It is not too often that you see a quarterback throw under 3,900 yards, finish with a meager 19 passing touchdowns, and still crack the top-five in every pundit’s fantasy football quarterback rankings the following year.
However, that is exactly what has happened with Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton.
The former Auburn sensation has been ranked fifth among fantasy quarterbacks on most QB lists, behind Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady. I find this extremely hard to swallow, especially since each time Newton’s name has been brought up this off-season, it has invariably been followed by the term “sophomore slump”. I never thought this would inspire people to take a player this early, but Newton has been surrounded by hype all off-season.
I think perhaps the most embarrassing oversight of Newton being considered a top-five fantasy quarterback is that this would mean that Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan is not on that list. Matty Ice threw for a career-high 4,719 yards and 32 touchdowns last season, which is much higher than Newton’s season totals. After all, wouldn’t you want to grab a player whose arrow is pointing up as opposed to one that is pointing down?
Newton finished his miserable sophomore season with 3,869 passing yards. He also threw 19 touchdowns, ran for eight more scores, and added 741 yards on the ground. Regardless, Ryan still scored six more touchdowns. The Hot-lanta quarterback also has a much better surrounding cast than Newton, so odds are Ryan will outperform him again in 2013.
It is not as if Newton even ended the season on a high note either. Newton had only one 300-yard passing performance in his last nine games, while he averaged an unimpressive 240.8 yards through the air per contest over that stretch. He did score 19 total touchdowns in that span, or 2.1 touchdowns per game, but the consistent lack of yardage hindered his weekly production. The five quarterbacks I mentioned earlier are all safer than Newton, not only because they will score more touchdowns, but also because they will consistently have more passing yards.
Newton is still a top-10 fantasy quarterback in all formats, but it is laughable to consider him a top-five option coming off the season he had in 2012.