Cam Newton very well might be the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback when Week 1 kicks off.
If that’s the case, should you pick him in your fantasy football draft? Well, maybe.
Newton is a polarizing figure around New England. Some think that after a down 2020 season, Newton is due for a bounce-back, especially after Bill Belichick acquired more weapons this offseason. Others think it’s Mac Jones’ time to shine, and that Newton is, frankly, damaged goods. In that view, 2020 is the reality, not the aberration.
Time will tell who is right. But you have to execute your draft before the season starts, so you don’t have the ability to wait things out.
So, here are the cases for and against drafting Newton.
The Case For Drafting Newton
Even if Newton doesn’t show improvement as a passer, he still is a useful rusher. The Patriots weren’t afraid to let him carry the ball in the red zone, and that salvaged some of his fantasy performances. If Newton is playing, you can bank on him getting opportunities on the ground, and, in turn, the chance to pile up rushing touchdowns. Should you be willing to weather the potentially erratic passing, you should be rewarded with his rushing.
There’s also the fact that things (probably) can’t get worse. If he truly does have improved passing mechanics and better players at his disposal, then the only way for him to go is up. You’re hinging on a few things going right, but that is certainly possible.
It helped that Newton had two really solid weeks to start last season, but he finished 2020 as the 15th overall quarterback in ESPN’s rankings. You probably don’t want him as your top option, but there is something to be said about possibly grabbing him in the later rounds.
The Case Against Drafting Newton
It’s pretty simple: You don’t trust him.
That alone is a fair enough argument when building a roster. You might be of the belief that 2020 simply is what the 32-year-old is now at this stage of his career. The rushing contributions are nice, but you don’t want to be on pins and needles every week wondering how many picks he’s going to throw or if he can even reach 100 yards in the air.
There also is the concern that he’ll lose his job to Jones. That’s a reasonable concern, but if you’re skeptical about drafting Newton in the first place, you likely already don’t trust he’ll be a starter long-term.
If that is where you fall, then it isn’t worth the risk of burning a draft pick on a guy you might have to drop in a few weeks because he lost his starting job. That, obviously, is poor asset management.