Cam Newton Fantasy Analysis: Should you claim him on the waiver wire?

With news that Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has been talking to Cam Newton, should fantasy managers add him off the Week 7 waiver wire?

We haven’t heard much about Cam Newton since the New England Patriots cut him at the end of the preseason and elected to start rookie Mac Jones. Recently, his name resurfaced in connection with the Seattle Seahawks following Russell Wilson’s injury. Is there any value in fantasy football managers stashing Newton off the Week 7 waiver wire?

Update (11/11/2021): Cam Newton has signed a contract with the Carolina Panthers

The noise around Cam Newton isn’t nothing

All too often we hear rumors about former superstars returning to the league, and they’re usually just that — rumors. But the news surrounding Newton may actually have legs. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said he’s spoken to Newton a couple of times. I would imagine they weren’t exactly chatting about the weather or the new Batman trailer.

The Seahawks know Geno Smith is not the answer

If it were up to Russell Wilson, he’d probably be out there this week. Unfortunately, Wilson’s injury is pretty significant. Although he has yet to be placed on injured reserve, he could be out as long as two months. The Seahawks may have already realized that Geno Smith isn’t the answer if they want to salvage their season.

Can Newton still be a starting quarterback in the NFL?

The short answer is yes. I don’t think Newton is done. He’s certainly a far cry from the guy that won MVP in 2015, but Newton is good enough to at least be a high-end backup. It’s difficult to imagine him being a downgrade from Smith.

Can he be fantasy-viable in Seattle?

If we’ve learned anything about quarterbacks in fantasy football over the past decade, it’s that rushing is king. Far worse quarterbacks than Newton have been QB1s on running ability alone.

In 2020, Newton posted QB1-worthy fantasy numbers in 9 of his 15 starts. Despite throwing for a mere 8 touchdowns, Newton’s rushing ability made him useful more weeks than not.

Should fantasy managers add Newton off the Week 7 waiver wire?

If Newton joins the Seahawks, it seems exceedingly likely that he would quickly surpass Smith and start. However, we already know he won’t be starting this week. If he doesn’t sign this week, then he’s not starting until at least Week 9. Each successive week that passes without Newton signing further delays the number of useful weeks he can provide before Wilson returns.

If you play in a superflex league and you’re short on quarterbacks, stashing Newton isn’t the worst idea. Unfortunately, the timing couldn’t be worse for me to recommend putting a player on your bench that can’t help you this week. In 19 years of playing fantasy football, I cannot recall a single week with this many locked-in fantasy starters not playing due to injury or a bye week.

In Week 7, we’re just trying to find a way to field full lineups. Newton is not going to help you do that. Accordingly, only stash Newton off the Week 7 waiver wire if you’re in a deep league with an open roster spot and a need at quarterback.

Jason Katz is a Fantasy Analyst at Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter: @jasonkatz13 and find more of his work here. Don’t forget to listen to the PFN Fantasy Football podcast and check out our free fantasy newsletter.