds the effects of basic fantasy logic (of which no such thing really exists). So lets take a team-by-team look at some of the names playing tonight.
Jake Delhomme QB: Tonight will be an interesting night for the aging Panthers QB. The Dolphins rank 27th in pass defense and are middle of the pack in INTs, but are amongst the better quarter of the league in terms of sacks. Delhomme has an opportunity tonight to take advantage of an aggressive Miami run defense and poor safety coverage unit, although I would only recommend starting him in two-QB leagues.
Jonathan Stewart & DeAngelo Williams RB: There is only one reason I list Stewart before Williams and that's because in the past few weeks, it has been Stewart that has stood out (to me at least) as the more explosive of the two RBs. Both backs are dealing with injuries, yet heading into tonight, Williams looks to continue to get the lions share of the carries.
In the past three weeks, two rushing TDs per game have gone to the same RB except that the RBs alternate each week. This week it would seem to be Williams turn for two scores, but I have to wonder if Williams is going to get more of the tough sledding against a very good Dolphins run defense. I like Stewart as the better boom/bust flex start, but Williams is a must start as a RB2 given his skill despite a rough matchup.
Steve Smith WR: OK, I'm going to make this one short and sweet. Smith should kill the Dolphins tonight. He should have 120 yards and one-plus TDs. I just don't know that the Panthers coaches have the confidence in Delhomme to call that type of game. Either way, Smith is a must-start WR2 and has the matchup in front of him to be a top-five WR this week.
Muhsin Muhammad WR: Muhammad is very likely to do what Steve Smith should do considering the Dolphins will get burned through the air tonight. I can easily see Muhammad building on his six receptions from last week (zero the two weeks before) and providing excellent PPR reception production. If you are short on WR depth or just feeling a little crazy, consider Muhammad a very risky start tonight with a limited yardage upside.
Dante Rosario TE: Let me start by saying I don't think any Carolina TE is worth starting. But Miami has struggled against TEs all season. When you start aged/inexperienced 3-4 OLBs who can't cover TEs, you place your safeties in a very difficult situation. The tandem of Yeremiah Bell and Gibril Wilson for the Dolphins has not been up to the challenge every week. I expect this week to be no different. I can't recommend starting Rosario, but I have a sneaky suspicion that he'll be talked about in fantasy land once again after tonight's game.
Chad Henne QB: The Dolphins use Henne like most teams use punters, only when they absolutely have to, and even then it's for a play at a time. I'm not sure this is entirely fair to Henne or his growth as an NFL QB. Tonight, I expect Henne to be called on more than usual because what can be more surprising then the Wildcat? Exactly, the Dolphins NOT using the Wildcat. Either way, Henne is useless in just about every league (unless you're primary starter was Russell, in which case, you should man up and forfeit the rest of the season).
Pat White QB: The other option the Dolphins have at changing things up is showing a large dose of Pat White. In my mind, plugging White into Brown's position in the Wildcat keeps Ricky Williams in his productive and comfortable position. White is a very serious threat running the ball, but he would need to complete two-to-three passes before any defense took the threat of passing down the field seriously. Pat White is not start-able, but should be monitored moving forward.
Ricky Williams RB: A no-brainer here. He is a must start is every league. Depending on your league size, he may have been on waivers, but he is surely gone by now. The short week is of some concern, but the Panthers are hurting at DE and could have trouble containing the healthy and invigorated RB.
Lex Hilliard RB: With the placement of Brown on the IR this week, a gaping hole in the Dolphins 2RB system opened up. And in reality the Dolphins have many good options available to them. How they desire to use Williams in the Wildcat could determine whether Hilliard or the rookie Kory Sheets gets the ball. That said, I think Kory Sheets fits better in almost every Wildcat situation and is the guy to own moving forward. Neither is start-able tonight.
Ten Ginn Jr WR: Unless your league scores return yardage, there is certainly no point in start Ginn. Going into the season there was critical analysis and desperate hope being heaped on the young WR. It's fair to say he has wilted under the pressure. The guy is not WR1 material, but the lack of any other WR presence in Miami is allowing defenses to treat him as such. Drop him or kick him to the curb.
Davone Bess WR: Might come as a surprise but I actually like Bess's PPR potential tonight. I wouldn't expect many yards, but the potential for seven-to-nine receptions tonight is very real if the Dolphins try to catch the Panthers off guard. Bess is a WR3/Flex in deeper leagues with the understanding there is no blowup potential here, just reception production.