Last year, I said that quarterback Cam Newton was going to be the Andrew Luck of 2015 Fantasy Football leagues.
I also said that about Ryan Tannehill, so just ignore that part.
If you remember the 2014 season, Newton was simply beat up from surgeries and a car accident. He didn’t look like himself until the end of the year, but that’s when I realized the 27-year old quarterback was going to be a bargain in 2015 drafts.
In his last three games of 2014, he scored three rushing touchdowns and averaged 65.66 rushing yards per game. He looked like himself again.
Last year, you could draft Newton in Round 10 according to FantasyFootballCalculator.com. I saw him going earlier than that in most leagues, but you could still have waited until at least Round 6 to draft him.
Now, you are going to have to spend a third-round pick if you want him on your roster.
Is Newton worth drafting so early in 2016 Fantasy Football drafts? Let’s take a look.
2015 Fantasy Football Review: Cam Newton
Last year, Newton was able to finish as the highest-scoring quarterback in Fantasy Football because of his increase in touchdown passes.
He threw 35 in 2015, which is a 94% increase from the 18 he threw in 2014.
To top that off, he was able to add 10 rushing touchdowns (the second-most of his career) to his totals. He also finished with 636 rushing yards (the third-most rushing yards of his career).
Newton did continue his trend of only recording three or fewer performances with 100 or more passing yards.
But he was able to counter any weak passing performances with his rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and an increase in passing touchdowns.
Cam Newton: 2016 Fantasy Football Weapons
When you consider how beat up this team was entering the season, it’s amazing Newton was able to accomplish anything.
After a successful rookie campaign, Kelvin Benjamin was expected to have a strong 2015. But, he tore his ACL before the season even began. That sounded devastating for Newton’s production at the beginning of the season since Benjamin had hauled in half of Newton’s touchdown passes in the previous year.
Benjamin measures in at 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, but he looks even taller than that. Newton won’t complain when he gets his giant back on the field.
Ted Gin saw a major increase in production out of necessity in 2015. He was able to turn 44 catches into 10 touchdowns, and showed off some of his playmaking abilities last year. But he also had issues with drops and wasn’t consistently reliable.
Because of his size (6-foot-4, 225 pounds), a lot of players thought Devin Funchess was going to be able to perfectly replace Benjamin. The rookie had some moments of relevancy, but he still needs time to develop.
With a crowded depth chart and recent shoulder surgery, Corey Brown may not have much time to try and improve on his 447 receiving yards and four touchdown receptions from last year.
Stephen Hill is also trying to keep a roster spot.
In terms of receptions and receiving yards, tight end Greg Olsen has had the best years of his career in the past two seasons. He’s getting older (31), but there’s no reason to believe he will slow down in 2016 Fantasy Football leagues outside of an injury.
Cam Newton 2016 Fantasy Football Outlook
Because Benjamin is back in the lineup, a lot of players will believe Newton is in for another big year.
But, how likely is it that Newton can really improve upon career highs in passing yards and passing touchdowns in 2016?
We already saw how he can be rattled from his performance in the Super Bowl, and more teams are going to try and take a page out of the Denver Broncos’ playbook to shut Newton down.
He will continue to give you 500 or more rushing yards and five-10 rushing touchdowns each season, but it’s unrealistic for him to top 35 touchdown passes.
I never like to draft quarterbacks early, so I’m not going to even look at him this season.
There’s about a 90% chance Newton finishes as a top-five quarterback this season, but he still has a lot of room to disappoint his owners.
There are quarterbacks you can draft later who could be just as productive with a cheaper price tag.
If you missed out on owning Newton last year, don’t try to make up for it by drafting him in your 2016 Fantasy Football league. I will have plenty of cheaper and just as effective recommendations as the season approaches.