Week Seventeen Analysis:
The Falcons can't help but give up fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Even last week, when they held Colin Kaepernick to just 197 passing yards and one touchdown, they gave up his best rushing day with 51 yards and a score. And here comes fantasy football's most prolific rushing quarterback, Cam Newton. In the earlier matchup with Atlanta, Newton scored a rushing touchdown. What's more, he's scored rushing touchdowns in three straight against the Falcons, and in four of his five lifetime meetings with his divisional rival. Quarterback rushing touchdowns are always a bit fluky, but these are about as strong of trends as you'll ever see. Plus, even if Newton doesn't run one in, Atlanta has allowed multiple quarterback touchdowns in 14 of 15 games.
Week Sixteen Analysis:
Cam Newton saw these same Saints just two games ago. And the results were as pretty as Oprah's sixth toe. Only 160 yards. (I'm referring to Cam Netwon's passing yards, not the distance at which you should view Oprah's feet.) And he only threw one touchdown against these same Saints. Of course, by now you know about the Saints struggles on the road. Every loss has been on the road, and they've lost four out of the last five on the road. But don't blame the Saints defense. Even in road games, they've only allowed 1.2 touchdown passes and 232 yards. So, I'm nervous about Newton in this game, as he's repeatedly failed to produce fantasy points in tougher matchups.
Week Fifteen Analysis:
Last week was another sterling example of how Cam Newton remains a highly bankable quarterback in easy matchups, and a guy you've got to avoid in tough ones. The Saints held him to just 160 yards and one touchdown. This week's matchup looks much better. The Jets have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in five of their past six games. Matt McGloin just threw two touchdowns against the Jets. The week before Ryan Tannehilll put up 331 yards and two scores. Every opposing quarterback but one has scored against the Jets. The only fly in the ointment is that the Jets give up absolutely nothing to quarterbacks on the ground. But, with Jonathan Stewart out, that's one less guy to steal carries at the goal line.
Week Fourteen Analysis:
Cam Newton has been an elite fantasy producer for most of the past two months. He's also played an insanely favorable schedule. Since week six, he's faced the easy secondaries of the Vikings, Rams, Falcons, Patriots, Dolphins and the Bucs, twice. His only tough matchup was against the Niners, and he went completely belly up. That brings us to this week, against the Saints. It's tempting to remember Monday night's game, and assume that the Saints secondary is awful. But their full body of work suggests otherwise. The Saints rank top seven against the pass both in terms of yards and touchdowns allowed. And in home games, they give up just 204 passing yards and 1.2 passing touchdowns. This is a trickier matchup than many will believe.
Week Thirteen Analysis:
There are few things more bankable than Cam Newton in an easy matchup, and this is a particularly easy one. The Buccaneers have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in six straight games, and they've also given up three quarterback rushing touchdowns in those six games. Only one team has allowed more quarterback scores via the ground. And only two teams have allowed more passing touchdowns. Newton threw for two and ran in a score in the earlier matchup this year, confirming him as an elite start.
Week Twelve Analysis:
You know what I'm going to say: Cam Newton is great against easy opponents, and very dicey against difficult ones. Same thing every week. Well, this is a tremendously difficult one. Miami is a fantastic secondary, allowing just three passing touchdowns in the last six games. Only Drew Brees has posted a fantasy starter quality game against the Dolphins. Other quarterbacks—better passers than Newton—have been held entirely in check by Miami, including Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton and Philip Rivers last week. What's more, Miami hasn't given up a quarterback rushing touchdown all year.
Week Eleven Analysis:
If you frequent FantasyVictory, you know what I'm going to say about Cam Newton. He's great against bad opponents, and he's bad against good opponents. Case in point, last week he looked brutal against a very good Niners defense. Before that, he had gone on a tear, beating up the Vikings, Rams, Bucs, and Falcons, some of the worst defenses in the league. That's where this matchup gets tough. The Patriots secondary is usually pretty good, but they have weird letdowns, like the 400 yard games they've allowed to Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger. If we can assume that Newton isn't on the passing level of Ryan or Big Ben, the Patriots average just 210 passing yards and one passing touchdown per game. Considering the injuries to the middle of the Patriots defense, I like Newton's chances on the ground more than through the air. But overall, I'm showing caution this week.
Week Ten Analysis:
You know what you're going to get from Cam Newton's arm. 220 to 240 yards, a little under two touchdowns per game. It's pretty consistent. And, pretty underwhelming. Cam Newton's fantasy value is always measured by his rushing stats. And, for the past month, they've been pretty good, with touchdowns in three of the past four games and four of the past six games. But, I'm worried this week because San Francisco is a damn good secondary, ranked 6th in passing yards allowed, and eigth in passing touchdowns allowed. And, they're top 10 against quarterback rushing yards. Usually Newton is a great start against bad defenses, and a dicey one against good ones. This is a good one.
Week Nine Analysis:
As I've said several times this year, when Cam Newton plays an easy opponent, he's an elite fantasy point producer. He's come up big against the Bills, Giants, Vikings, and Bucs. In that same range of awfulness is the Falcons secondary. They've given up the second-most passing touchdowns per game, 2.3. Every opposing quarterback has thrown multiple touchdowns against the Falcons. And, they've allowed four passers to top 250 yards, including Mike Glennon two weeks ago. And, if you need a final reason to start Cam, note that he decimated a much better Atlanta defense last year. In those two games, he threw two touchdowns and ran in another score in both games.
Week Eight Analysis:
It's very surprising, maybe even downright shocking that Cam Newton has not topped 50 rushing yards in a game this season. That's a feat he accomplished seven times last season, but not this year. He's suddenly a pocket passer, rolling up five straight games of 200-plus yards. Last season when Newton faced these Bucs, he topped 250 yards in both contests, and while this year's Tampa squad has Darrelle Revis, they're still a miserable pass defense. Tampa has allowed over 225 yards and a touchdown pass to every quarterback they've faced this season, along with three touchdown passes apiece to Nick Foles and Matt Ryan in the last two weeks.
Week Seven Analysis:
When Cam Newton plays patsies, like the Bills, Vikings and Giants this year, he's a great fantasy producer. And, this week, he faces a very wobbly defense, the Rams. The Rams stifled an error-prone Houston passing game last week, but most of their success came against the backup, TJ Yates, after Matt Schaub got hurt. Prior to that, every opposing team had thrown for multiple touchdowns against the Rams, including the Jaguars and Cardinals. There's no reason to think Newton can't have another big game.
Week Six Analysis:
It's hard to be impressed with Cam Newton's body of work so far. He's completed less than 56% of his passes in every game since the opener, and he's failed to top 229 yards in three of four games. He went scoreless last week against a mediocre Arizona defense. Fortunately, he faces the get-well Vikings, a team that is allowing the fourth-most passing yards, and the fourth-most passing touchdowns per game. What's more, while the Vikings haven't faced a rushing quarterback this year, the two they saw last year, Russell Wilson and RG3, combined for 160 yards on the ground. And both scored three total touchdowns. The Vikings secondary exits the bye healthier, but they were bad when they were at full strength anyway.
Week Five Analysis:
It took a couple of weeks, but the Carolina coaching staff finally figured out that in order for their offense to compete, they need to have Cam Newton use his feet. It's so rhymey and Dr. Suess-like that I can't believe they didn't realize this sooner. The Panthers' Week 3 victory over the Giants was sparked by Cam's mobility, giving him the opportunity to throw for three touchdown passes and run one in. The Panthers may ask him to loosen up that arm for this week's matchup against the Cardinals though, as every opponent Arizona has faced this season has thrown the ball at least 36 times. The success rate has been high for those quarterbacks as well, as all of them except Mike Glennon have thrown multiple touchdown passes against the Cards.
Week Three Analysis:
In a season in which almost every quarterback is outplaying expectations, it's possible that the only quarterback that has given fantasy owners draft day regret is Cam Newton. It's because he's not running. And, as I've said throughout his career, if you have to rely on points from his arm, get ready for disappointment. He's only logged nine rushes this year, and most of those have not been designed runs. So, you've been stuck with the crappy production that comes with a low percentage passer without many targets. Fortunately, the Giants secondary could remedy that. They were one of last year's worst secondaries, and mostly the same personnel have returned to give up multiple passing touchdowns in both games this year.
Week Two Analysis:
Last week, I urged you to bench Cam Newton in a very difficult matchup with the Seahawks secondary. Struggling against Seattle is nothing to be ashamed of. Struggling against this week's opponent, the Bills, is a different story. Newton should have a big game. The Bills secondary is undergoing great personnel flux, and while outplayed my expectations last week against Tom Brady, they still allowed him 288 yards and 2 scores. Most importantly, Buffalo allowed a league worst six quarterback rushing touchdowns last year, and as you know, that's how Cam makes his living.
Week One Analysis:
There's plenty of reason to worry about this game for Cam Newton. First among them, Newton played these same Seahawks last year, and got put on the worst game of his career. He posted a scant 141 passing yards and 42 rushing yards, and didn't score via air or ground. Seattle was a top five pass defense last year, and they only gave up one quarterback rushing touchdown all of last year. What's more, over their last 96 games, the Seahawks have given up just three quarterback rushing touchdowns. That's crazy. 11 teams gave up 3 or more quarterback rushing touchdowns last year. Without any real changes to his receivers, the only glimmer of hope for Newton is the absence of Jonathan Stewart which removes one other goal line threat.
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I'm always nervous about relying on rushing quarterbacks. Their rushing production tends to be highly irregular, they get hurt a lot, and often times the better rushers aren't good passers. Cam Newton has been a nice anomaly. With 14 and 8 rushing touchdowns in his two NFL seasons, and 706 and 741 yards, he's been a consistent rushing threat. He hasn't missed a start. And his passing showed signs of improvement last year, although he remains just a middle-of-the-pack passer. I wish Newton had better receivers, as the aging Steve Smith and tight end Greg Olsen are about the only threats he's got. New offensive coordinator Mike Shula has been Netwon's position coach in Carolina, so I don't see any reason for concern there. At the end of the day, Newton's value comes as a runner, and as long as he's healthy, his legs should bring you plenty of points.
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