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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fantasy football: Start and sit for Thursday's Dolphins-Panthers game

On draft day, maybe you selected Ricky Williams as a handcuff for Ronnie Brown. Maybe you decided to take the biggest name on the board in Round 10. Maybe you were a big fan of the Mike Ditka "Ricky Is My Entire Draft" Era.

Whatever the reason, you likely were pleasantly surprised when the Dolphins running back, even with starter Ronnie Brown excelling, rushed for 558 yards and caught 18 passes for 193 yards in the first nine games. In that span, Williams scored seven touchdowns and averaged 5.3 yards per carry.

Then came word Wednesday that Brown would miss the rest of the season because of ankle and foot injuries. All of which leaves Williams as a late-round draft pick who could end up being one of the year's best bargains.

Williams will start tonight against Carolina, which ranks 25th vs. the run, and the schedule for Weeks 12-16 isn't much more strenuous -- at Buffalo, vs. New England, at Jacksonville, at Tennessee, vs. Houston.

By now, you know to start Williams every week. He is on track to rush for 1,000 yards for the first time since 2003, and last week he had his first 100-yard game on the ground since Week 10 of 2008.

The decision isn't as easy regarding the Panthers' top two running backs: DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Both are listed as questionable, although Stewart practiced in full Wednesday and should play. Williams missed practice but is still expected to play (he missed last Friday's practice with a knee injury, then rushed for 92 yards and had a catch for 30 yards two days later).

If both are active prior to kickoff, play them, even against a Dolphins defense that ranks seventh vs. the run -- a number that is deceiving because it doesn't take into account that Miami has allowed 10 rushing TDs.


Dolphins: RB Ricky Williams, K Dan Carpenter

Panthers: RB DeAngelo Williams, RB Jonathan Stewart, WR Steve Smith

Quick slants: The disappointing Smith had two touchdowns last week -- double his total from the first eight games. ... The Panthers' Williams has 1,075 total yards and seven TDs in nine games. ... Stewart has scored two touchdowns in two of his last three contests and has rushed for at least 82 yards in three of his last five. ... Carpenter is 15-for-16 on field-goal attempts, including 7-of-8 accuracy from 40 yards and beyond.


Dolphins: QB Chad Henne, WR Davone Bess, WR Greg Camarillo, WR Ted Ginn Jr., defense and special teams

Panthers: QB Jake Delhomme, WR Muhsin Muhammad, defense and special teams, K John Kasay

Quick slants: Henne is 4-2 as a starter, but he has thrown only five TD passes in that span. ... The Dolphins' top three wideouts -- Bess, Camarillo and Ginn -- have a combined one TD reception. ... The much-maligned Delhomme doesn't belong on a fantasy roster, but if you're in a (really, really) deep league, don't be tempted to play him coming off his first two-touchdown game since Week 8 of last season. ... Muhammad had six catches for 91 yards last week, but the veteran has yet to score a TD and has one game with more than 51 yards.


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