The Carolina Panthers could very well be without No. 1 running back DeAngelo Williams this week when they take on the rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers, because Williams hasn’t practiced at all this week. According to the Charlotte Observer’s Joe Person, Williams didn’t practice today either, which means that he will most likely miss this week’s game. Since Williams is an established player in this league, there’s some hope that the Panthers could just be holding him out of practice in an effort to keep him fresh in light of the injury.
If Williams can’t play against the Buccaneers, then Jonathan Stewart would be the Panthers No. 1 back and split carries with fullback Mike Tolbert. Although both Tolbert and Stewart missed practice on Wednesday, they returned to practice yesterday and are fully expected to play this week. When all three top backs missed practice, though, the Panthers updated their emergency list by working out four running backs that day.
Williams is listed on the injury report with a quad injury, so it’s likely that he aggravated the injury in last week’s close win over the Miami Dolphins. Hopefully Williams can beat the odds and play this week, since he is still the Panthers most talented RB despite averaging just four yards per carry this season. Fantasy owners of Williams’s should strongly consider Jonathan Stewart as a potential replacement this week, if they had Williams slotted in as a starter. But for now, this looks like a game-time decision.