As the quarterback, Cam Newton is the passing game for the Carolina Panthers. But as a dual-threat quarterback, he is a significant part of the Panthers run game as well. When you combine his efforts in both aspects of the offense, you have one of the better quarterbacks in fantasy football.
However, while the quarterback is supposed to be the focal point of the offense, he isn’t necessarily meant to be the offense. It is not uncommon for quarterbacks to account for 80 percent of their team’s yards. But no team wants it that way. They want other players to be valuable as well.
That way, if one were to go down, the team doesn’t fall apart.
It’s also good for the fantasy football values of the other guys on the team. Not that fantasy football should impact how an organization operates, but it is something the fans (or at least fantasy football players) care about.
Next to Newton, the Panthers do not often have many guys of value in fantasy football.
The exception to that rule, of course, has been tight end Greg Olsen (when healthy). But the last time they had a 1000+ yard rusher was back in 2009 (when they had two: Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams).
It’s just as rare for a Panthers wide receiver to have a 1000+ yard season as well. Since Steven Smith’s last season with the team in 2013, the Panthers have had a 1000+ yard season by a wide receiver once (2014—Kelvin Benjamin; 1008 yards).
But is the lack of fantasy-worthy production by the Panthers wide receivers and running backs Newton’s fault?
He does average over 118 carries a season, many of them by design that any of Carolina’s running backs over the years would have loved to have. He’s not a great passer, either. Over the course of his seven-year career, he is a 58.5 percent passer. That’s not good.
But is their lack of production his fault? No.
The Panthers drafted him because he was a dual-threat. Of course, the Panthers are going to make the most of that ability. Not having great skill position guys or a good offensive line has often forced his hand.
That is something the Panther have been working on. They’ve been trying to give him more options so that he doesn’t have to run all the time. Why scramble for three yards when he can dump the ball off to an elusive speed demon like Christian McCaffrey?
Easy– because he wants to.
He thinks his style of play has worked well so far and doesn’t see the need to alter it. That point was made clear during some time with the media prior to last season’s Wild Card game.
“I’m comfortable running the football, I feel like I help the team when I’m running the football, and as long as I’m playing this game, I’m going to run the football.”
Maybe once he realizes he can trust McCaffrey to make the big play, he’ll dish it off to him more often. If Devin Funchess can continue to grow and D.J. Moore can get up to speed quickly, the Panthers wide receivers can become more valuable.
Or maybe once he takes one hit too many and tears an ACL, he’ll be more open to letting someone else carry the load.