Cam Newton made sure to let everyone know that he’s back after scoring a rushing touchdown with his first snap back in a Carolina Panthers uniform. The question we need to answer, however, is if Newton is relevant for fantasy football, and is he a worthy waiver wire add? In a weird full-circle story, he is back where it all began, and some familiar faces are still on Carolina’s roster. What should we expect from Newton for the remainder of the fantasy football season?
Cam Newton’s first game action was entertaining
In his first game since returning to the lineup after the injury to Sam Darnold, Newton scored a rushing touchdown on his first carry and then threw a passing touchdown on his first pass attempt.
The running play was an old-fashioned QB power — a designed keeper for Newton, who has run that play seemingly 100 times in his career.
Coming in for a handful of snaps while P.J. Walker handled the starting reps was not unexpected. Newton showed signs of life and brought energy and leadership to the sideline. It was a great showing in limited work while also causing reason for potential optimism for the fantasy value of wide receiver Robby Anderson.
Moving forward, the plan is for Newton to get up to speed as quickly as possible, preparing for him to take over as the starting quarterback as soon as he is ready.
Newton had a decent 2020
While in New England, it was an up-and-down year for Newton. In the first three games of the season, he led the Patriots to two wins while completing 68.1% of his passes for 238 passing yards per game.
After missing a week with COVID-19, Newton came back and saw his numbers dip. He completed 64.9% of his passes for the rest of the year, averaging only 161.9 passing yards. Where he did thrive, though, was as a runner. Newton ran for a healthy 592 yards and 12 touchdowns on the season.
That rushing ability helps his floor. It’s also important to remember that Newton was playing with arguably the worst group of skill position players in the NFL last year. Plus, he was in a system that has never featured a mobile quarterback.
Now in Carolina, Newton has the benefit of DJ Moore, Christian McCaffrey, and Anderson to help him. It’s a dramatically better situation, let alone the built-in chemistry he has with McCaffrey and others on the roster.
Fantasy expectations for Newton
It stands to reason that Newton could be a mid-range QB2 when he knows the playbook well enough to take over. The rushing floor is a huge boost to his fantasy numbers, no matter how pretty it may or may not look.
Last year, in a much more inferior offense with less talent, Newton topped 16 fantasy points 10 times, including two monster games of over 35 points and five other games over 19 points. No, he’s not the Cam Newton of old. And no, he should not be treated as a QB1. Yet, he will make for an intriguing streaming option to consider on a weekly basis. Furthermore, he deserves to be rostered in superflex and 2QB leagues. Newton, in some capacity, is back.