NFL Quick Hits: Panthers still waiting on Newton

BY foxsports • October 7, 2016

Panthers QB Cam Newton (concussion) missed another practice on Thursday. The Charlotte Observer reports that Newton is "expected to miss" Monday's game against the Bucs, while Panthers head coach Ron Rivera was non-committal on Thursday, saying, "We will do exactly as the protocol tells us and the doctors and experts tell us." Concussion recovery is difficult to predict, and we might not know Newton's status until Saturday.

There is a silver lining here for the Panthers, and for fantasy owners. Derek Anderson started two games in place of Newton in 2014, with both coming against the Bucs. Anderson completed 66 percent of his passes for 507 yards and three touchdowns in those games, and here's how his top two receivers performed:

I wouldn't be eager to have Anderson in a fantasy lineup this week, but owners of Olsen and Benjamin probably shouldn't panic.

In other news ...

The Panthers might also be without RB Jonathan Stewart (hamstring), OT Michael Oher (concussion) and CB James Bradberry (turf toe). Bradberry's potential absence is more significant than you'd think, as the rookie is Carolina's best corner. Mike Evans' owners should be drooling.

Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (knee) "remains a longshot to play Sunday," per the Dallas Morning News. The Cowboys are uncertain about the status of K Dan Bailey, who's been experiencing back soreness.

Don't forget your byes: The Jaguars, Saints, Chiefs and Seahawks are off.

On Wednesday, Pats TE Rob Gronkowski said, "Hopefully this week, it's go time." We hope so too, Gronk. If you catch a TD pass, your fantasy owners might stop yelling at you in the grocery store. Heck, you've got Tom Brady back! Get on the scoreboard!

Vikings WR Stefon Diggs (groin) missed another practice on Thursday, but head coach Mike Zimmer doesn't seem too worried, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The Palm Beach Post says that "a gameplan built around 30 touches for (Jay) Ajayi and Kenyan Drake makes great sense" for the Dolphins this week. Head coach Adam Gase said that his RB rotation will be shorter, so this plan makes sense here as well. Ajayi - whom the Post reports has seemed "focused, committed and driven" since his Week 1 benching - is owned in 43.3 percent of leagues. Drake is 3.1 percent owned. I've got Ajayi at RB30, but that might be conservative.

The Raiders hope that RB Latavius Murray (toe) will play Sunday, but some reports have labeled him as doubtful. If Murray can't go, look for a timeshare between DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard. Washington has 29 touches to Richard's 22 so far, but Richard has a 54-48 edge in snaps, and we can't forget Washington's key fourth-quarter fumble last week. This split could be close to even, but I prefer Washington by just a little bit.

Jets WR Eric Decker hasn't officially been ruled out for Week 5, but admits that his season is in jeopardy. Don't expect to see Decker again for awhile, if at all.

What did we learn from Thursday's Cardinals-49ers game, besides the fact that David Johnson is awesome? Probably not much, since it's hard to judge the non-Fitz Cardinal WRs on a game in which Drew Stanton was throwing the passes. 49ers WR Jeremy Kerley is getting difficult to ignore after going 8-102-1 on 14 targets. Kerley won't be that good every week, but he's rosterable, and owned in just 2.2 percent of leagues.

After hurting his back in practice on Monday, Bengals TE Tyler Eifert is "unlikely" to make his 2016 debut against the Cowboys.

Bucs RB Charles Sims (knee) hasn't practiced this week, and his status for Monday night is uncertain. Grabbing Jacquizz Rodgers as Week 5 Sims insurance might not be a bad idea. The Bucs are already frustrated with their run game, so Rodgers might get an increased workload even if Sims plays. Rodgers is more of a fantasy Hail Mary than an ideal option, though.

Chargers TE Antonio Gates (hamstring) was limited in Thursday's practice, and his status for Sunday is up in the air. The Chargers will also be without CB Jason Verrett, who tore his ACL in Week 4. There will be virtually nothing impeding the Raiders' pass offense from a big day.

Giants RB Rashad Jennings (thumb) was again limited in practice, and seems to be truly a 50-50 proposition. Whether Jennings or Orleans Darkwa runs Sunday night, it'll be against a Packers' D that's allowing 1.8 yards per carry. No, thanks.

In other Giants-Packers news, Pack CB Sam Shields (concussion) will miss another game. This is the OBJ breakout, right?

Lions TE Eric Ebron (ankle, knee) is not expected to play against the Eagles, who have allowed more points to opposing fantasy tight ends (15.9 FPPG) than any other team. That doesn't mean you should reasonably consider backups Cole Wick or Clay Harbor.

We've been getting some Eddie Royal questions over the past few days, but he didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday due to a calf injury. Stay tuned.

Rams WR Kenny Britt (thigh) hasn't practiced this week, but he played through the same injury against the Cardinals, according to the Los Angeles Times. Britt ranks 19th among wide receivers with 281 yards, and T-29 with 18 receptions. Better than you thought, right?

Broncos QB Trevor Siemian (shoulder) "threw the ball fine" in Thursday's practice, according to head coach Gary Kubiak. He's on track to play against the Falcons.

Good luck in Week 5!

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