Cam Newton's reported contract agreement with the New England Patriots has resulted in his odds of winning NFL MVP and the Comeback Player of the Year Award skyrocketing over the last 36 hours.
His fantasy football outlook for the 2020 season also has changed.
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ESPN updated its fantasy projection for Newton following reports that he and the Patriots have agreed to a one-year, incentive-laden deal worth up to $7.5 million. He's ranked No. 26 on ESPN's ranking of the top quarterbacks for the upcoming fantasy season. Here is the network's analysis and stat projection for Newton now that he's expected to battle Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer for New England's starting quarterback job.
2020 stats: 2,970 passing yards, 17 TD, 10 INT, 358 rushing yards, 3 rushing TD
Newton signed with the Patriots following nine seasons in Carolina. The dual-threat quarterback was playing some of the best ball of his career in 2018, but that campaign was cut short by a late-season shoulder injury and a foot injury derailed his 2019 campaign. Newton attempted only 89 passes and ran the ball five times in two games prior to being shut down for the season. Now that he's 31 years old, it's fair to wonder whether he can still be a factor with his legs and, if not, can he make up for it with his arm? Even missing two games in 2018, Newton finished top five at the position in carries, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns for the eighth consecutive season, so it's very possible he has something left in the tank. He's worth a late-round flier, as he'll be back on the QB1 radar if he beats out Jarrett Stidham.
There are reasons to bet on Newton in 2020 when it comes to fantasy football.
For starters, his ability to score fantasy points with his legs is valuable. He's tallied 500-plus rushing yards in a single season five times in his nine-year career, and he's averaged 6.4 rushing touchdowns per season as well. The Patriots have a very good offensive line, which should be bolstered by the return of starting center David Andrews, who has been cleared to return after missing all of 2019 due to blood clots. New England's offense changed to become a power running team late in the 2018 season and was quite effective -- the Pats won Super Bowl LIII. The Patriots are well-equipped to fit their offense around Newton's mobility.
From a passing attack standpoint, the Patriots have a few good wide receivers for Newton to target. Edelman remains one of the best slot receivers in the league and is coming off a fantastic 2019 season during which he hit both the 100-reception and 1,000-yard milestones. Mohamed Sanu, like Edelman, dealt with injury last season and it negatively impacted his on-field performance. He had offseason ankle surgery and should be in better shape by Week 1. Sanu isn't a star player, but when healthy, he's certainly capable of being a reliable target. Second-year wideout N'Keal Harry is another exciting talent in the Patriots offense. Injuries derailed his rookie season, but the Patriots liked his skill set enough to select him in the first round of the 2019 draft.
The pieces are in place for Newton to be a fantasy-relevant player next season if he wins the starting quarterback job in New England. Health is a very important factor in that, obviously, but before 2019 Newton had never missed more than two games in a single season. A motivated Newton, working with a coaching tandem of Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels, make the 31-year-old quarterback worth taking in your fantasy league's draft.