Cam Newton Fantasy 2013
If you’ve even skimmed a fantasy article in the last three months, odds are you’ve been told the quarterback position is “deep” this year. That’s probably the first or second bit of draft advice in any expert’s wheelhouse right now. “QB is deep” and “RB is thin” are pretty interchangeable there. But how early is too early to draft a quarterback? When is it too late? When is it just right?
I’m not going to sit here and say you have to make the move for a quarterback in this round or that round. Every league is different. Every draft plays out a different way. There’s never going to be a clear cut strategy that works in fantasy. Last year, you could have waited until the fifth round to draft your first running back (Doug Martin), the thirteenth to grab your second (Alfred Morris), and still won your league. That’s just fantasy football. There’s always going to be an element of luck. With that said, I’m starting to believe there is one quarterback that should definitely be apart of your draft strategy. A player who the fantasy stars seem to be aligning for in 2013. His name is Cam Newton.
Remember when we all thought Cam Newton had been cursed by the sophomore slump? That he was no different from any other rookie sensation turned second year fantasy bust of the past? Well, five sensational performances later, he became a top 5 fantasy quarterback in standard scoring leagues. Go figure. Fantasy owners that were one bad week away from elimination, kicking themselves for believing in Cam, found themselves fighting for fantasy championships in Week 16.
Last year, the general consensus of most analysts was to draft Newton in the early second round. This year, Cam’s draft stock has fallen all the way down to the fifth round of most 10-team leagues. That’s pretty great value for a guy whose ceiling is #1 overall. That’s right, I said it: #1 overall.
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Cam’s numbers aren’t as pretty as Aaron or Drew’s, but they are almost just as effective. What he lacks in passing precision, he makes up for on the ground. In fantasy, that takes him a long way. The six points Cam picks up for rushing touchdowns is a nice little bonus in 4-point QB touchdown leagues as well.
Ceiling aside, Cam should still be a lock to finish in the top 5 (if healthy). Which means landing him in the fifth is almost unbeatable value at quarterback. Some might argue Matt Ryan is the better play here, but I have to disagree. Ryan played a near perfect season in 2012 and still finished 20 points behind Newton in standard scoring leagues. I can’t imagine Matt Ryan’s ceiling is much higher. Consider what it took for Ryan to put up the numbers he did. Tony Gonzalez turned the clock back five years en route to a remarkable season. Michael Turner was a complete non-factor in the running game. All of the pieces fell into place for Ryan to ascend to the next level in fantasy. It is highly unlikely Gonzalez will replicate his 2012 numbers and it is highly likely Steven Jackson will be productive in the run game and vulture a lot of touchdowns. Consider the fact Atlanta will often be playing with a lead as well, and it just feels like we’ve seen the best of Ryan already, or close to it.
Cam showed us his best stuff in the first half of 2011 and the second half of 2012. If he can string two great halves together, the upside is colossal. And who’s to say we’ve even seen the best of Cam yet? We really don’t know. Cam may fall into the same fantasy class as the likes of Matt Ryan and Tom Brady on any expert’s draft board, but his ceiling is a class above. In fact, his ceiling may be in a class of its own.
This season presents a rare opportunity for fantasy owners to grab elite-level players at almost every position in the same draft. Grab one of the top running backs in the first round. Grab Jimmy Graham or an elite wide receiver in the second. Look for the best available RB/WR in the third. And start to think about nabbing Cam in the fourth.
Rodgers, Brees and Manning will be the first quarterbacks you see on your draft board, but Newton should be the first in your draft queue. This guy is worth the reach. He’s got #1 overall potential and he’s available as late as the fifth round. Reach for Cam and you’re potentially starting him, Jamaal Charles, Demaryius Thomas and Jimmy Graham in Week 1. As opposed to taking a chance on a running back like David Wilson or Monte Ball and landing a quarterback like Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick a round or two later. Quarterbacks with upside. But quarterbacks you don’t have supreme confidence in. I’d rather walk away from the war room knowing I’ve got sure-fire consistent performers, than be on my knees praying the guys I took a chance on come through.
Cam has been a winner on every level. The fantasy level is no different.
Don’t miss out on Superman in 2013. See if 2012’s Most Accurate Fantasy Expert, Jody Smith, agrees.