Cam F’in Newton
So you were impressed yet still skeptical after Cam Newton threw for over 400 yards against the Arizona Cardinals. Then he did it again against the Green Bay Packers and maybe you’re a believer now. But I bet there’s still part of you that’s just not sure what to make of Newton heading into Week 3.
Unfortunately for you, I expect and I assume that Newton could outplay even the loftiest projections this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. For the last few seasons, the Jags have consistently had one of the game’s worst pass defenses. Last year, they allowed 4,193 passing yards (sixth most in the NFL) and 28 scores. In total, Jacksonville allowed quarterbacks to score 21.3 fantasy points per game, seventh most in the league. In 2008 and 2009, they allowed the sixth most and seventh most fantasy points per game to QBs, respectively. We’re talking about one of the most reliably bad pass defenses in the NFL going up against a guy who apparently was given carte blanche to chuck the ball at will.
Not only is Newton playing great, but by extension, Steve Smith’s career might have rebounded as well. The days of Smith being a top tier WR seemed long gone. He hadn’t put together a solid fantasy season since 2008. Now Smith is the league’s leading receiver with 334 yards (63 more than the next receiver) and is tied for third at his position for receptions (14). Oh and by the way, he has two touchdowns.
Everyone, including myself, assumed that the Panthers would lean on their running back duo of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart to do all the dirty work. That’s why they play the games because the fantasy community couldn’t have been more wrong about this one. Stewart is actually outplaying Williams after two weeks, but not for the reason you may suspect. Stewart had eight receptions for 100 yards in Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers and we all know who was delivering those passes to him.
Newton was an afterthought even in 2-QB leagues, likely being selected towards the very tail end of the draft while the drafter muttered something to himself like, “Hm, why not? Ya never know.” Little did that drafter know he ended up taking the steal of the draft. Well, that is unless Newton falls off the wagon, right? That tiny smidgen of skepticism still resides even the most bullish Newton fan but do your best to get over it because this guy would have to be the biggest fluke the NFL has seen in years to put up 400-plus yards in two straight games, one of those performances coming against the reigning Super Bowl champs.
There will likely always be people who doubt Newton but as he’s said in interviews, those are the people that motivate him the most. With that said, there’s enough doubt out there to fuel every game of his career and then some.