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6. Cam Newton, CAR (4) is a freak of nature and stands to continue putting up huge numbers, particularly if the Panthers re-tool their offensive line and even give the offense another receiving threat. After a lousy start last season Newton was able to turn it around and produce multiple (2+) passing touchdowns in 7 of his final 9 contests, adding 6 games with 250-plus yards passing and another 9 games with at least 40 yards rushing (741 total) AND/OR a rushing touchdown (8 total), boosting his Fantasy production from 17.0 Fantasy points per game to 25.3 points per game (standard format).
The Panthers want Cam to make plays from the pocket first and use his legs to create opportunities in the scrambling game 2nd. In 2012, Newton’s passer rating when lined up under center last season was 97.4 compared to Newton’s rating when operating out of the shotgun which was at 82.9. Essentially, new OC Mike Shula is planning on running more of a conventional offense that features base runs to the backs. It’s a good thing for RB Jonathan Stewart and RB DeAngelo Williams, but it could lead to deflated rushing stats for Newton. In his first 2 NFL seasons, he’s rushed 253 times for 1,447 yards and 22 touchdowns compared to RB Jonathan Stewart’s 235 carries for 1,097 yards with 5 rushing touchdowns and RB DeAngelo Williams 328 carries for 1,573 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. Combine the potential to use Newton’s goal-line prowess with the ability he has as a productive pocket passer and there’s not necessarily a lot to fear with Newton so long as he’s taken with a pick after the top elite quarterbacks such as Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are taken. Owners can expect Newton to jump off the board as early as Round 3 in the majority of all formats.