Fantasy has been defined as “Imagination, especially when extravagant and unrestrained”. Unrestrained is what many owners are hoping for this season when it comes to Carolina Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton. Can last year’s rookie question mark be this years answer? Seems likely after his first season, and with an up and coming team the sky is the limit.
[adinserter block=”2″]If you choose not to believe in countless ramblings of the so called “experts” then perhaps you want to dig some stats? In 2011, as a rookie, Newton totaled 35 touchdowns, which was 5th best amongst quarterbacks behind names like Brady, Rodgers and Brees (perhaps you’ve heard of those guys). He totaled 4,757 yards from scrimmage, which was 6th best amongst QB’s. With Newton at the helm, the Panthers finished with the number 6 offense in the NFL and 5th in points scored, drastic improvements from the showing of 2010.
Sure some of you may think it was an early season surprise, and many defenses were not ready for the Newton element. To support more facts that he can do it when it counts, in the last 4 weeks of the season, Newton managed 9 total TD’s while turning the ball over just 3 times. He had very good numbers for a rookie at a position where taking a rookie in fantasy is considered suicide. He was clearly a go-to guy at 6 foot 5 inches and 248 pounds. Calling his own number from inside the 5 yard line was always an option, as was trick plays where Newton would go out as a receiver. The guy can clearly do it all.
The Panthers have the talent in house to make him that much better in 2012 as well. Veteran WR Steve Smith returns to the fold, coming back from an excellent 2011 season and returning to fantasy super-stardom status. David Gettis, who had a good season in 2010 as a rookie but missed all of 2011 with a knee injury returns along with another young WR in Brandon LaFell. The Panthers even went out and added backfield depth with former San Diego Charger Mike Tolbert. Tolbert is not only a big back but also an excellent option in the passing game. Even the defense is expected to be better, which could equal more on field time for Newton.
Quarterbacks in the first round can sometimes equal a total mess, but one who can run and throw, is big and strong as well as plenty young can be a huge asset. Every few years the game changes, and this could be the first step in a new frontier. A QB with the running skills of Michael Vick mixed with the passing ability of just about any QB’s in the league. He is the new face of the franchise in Carolina, and the need to win and sell tickets is at its peak. Having him do all he can to light up the scoreboard is clearly at the top of head coach Ron Rivera’s wish list. This is not your dad’s Panthers, the days of smash mouth football, and 40+ run plays per game is over.
[adinserter block=”1″]Don’t get me wrong, I do believe he is a first-round-worthy player, but how early is a different story. Taking Newton first or second overall is not the top option, however if you pick 9th or 10th and can team him up with a quality RB, you have a great start. So I won’t put him in front of guys like Foster, McCoy, Rodgers or Chris Johnson just yet, but for you people who think a Matt Forte, Trent Richardson or Ryan Mathews will make a better pick, you may be aching by week 4 (then again Forte, Richardson and Mathews may also be aching by week 4, given recent history).
At the end of the day to say he is anywhere from 7th to 12th best pick is easy to predict. To test that theory is gutsy yet to ignore it can be fatal. Then again, if I was right all the time with my fantasy picks, I would be rolling in money, and having this article typed for me by a beautiful Playboy model in a bikini while downing beers and floating in my “football sized” swimming pool. Take that for what you will.
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