If you have tickets for this week's home game and play Fantasy Football, you are in for a double treat. The best two "hybrid" quarterbacks in the game will be squaring off at CenturyLink Field and you can see them in person. Coveted by Fantasy owners who always want their unique combination of passing and running skills, Russell Wilson and Carolina's Cam Newton are guys who can post Fantasy totals in unique and exciting ways. They can make their numbers soar in any given week because of their distinctive skill sets.
Newton and Wilson rank 9th and 10th in Fantasy QB scoring after five weeks on NFL.com. Newton, who has 85.86 points, has actually played four games and had a bye last week. Wilson has 81.48 points after five games. Wilson has outrushed Newton so far, 198 yards to 195, but Newton has two running TDs. These two may continue to battle it out for the honor of top rushing QB along with Colin Kaepernick, who has 218 rushing yards.
The Seahawks are familiar with how to defend rushing QBs, though, as the defense faces Wilson regularly in practices and Kaepernick twice a year. Newton is also 0-3 lifetime against the Seahawks, with only one passing TD and no rushing scores. He has averaged 34.7 rushing yards per game against them. He did throw two TD passes against the Seahawks in last year's NFC Divisional Playoff Game, but he was also intercepted twice and held to 37 rushing yards with no TDs. He also fumbled twice and lost one.
So the Seahawks defense remains a must-start this week, as Carolina's offense ranks 30th overall and 24th in average yards per game. The Seahawks will keep the score down, but will also have to work hard for their points as well. Carolina has the 10th-ranked defense in the league, so the Seahawks will have to fully earn their points on the scoreboard.
The Panthers have allowed a league-low four TD passes while intercepting eight. So Wilson, who is known for his crisp decision-making skills, will have to be very judicious again this week. No matter the opponent, though, he remains a solid Fantasy QB1 who will at least provide adequate production. If he does not see openings downfield against a sturdy secondary, Wilson will naturally take off and run and boost his Fantasy totals in that manner.
Carolina allows the least amount of Fantasy Points Per Game to opposing tight ends on NFL.com (3.15), but you cannot reserve Jimmy Graham in most cases simply based on the matchup. He has the talent and promise to break out again any time, and still has more upside going forward than many others players at a very thin Fantasy position.
The Panthers allow 19.15 FFPG on NFL.com to opposing wide receivers. That is 10th best, and CB Josh Norman is quickly becoming one of the better players at the position. But with the defense focused heavily on Graham and the running game, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Tyler Lockett do deserve consideration as bye week replacements. Baldwin and Kearse will contribute in PPR formats, while the progressing Lockett can potentially be used in larger leagues.
The Panthers defense will be honed in on the Seahawks running game because not only how outstanding it was at Cincinnati, but also due to the anticipated return of Marshawn Lynch. Thomas Rawls did a terrific job of filling in for Lynch and was a great free agent addition in Fantasy Football recently, but those who drafted Lynch in the early rounds have waited for his return to boost their weekly and overall outlooks.
The Panthers do lead the league in overall rush defense and are sixth in average yards per game allowed (92.0). Yet Lynch has proven to be matchup-proof throughout his tenure as a Seahawk, and when he is available to use in Fantasy Football, you simply cannot bench him. Playing in front of the home crowd again with the goal of getting the Seahawks back in the win column, Lynch will be highly motivated to be a crux of the offense again and may display some of his classic form this week. As Lynch can prove this week, sometimes the defensive matchup is not always a sole or primary factor to consider when making your lineup decisions.
Steven Hauschka is the fourth-best kicker on NFL.com with 49.00 Fantasy points. With the Panthers defense possibly stiffening up in the red zone a few times, it should be another very productive week for Hauschka, A minimum of two field goals should be expected.
In other games, Eli Manning should continue his quality Fantasy play against the Eagles. Jay Cutler will give you solid overall production against Detroit. Marcus Mariota is a good streaming option as he faces the Dolphins.
Frank Gore should get into the end zone at least once against the Colts. LeGarrette Blount is a nifty flex play in the same game, Chris Johnson may roll for 100 yards again vs. Pittsburgh. C.J. Anderson may have his best game of the year so far against the Browns.
Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are strong starts against the Redskins. Jarvis Landry will produce good PPR numbers vs. the Titans. Mike Wallace is a very good WR3 vs. Kansas City. Leonard Hankerson may find the end zone against the Saints.
At TE, Jacob Tamme is a very good play vs. the Saints as well. Julius Thomas should get involved in the offensive flow vs. Houston. The Bengals defense is a top start against Buffalo, and also consider the Vikings against the Chiefs.
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