Originally posted on The Football Fan Spot  |  Last updated 5/27/12

QB Cam Newton (Carolina)

Cam Newton could be overdrafted based on what he did last year. He’s still a strong QB1, but I think there’s a good distance between him and the 4 quarterbacks above him on this list. Anyone who expects him to rush for 14 touchdowns again doesn’t understand football. The all time leader in CAREER rushing touchdowns by a quarterback is Steve Young, who had 43. Young never had more than 7 in any single season. That number is a fluke if I’ve ever seen one. He’ll probably run less overall to preserve his health long term. He could also see his passing numbers decrease slightly with Steve Smith aging and the possibility of a sophomore slump.

Projection: 3920 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns, 18 interceptions, 600 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns (291 pts standard/331 pts in 6 pt TD leagues)

RB Jonathan Stewart (Carolina)

Stewart and Williams both averaged 5.4 YPC last season thanks to defenses having to worry about Cam Newton, but Newton also takes carries away from them, as well as touchdowns. Newton won’t score 14 times this year so Stewart and Williams will both score more touchdowns, but other than that, their stats should remain fairly similar to what they produced last season. Stewart has more fantasy value because he’s the better pass catcher. He caught 47 passes for 413 yards last year, though it’s worth noting he had never surpassed 18 catches for 139 yards in a season before that. Williams, however, has managed just 27 combined in the last 2 seasons.

Projection: 150 carries 750 rushing yards 8 total touchdowns 37 catches 310 receiving yards (154 pts standard/191 pts PPR)

RB DeAngelo Williams (Carolina)

Copy and paste: Stewart and Williams both averaged 5.4 YPC last season thanks to defenses having to worry about Cam Newton, but Newton also takes carries away from them, as well as touchdowns. Newton won’t score 14 times this year so Stewart and Williams will both score more touchdowns, but other than that, their stats should remain fairly similar to what they produced last season. Stewart has more fantasy value because he’s the better pass catcher. He caught 47 passes for 413 yards last year, though it’s worth noting he had never surpassed 18 catches for 139 yards in a season before that. Williams, however, has managed just 27 combined in the last 2 seasons.

Projection: 160 carries 800 rushing yards 8 total touchdowns 20 catches 160 receiving yards (144 pts standard/164 pts PPR)

WR Steve Smith (Carolina)

Steve Smith had a major bounce back year in 2011 with 79 catches for 1394 yards and 7 touchdowns, but he’s now 33. Even Hall of Fame receivers tend to start declining majorly around 33-35 so he’s definitely a risk early in drafts, as good of chemistry as he has with Cam Newton.

Projection: 65 catches 1040 receiving yards 6 receiving touchdowns (140 pts standard/205 pts PPR)

WR Brandon LaFell (Carolina)

LaFell is heading into his 3rd year, a year when receivers tend to have a breakout year. LaFell is not overly talented so I don’t see a huge year for him, but he should pick up some of Steve Smith’s slack and have a career best season. He might be worth a look late in fantasy drafts.

Projection: 45 catches 710 receiving yards 4 receiving touchdowns (95 pts standard/140 pts PPR)

TE Greg Olsen (Carolina)

Olsen is another player who will help pick up some of Smith’s slack. Olsen had a decent first year in Carolina with 45 catches for 540 yards and 5 touchdowns, but should improve this year, especially with Jeremy Shockey gone.

Projection: 53 catches 650 receiving yards 6 receiving touchdowns (106 pts standard/161 pts PPR)

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