Cam Newton: Why There Is Major Cause for Concern in Fantasy Football

Jamal Collier@@JCollierDAnalyst IIISeptember 28, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 16:   Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers tightens down his helmet before their game against the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

In fantasy football circles, the Carolina PanthersCam Newton is already being outshined by the guy who was frequently dubbed “the next Cam Newton”.

Rookie Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins looks poised to take the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award (after three weeks). His statistics have been better to this point of the season than his potential predecessor.

If you’re a Cam Newton fantasy owner, do you have cause for concern? He is, after all, tied for just 14th among fantasy quarterbacks. That’s not good for a guy who was universally drafted as a top-five option.

Newton has 798 passing yards on the season and has thrown for just two touchdowns.

That’s compared to six turnovers (five picks, one fumble) in three games. That’s really not good.

He’s still getting his trademark rushing attempts. Newton has run the ball at least five times in every game.

But in two out of the three, he hasn’t topped one yard per carry.

Nonetheless, he has scored two rushing touchdowns.

All signs point toward a sophomore slump. Newton’s only dynamic sophomore performance was against a New Orleans Saints team that has failed to stop anyone on the season.

Newton’s average fantasy points figure outside of the New Orleans game (in which he scored more than half of his points to date) is 10.5.

That’s barely better than the Cleveland Browns’ Brandon Weeden.

Weeden scored negative-two points in Week 1.

You’re not looking for a matchup play with your top-five quarterback.

So, let’s compare Newton’s performances in his other matchups (at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and home with the New York Giants) to the other QBs that have faced those teams.

Against the Bucs in Week 1, Newton reached the 300-yard passing plateau, tossing for 303 and one touchdown. But he threw two picks and ran for a pedestrian four yards on five carries.

By comparison, Tampa Bay had a meltdown in Week 2, allowing 510 passing yards and three touchdowns to Eli Manning. Manning also turned the ball over three times, however.

In Week 3, the Bucs gave up 283 yards to Tony Romo. Romo did not throw a touchdown and the Bucs had three takeaways from him, as well.

That’s an average of 396.5 yards and 1.5 touchdowns while taking the ball over three times a game.

Because of the inconsistency with which the Bucs gave up those touchdowns, I’d say Newton did fine with that matchup. The Bucs are tough this year.

Newton’s most recent opponent (the Giants) has also played Tony Romo. New York allowed 307 yards and three touchdowns in Week 1 while picking the ball off just once. In Week 2, they gave up a pair of touchdowns to Josh Freeman in addition to 243 passing yards and two picks.

Newton threw for 288 yards and zero touchdowns while turning the ball over three times at home on Thursday night in Week 3.

Is the Giants defense getting better? Or is Newton himself struggling?

As a fantasy quarterback, I’m inclined to think the latter is the case. But the biggest issue isn’t the sophomore QB’s passing woes; it’s the fact that he isn’t moving the football on the ground.

That was Newton’s greatest fantasy asset in 2011.

In Week 4, the Carolina passer will face off against his divisional rival Atlanta Falcons, who have struggled to stop the run.

During his phenomenal rookie season, Newton ran 14 times (seven in each game) for 83 yards and a touchdown. He’s going to need that ground production if his passing statistics against the Falcons continue.

Newton has thrown two touchdowns and five interceptions against the Falcons in his career. He has zero touchdown passes at Atlanta, but that is where his rushing score took place.

If he can’t get it going in Week 4, it might be time to bail on Newton. In Week 5, he’ll see the Seahawks—who made Aaron Rodgers look like Alex Smith—and will be on a bye in Week 6.

He’ll return to see the Dallas Cowboys at home followed by a date at Soldier Field with the Chicago Bears. It’s not going to get easier anytime soon.

And if it does, it still might be too late for your fantasy team. 



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