Cam Newton Is A Fantasy QB2 with Upside, Plus His Potential Impact On Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, More
Sean Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Panthers QB Cam Newton, Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey
- P.J. Walker was named the Panthers' starting quarterback for Week 10, but should fantasy football managers add the newly-signed Cam Newton?
- If you're in need of a QB2, our analysts think so. Find out how they forecast Newton's outlook as the potential Week 11 starter.
- They also weigh in on how Newton's addition could impact the fantasy value of Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore and more Panthers.
Yes, you read that right — Cam Newton is a Panther again.
Carolina signed its former longtime quarterback on Thursday following the shoulder injury Sam Darnold suffered this past Sunday that’s expected to sideline him for at least four weeks. Newton returns to a new regime that Carolina established after the Panthers released him following the 2019 season.
So, with some of the same key playmakers in a new scheme of an offense he quarterbacked less than two years ago, what are the fantasy football implications of Newton’s addition?
While Newton reportedly isn’t expected to start Week 10, our analysts weigh in on whether to roster him as well as how he could impact the value of key players like Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore when Newton is under center.
Add Cam Newton In Fantasy Football? What’s His Impact On Panthers Players?
by Sean Koerner
Cam Newton is a must-add for managers in need of a QB2 with QB1 upside.
We have to remember that he hogs a ton of usage — thanks to his rushing ability, he’ll have plenty of goal-line carries and pass for fewer yards than the average NFL quarterback — so his addition won’t be a notable boost to the fantasy value for any specific Panthers player.
D.J. Moore is still a fantasy WR2 and Christian McCaffrey is still a fantasy RB1, no matter whether Newton is under center. Robby Anderson and Terrace Marshall haven’t been reliable enough to be fantasy-relevant receivers. And the Panthers don’t have any tight ends worth rostering anyway.
The addition of Cam Newton is exciting, but it doesn’t change much for the fantasy-relevant players.
- It’s not clear yet if he is an actual upgrade from Sam Darnold, and
- if Newton does play at a high level, his playing style doesn’t favor a high passing volume and he vultures a lot of goal-line carries.
McCaffrey remains an RB1 rest-of-season if he can stay healthy while Moore — who has been sliding down the rankings in light of some very disappointing fantasy outings — should be considered a WR2.
Newton offers a little more upside to this offense, with which he’s at least passively familiar. The Auburn product was the No. 1 overall pick in 2011 and spent nine seasons with the team, including one Super Bowl run and an MVP campaign. He’ll have to adapt to new head coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady, though, both of whom were added after the Newton era in Carolina.
For fantasy purposes, the three-time Pro Bowler automatically vaults into QB2 consideration once he starts, which is a matter of “when” — not “if.” He offers a relatively safe floor given his rushing production and some upside with a strong supporting cast.
by Chris Raybon
Newton is a declining QB who was forced to sit on his couch for 10 weeks before getting a call, so he won’t offer any upgrade on Sam Darnold as a passer. He will have QB1 upside most weeks due to his rushing ability — he averaged 9.1 carries for 39.5 yards and 0.8 TDs last year — but needs to be ranked as a QB2 because he has a low floor at age 32. This is especially true because the Panthers are a run-heavy team with a top-six defense in terms of DVOA, meaning Newton won’t be in many pass-friendly game scripts.
Newton’s TD rate (2.2%) last season with the Patriots is similar to Darnold’s this season (2.3%). He was more efficient on a per-attempt basis last season than Darnold has been this year, averaging 7.2 YPA to Darnold’s 6.5, but Newton operated in a low-volume pass offense and thus averaged only 177.1 passing yards per game while Darnold has averaged 220.7 this season. Newton scrambled 5% of the time last season, just as Darnold has this year. Overall, it’s a wash for D.J. Moore, who will continue to be a WR2. Christian McCaffrey could see a slight downtick in goal-line usage, but he’s an RB1 regardless. Robby Anderson may sink to new lows, but he was already out of fantasy starter conversation.