There will be some notable cuts on Tuesday, when NFL teams have to get down to 53 players on their active rosters. The New England Patriots got things going early, releasing quarterback Cam Newton. That means rookie Mac Jones will be the starting quarterback.
Jones played in all three preseason games, completing 75 percent of his passes (36-for-48). In the last two, he totaled 302 passing yards on 29 attempts and 23 completions. He was sacked four times in the preseason finale, and has some refining to do in terms of feel in the pocket. But he has looked pretty good, and to channel Colin Cowherd he comes off like a “grown-up.”
The Patriots refurbished their group of pass catchers this offseason. They most notably signed two of the top tight ends available (Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry), while adding wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne. After a couple years of sorely lackluster weapons, anything would be an improvement in New England.
New England were sure to lean on the running game this year if Newton was the quarterback. That surely remains the plan with the rookie Jones starting, it’s just that he’s not anywhere near the same type of running threat. The sound you just heard is Damien Harris’ fantasy stock taking off, without Newton to vulture goal line work.
Mac Jones 2021 Fantasy Outlook
Back to Jones. Barring the Patriots signing someone who is a more viable replacement option than Brian Hoyer or Jarrett Stidham (who’s currently injured), which feels unlikely, his job security is not in question as long as he’s healthy.
As of this writing, with ownership rates sure to rise some now, Jones is owned in 14 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 5.1 percent of ESPN leagues. He’s addable (post-draft for many leagues) as a QB2/QB3 in superflex/two QB leagues, with streamability for single-QB leagues in the right matchups. He’s at least someone to add to watch lists as a possible early-season waiver wire add in fantasy, but Jones is not a wide must-add just yet.