Cam Newton Is the Ultimate Buy-Low Option in Fantasy Football Leagues
If you follow any members of the numberFire crew on Twitter, or any of the other assorted nerds in the fantasy football "industry" who associate with us, you've likely seen this scenario unfold before during a game.
Jay Cutler runs for 20 yards and/or a touchdown
This phenomenon has its roots in Rich Hribar's (@LordReebs) fantastic article for numberFire back in 2013 about running quarterbacks and their fantasy football upside. He was able to prove, in detail, that quarterbacks who run the football often score more fantasy points despite potential passing woes, because fantasy football's scoring system is broken.
Nothing has changed since Rich wrote his column, and running quarterbacks still score more points, especially in games during which they carry the ball more often. This is especially true for Panthers' quarterback Cam Newton.
Newton started off this season sitting out the Panthers' opener against the Buccaneers, and then playing with obvious limitations against the Lions, Steelers and Ravens. A rib injury suffered in the preseason combined with a lingering ankle injury slowed Newton down, and discouraged his fantasy football owners over the first month of this season.
And after a few solid outings, Newton crashed back to earth with a disappointing game against the Seahawks. But it's not time to give up on Cam yet. Instead, this is actually the perfect time to buy low and win your league with Newton at the quarterback position.
Cheat Codes Enabled
The whole point of the Konami Quarterback article is to exploit the disparity in points given to quarterbacks for the work they do through the air to the work they do on the ground. A quarterback who runs for 14 yards on 3rd-and-20 gains as many, if not sometimes more, points for that run than he does for a 28-yard pass that doesn't result in a touchdown.
And what makes a running quarterback so perfect for fantasy football is their volume doesn't decrease because they run the ball more often. They still touch the ball on every play, and throw the ball a decent amount, with the running points coming as an added bonus.
No quarterback embodies the Konami principles better than Newton, and this season has been a microcosm of that general trend. Here are Newton's career numbers in games with 20 or more pass attempts, broken down by rushing attempts in those games.
|20+ Attempts with…||Fantasy Points per Game|
Three of Newton's 13 career games with 0-5 rushing attempts came at the beginning of this season, helping turn fantasy owners away from the Panthers' signal-caller. Two of the 10-plus rushing attempt instances have also happened this season, with the most recent coming this week against Seattle.
And yes, Newton failed to post an impressive stat line in that game, but it was the first failure in his career on a week with that much volume. Prior to Sunday, Newton's worst fantasy output on a week with 20-plus attempts and 10-plus rushes was 18.4 points.
For his career, Newton's fantasy point production and rushing attempts on any given week lead to a correlation of 0.5, which is a medium to high correlation for a set of data. That means that, generally speaking, we can prove with statistics that Cam Newton's rushing attempts and fantasy points will follow each other up and down the scale.
Since Week 4, a 38-10 loss to Baltimore, Newton has run the ball 6, 17, 7 and 12 times. He's running more, likely due to a combination of improved health and lacking weapons at running back, and that's great news for fantasy owners.
But there's even more good news that should inspire you to go submit a trade offer for Cam Newton right now...
Cupcakes for Cam
Cam Newton and the Panthers have one of the most favorable schedules in the NFL to close out the season, at least when it comes to opponents' ability to defend the pass.
Below is a list of the remaining games for the Panthers, in order, along with their Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) rank (through Week 7) and their fantasy points allowed per game to quarterbacks.
|Team||Defensive Passing NEP Rank||QB Points Allowed Rank|
That's five games against bottom-three pass defenses according to our Net Expected Points data, along with five games against bottom-half points against defenses. The Vikings stand out as a strong opponent, but they have allowed 20-plus fantasy points four times this year, while stifling opponents in their other games.
Newton is running as often as he has in the past when he was a top fantasy option, and he's going to be running and throwing against some mediocre to bad defenses over the next two months. Everything is aligning for a fantastic fantasy finish for the Panthers' quarterback.
And now is the perfect time to make an offer for Newton in your leagues, as the person currently rostering him is probably fed up after yet another clunker of a game.
Just don't let them read this article.