In this week’s Face/Off, it’s a matchup of mobile quarterbacks and former #1 overall picks in Philadelphia’s Michael Vick against Carolina’s Cam Newton. I’ll tell you why you should take Cam Newton and not even second guess it.
Last season, Newton accounted for 14 rushing touchdowns and became one of the more valuable quarterbacks in fantasy. I don’t expect him to score that many again but he will be racking them up on the ground as Carolina doesn’t offer much resistance in the running game. DeAngelo Williams and Johnathan Stewart are several years removed from their peak of effectiveness. Williams led the way with 155 carries. Stewart had 142 rushes and Newton ran it 126 times. Each of those three backs picked up more than 700 yards rushing which is a feat never done before in the NFL. Former Charger Mike Tolbert signed with them in the offseason but took a pay cut to do so. I don’t see Tolbert taking away the goal line carries.
Newton’s arm is also quite potent as he threw for slightly more than 4,000 yards as a rookie. After Steve Smith (79 receptions, 1,394 yards and seven touchdowns), the pool of receivers drops off significantly to Brandon LaFell and tight end Greg Olsen. Newton also does a good job hitting the running backs out of the backfield as Stewart caught 47 passes for 413 yards last season.
The downside of Newton is his consistency. He threw for more than 370 yards in three of his first four games but never hit the 300-yard mark again. Keep in mind, he was a rookie. Newton can put up numbers with his arm and his feet which is more than what can be said about Vick. Vick has missed at least four games each of the last three seasons and can’t be trusted to stay healthy.
The other major downfall of Vick is the success of LeSean McCoy. The problem here is that McCoy gets the ball, a lot. He rushed 273 times and also caught 48 passes. There’s little reason for the Eagles to deviate from that strategy so McCoy’s success takes the ball out of Vick’s hands. Vick also posted a measly one rushing touchdown last season so yet again McCoy serves as a big block to Vick scoring more.
Vick’s wide receivers are also a bit sketchy. DeSean Jackson was a vomit-inducing roller coaster ride of a stat line in 2011. He started out with 102 yards against the Rams but shrank down to 21 yards on 2 catches the next week against Atlanta. All told, he had seven games of fewer than 50 yards receiving. And that was the number one receiver?? Jeremy Maclin was on the same roller coaster with Jackson as he posted three duds of 20 yards or less. Jason Avant tossed in two good games last year and a dozen others under the 50-yard barrier.
Another plus for Cam is Carolina matches up with the AFC West while the Eagles will have to battle the AFC North in inter-conference play. There’s no doubt that the AFC North will pose a much tougher challenge for the Eagles in 2012. Couple that easier schedule with Newton also being the bigger quarterback by five inches and 40 pounds. That extra size allows him to withstand the punishment that he’ll be taking in the ground game.
In this duel of #1 overall picks, it’s clear that Cam is the choice. See for yourself when they meet on Monday Night Football on November 26th in a Week 12 duel.