Saying Cam Newton has been a fantasy beast the last couple of seasons is like saying Rick Ross eats too much — it’s just the truth. For those of you that haven’t seen a single sports headline in the last 24 hours and have been living under a rock, Cam Newton underwent ankle surgery Wednesday.
Is the surgery extreme or concerning? Not particularly.
However, everyone’s favorite dual-threat quarterback will be out of commission for an estimated four months. This is concerning because Cam’s practice time before the start of the regular season will be severely limited compared to the rest of the league. He’ll have more time to prepare than the Freeman-to-Minnesota disaster last year, but he still won’t have much. This is especially troubling because Cam (and his team) has a history of starting the season off extremely slowly.
Each season, Newton starts the first 3-4 games as a fantasy dud; panic sets in. Newton’s fantasy owners bench him or place him on the trade block and all hell breaks loose. From there, Newton has 12 games straight of incredible fantasy excellence. You’d think people would learn.
However, if he doesn’t receive the practice time he normally gets, expect Cam’s warm up time to increase dramatically. Say, around seven or eight games. Is half a season of terrible playing worth the high draft position of this “elite” quarterback? I’d say no. Still don’t believe me? Just wait, there’s more.
Steve Smith, a 12-year Panther receiver, was released in the 2014 Free Agency. Smith has been one of the longest-running single-franchise receivers ever! With Carolina’s swift boot out the door, Smith became a Raven. That originally left Brandon LaFell as Carolina’s No. 1 wideout, except one day later the 27-year old wideout signed a one year, $9 million contract with the New England Patriots.
That leaves Newton without two of his top three receivers from a season ago.
Panther’s fans needn’t worry! Their favorite team had a plan in place and a slew of big name receivers lined up to discuss deals. Unfortunately, every single one of them signed a contract with another team before ever making it to Carolina. This may have saved the Panthers from jumping on washed up veteran Hakeem Nicks, but it still leaves them without any wide receiver talent to speak of.
Luckily, there is talk of Carolina bringing in Steelers receiver Jerricho Cotchery. However, Cotchery is debating returning to his old team. Also, to say he would be a dominant talent to beef up their receiver core is a strong exaggeration. What the team needs is a solid No. 1 receiver.
This all adds up to a giant red flag in Carolina’s offensive fantasy value for next season. I would avoid Cam like the plague unless his draft value drops significantly. I also would not touch any receiver in the mix with a ten foot pole – none of them will be able to handle a No. 1 receiver role. The only Panthers’ fantasy prospect I’d snag is their defense who happened to be incredibly dominant in the later games of the 2013 season.
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