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Dear RotoViz, What To Do With Cam Newton?

Tell a man how to set his lineup, and he’ll win a week. Teach a man to leverage the full might of the RotoViz apps and expertise, and he’ll crush his league. 

Last week in the mailbag, we told you not to bail on Kenny Britt, and our confidence was rewarded (sort of) with a touchdown and 54 yards.1

This week, we deal with another fantasy problem child, the slumping Cam Newton. Is it time to dump the former overall QB1, who now sits as the 26th highest-scoring QB through three weeks?

This week’s mailbag question comes from Hostage, who is wondering if he’s the only one feeling nervous about Newton.

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First of all, know that you’re not alone, Hostage. Pretty much the entire RotoViz crew is ready and willing to pull the plug. More on that in a moment, but the Newton ramifications run well beyond your question about dynasty leagues.

We’ll get to that, but first, let’s look at the situation in re-draft leagues.

CAM NEWTON – QB26

At QB26, Newton has been nowhere near usable this season. He hasn’t even been startable in most 2QB or Superflex leagues. He’s a QB3 so far, scoring fewer fantasy points than Jacoby Brissett, who has played one less game.

A slow start is forgivable, and normally the RotoViz crew isn’t one to panic. But putting up 167 passing yards, no TDs, and three INTs against a Saints defense which ranked dead last in the league in passing yards allowed? At home, no less?

Keep calm and start panicking.

Barring firing the offensive coordinator in Carolina, Cam Newton is no longer a top-12 QB in fantasy football. Not only has his play been off, but his rushing upside has been curbed to the point that you can no longer count on his point floor. – Heith Krueger

I’d try move him in redraft or drop him for anything that has utility to my team unless I have no options to move into my QB spot. – Dave Caban

I’d drop him. – Brian Malone. 

Looking at his splits for 2017, it’s hard to argue.

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It’s only three games,2 but Newton is on pace for a tremendous plunge versus his career averages while throwing for 11 TDs and 21 INTs in 2017.

It would take a lot of faith to keep plugging Newton into your lineup. Fortunately, waiver wire replacements abound. Brissett and Jared Goff finished top 10 in QB scoring in Week 3, while Deshaun Watson and Trevor Siemian were top-10 options in Week 2.

Get busy streaming, or get busy losing.

NEWTON’S DYNASTY VALUE

The more interesting question is what to do with Newton in dynasty leagues. Here, we find some dissent among the RotoViz crowd.

Hold. You won’t get anything for him right now while he’s injured. Just two years ago he was the best QB in fantasy football. Especially since dynasty leagues generally offer deeper benches, I would much rather stash him than sell for 25 cents on the dollar. – Anthony Amico

Dump. I’d take any 2018 2nd that’s not virtually guaranteed to be late. – Brian Malone

I honestly think I would trade Newton for Goff straight up and probably try to get another piece thrown in. – Scott Smith 

Charlie Kleinheksel offers another way of looking at the problem:

The contrarian thing to do would be to move down from your current QB to Newton and pick up something extra.

Owners might pay a pretty penny to dump. Newton’s value was already on the drop in dynasty coming into 2017, and the floor might be about to fall out.

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2QB/Superflex Dynasty Leagues

Things are more complicated in 2QB or Superflex leagues, where Newton should still have some value. He was selected at the 6.01 in RotoViz’s offseason Superflex Mock Draft and is likely a hold in those types of leagues.

In superflex, you might get a 1st for him. I’d consider buying for a late 1st, or trading him for a 1st from a mid-pack team. That probably equates to “hold.” – Malone

I would imagine he’s in that awkward phase of value where you can’t get anything for him in a deal, but also people who have him don’t want to sell for peanuts.- Amico

CONCLUSION

Anyone who is looking to buy Newton is probably looking to buy low. While the short-term looks bleak, Newton hasn’t suddenly forgotten how to score fantasy points. A year to heal his shoulder and perhaps a new offensive coordinator could work wonders, so don’t sell for dimes on the dollar.

In re-draft leagues, it’s hard to make a case for keeping Newton. If he’s not streamable against the Saints, he shouldn’t be on your roster.

  1. The targets were there, at least; Britt had 10 targets and made three catches.  (back)
  2. though again, one was against the Saints  (back)

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