Cam Newton entered the league with much fanfare as the number one draft pick in 2011. The Carolina Panthers were looking for their franchise quarterback, and Newton was their man. This topped what was an incredible year for Newton already. In one season, Newton helped win a national championship for his alma mater, and was the Heisman trophy winner. It almost was destined that the Panthers, and first year head coach Ron Rivera, would make Newton the team’s, and the league’s, number one draft pick.
Newton had the size and speed to make an immediate impact at the professional level even if through pure athleticism. At six foot, five inches tall and 248 pounds, Newton is a “big boy.” His running speed isn’t earth-shattering (4.59-forty), but his decisiveness and burst when he chooses to run is. Newton could throw the ball deceptively fast or go for the soft, touch pass. In 2010, it wasn’t the 2,854 yards passing and 30 pass touchdowns Newton tossed that impressed, but the 1,473 yards rushing and 20 rushing touchdowns that highlighted a special dimension to Newton’s game. Newton was the first of the read-option quarterbacks to enter the league, and what he brought to the table had yet to be fully appreciated.
In 2011, Newton had an immediate and favorable impact on the Panthers. Without Newton, the Panthers went 2-14 in 2010. With Newton, they went 6-10 in 2011 with Newton. Cam set rookie records for, among other things, passing yards and rushing touchdowns. Indeed, as a rookie, Newton posted impressive stats which made the Panthers and fantasy football managers happy: 4,051 yards passing, 21 pass TDs, 706 yards rushing, and 14 rush TDs. Newton was, as they say, BIG TIME!
Unfortunately, Newton couldn’t sustain the same level of production in terms of rushing scores in his second year as a pro, eight compared to fourteen. But, the Panthers came close to their first winning record in four seasons, finishing 7-9, and their fifth winning season in eighteen seasons as an NFL franchise. Despite still being productive, Newton caught much of the blame despite the defense giving up the fifth most points to their opponents. Indeed, not only has Newton’s talent been questioned, but so has his attitude or at least his maturity. Putting that to the side, so long as Newton gets it done on the gridiron, that’s all that matters.
What’s surprising is Newton’s yardage numbers (passing and rushing) could end up slightly down in 2013 from 2012. But his TD totals look to be up, and closer to the numbers posted his rookie season.
This week, Newton plays the division rival Buccaneers, who have found new life with rookie quarterback Mike Glennon under center. Back in Week 8 when these teams played, Newton had one of his best games of the season with 221 yards passing, 2 pass TDs, 50 yards rushing, 1 rushing TD, on zero interceptions. The Panthers dominated in a 31-13 victory. Since, Newton continues to play well. Besides a rough game against a tough 49ers team, Newton has had three multi-touchdown games and enough yardage, both passing and rushing, to remain a weekly top fantasy play. The Fantasy Greek is expecting more of the same with the Panthers playing at home. If you have Cam on your fantasy team, you’re starting him against a team that is generally giving up over two hundred yards passing and multiple touchdowns per game. Cam Newton is The Fantasy Greek’s fantasy football player of the week.
For more Top 5 starts at the quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, kicker, and defense/special team positions, visit TheFantasyGreek.com, “Your Second Opinion For Your Fantasy Football Instinct.”
Written By: Jim Saranteas – @TheFantasyGreek and @JimSaranteas on Twitter
Founder of the fantasy football advice site TheFantasyGreek.com
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