Cam Newton, QB Carolina Panthers

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Sunday, August 2, 2015, 9:19am

ESPN - [Full Article]

Quarterback Cam Newton is setting the bar high for the Carolina Panthers' offense this season.

"Our main goal now is to become the No. 1 offense in the league," Newton told ESPN.com. "And I'm not just blowing smoke when I said that."

The Panthers ranked 16th in the NFL in total offense last season with 346.6 yards a game despite an injury-plagued offensive line and a completely rebuilt wide receiving corps.

Newton missed two starts, the opener with fractured ribs and a December game with broken bones in his lower back suffered in a car crash. He also was limited as a runner in the first five-and-a-half games after undergoing offseason ankle surgery.

But Newton believes he understands the game better than ever. Because of upgrades at wide receiver and on the offensive line, the potential is there to be No. 1.

"We have endless potential, but that hasn't done anything for anybody in this league," Newton said.

Fantasy Impact:

The story went on to say since arriving at Carolina as the first pick of the 2011 draft, the Panthers have been ranked no higher than seventh in total offense. That was during Newton's rookie season. Carolina ranked 26th in 2013 when it went 12-4 and Newton went to the Pro Bowl. The story went on to say Newton showed his improved knowledge of the game with a play coach Ron Rivera noted after Friday night's practice. The fifth-year player suckered the defense in, then ran a naked bootleg and went over the top with a deep pass to Jerricho Cotchery. There are a lot of impressive offenses in the league, but with improvement at the WR position, a very good TE in Greg Olsen and Jonathan Stewart at RB, the potential is certainly there to at least finish among the leaders in overall offense.

Scouting Report

Cam Newton had a rough season in 2014. While the Panthers were able to back into a playoff spot and beat a devastatingly injured Cardinals team to advance to the second round, Cam struggled with injuries and protection issues all year. He still managed to finish the year with over 3,000 yards passing and 539 yards rushing, adding in 23 total touchdowns, which made him a solid fantasy option despite starting only 14 games.

Fantasy Upside
While Cam hardly ran the ball early in the season, as he got a little healthier, we started to see the old Cam Newton down the stretch. He averaged over 50 yards rushing per game in his last five starts, and the Panthers finished the season 3-2 to sneak into the playoffs. Cam has a new WR in Devin Funchess from the draft, will benefit from a healthy Jonathan Stewart in the backfield and is entering the season healthier than he was a year ago. All of this points toward the positive when evaluating his fantasy potential for 2015.

Fantasy Downside
There is always going to be downside with a quarterback who takes a lot of hits, and while his running ability and his huge stature make him an excellent fantasy option when he’s on the field, these traits are the same things that subject him to excessive hits that could limit his long term durability. Additionally, he has arguably one of the worst offensive lines in football and has never excelled at throwing a consistently accurate football.

Bottom Line
Cam is a top ten fantasy quarterback entering this season. While there are still questions about his game and his supporting cast, all indications are that the team around him is better now than it was a year ago, and that he’s healthier entering this season than he was in 2014. This should lead fantasy owners to think they’re more likely to see the late season version of the former Auburn standout than the early season player who only had 14 rushing attempts in his first four starts. Fantasy owners may get a steal with Cam as they pluck him up after the elite guys are off the board.

2015 Strength of Schedule - CAR
W1W2W3W4W5W6W7W8W9W10W11W12W13W14W15W16W17
17
@JAX
12
HOU
28
NO
16
@TB
BYE1
@SEA
29
PHI
21
IND
14
GB
22
@TEN
32
WAS
18
@DAL
28
@NO
20
ATL
26
@NYG
20
@ATL
16
TB

Schedule difficulty based on schedule-adjusted, positional defensive ranking. Top DEF = 1, bottom DEF = 32.

2014 Game Stats
WkOppCompAttPaYdsPaTDIntYPAYPCRuAttYdsTDFumYPRSnaps%
1TB--------------
2DET2234281108.2612.77419004.7567/67100%
3PIT2435250107.1410.4227013.5055/6289%
4BAL1425197107.8814.0727003.5055/6683%
5CHI1935255217.2913.4269011.5066/66100%
6CIN2946284216.179.7917107106.2984/84100%
7GB1731205116.6112.06741005.8658/6984%
8SEA1222171017.7714.251224012.0060/60100%
9NO1028151015.3915.10743116.1457/57100%
10PHI2540306237.6512.2426013.0082/82100%
11ATL2337292227.8912.70530006.0066/66100%
12BYE--------------
13MIN1835194115.5410.78949005.4474/74100%
14NO2133226306.8510.761283106.9271/7496%
15TB--------------
16CLE1831201116.4811.171263105.2579/79100%
17ATL1016114107.1211.40651108.5053/53100%
Totals262448312718126.9811.94103539555.23927/95997%

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