Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton took the National Football League by storm last season. We all knew what he could do as a runner but Newton wowed even more with his ability to throw, revealing all the physical attributes required to be an elite quarterback at the NFL level.
For those fantasy football owners that acquired Newton last season either through the draft or waivers, kudos to you, because you got a tremendous windfall in terms of fantasy value.
Unfortunately, Newton will not be so easily attainable this season and will likely be one of the most targeted players in fantasy football.
However, some fantasy owners may still have doubts about his capabilities because the term “sophomore slump” has been bandied about quite frequently in reference to him.
Asking whether or not the former Heisman winner can sustain his production levels from year one to year two is a valid question. But there is nothing that should lead anyone to believe Newton will not be an elite fantasy quarterback again in 2012.
For starters, Newton has a huge advantage over most quarterbacks in terms of fantasy production, simply because he does so much with his feet, as evidenced by the 709 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns (2nd in the NFL only to Eagles RB LeSean McCoy ) he compiled last season.
As a passer, Newton was equally impressive, completing 60 percent of his passes for 4,051 yards, 21 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions.
One area in which the former Auburn standout could use improvement is touchdown passes, as he averaged just 1.31 per game last season, a number that should increase in 2012 with a full offseason under his belt for the first time.
The great thing about Newton is that if he cannot get fantasy points with his arm, he gets them with his feet. In 2011, he proved to be incredibly consistent at this, rushing for at least 50 yards in eight games and scoring at least one rushing touchdown in 10; meaning he ran for 50 yards and scored a touchdown, 50 percent of the time last season.
Taking that into account, as well as the fact that Newton was held under 200 yards passing just three times in his rookie campaign, means it it is improbable that defensive coordinators will suddenly find a way to contain him.
The consistency Newton showed last season as well as the many ways he has of accumulating fantasy points, makes any talk of a sophomore slump ill-conceived. Therefore, do not hesitate to use a high pick on Newton in 2012, because with the value he brings as both a runner and passer, he is as close to a can’t miss prospect as fantasy owners can get.