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NFL Fantasy Football Forecast: Can Cam Newton Be Even Better in 2012?

Brian LendinoCorrespondent IIDecember 28, 2011

NFL Fantasy Football Forecast: Can Cam Newton Be Even Better in 2012?

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    In 2011, we saw Cam Newton pull one of the best rookie seasons in the history of the NFL.

    There just simply wasn't anything he couldn't do, statistically. 

    While it's clear that Newton hasn't exactly won football games in his opening season, fantasy football is blind to wins and losses in the NFL. It cares about stats, and that's all Newton's produced.

    On the season, Cam has 3,893 passing yards, 674 rushing yards and 34 total touchdowns, making him one of the most productive players in all of fantasy football.

    So can he get better?

    The answer is, of course, yes. He can get better.

    Here's why. 

He'll Minimize the Turnovers

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    If there is one knock on Cam Newton's rookie season outside of his team's record, it's his turnover numbers.

    On the season Newton turned the ball over 19 times—16 interceptions and three fumbles—and found himself committing multiple turnovers at crucial times in games. 

    As Cam continues to make strides toward becoming a mature NFL quarterback, he'll find ways to limit his turnovers. 

    In no way am I saying that they'll disappear completely, but we'll see him not force as many throws into double coverage.

    The Panthers went 6-1 in games that Newton didn't throw an interception. As soon as he limits the turnovers, his production and his teams success will increase tenfold. 

Expect the Panthers to Add Another Weapon

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    Many people wrote Steve Smith off after two consecutive below-average seasons marred with injuries, but he came back with a vengeance in 2011 and made the Pro Bowl.

    Ever since Week 1, it seemed like Smith and Newton had an instant connection, and it only grew as the season progressed. However, other than Smith, you could argue that Newton never really had another strong weapon between the 20's.

    Brandon LaFell and Legadu Naanee aren't reliable guys when you really need a catch. And while both Jeremy Shockey and Greg Olsen had good seasons at tight end, they were primarily red-zone threats.

    If the Panthers could go out and get a solid No. 2 wide receiver to play along side the aging Steve Smith, it could make Cam that much more dangerous next year. 

One Year Under His Belt

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    Conventional wisdom states that, as people mature and grow in age, they generally achieve new heights in their craft because they have more experience. 

    Cam Newton put up monstrous numbers in 2011 with limited practice time due to a lockout and while playing for a team that went 2-14 the previous season.

    The Panthers, as a team, are only going to improve from here. With that, Cam Newton will turn into a perennial Pro Bowl quarterback. 

    In 2012, I like Newton to pressure 4,300 yards passing and be in the mid-20's in terms of passing touchdowns. The amount of rushing touchdowns may not be as high as this year, but don't expect him to be running any less. 

Motivation

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    Cam Newton has always been a winner.

    So, finishing the 2011 season with a losing record isn't going to sit well with a guy of Cam's competitive nature. 

    When we first starting really seeing who Cam Newton was in 2010 at Auburn, we could tell that this kid had a good head on his shoulders and was always striving to get better. 

    Newton could be argued as a Pro-Bowl-worthy quarterback this year, but he didn't quite make the cut.

    In 2012 he'll be striving to achieve such goals. 

    I know that with Cam Newton's competitive drive and fire, that the sky is the limit for just how good this kid can be as fantasy mainstay for years to come.

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