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2017 fantasy storylines: Cam Newton, not a QB1?

during the game at Bank of America Stadium on November 17, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

(This week, some of the PFF Fantasy team will be offering up their forecasts for some of the biggest storylines of the 2017 season. It’s Time Machine Week.)

What if I told you that Cam Newton isn’t a QB1 in fantasy football anymore? Would you scoff at the notion or would you be open to finding out why? When sitting down to draw up headlines for the 2017 season, this was one of the first that came to mind. Most don’t realize it’s not that far-fetched, considering Newton has now finished as the QB17 in two of the last three seasons.

He did miss one game in 2016, so I’ll look at his points-per-game average, which ranked No. 14, putting him just ahead of Blake Bortles. We all know that’s not territory you want to be in, but what changed that got Newton here, or has he always been this way and we just missed it?

Fantasy points can be a very fickle thing to project year-over-year, but when you have the sample size of Newton’s career, we should be able to find trends. I’m going to examine his career today and explain why things went right for him, why things went wrong, and why he won’t get back on track in 2017.

Let’s talk about what made Newton a household name – his gaudy rushing numbers. Over his first two seasons in the league, he totaled 252 rushing attempts for 1,450 yards and 22 touchdowns. Over those two seasons, there were only 24 running backs to run for as many yards, just three with more rushing touchdowns. His 277.0 fantasy points from rushing in those two seasons made up 40 percent of his fantasy production. This was looked at as something that could have continued due to his size, but it shouldn’t have been seen that way.

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