Through the first two weeks of the preseason, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton struggled mightily. Unfortunately, he didn't do a whole lot better this latest outing, completing only 10 of 19 passes for 99 yards.
These struggles have caused a fair amount of consternation about Newton's fantasy value, as well as questions as to whether or not the third-year pro is actually worth consideration as a top-five fantasy quarterback.
It's a fair question, but not for some of the reasons you might think. Newton's preseason passing numbers, in and of themselves, aren't a big worry; Newton was lousy in the preseason last year. He was also lousy in the preseason the year before that.
Both years Newton went on to a top-five fantasy campaign. However, if you're looking for a reason not to draft Newton this year, consider this.
As Bleacher Report NFC South Lead Writer Knox Bardeen pointed out after Carolina's exhibition against the Philadelphia Eagles last week, new offensive coordinator Mike Shula appears to have taken many of the read-option looks out of the Panthers playbook.
It showed on Thursday, as Newton rushed only two times for 20 yards. If Newton's rushing numbers dramatically fall this year, he won't sniff the top five. In fact, he could easily finish outside the top 10.
It could be that Shula is just playing it close to the vest in the preseason. However, as a Newton owner myself in a league where mobile quarterbacks are handsomely rewarded, I will freely admit that Shula's game plans have me more than a little concerned.