Four Downs: Newton adds chapter to saga 

December, 24, 2011
On Christmas Eve 2011, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton gave fantasy owners a gift. Or should I say another gift, because this is a gift he has given regularly in his record-breaking rookie season. Newton not only set the single-season rookie record for passing yards, but he provided fantasy owners, many competing in the championship round, with 30 fantasy points, the most in Week 16 heading into the Sunday and Monday night games.

[+] EnlargeCam Newton
Andrew Weber/US PresswireSaturday's performance marked the eighth time this season Cam Newton has scored 24 or more (standard) fantasy points.
Was this merely a Christmas miracle? Not really. Newton entered Week 16 right up there with the big boys, third in fantasy scoring for the season behind Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. This was Newton's third game with 30 or more fantasy points, tying him with those fellows and two more than Tom Brady. Credit two of Newton's monster performances to the miserable Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense -- Week 13 was the other meeting -- but hey, they all count. It's not like the Buccaneers allowed monster numbers every week. Just most weeks.

For those who refused to believe a rookie quarterback could lead fantasy owners to championships, that clearly has been proven inaccurate. No, Newton hasn't taken the typical path to putting up his generous fantasy points, but he hasn't been Caleb Hanie, either. Newton should pass the 4,000-yard passing mark in Week 17. It's certainly doubtful whether Tim Tebow, for example, will ever accomplish this. Newton also scored his 14th rushing touchdown of the season Saturday; LeSean McCoy is the only NFL player with more. Depending on what Rodgers does his final two games, it's possible a rookie quarterback will lead all of fantasy football in points this season. Think about that for a minute.