Cam Newton, Julian Edelman's Fantasy Outlook After Reported Patriots Contract

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2020

FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2019, file photo, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) passes against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C. Even with the status of the upcoming season uncertain because of the coronavirus pandemic, teams continue to tinker with their rosters by adding players they hope will help them win — whenever, or if, they actually play. Newton is 31 and five years removed from his AP NFL MVP season, but he has been posting workout videos on Instagram to show he's now healthy. Where he eventually ends up — likely as a backup, at least at first — remains one of the most intriguing storylines of the offseason. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco, File)
Brian Blanco/Associated Press

The New England Patriots signing Cam Newton not only altered the NFL landscape for 2020, it could also have a massive effect on the fantasy football season. 

It's still important to temper expectations.

The Patriots reportedly signed the quarterback to a one-year deal for the veteran minimum, although he can make up to $7.5 million in incentives, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. This contract tells us even New England isn't sure what it will get out of the 2015 league MVP.

Newton was one of the best fantasy quarterbacks in the NFL when healthy, putting up huge numbers through the air and on the ground. In his first eight years, he averaged 601 rushing yards and 7.3 rushing touchdowns per season, adding to his consistent passing numbers of at least 3,000 yards and 18 passing scores each year.

If he can replicate this type of production, he will be a top-three scorer in fantasy football.

However, the 31-year-old only played two games last season while dealing with a Lisfranc injury in his foot and missed the previous offseason after getting shoulder surgery. The risk is why he remained a free agent for several months before being signed on an incentive-laden deal.

As Mike Reiss of ESPN indicated, the signing might not even change how the team views second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller believes the Patriots are still "rolling with Stidham."

Using a high fantasy draft pick on a quarterback who might provide no production is a significant risk. On the other hand, he could be a league-winner from the late rounds, similar to Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes in the past few years.

The best advice is to take him late as a QB2 while getting another safe option, such as Drew Brees or Matthew Stafford

Meanwhile, the stock only grows for Patriots weapons like Julian Edelman, N'Keal Harry and Mohamed Sanu.

New England strengthened its quarterback room with the latest move, ensuring the player who wins the starting job will deserve it. Either the team will have a three-time Pro Bowler leading the way or a young player who beat out the veteran.

Edelman could be a reliable target over the middle for Newton, similar to tight end Greg Olsen with Carolina, while Harry could replicate the tall deep threat he had with Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess.

The upside for each player is much higher than it was earlier in the offseason, and their draft stock should reflect that change.