Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart can be a beast when he’s healthy – remember that 206-yard game he had against the Giants in 2009? But he hasn’t been healthy for a while now. Stewart was placed on the physically unable to perform list Tuesday, meaning he must miss Thursday’s exhibition against Pittsburgh and at least the first five games of the season.
Stewart may not play the whole year, either – there’s no certainty that five games (and one bye) worth of missed time will get him healed. If he doesn’t play at all this year – and he won’t be eligible until the Oct. 20 game against St. Louis – then DeAngelo Williams sure better not get hurt.
Those who watch Panthers practice regularly have seen Stewart, the Panthers’ second all-time leading rusher behind Williams in both yards and rush touchdowns, grimacing in pain even after slight exertion. So obviously he’s not right. He had surgery on both ankles in the offseason. He also missed the final seven games of last year with injuries.
It certainly appears that Williams will be the RB1 for the first five games and perhaps longer, with the way Stewart's recovery has seemingly stalled. Consider Williams an RB3-type with some upside. His ADP has climbed into the middle of the 6th round.