Shark Bites

Panthers WR Devin Funchess (foot) put in a full practice on Friday. He's good to go for Monday night's game against the Bucs but isn't a fantasy option. The 2nd-year wideout has just 5 catches through 4 games.

Panthers QB Cam Newton (concussion) missed practice again on Friday. He's looking like an extreme long shot to get cleared in time for Monday night's game against the Bucs. We've removed Newton and added Derek Anderson to the Week 5 QB rankings.

Panthers HC Ron Rivera said Thursday that RB Jonathan Stewart is "heading in the right direction" with his recovery from a Week 2 hamstring injury. Stewart has yet to practice this week and won't play against the Bucs on Monday night. But a Week 6 return vs. the Saints seems possible. It's worth noting, though, that Carolina has a Week 7 bye, so Stewart could be held out through that.

Panthers QB Cam Newton (concussion) remained sidelined for Thursday's practice. The fact that he wasn't able to even get in a limited session means that he still has multiple stages of the concussion protocol to pass through. He's not looking like a great bet to be cleared in time for Monday night's game against the Bucs.

Panthers QB Cam Newton (concussion) wasn't spotted during the portion of Wednesday's practice open to the media. It's an unofficial practice since Carolina doesn't play until Monday night. And the fact that Newton isn't cleared yet isn't a death knell to his Week 5 status. But fantasy owners certainly need to be lining up a backup plan. We'll update Newton's status again tomorrow.

Panthers OLB Thomas Davis left Sunday's loss to the Falcons with a hamstring injury and did not return. He was seen riding a stationary bike on the sideline, so we doubt it's too serious an injury. But we'll look for a further update on his outlook this week.

The Panthers confirmed that QB Cam Newton sustained a concussion in Sunday's loss in Atlanta. It's the 1st known concussion of his NFL career, which helps his odds of getting cleared in time for Week 5. We'll track his status throughout the coming week. He has an extra day with Carolina playing the Bucs next Monday night.

Panthers WR Devin Funchess left Sunday's game at Atlanta with a toe injury. We'll see about the severity of the injury, but Funchess has drawn only 13 targets through 4 games, with no more than 4 in any contest. He's not a fantasy factor right now anyway.

Panthers QB Cam Newton is being evaluated for a concussion after he took a big shot to the head on a 2-point conversion. We'll let you know if he passes or fails the concussion test.

Panthers DE Charles Johnson (quad) is active for today's game against the Falcons. He remains a marginal IDP option at best, though.

Panthers DE Charles Johnson is questionable for Sunday with a quad injury. He sat out Friday's practice after being limited Thursday. At this point, Johnson's not a big enough IDP producer when healthy to be worth starting through an iffy injury situation.

Panthers HC Ron Rivera on Thursday ruled out RB Jonathan Stewart (hamstring) for this weekend's game against the Falcons. The fact that he was ruled out so early in the week is a good sign that he's not close to a return. Carolina has a Week 7 bye, and it's possible Stewart is held out through then. Cameron Artis-Payne operated as Carolina's lead back last week and is the backfield's best fantasy bet this week. Atlanta has allowed 4.8 yards per carry to RBs.

The Panthers' official website calls Cameron Artis-Payne the "feature back" while Jonathan Stewart (hamstring) is sidelined. That's probably an exaggeration. Fozzy Whittaker and Mike Tolbert will also be involved. Artis-Payne averaged 12.7 touches per game with Stewart out last year. Expect similar volume in Week 3. That makes him just a RB3 or flex option against a stout Vikings defense.

The Charlotte Observer's expects Fozzy Whittaker and Cameron Artis-Payne to share the backfield for as long as Jonathan Stewart (hamstring) is out -- with Mike Tolbert also involved. “[Artis-Payne] is a stout inside runner with good vision who makes some good cuts,” HC Ron Rivera said. “Fozzy is niftier, with a little better lateral movement.” Whittaker is the preferred Week 3 fantasy play after his 100-yard outing last Sunday, but he's just a RB3 or flex option. Artis-Payne is worth stashing but shouldn't be in fantasy lineups this week.

Panthers HC Ron Rivera told reporters Monday that RB Jonathan Stewart will be out "at least a week or 2" with the hamstring injury suffered early in Sunday's win over the 49ers. His absence will leave the backfield to Fozzy Whittaker, Cameron Artis-Payne and Mike Tolbert. Whittaker took over as the lead back after Stewart exited yesterday, carrying 16 times for 100 yards and catching 3 passes for 31 more. Artis-Payne has been a healthy scratch the first 2 weeks because he doesn't contribute on special teams. He figures to have a role as long as Stewart is out, though. So will Tolbert. Whittaker will be your best fantasy bet here but shouldn't be considered more than a low-end RB2. Carolina gets a solid Vikings defense in Week 3.

Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart hurt his hamstring in the 1st quarter of Sunday's game against the 49ers. He headed off to the locker room with trainers and is considered questionable to return. Stay tuned for updates.

Update: Stewart has been ruled out.

Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (ankle) is active for today’s game against the 49ers. He was limited in practice all week, but we never heard any concern about that ankle. Get J-Stew in fantasy lineups in a dream spot.

Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (ankle) is set to play against the 49ers today, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. He was limited in practice this week, but there was never much concern about his status. "Feeling no ill effects," Rapoport adds. Stewart is a strong fantasy play in the cushy matchup.

Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (ankle) is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the 49ers. He was limited in practice all week, but we haven’t heard any concern about his status from the team or media. We’ll find out Stewart’s game-time status by noon ET on Sunday. As long as he’s active, he’ll be a strong fantasy play in the plus matchup.

Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart was limited in Wednesday's practice with an ankle issue. It doesn't sound like he's in any danger of missing this weekend's game against the 49ers. “Nope, no concern,” HC Ron Rivera said of Stewart's status. “He said he just got up in the morning and was a little bit sore. So he’s been treating it.” We'll keep an eye on J-Stew over the next few days, but keep him penciled into lineups for this week's dream matchup.


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