Cam Newton has exploded onto the scene in a debut unmatched by just about any rookie in the history of the NFL. By now, he has been snatched up in most leagues, giving fortunate owners the choice between the QB they drafted and the hot rookie.
At some point, someone is going to figure out how to slow down the Carolina passing attack. However, Green Bay, with a shutdown corner lining up on Steve Smith, was the most likely team to do that in the near future. That certainly did not happen as Newton still racked up more than 25 fantasy points in spite of throwing three picks. Newton will not face another cornerback of similar skill for several weeks and will only face moderate defensive challenges over the next three weeks. He is nursing a tweaked ankle, but the injury does not appear to be too serious.
This week he faces Jacksonville, which should be his best matchup over the next few weeks. Jacksonville’s D has been serviceable, but has not faced a threat like Newton (matching up with Matt Hasselbeck and Mark Sanchez so far). Chicago the following week is a bit of a mixed bag, shutting down Matt Ryan, but allowing Drew Brees to put up his usual 20+ points. The additional threat posed by Newton’s athleticism should allow Newton to still get his points one way or another. In Week 5, Newton will face New Orleans. New Orleans D played well against Chicago’s lowly offense, but certainly allowed Week 1′s Green Bay game to turn into a shootout. All-in-all, none of these matchups presents a red flag for Newton. The ankle is a bit of a concern and should be monitored up until game time this week, but I believe Newton should be a reasonable start in each of the next three weeks. Obviously, I would not go too far out on a limb if you happen to have an established, healthy superstar quarterback on your roster (Brady, Rodgers, etc.), but I would have no trouble starting Newton over middle-of-the pack options like Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, or Michael Vick until he has unquestionably recovered from his injury.