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    Carolina Panthers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Players To Target Include Chuba Hubbard, Adam Thielen, Calvin Ridley, and Others

    Who are some of the fantasy-relevant players you should be looking to start in the Carolina Panthers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars matchup in Week 17?

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    The Carolina Panthers‘ fantasy outlook dives into the sustainability of Chuba Hubbard, while the Jacksonville Jaguars‘ preview attempts to gauge the fantasy football value of this struggling passing game.

    Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars

    • Spread: Jaguars -7
    • Total: 38
    • Panthers implied points: 15.5
    • Jaguars implied points: 22.5

    Quarterbacks

    Trevor Lawrence: His status for this game is in question as he continues to battle a laundry list of injuries. If he plays, this isn’t a terrifying matchup, and I’d prefer him over the popular streaming options that you’d be asked to decide on (Derek Carr, for example).

    I’d make alternative plans at this moment. Lawrence has looked severely compromised of late, and planning on sitting him encourages you to add depth to your roster that you feel good about. What’s the harm?

    Running Backs

    Chuba Hubbard: I never would have thought that we’d be here: ready to crown 2023 fantasy champions, and Hubbard would be working on a stretch of five straight games returning fantasy value.

    But here we are. Players like this are what makes fantasy equally frustrating and fun. On one hand, active managers who identified this as a potential volume spot are being rewarded in a significant way. On the other, a player like Hubbard allows a team that drafted poorly to overachieve by simply getting lucky with additions.

    Hubbard has at least 17 touches in all of those strong performances, and that role appears here to stay. The Panthers have no reason to throw away these final two games because the Bears have their first-round pick, so I’m expecting their offense to function this week as it has for a month now: run-centric with Hubbard being the center of their universe.

    The Panthers’ workhorse is a top-20 play for me, ranking ahead of players like Austin Ekeler and Derrick Henry, options that were considered fantasy royalty less than four months ago.

    Travis Etienne Jr.: This end to the season isn’t ideal for those of us with Etienne who thought we had a top-five RB thanks to his early season success. The Jags’ bell cow hasn’t been a top-25 running back in the majority of his games since Jacksonville’s Week 9 bye, a run that includes a season-worst RB47 finish last week against the Buccaneers.

    MORE: Fantasy RB Start/Sit Week 17

    In discussing last week specifically, the matchup and game script worked away from Etienne and contributed to a poor performance.

    I’m less worried on both of those fronts this season — Etienne should catch multiple passes this week (something he has done in every game this season) and reach 15 carries for the first time since Week 12 as long as the game follows the path we expect.

    Wide Receivers

    Adam Thielen: The veteran receiver was productive on your bench last week against the Packers with six catches for 94 yards, but his inconsistent production makes him a tough sell in a championship setting as a part of an offense that we don’t trust in any capacity.

    Over the last six games, he’s finished with positional rankings of 24, 119, 50, 29, 50, and 24.

    Personally, I’m looking for any reason to sit Thielen. Chasing the upside of Rashid Shaheed? Fine by me. Operating with the hope that K.J. Osborn’s expanded role pays off against the Packers? You have my blessing. Heck, if you’re a double-digit underdog, I don’t mind adding Jameson Williams this week and hoping that his recent uptick in usage results in a strong week.

    DJ Chark Jr.: Chark needs to be mentioned because he scored twice last week against Green Bay and likely led your waiver wire in Flex points for the week.

    He wasn’t a top-40 receiver in any of the six weeks preceding the big Week 16 performance, and that game was his first game since mid-October with even five targets. There’s simply not enough meat on this bone to consider going back to the well unless you are absolutely stuck in a deep league.

    Calvin Ridley: He really embraced the role of fantasy playoff hero by scoring a pair of touchdowns in a terrible Jacksonville game where Lawrence departed early.

    Ridley’s stock is pretty shaky, at best, but with 42 targets over his past four games, you have something to hang your hat on in starting him as your Flex player. It’s not what we thought he’d be limited to this season, but Ridley has very much been a pick-on-the-bad-team-struggle-against-the-good-teams type of fantasy asset lately.

    In the three toughest matchups since Jacksonville’s bye, he’s averaged 0.60 fantasy points per target, per the Week 17 Cheat Sheet. In the four easiest since the bye, he’s averaged 2.24.

    With the Panthers this week and the Tennessee Titans next, Ridley could be the league winner that he was labeled as this summer. I have him ranked as a low-end WR2 this week that will fall a handful of spots if Lawrence is ruled out.

    Zay Jones: The idea of Jones seeing eight-plus targets in three-straight games is nice, but with an average finish of WR38 over that stretch, what is the upside that we are realistically targeting?

    MORE: PFN’s FREE NFL Playoff Predictor

    I’m not comfortable in the third option in this passing game in a fantasy playoff setting — no matter who is under center.

    Tight Ends

    Evan Engram: In three of four games, Engram has caught nine-plus passes, as he continues to flex his muscle as a Tier 2 producer at the toughest position to fill in our game.

    I’d certainly argue that his ADP value has proven greater than that of the elite tight ends, and I fully expect him to continue to give you strong production, as we near the end of the season.

    Should You Start Travis Etienne or Saquon Barkley?

    I give the minor edge to Etienne in this spot, but part of that depends on Trevor Lawrence’s health and his ability to guide this offense. Barkley is obviously an elite talent, but we’ve seen time and time again this season just how impactful an inept offense can be.

    I have both of these backs ranked as viable starters, though I do worry about Barkley’s upside if his team is going to continue to struggle to move the ball.

    Should You Start Adam Thielen or Darius Slayton?

    Neither of these receivers offers much of a floor, so I’ll gamble on the upside of Slayton. Of course, you’re taking on a floor that is terrifyingly low, but he gives you access to a matchup-deciding ceiling, and that is enough for me to go that direction.

    Slayton’s seven catches over the past two weeks have resulted in 153 yards and a touchdown — strong per-reception production against the Saints and Eagles that I’ll risk chasing in Week 17.

    Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Setting DFS lineups? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer, Start/Sit Optimizer, and DFS Lineup Optimizer to help you make the right decision!

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