Cam Newton might have failed to reach his ultimate goal in terms of real football, as the Panthers lost to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50, but Superman sure was a champion for fantasy owners this past season. The veteran quarterback set a new career high with 45 total touchdowns, and he scored more fantasy points (389.08) than every other player in the National Football League. It was also the third time in his first five seasons at the pro level that he scored 300-plus fantasy points.
That level of production makes Newton worth a first-round pick in 2016 fantasy football drafts, right?
Not to me.
This isn't about the stink of Newton being a "sore loser" after his Super Bowl disappointment. I'm a fan of Cam. In fact, I targeted him in 2015 leagues because he was falling so far in drafts. Heck, he had a ninth-round average draft position (ADP) on NFL.com. But the price tag on Superman (a first-round pick) is very likely going to be too rich for my blood.
Here's my first thought ... the quarterback position has never been deeper. How deep is it, you might ask?
Well, take a look at some of the stats from my "101 interesting fantasy facts from the 2015 season" column. A total of 11 quarterbacks threw for 30 or more touchdowns last season. That was an NFL best. There were 23 quarterbacks who scored 200-plus fantasy points, the most in a single season. Each and every one of the top 10 overall players based on fantasy points was a quarterback. That's never happened in the Super Bowl era. Oh, quarterbacks also set an all-time, single-season record for fantasy points scored with 8,300.
The previous high was 7,836 points, which was set in 2014.
See a trend?
Furthermore, I can make an argument that quarterback will be even deeper next season. Andrew Luck will be back at 100 percent, and I'm projecting him to rebound. As "bad" as he was when he did start last season, Luck's limited numbers projected to almost 300 fantasy points over a full 16 games. Ben Roethlisberger, Tony Romo and Andy Dalton all missed time due to injuries too, and all three will have top-10 potential at the position. Jameis Winston, Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota figure to be better in the stat sheets, too.
Here's another reason to pass on Newton in the first round. Chances are, he's not going to be as good next season as he was in 2015. Since 2009, the top-scoring fantasy player has experienced an average decline of 63.6 points the next season. What's more, Drew Brees is the lone player in that time to score more points the following season. Of the other five scoring leaders, the minimal decline was 52.9 points (Aaron Rodgers, 2014-2015).
Don't get me wrong, I'm not predicting Newton to be a bust. Not at all. An athlete with his skill set at the quarterback position is golden in fantasy football. But when we talk about depth, supply, demand and relative value, taking Newton in the first round (or among the first 40 overall picks for that matter) doesn't make a whole lot of sense.