In two games since his positive COVID-19 test, New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton has not looked good. In Week 6 against the Denver Broncos, he went 17-for-25 for 157 yards with two interceptions. But he did salvage some fantasy value with 76 rushing yards and a score on the ground.
Then came Week 7. Newton hit rock-bottom in a 33-6 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, going 9-for-15 for 98 yards with three interceptions. He added nothing on the ground (19 yards), before eventually getting benched in the blowout.
In three of the five games he has played this season, Newton has topped 19 fantasy points (Yahoo! scoring). But he has thrown for more than 165 yards with over 30 pass attempts, just once (Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks; 397 yards on 44 attempts). For some context, the Seahawks have the NFL’s worst pass defense. They are also allowing the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Newton’s fantasy upside has always been driven by his running ability, and this season has been no different. He had two rushing touchdowns in each of the first two games, with 75 or more rushing yards in two of three games he’s had a rushing touchdown. Of his 92.26 fantasy points so far (Yahoo! scoring), 54.40 (56.5 percent) have come on rushing production.
What are the fantasy expectations for Cam Newton in Week 8?
On the surface, a Week 8 matchup against the Buffalo Bills looks very tough. But this is not last year’s Buffalo defense. They’re in the middle of the pack in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks (19.8 per game; Yahoo! scoring). Take away two games against Sam Darnold, and the Bills would surely be a bottom 10-12 fantasy defense against quarterbacks. The other five quarterbacks they’ve faced have had all multiple touchdown passes against them, while each posting more than 20 fantasy points (Yahoo! scoring).
More directly related to Newton, four quarterbacks (Jared Goff, Derek Carr, Ryan Tannehill, Patrick Mahomes) have run for at least 20 yards or scored on the ground (Tannehill did both) against Buffalo.
The Patriots and Bills should have a competitive game on Sunday. That will be conducive to New England being able to put some focus on the ground game. New England, who are allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks, is lined up well to contain Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
With what the Bills are allowing on average as a guide, here’s my projection for Newton in Week 8. I’ve got him rebounding, but not having a huge day.
Cam Newton Week 8 Fantasy Projection: 220 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 50 rushing yards-16.8 fantasy points (Yahoo! scoring)