Every league has an impulsive decision maker. They’re just one of the required cast of characters/caricatures which blend together in a beautiful cornucopia of personality pontification. Yes, that’s possible and it’s a thing, and it happens when people become something entirely different on the Internet than the person they portray in their real-life existence. In every league there’s also the compulsive draft complainer who moans when someone (anyone) takes more than 15 seconds off the clock. Then there’s the guy who makes at least eight waiver claims a week, and the guy who changes his team name almost daily, because he’s hipster and super cool.
But there’s one particular creature who begs for your attention. His palms are clammy, and his hair unkempt. He wears little more than Bananas in Pajamas boxers while in his place of residence, where he hovers over his computer, which of course has your fantasy league as its home page. He reads relentlessly, and watches multiple taking head-based shows in which grown men yell clichès repeatedly, and somehow that becomes their own language complete with unlimited laughter.
They are the irrational, sometimes unhinged owner, and they want to trade you Cam Newton.
The mistake this owner makes — and it’s a trap even the most experienced fantasy managers struggle to avoid due to the sheer gluttony of information and reading that’s constantly percolating — is using reality to judge fantasy. In truth, there often isn’t a vast difference between the two. If a player sucks in real life and on real fields with real consequences, he’s typically struggling for fantasy purposes too.
That’s not at all the case with Newton, as despite having significantly fewer passing yards through five weeks this year than he did over the first five games of his career (1,154 this year, and 1,610 last year) he’s still eighth in fantasy points at his position using standard ESPN scoring. His 83 points place him only eight behind Eli Manning and his 10 touchdowns, and nine behind Aaron Rodgers.
So really, despite his struggles or perceived struggles, a player who was highly valued as one of the top tier quarterbacks is thus far giving his owners the production they sought when Newton was widely drafted with about the 20th overall pick back in August. And if we seek even more truth, we discover that when we compare Newton’s numbers this year to his totals last year through five games, passing yards is the only drastic gap.
|Comp %||QB rate||Pass Yds||Rush Yds||Pass TD||Rush TD||INT||Yds/pass attempt||Fumbles lost|
Huh, that’s funny. Herein evidently lies a quarterback who’s preparing to regress significantly and he could become the next Vince Young according to panic artist Don Banks, he of the comparisons that cite quarterback wins as though they’re something that matters in the year 2012, instead of a stat which is older than the human discovery of walking as a form of transportation.
Newton is indeed struggling with his footwork at times, a mechanical defect that goes back to his days at Auburn. But while that flaw needs to be corrected, he’s not as wildly inaccurate this year as advertised, with a nearly identical completion percentage to what he posted through just over a quarter of the season a year ago, and a passer rating that’s only slightlylower too.
His total turnovers haven’t increased by a notable margin either, as he’s posted a zero in the INT column in three games this year. If you’d like to complain about the two lost fumbles, then I’m not sure what you intended to purchase when you spent highly on a mobile quarterback. A breed of QB that runs more will be exposed to more hits, and thus his opportunity to put the ball on the ground will increase. It’s science, and a formula Michael Vick owners know all too well. Vick fumbled three times last week, and was second in lost fumbles last year (seven).
Yet, as Banks notes, Newton has posted career low single-game totals in passing yards (141 last week against Seattle) and completion percentage (41.4, also last week) in addition to his passer rating of just 40.6 in Week 3 against the Giants. Those numbers are scary. How scary? Like three-pound, 4,000-calorie gummy worm scary…
They’re panic numbers, and they’ll induce irrational fear in your league’s irrational owner. But through the magic of a small sample size within a season, we can see through those fears together.
Newton owners fearing his inaccuracy will also note that he’s had two games with a completion percentage of less than 55.0 this year. Well, he had three last year, two of which also came in the first five weeks.
Then they’ll note that if we combine his rushing totals from two games (Weeks three and one) he rushed for 10 yards. That’s a fair critique, and one I’ve made too. But admittedly, it disregards three other games when he didn’t have less than 40 yards, and in two of those games he had more than 70. He’s also had two runs of at least 30 yards.
So please, if there’s an opportunity to capitalize on an owner who’s worried about Newton not meeting the Herculean rookie passing yards that few thought he’d duplicate anyway, pounce now. He’s playing behind a poor offensive line and has been sacked 13 times this year after going down eight times through five games last year, and he’s receiving minimal support from a running game spearheaded by two running backs — Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams — who have a combined 280 yards.
Yet still, his production ranks only marginally behind little Manning and Rodgers. He’ll be fine.