During his first two seasons in the National Football League, Cam Newton has been a dominant fantasy performer. There is no question that in terms of fantasy production, no quarterback has come in right away and produced more than the former Auburn Tiger, who took the league by storm after being selected no.1 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft.
During that magical rookie season Newton scored 366 fantasy points (3rd among QB’s), passing for 4,051 yards 21 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He also rushed for 706 yards and an NFL quarterback record 14 rushing touchdowns.
Last season, Newton was not quite as spectacular, scoring 329 fantasy points (4th among QB’s). But despite his slight decrease in production 37 points to be exact, Newton was still a consistent producer, scoring at least ten fantasy points in 15 of 16 games last season, 18 or more points in ten games and eclipsed 20 points seven times.
The main reason for the reduction in fantasy points for Newton was a decrease in rushing touchdowns, as he posted seven compared to the 14 he scored in 2011. That’s a difference of 42 fantasy points but in the end, double-digit rushing touchdowns for a quarterback is not a realistic expectation so that was to be expected. What was not expected was the stagnation of his passing numbers as he threw for less yards and touchdowns in 2012.
So what can fantasy owners expect from Newton in 2013?
Well the 6’5, 248-pound quarterback should continue to wreak havoc on defenses in 2013, despite the fact that the Panthers have done very little to upgrade their offense from last season. Newton will essentially be throwing to the same group of wide receivers as the only additions made were free agents Domenik Hixon, who caught 39 passes for 567 yards and two touchdowns for the New York Giants last season and Ted Ginn Jr, who was signed to be a returner.
Hixon will compete with the likes of Joe Adams and Armanti Edwards for the third receiver spot on the depth chart and should add a reliable third wide out to the mix that includes Steve Smith and fourth-year man Brandon LaFell. Tight end Greg Olsen, who caught 69 passes in 2012 also returns.
Therefore, Fantasy owners should feel pretty good about Newton entering the 2013 season. Currently, no quarterbacks are getting any love when it comes to draft status because the position is so deep. So Newton’s current average draft position (ADP) is the fifth round. He ranks fifth among quarterbacks and 50th overall in terms of draft position.
As far as actual fantasy production is concerned–Newton will most assuredly be a top-five fantasy quarterback again in 2013. I believe he will show greater improvement as a passer this season and project him to eclipse 5,000 total yards (4,300 passing, 700 rushing) and 30 total touchdowns (22 passing, eight rushing).
The fact Newton’s ADP is the fifth-round is a major coup for fantasy owners, who can load up on skill players in round 1-4, then land a truly elite fantasy quarterback in round 5.
Fantasy Stats are courtesy of four-downs.com