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NFL Fantasy Football Predictions: Cardinals Vs. Panthers Provide Intriguing Options

A look at how to play in your fantasy football playoff matchup from this week's Cards-Panthers game

While the Arizona Cardinals-Carolina Panthers matchup might not have playoff implications for the NFL, in fantasy football there are some intriguing options. Both the Cards and Panthers have solid running back options in the Week 14 games. Carolina gives up 132 rushing yards per game and Arizona ups that with an embarrassing 143 allowed per game. Not only do the Cardinals and Panthers give up lots of rushing yards, but they also give up tons of rushing TD, Arizona ranked 30th with allowed and the Panthers ranked 31st with 17 allowed.

Last week Tim Hightower finally might have established himself as the No. 1 back for the Cardinals with 18 carries, 142 yards and two touchdowns. The only part I am scared of with Hightower is he did most of his damage after he once again put the ball in the ground. He has four fumbles on the season and Beanie Wells should be healthy this week. If Hightower fumbles he might not get back on the field. 

Jonathan Stewart had similar break out game for the Panthers as he rushed for 18 carries on 133 yards against the Atlanta Falcons. His average on the season however, is just 48 yards on 11 carries per game.

The game features two rookie quarterbacks in John Skelton and Jimmy Clausen which makes touching anyone involved in the pass game a risky proposition. There is a little bit more upside for the Cardinals wide receivers because Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt continues to show a propensity to throw the football no matter who is under center.

Last week Skelton threw 37 passes. If you need a WR, Larry Fitzgerald is an option even though it isn't a great one.  He is the only WR from either team I would consider playing even though I would prefer not to. Steve Smith leads the Panthers with 41 catches for 515 total yards but only had two catches (one just three targets) in his last game which prompted him to call out his quarterback Jimmy Clausen. 

"He has a lot to learn. He ain't at Notre Dame anymore that's for sure," Smith said.

The Cards defense forced six turnovers last week against a miserable Denver Broncos team. By law of averages I would be shocked if they came close to that number again, but the Redbirds D isn't a terrible play. They are always a threat for a special teams touchdown and do have 25 takeaways on the year.