Cam Newton's Ankle Injury Makes Him Boom-or-Bust Pick in Fantasy Drafts

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Cam Newton's Ankle Injury Makes Him Boom-or-Bust Pick in Fantasy Drafts
Chuck Burton/Associated Press

Do you enjoy scarfing down a cookie more than five seconds after it hit the floor, swimming less than 30 minutes after eating or peeing into the wind?

If so, Cam Newton might just be the quarterback for you in 2014. 

Because you're clearly a risk-taker. And taking the Cam-Cam Man as your QB1 in redraft fantasy leagues is not going to be a task for the faint of heart. 

Newton has been a consistent fantasy star since he entered the league in 2012, but an ankle injury and a perceived depleted receiving corps have his value surrounded by doubt. 

USA TODAY Sports

With Greg Olsen, Jerricho Cotchery and Kelvin Benjamin, I'm not worried at all about the latter. But the injury is easily the most concerning. Newton underwent ankle surgery in March, and while he has returned to practice, he has been at less than 100 percent.

"I’m not going to say yes and all of a sudden he’s not going to. And I’m not going to say no and all of a sudden he’s going to," said Ron Rivera, via The Charlotte Observer's Jonathan Jones, in reference to Newton's availability for the Panthers' first preseason game. "I’ve been told, in talking with the trainers, that we can’t make a decision right now."

If he does play, "it'd involve a lot of handing the ball off," Rivera added. 

Basically, it's just a lot of uncertainty at this point, which is the worst if you're trying to draft around this time. Bleacher Report's injury expert Will Carroll provided his thoughts on the matter, suggesting a slight bit of apprehension regarding Newton's rehab:

Considering Newton's running ability is such a large part of his fantasy appeal, there is quite a bit of risk here.

However, part of that risk is already tied into his current average draft position, which sits at the latter part of the seventh round, according to FantasyFootballCalculator.com. On average, he is being selected 10th among quarterbacks. 

That means that even though there is risk, there is potentially massive upside and value. Consider what Newton has done in his first three seasons from a fantasy perspective (scoring and stats via NFL.com):

Cam Newton Fantasy Production
Season Fantasy Points Fantasy Points Per Game Rank Among QBs
2011 369.34 23.1 3
2012 323.46 20.2 4
2013 297.66 18.6 3

NFL.com

So, he's been a top-four fantasy QB during every single one of his seasons, and he's still just 25. He's getting better as a passer—he had career-highs in completion percentage, touchdown percentage and QB rating last year—and is still extremely dangerous as a runner. 

Where will Cam Newton finish the fantasy season among QB's?

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And you can get him as the 10th quarterback off the board. If healthy, he's an absolute steal. 

Even better, there's depth at the quarterback position. I would feel a bit nervous about taking Newton in a two-QB league, but if you take him as your starter, then grab Tony Romo (No. 12 among QBs) or Jay Cutler (No. 13) as your backup, the risk is minimized considerably. Both of those guys are in explosive offenses and are going to put up huge numbers. 

So yes, right now, Newton's fantasy picture is murky at best. But combine his consistently top-tier production, made-for-fantasy skill set and cheap-ish price, and I'm absolutely targeting him every chance I get. 

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