Assessing Cam Newton's 2013 Fantasy Draft Value

USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 Fantasy Draft kits are starting to come out and at least one pundit is calling Cam Newton over-rated.

Tristen Challe with Rant Sports says the ranking he is looking at has Newton ranked as the #3 QB to which he voices his disagreement:

Fantasy Football Quarterbacks: Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton Overrated
In the newly released NFL.com 2013 Fantasy Draft Kit, the experts that comprised the list have slotted Newton as the number three overall quarterback to take in this year’s draft. They place him under Rodgers and Brees, of course, yet ahead of the always dependable fantasy stars Brady and Manning. When you look at the draft board as your turn rolls around and see Brady, Manning and Newton available, there is absolutely no way that anyone should turn down Brady or Manning for the third year man on the Panthers. The only way to describe Newton’s projected position in this year’s fantasy draft is overrated.

Honestly I agree with him about Brady. I would hesitate to take Newton over Brady for sure, not so much with Manning. I wasn't impressed with his arm last year and I think his best fantasy days are way past him.

If the author had just stopped there I might have just moved on from this piece, but then he makes a couple other statements that seem to prove the opposite point he is trying to make.

The Panthers have limited weapons that would show Newton is sure to succeed in 2013. His options at receiver haven’t changed in 34 year old Steve Smith and fourth year man Brandon LaFell. They acquired a lackluster Domenik Hixon from the New York Giants and non factor Ted Ginn from the San Fransisco 49ers, neither of whom will pose a threat to opposing defenses. The Panthers had five picks in the 2013 draft in which they decided not to take a single player to give Newton any added weapons.

Newton essentially has the same weapons he had last season, swapping Murphy for Hixon the only real change. Plus we can expect to see the offense we ran in the 2nd half of the season when Newton rebounded and posted some really nice games. Yet somehow the same is less for this guy. He then pulls the injury card, something Newton has avoided:

When Newton enters the locker room at the end of the game, quite a few of his fantasy points that day come from his rushing abilities. Quarterbacks that showcase their running abilities tend to more often than not end up taking a visit to see the team doctor. We see Michael Vick break ribs in what seems like week after week. Robert Griffin III had his knee twisted in a direction most of us would not like to forget. Remember Daunte Culpepper‘s catastrophic knee injury from which he never recovered?

Newton has missed very little time due to injury unlike those other guys. I wouldn't call it luck either since, have you seen the guy? 6'5" 245 lbs...I mean, he is a big boy and he has proven that he can not only take a hit but he can be hard to take down. I'll never forget his rookie season when the Bears DE jumped on his back and Newton carried him. The DE was laughing about it later on the sideline as he was just as amazed. So just because these others guys got injured it means Newton is likely as well in spite of his obvious physical advantages?

Add in the fact that wouldn't the lack of weapons he pointed too above mean he would get even more carries as a runner? Also, what if the Panther defense does improve like we think it will? Wouldn't Newton get the ball even more? That would seem to portend even more fantasy value in my book.

Now if he had sited the Panthers schedule as a factor for being over-rated that would have made more sense:

NFL fantasy football: QB rankings based on schedule - NFL.com
2013 Outlook: Newton (4th), who has finished in the top four in fantasy points in each of his first two NFL seasons, will have a nice advantage in 2013 based on FPA. The talented field general will play in 11 games against opponents that surrendered 16-plus fantasy points to the position in 2012, including matchups versus the Saints (2), Buccaneers (2), Vikings and Bills. Look for Newton to come off the board in one of the first three rounds in the majority of 2013 fantasy leagues.

So while I agree Newton should not be the 3rd QB off the board, more like 4th or maybe 5th, it still puts him as a solid second round pick in my view. I actually took Newton in the 1st round of one of my leagues last year and I did regret it as I was weak at RB all season. So if I had a top 5 pick in a 12 team league I would go with one of the top RBs and then jump all over Newton in the last second, which is where you see most experts slotting him this offseason.

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