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Cam Newton looked sharp in his first start since returning to the Panthers, prompting Yahoo Sports' Andy Behrens and Scott Pianowski to wonder where he ranks among all QBs for the rest of the season.
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Former MVP, Cam Newton, I'll admit, I came in low. I put him on my fade list. I did win a yardage prop where he went under, which by the narrowest of margins. If Carolina had gotten one more first down late in that game, Cam would have beaten that prop. And, Andy, I'm thinking, I know Newton has edged over 50%. So a lot of you who are listening can't pick up Cam Newton.
But when I looked at the wreckage of the quarterback leaderboard this week and saw all the Trevor Semien's and Joe Flacco's and Tyrod Taylor's who are on it, and all the players I needed, like Dak and Mahomes and Russell Wilson who weren't on it.
ANDY BEHRENS: Let's focus on Cam though for a minute because Cam is, again, he's right at that line where he might be available to you. And we've got Mahomes on bye this week, we've got Kyler Murray on bye this week. We assume that he's going to come back healthy off the bye. And we've got bye weeks continuing through week 14. Bumping right up against the playoffs, we've got bye weeks continuing.
So the bye weeks are going to keep coming. Cam right now rostered in 51% of Yahoo leagues. You mentioned it, he didn't quite hit 200 passing yards. But as a proof of concept game, it was pretty phenomenal, right? A couple of passing scores, one of which was just a beautiful ball to Christian McCaffrey. That score was just really well thrown. Really nice touch on the ball.
And then, he had a long rushing score as well. So he's still got the instinct to run the ball, he's still a very aggressive and willing runner and entirely capable too, right? I think he had 10 rush attempts in that game, 40 plus yards, touchdown. And then the 2 passing. Like, he just looks perfectly at home.
And, I mean, you can see it-- even in difficult match, and I know he's got some coming up, you can see a path to him still finishing as a top 10, top 12 fantasy quarterback just on the basis of the rushing yards alone.
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Yeah. He's going to be in my top 10, probably for the rest of the season. There's some nice advantages here. For one thing, OK, it's Thanksgiving week. Everybody in the NFL is beaten up right now. Nobody's healthy. Well, Cam Newton is relatively unscathed.
ANDY BEHRENS: Yeah. The fresh legs. Yeah.
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Right. He played for the first couple of months, and then he just got a handful of snaps last week. So, he's running proactively. He always can have 30 to 50 yards rushing, probably his baseline projection. And he can go for more than that in some games. He's got goal inequity.
And you know what else is going to happen sometimes is he's going to flip a short pass to Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore, and they're going to house it. He's playing with very good skill talent. We're even seeing just the whiff of Robby Anderson having relevance again after he was basically mothballed by the Sam Darnold experience. And nobody is going to miss Sam Darnold in the last two months.
I don't know that I have Newton rostered anywhere, and I'm sure he's probably gone in all of my leagues. So I'll have to get my Cam experience from DFS or maybe some props and everything. And, again, I did bet his under on passing. I feel very lucky to have one that. He was just one more completion away from getting that.
But the thing with Cam is simple, he's going to give you rushing production every week. And he'll do something in the passing game. And even if he doesn't pass the ball particularly well, maybe DJ Moore bails him out, maybe Christian McCaffrey bails him out. I still like the skill talent here. He's a perfect guy. This is why fantasy football is so fun, and maybe maddening too.
Cam Newton was completely out of our lives a month ago. He wasn't on anybody's radar. And I don't think anybody thought he'd go back to Carolina of all places, that was probably the last place we expected, even though they were having quarterback problems. Because they'd had a messy breakup not that long ago.
ANDY BEHRENS: I mean, for three weeks they weren't having quarterback problems and we were talking about Sam Darnold constantly. And Sam Darnold was rushing for touchdowns. He had 5 rushing scores in the blink of an eye.
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: I do not miss Sam Darnold. I'm excited about Cam Newton. Again, I snuck out a prop fading Newton last week, but I feel like the fade overall was certainly the wrong play. I think this guy's going to be a difference maker the rest of the season.
And if you still have a league that will allow you to make trades, generally, I'm like don't trade for a quarterback. There's just so many of them. I would actually trade for Cam Newton. I would prioritize him. If you're in a league where, for whatever reason you're an 18 league people and don't need quarterbacks, nobody picked him up, I'd go out and get him. I think you're going to be glad you roster Cam Newton the rest of the season.
ANDY BEHRENS: Yeah, So rest of season rank for Cam for you right now is somewhere inside the top 10, top 12?
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Yeah, he's eight, nine, seven, something like that. I mean, to me, he's a no doubt starter unless your other guy is an absolute overlord.