Newton might be worth a late look in fantasy drafts

Should Cam Newton be taken in the late rounds of seasonal leagues?

Let's do one of those "better-or-worse" exercises they make you do in the eye doctor's chair. You know, which is better: A, or B? This way, or this other way? Only instead of blurred letters up on the wall, let's visualize quarterbacks, and see which one you'd rather have on your fantasy team.

Here we go: Cam Newton ... or Jimmy Clausen?

Okay, how about Cam Newton ... or Matt Moore?

Cam Newton ... or Keith Null? Tony Pike?

Thought so. Your fantasy vision is 20-20!

While it may be obvious to fantasy owners which Panthers' quarterback has the greatest potential upside, that's not the same, of course, as saying which quarterback is best positioned to start for Carolina right now. So no one is saying to go out and draft the Panthers' rookie to carry your fantasy team. (Cam Newton ... or Peyton Manning? That's easy, too!)

But chances are the Panthers want to find out as soon as possible what they got at the top of the 2011 NFL Draft. Another Michael Vick, who can beat teams with his arm or his legs, or another JaMarcus Russell, who, well, flopped?

Obviously, there's a steep learning curve for rookie quarterbacks. And especially for rookie quarterbacks with as few college starts on their résumé as Newton has. Ask NFL folks whether Newton is ready or not, and you'll get answers on both extremes. In fact, there's not a lot of middle ground when it comes to Newton. He produces more extreme emotions than anyone else this side of Sarah Palin. But like him or loathe, it's worth a late-round flier to find out which side is right.

Bottom Line: At some point this season -- maybe even from the start -- Cam Newton figures to get a look at the Panthers' starting quarterback. That makes him worth a look in the later rounds of your fantasy draft.

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