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Fantasy Football Impact of Cam Newton’s Injury: Stream Josh Allen or Nick Foles

Dec 19, 2018 4:15 PM EST
Credit:

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Cam Newton

  • Was Cam Newton your fantasy football quarterback for your league championship? Don't worry, we have backup options for you.
  • With Newton (shoulder) out, there are two streaming options who could help you win: Josh Allen and Nick Foles.

Cam Newton has been dealing with an injury to his throwing shoulder for the better part of the past two months and will mercifully be shut down for the remainder of the season.

The Carolina Panthers technically still have a 0.9% chance of making the playoffs, but thankfully they realized that’s not worth exposing Newton to another 120 minutes of contact against the Falcons and Saints over the next two weeks.

Newton didn’t have the type of late-season run to help drag many fantasy squad to the fantasy championship, but perhaps you’re that lucky someone who managed to survive sub-par play from the quarterback position over the first two weeks of the fantasy playoffs.

Here are the top waiver wire targets to replace Newton in Week 16. Note that only players owned in fewer than 50% of ESPN league’s were considered.

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

  • Week 16 matchup: at Patriots
  • ESPN ownership: 33.9%

Allen has literally been a high-end QB1 since returning from injury in Week 12.

Mahomes and Watson obviously offer a safer floor in their higher-scoring offenses, but Allen’s downfield mindset and athleticism has made him one of fantasy’s most-entertaining and productive quarterbacks. Overall, Allen ranks first in average target depth (12.03 yards) and second in rushing yards (506) among all quarterbacks.

The second point is especially relevant: If we only accounted for rushing production, Allen would be the league’s RB5 between Weeks 12 and 15 behind only Derrick Henry, Joe Mixon, Phillip Lindsay and Saquon Barkley.

As far as fantasy is concerned, the Bills  quarterback is essentially a RB1 combined with a low-end QB2.

Of course, Allen isn’t in the best spot this week in Foxborough in a Bills offense that’s presently implied to score just 16 points. Bill Belichick owns rookie quarterbacks and is the master at taking away what an offense does best, which in this case is Allen’s rushing ability.

Still, the Patriots’ slow-moving group of linebackers haven’t been up to this task through 15 weeks, as the Patriots are one of just 10 defenses that have allowed at least 250 rushing yards to quarterbacks this season. Only the Saints, Buccaneers, Chiefs, Bengals and Falcons have allowed more fantasy points per game to the position than the Patriots.

The last 18 months have taught us that the modern-Patriots defense isn’t a unit that needs to be overly feared. They rank 21st in Football Outsiders’ overall DVOA through Week 15 and finished 31st in 2017.

The best-version of Allen is basically a middling-version of Newton, who has more or less worked as a top five fantasy quarterback for his entire career thanks to his unique rushing upside.

Allen is literally averaging more rushing yards per game (50.6) than Michael Vick (42.7) after 10 career games, so stream Allen with confidence for the fantasy championship.

Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Week 16 matchup: vs. Texans
  • ESPN ownership: 12.3%

Foles actually has a higher median projection than Allen in our Pro Models, but the rookie’s aforementioned fantasy-friendly blend athleticism and downfield aggressiveness give him a higher projected ceiling and floor.

However, Foles has certainly demonstrated his own blend of high-floor and high-ceiling play during his nine starts with the Eagles.

Three-plus touchdown performances have always been in Foles’ range of outcomes, but he also possesses next-to-zero rushing ability and accordingly holds a low floor regardless of the matchup.

Speaking of matchups: Foles has a brutal one against the Texans’ seventh-ranked defense in overall DVOA. Their J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney-fueled pass rush has posted the 12th-best adjusted sack rate in the league, while the front-seven has regularly shut down opposing running backs and ranks third in adjusted line yards per rush.

Andrew Luck has proven capable of thwarting the Texans defense on multiple occasions this season, but they’re still an elite group with plenty to play for entering Week 16.

Our fantasy rankings experts Matthew Freedman, Chris Raybon and Sean Koerner rank Foles as the 19th, 20th and 17th best respective option this week. They have Allen as the 18th, 19th and 20th best option.

It’s a toss-up between two quarterbacks with plenty of holes in their respective games. But as scary as a road matchup against Belichick and Co. can be, I’ll take Allen over Foles thanks to his unparalleled rushing upside.

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