Fantasy Football Rankings: Cam Newton and the 10 Best Offensive Weapons so Far
The million dollar smile of Cam Newton has been the least kept secret this season in the NFL. He was not a highly drafted player in fantasy drafts, if at all, but has become a hot commodity across the fantasy landscape following multiple weeks of producing through the air and on the ground.
As usual, fantasy football is littered with offensive weapons. Where does Cam Newton rank among the top 10 this season?
10. Drew Brees
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The recently increasing interceptions have to be concerning for any fantasy owner of Drew Brees. Over the past four weeks, Brees has thrown eight interceptions, a trend from last season that fantasy owners prayed would not be repeated.
For as concerning as the interceptions might be, Brees will continue to be a fantasy stud due to the amount of passes he attempts per game, which is sitting at 44 right now. The yards will be there in that big-play Saints offense, as he ranks second in the NFL in yards passing per game and is top five in touchdowns thrown.
As long as Brees can cut down on his interceptions, he will continue to be a top 10 fantasy player.
9. Darren McFadden
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Aside from a hiccup against Houston—a team that is in the top half of the NFL against the run—Run DMC has been a fantasy difference maker, as he has rushed for an NFL-leading 610 yards to go along with five touchdowns (four rush, one receiving) in six games.
What makes Darren McFadden an excellent fantasy option is his ability to break for a big play. He is already almost to double-digits in plays of 20 plus yards and has broken multiple plays of 40 yards or more, including a 70-yard TD run against the Jets.
It's these types of runs and receptions that can immediately change any week in fantasy football.
If you're a Run DMC fantasy owner, you would ideally like to see more receptions and reception yards, but will not argue what he has gotten you thus far in 2011.
8. Matt Forte
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I think many fantasy players can agree that Darren McFadden and Matt Forte are pretty interchangeable. I feel Forte is the better fantasy option at this point because he has now has the attention of the Chicago staff that they need to get him the ball, especially on the ground.
Since that realization three games ago, Forte has rushed for 408 yards and averaged almost five receptions per game.
We will need to see more games like the past few weeks to see Forte creep up the list of the most explosive fantasy players, but getting close to 20 points—if not more—from here on out is not out of the question with the touches he's been getting.
Forte owners can't be complaining too much, other than maybe his finding the end zone at a higher rate.
7. Calvin Johnson
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Along with Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson (also known as Megatron) is the most physically gifted receiver in the NFL. He has been a threat since his rookie season, but with a healthy Matt Stafford running the offense, Megatron has become an absolute force.
If you're in a PPR league, Johnson is top five in receptions, yards, and first in touchdown receptions. It's safe to say that he is the complete fantasy package. With the Lions other wideouts being Nate Burleson and Titus Young, don't expect Megatron's targets to diminish.
6. LeSean McCoy
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One of the few bright spots in Philly this season has been the play of LeSean McCoy. Mr. Consistency has rushed for 100 plus yards in half of Philly's games and has been held under 80 yards on the ground just once.
Even more impressive, McCoy has scored in each of the Eagles' six games this season and is second in the NFL in touchdowns with eight (six rush, two receiving).
In Philly's wide open offense, there are plenty of holes in the defense for McCoy find.
Because he's top five in rushing yards, tied for second in rushing touchdowns, and is second in the NFL in total touchdowns, McCoy has no doubt become one of the best fantasy options.
5. Wes Welker
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Wes Welker's signature out-route has been giving opposing fantasy owners fits this season. Tom Brady has been known to spread the ball out throughout his career, but almost one-third of his completions have been to Welker this season, making the Texas Tech product the best fantasy receiver to date, as he ranks first in the NFL in receptions, receiving yards, and second in receiving touchdowns.
None of that appears to be diminishing anytime soon, as Welker has posted five plus receptions in every game and 120 plus receiving yards in four of the Patriots' six games this season, which includes two 150 plus yard games and one 200 plus yard game.
There is no doubt, statistically, that Welker is the cream of the crop for receivers this season in fantasy.
4. Cam Newton
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The reigning Heisman Trophy winner has been nothing short of impressive this season. Though the Panthers sport just a 1-6 record, Newton has made them a competitive team and has also made himself one of the most sought after players in fantasy football with his versatility and presence near the goal line.
Despite leading the NFL in interceptions, Newton will always be given a chance to run the ball in at the goal line. This makes him a very, very deadly fantasy option.
With a veteran receiver like Steve Smith re-emerging, Newton becomes a viable option through the air as he throws almost 40 times per game and has thrown for 400+ yards twice and 350+ yards once. With those type of numbers and his six rushing touchdowns, good for T-2nd in the NFL, Newton not only shows that he is the Panthers franchise QB now and in the future, but also a must-have fantasy star now.
3. Fred Jackson
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The Buffalo Bills have become a very solid team this year and that is because of Fred Jackson's big year.
The 30-year-old is already halfway to last season's total in carries and is more than halfway to 1,000 yards in just six games.
Jackson has been a do-it-all type player for the Bills and fantasy owners. He has rushed for 100 plus yards in four of six games and has rushed for at least one touchdown in his last five, making him a threat for at least one touchdown each game.
Through the air, Jackson has become a safety valve for Ryan Fitzpatrick, as the two have connected for at least five catches in each of the last four games. It is only a matter of time before Jackson starts taking those in for scores.
Jackson is second in the NFL in rush yards, tied for second in rush touchdowns, top 10 in receptions among backs, and fifth in reception yards among running backs.
It's safe to say that his versatility makes him one of the most consistent fantasy players.
2. Tom Brady
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Bill Belichick has let Tom Brady loose this season throwing the ball. In 2010, Brady attempted just over 30 passes per game. This year has been a different story and Brady has attempted over 40 passes per game.
Brady's eight interceptions look concerning, but considering four of them were in the Patriots' loss to Buffalo, I wouldn't expect to see this to become a trend. There is no doubt that he is a top fantasy option that leads the NFL in passing yards and is second in touchdown passes.
There's not much that needs to be said about Brady. He's been consistent over the course of his career and any fantasy owner can expect much of the same this year as he is on pace for 40 touchdowns.
1. Aaron Rodgers
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The reigning Super Bowl MVP, Aaron Rodgers, is not only solidifying himself as a front-runner in the MVP race, but is also making a zero doubt case as this year's most explosive and top fantasy option.
Green Bay has no problem spreading the field out, and when they do, Rodgers has plenty of options among the dangerous receiving corps. With his ability as a quarterback and the skill position players that he can rely on, this is why Rodgers stakes his claim as the top fantasy player and the most explosive.
Rodgers does not turn the ball over, as he has thrown just three interceptions to go along with a league-leading 17 touchdowns through the air. He also finds himself behind Tom Brady in passing yards, but also can put up points on the ground as he has two rushing touchdowns this season and is one pace for at least five. (But he would not surprise anyone if he went for more.)
In every league, Rodgers has the most fantasy points by a considerable margin, and with the way him and the Packers are playing, I don't see that changing anytime soon.