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Saturday, August 20, 2016, 9:42am
Coach Ron Rivera didn’t just say he wanted three series out of Panthers QB Cam Newton and the first-team offense. He said he wanted three "good" series. Whether that means Rivera is willing to risk the NFL MVP and other starters past that remains to be seen.
The starters typically don’t see extensive playing time until the third preseason game. Rivera didn’t expand on what he meant by "good," but you can bet he’ll want to see more out of the running game.
The Panthers rushed for only 81 yards in their preseason opener at Baltimore, and 39 of that total came from third-string quarterback Joe Webb (22) and starting wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. (17). Starting running back Jonathan Stewart didn’t play, so look for him to get a few carries. But most of the focus will be on second-year back Cameron Artis-Payne, who had only 10 yards on five carries against the Ravens.
Posted by Brandon Niles
Sunday, July 17, 2016 - 1:47pm
Cam Newton had a monster season last year, winning MVP honors and leading the Panthers to an NFC Championship. He also led the league with 45 total touchdowns scored – 35 passing and 10 rushing. Even if Cam doesn’t throw for big time yardage – he averaged only 240 passing yards per game last year – he makes up for it with huge rushing stats. He had 636 yards to go with his 10 rushing touchdowns last season and hasn’t finished with less than 539 yards on the ground in any of his five seasons as a pro. Newton also gets his top receiver back this year, as Kelvin Benjamin missed all of 2015 with a torn ACL and he should remain the focal point of the Panthers offense.
There isn’t much downside to Newton, since he tends to supplement bad passing days with rushing statistics. Cam has never been particularly accurate, and his 59.6 percent completion percentage seems unlikely to improve. His physical style of play makes him an injury risk, even though he’s only missed two games as a pro. Overall, the risk with Cam is minimal, and fantasy owners will be splitting hairs finding a reason not to draft him. He even makes his offensive line look better with his ability to extend plays, as Michael Oher showed significant improvement protecting his blind side after poor play forced him out of Tennessee.
2016 Bottom Line
Newton’s MVP season will be hard to beat, but with his dual threat ability and the return of Benjamin, he should be primed for another outstanding fantasy season. There’s no reason to think the Panthers won’t lean on him again all year, and at age 27, right in the middle of his prime, he should be considered the top quarterback in all league formats.
2016 Strength of Schedule - CAR
Schedule difficulty based on schedule-adjusted, positional defensive ranking. Top DEF = 1, bottom DEF = 32.
2015 Game Stats
|Per game||18.50||31.00||239.81||2.19||0.63||7.74||12.96||8.25||39.75||0.63||0.25||4.82||67.31/68.88||97.68% |