Cutler came through nicely for his owners last week, passing for 286 yards and a pair of TDs in the win over the Chiefs. He's thrown four touchdowns in his past two games and faces a Carolina pass defense that was lit up by Jeff Garcia in Week 14. If Jeff Garcia can get it done against you, then Cutler's chances are pretty good. Without a strong running game now that Peyton Hillis is done for the year, look for Cutler to throw it plenty this week and come through in a big way again for his fantasy owners.
Look who's back in the Denver starting lineup. With Hillis done for the year, Bell becomes the latest RB to start for the Broncos. He's rushed for 100 yards on 24 carries since returning to the Broncos. The Panthers give up 110.8 rushing yards a game so this isn't the most difficult matchup in the world. But given his massive failings in the past, it's difficult to trust Bell now with fantasy seasons on the line. Consider him a RB3 with mild upside this week but don't be in a rush to start him.
The Broncos are hoping to get Young back this week. The onetime Denver starter has been out since Week 10 with a groin injury. If he returns, he'll likely be in a time share with Bell but given the long layoff it's far too risky to start Young this week in any league.
Marshall returned to fantasy stud status in Week 14, catching 11 passes and a pair of scores in the win over the Chiefs. After seeing Antonio Bryant light up the Panthers for 200 receiving yards on Monday night, Marshall has to be salivating at this matchup. He's always a strong start and he has a strong chance to score again this week.
Royal had a somewhat quiet game last week. Although he caught six passes against Kansas City, they only went for 42 yards. That marked the second time in the past three he's been held under 45 receiving yards. That makes him a bit risky but there's no denying his upside. If you need a WR3 with some upside, Royal is a good place to turn this week.
Stokley is expected to play this week after suffering a heel injury in the win over the Chiefs. He's a distant fourth in the passing game's pecking order, though, and isn't worth reaching for in this playoff week.
Scheffler continues to be very active in the Denver passing game. He caught five passes last week and has 12 receptions in his past two games. The Broncos will spend a lot of time throwing the ball in this game and Scheffler is back to being a top target for Cutler. He's a fine TE option with plenty of upside this week.
Prater continues to disappoint. He scored only six points last week and has just 20 in his past three. That's a far cry from the elite numbers he was putting up earlier in the season. He's a fine upside pick because the Broncos have the ability to go off against any defense, but it's best to go with a more consistently productive option this week if you have one and keep Prater on your bench.
The Broncos continue to struggle defensively. They rank 28th in the league in total defense and are giving up 25.8 points per game. They have no chance to stop the Panthers' strong running game and will surrender plenty of points. They are a poor fantasy option.
Delhomme had another underwhelming fantasy performance in Week 14, passing for only 173 yards and a touchdown. He's been held under 180 passing yards in the past two games and despite the tasty matchup (Denver allows 231.8 passing yards a game), he's not a strong play this week. The Panthers will likely run and run and run and leave little for Delhomme to deliver. Find another option if you can.
Is there a hotter fantasy running back right now than Williams? He went off again in Week 14, gashing the Bucs for 186 yards and two TDs in the Monday night win. He has scored 11 touchdowns in his last six games and has topped 100 yards five times in that stretch. The Broncos give up 139.5 rushing yards a game. If you're not starting Williams right now, your RB depth must be insane.
Stewart got back in the fantasy limelight last week, blasting the Bucs for 115 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 15 carries. The Broncos are miserable against the run and with Stewart healthy again he should get 10-15 carries on Sunday. That will be enough to make him a strong RB3 with RB2 upside. He's a fine sleeper pick this week.
Smith was simply magnificent in Week 14 against Tampa Bay. He caught nine passes for 117 yards and a touchdown. He's topped 100 yards receiving in three straight games and will have no trouble tearing apart a sorry Denver secondary. He's a stud WR and you start him every week but you already knew that, right?
Muhammad continues to be lost in the lackluster Carolina passing game. It's all about Smith right now and there's little left for anyone else. Muhammad has only nine receptions in his past three games and has been held under 55 yards in each of them. This is a great matchup but Muhammad can't be trusted to deliver at this point. Keep him benched.
Kasay spent most of his time kicking extra points in Week 14, converting all five of his attempts. The Panthers should move the ball at will this week so Kasay has a strong chance to produce strong numbers for his owners. In smaller leagues, it's best to look for an option who's been producing better of late. But in larger leagues, Kasay isn't a bad reach if you need to dig deep.
The Panthers had all sorts of trouble defensively in Week 14 as Jeff Garcia and Antonio Bryant tore them up in the passing game. Facing Cutler and a high-powered Denver offense is not a good matchup though the Panthers should be able to slow down the Broncos' running game. But this game will feature plenty of scoring so Carolina is just a so-so option this week.