Watching key Panthers, Patriots, Giants

Updated: October 16, 2009, 3:29 PM ET
By Eric Karabell

If you own a Carolina Panther in fantasy football, this is the week. It has to be the week. DeAngelo Williams has been a disappointment so far, going from the No. 6 spot among running backs in ESPN average live drafts to 31st in fantasy points at his position. The fall for southern Steve Smith, however, has been even more significant. He also was sixth on draft day at his position, but he's tied for 42nd at wide receiver in points. Chances are if you drafted both these fellas and have been playing them, you haven't had much success.

This week, the Panthers get to travel to Tampa Bay, which seems like the perfect elixir for success. Smith loves playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, having romped for more than 100 receiving yards in six of the past eight meetings, with only the Jake Delhomme-free 2007 season holding him back. Last season, when the Buccaneers had a solid pass defense, Smith lit them up for an average of 115 yards in two games. This season's Buccaneers haven't been able to stop anyone, yielding the sixth most points to quarterbacks in fantasy and third most to wide receivers. Smith has to go off. Forget about comparisons to the "other" Steve Smith. If he doesn't have a big game Sunday, some will start comparing him to Terrell Owens, a fellow he's tied with for fantasy points, someone I labeled as clearly living off his reputation. Nobody wants that.