Cam Newton will be back with the New England Patriots next season, and it’s easy to see the fantasy upside.
When Cam Newton signed with the Patriots late last June, the optimism for a return to glory as a fantasy quarterback was out there. But learning a whole new offense, a bout with COVID-19 and a lack of weapons combined to have him finish as QB16 in fantasy.
There were times last season, quite frankly, where it look like it hurt for Newton to throw the ball. Past throwing shoulder issues were easy to see as his arm looked diminished. He also hardly threw the ball (368 times in 15 starts; 24.5 per game). The Patriots’ run-heavy ways were well-founded, and Newton did make some head way there (592 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns). Those 12 rushing scores led all quarterbacks.
Newton threw the ball 30 or more times in a games just four times in 2020. Two of those were against the Jets, and another came against the Houston Texans. The first of the four came in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks, which stood as his best game of the season (397 passing yards, 75 rushing yards, three total touchdowns).
From Week 1-Week 3, spurred by four rushing touchdowns, Newton was QB7 in fantasy. Then COVID-19 cost him Week 4, and he returned to action in Week 6. From Week 6-17, he was QB13. From a fantasy perspective he wasn’t necessarily awful, he was just outdone by others. He also admitted to being affected by effects of COVID after returning to action.
After signing Newton to a deal that looks to be in the $14 million range (incentive-laden or otherwise to that end), the Patriots have ample cap space to add weapons around him. A wide receiver (or two) and a tight end seems to be an order, and the return to health of Julian Edelman will only help. The draft seems sure to yield something as well. Newton will have better weapons around him.
If the Patriots add another quarterback of note, there’s a chance Newton doesn’t start all 16 games next season. His best days are behind him. But at what is sure to wind up a draft day value, there’s legit upside for Newton to finish as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in 2021.