Cameron Artis-Payne, the rookie out of Auburn, has been inactive the past two games and hasn’t played in three straight. His only carry since getting eight carries for 25 yards in an October 4 win at Tampa Bay was the one carry he had for no yards in the Sunday night game against Philadelphia. He got that because Stewart asked for a break.
The Panthers want to get Artis-Payne experience under fire, but he’s behind Stewart, Fozzy Whittaker and Mike Tolbert. That Stewart has been durable and is valuable in terms of blocking as well as running has made it tough to get him off the field. Even Tolbert's carries are way down. But to assure Stewart is fresh for the playoffs (assuming there is not a major collapse), I look for Artis-Payne to get more involved once the Panthers lock down a playoff spot.
With a three-game lead over Atlanta in the NFC South, that could happen over the next three games if Carolina continues to win, the story said. Coach Ron Rivera has said several times that he wants to get Artis-Payne more reps and give Stewart a break. Stewart has five straight games with 20 or more carries, the story added. Owners doing the math may now notice Stewart's workload dropping could be during fantasy playoff time, so this is certainly something to monitor.