Cam Newton took another blow to his fantasy potential after the Carolina Panthers announced he has a hairline fracture in his rib. The injury occurred in Friday night’s loss to the New England Patriots. The Panthers are planning on him being under center come week one.
Coach Ron Rivera will hold Newton out of Thursday’s preseason finale, but remains optimistic about his availability for week one. Rivera’s positive outlook has to be a glimmer of hope for fantasy owners.
He has been a top 5 quarterback in all three seasons since coming to the league. A fourth consecutive top five finish seems to be a question mark at this point. Getting healthy and developing timing with his weapons sooner than later is a must if he wants to finish in the top five yet again.
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Ankle and now rib injuries to go with are not a positive combination for a quarterback that derives value from his rushing ability in addition to his passing skills. The Panthers are trying to get back to the playoffs again this season. Carolina may take a more conservative approach with the face of their franchise this season.
Newton’s first season without wide receiver Steve Smith only increases concern and has his ADP falling. Question marks surrounding the new group of receivers with veterans Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant and rookie Kelvin Benjamin, have not helped owners gain confidence.
I still have Newton inside my top ten at quarterback, but he is much closer to ten than he is to top five. Andrew Luck, Nick Foles and Tony Romo are all above him in my personal rankings. The next week or so will be in key for Newton. There is potential that he may miss the first week of the season. It seems highly unlikely at this point, but the fact that their is a question this close to the the season has to be frustrating for Newton owners.
For those who have yet to draft, I would still target Newton, especially if he falls to me in the sixth or seventh round. Taking another quarterback late in that draft is encouraged with week one still in question. Tony Romo, Jay Cutler and Philip Rivers are guys who could be there late.