Originally written on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 8/30/12

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton exceeded all expectations in his rookie season. The former Heisman Trophy winner transformed the Carolina offense into one of the league’s best last season after the 2010 version was the NFL’s worst.

Newton’s ability to rack up points with both his arm and his legs is what makes him such a special fantasy quarterback. The 6-foot-6, 245-pound former Auburn standout racked up 4,051 yards and 21 touchdowns through the air and added 706 yards and 14 more scores on the ground last season. In standard ESPN leagues, Newton’s 352 points were tied with Tom Brady for third among all players. Only Aaron Rodgers (385) and Drew Brees (380) scored more. However, he did have 19 total turnovers (17 interceptions, 2 lost fumbles), which cost him a total of 38 points.   However, the real question for fantasy owners is whether Newton can continue putting up these kinds of numbers in 2012.   There has been a wide sentiment that the Panthers triggerman will have a sophomore slump as NFL defenses begin to learn his tendencies.   I’m not buying into that one bit – especially from a fantasy standpoint.   Many people tend to overlook the fact that Newton still managed to be an elite quarterback last season with a truncated offseason. This year, he’ll have the advantage of a full offseason of preparation. Additionally, with his size, speed and athleticism – Newton simply has too much natural ability to just fade into the shadows.    

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