It was obvious to anyone who watched last Monday night’s game that Carolina Panther’s quarterback Cam Newton was not right. His was putting his entire body in throws and was tossing ducks. It was no surprise that he was shut down for the season a few days later. Now Taylor Heinicke will be the starter, which is not an appetizing fantasy start. This leaves his fantasy football owners scrambling to find a replacement at the position if they did not have a backup on their bench. It also affects the rest of the Panthers team.
Cam Newton Injury Impact in Fantasy Football
Who to Replace Him With
Options to replace Newton are bleak at this point in the season. Hopefully the teams who had him also have other options on the bench, but if not, they will have to look to free agency. The best option is Dak Prescott. He is 70% owned, but if he is out there, grab him. He goes against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their bottom-of-the-barrel secondary. Prescott will be looking for a bounce back game after the Dallas Cowboys put up a donut on the scoreboard last week against the Indianapolis Colts.
Nick Foles is probably the best option who is almost sure to be available. He’s been a solid quarterback in the league whenever he has to come into games. Last week against the Los Angeles Rams, Foles played a solid game, going 24 of 31 for 270 yards. His fantasy numbers weren’t great because all of the Philadelphia Eagles touchdowns came via the ground. However, Foles is a good shot to throw a couple balls into the end zone this week.
Nick Mullens is also probably sitting without a team and is intriguing. But he is not recommended against the Chicago Bears who are allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. Derek Carr is another tempting option, but one that should be avoid avoided. The Oakland Raiders are starting two rookie tackles who have not performed well. The team will also be without both starting guards, so Carr could get killed against a Denver Broncos defensive line that includes Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.
Buffalo Bills rookie Josh Allen is also getting streamer attention but don’t fall for it. His value falls mostly in his rushing prowess, but Bill Belichick is sure to shut him down on the ground this week.
There shouldn’t be too many fantasy players who were relying on the Panthers receiving corps. Curtis Samuel and rookie D.J. Moore have flashed at times with great games this season but have been wildly inconsistent. If for some reason fantasy owners were planning on putting them in their lineups this week, they should probably look elsewhere. Streaming them is out of the question.
Better options to replace them with this week are Bills rookie Robert Foster, or New York Jets explosive option Robby Anderson. Both are boom or bust but could put up points against burnable teams this weekend.
Tight end Ian Thomas probably keeps about the same value – which wasn’t much to begin with. Thomas had two good games in week 13 and 14 but did nothing (along with the rest of the Panthers offense) week 15. Heinicke could look to Thomas as a safety valve this weekend against the Atlanta Falcons, so Thomas does still have some streaming appeal. He is about as equal of a dart throw as other streaming tight ends.
Wild Card: Christian McCaffrey
The biggest question mark that might worry fantasy team owners is how Newton’s injury will affect running back Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey has basically been Carolina’s entire offense for most of the season. He leads the team in both rushing and receiving yards. Heck, he even threw a 50-yard touchdown last week. But it leaves the question on if teams will now sell out to stop CMC. He’s already as involved as can be, so there is no way his workload increases.
In fact, there is a chance it goes down. What if Heinicke can’t get it out to him on dump offs as often as Newton did? If teams decide to crowd the box to stifle McCaffrey’s rushing, and Heinicke can’t get him the ball on short passes, he could see his fantasy numbers take a huge dip. Still, he should remain in lineups. His owners will just have to hope for the best.
Last Word on the Fantasy Impact of Cam Newton’s Injury
There are little quarterback options owners can turn to in the wake of Newton being shut down for the season. Prescott would be the best option if available, with Foles next in line. Many of the other options like Carr, Mullens, and Allen should be avoided due to poor matchups. Any Panthers wide receiver should stay on the bench, but desperate players may get lucky if they take a chance on Thomas. McCaffrey will still see his usual rushing volume, but teams could pull out all the stops to shut him down. Overall, it is not an idea situation coming into the fantasy championship.
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