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Big Fantasy Matchups in Sundays Panthers-Cards Game

Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald vs. Panthers CBs Ken Lucas and Chris Gamble

Fitzgerald is playing at a level that has to put him among the top three receivers in the league (if he’s not the top). As good as Lucas and Gamble are, Fitzgerald is the type of talent that trumps every defender. If Anquan Boldin (head) can play, the Cards will run Fitz, Q and the up-and-coming Steve Breaston at the Panthers; someone should break open. If Fitzgerald gets a crack, he could have a big day even against the No. 2-ranked pass defense. A lot depends on how much respect Carolina gives Arizona’s other receivers, depending on who they are, though.

Panthers WR Steve Smith vs. Cardinals secondary

Smith, who has six catches for 122 yards and a touchdown last week against the New Orleans Saints, has a great matchup this week. He faces the league’s No. 20 defense, a unit that has surrendered 12 passing touchdowns. In his past two games against Arizona, Smith has 18 receptions for 255 yards and three touchdowns, including a 65-yarder in each contest.

Cardinals QB Kurt Warner vs. Panthers pass defense

Warner has been great this year, but the Panthers have the league’s No. 2-ranked pass defense. The Panthers are allowing only 14.9 points per game, so don’t be surprised if they do to Warner what they did to the Saints’ Drew Brees last week. Without an outstanding running game, the Cardinals may be forced into becoming a one-dimensional team, which plays into Carolina’s hands.

Panthers OG Keydrick Vincent vs. Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett

These two know each other since Vincent played the 2007 season in Arizona. Dockett’s stats aren’t eye-popping, but he has played well this season and was an absolute beast against the Dallas Cowboys in the Cards’ last game, in Week 6. Dockett seems to get his motor revved up for games like this. Although he’s a vet, Vincent will likely need help. If that proves true, the other Cards’ D-linemen should benefit.

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