Injury Update: What to Do with Cam Newton in Fantasy Football Drafts

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It’s hard to believe, but the calendar is ready to turn to July and that means one thing – draft season is quickly approaching! You only get one shot to dominate your draft, so having a wealth of knowledge about injured players entering the 2019 season is a big deal. For today’s injury related fantasy football dose, let’s turn our attention to Panthers quarterback, Cam Newton.

Earlier this offseason, I published two separate articles on Cam Newton and the health of his shoulder. The first article released in January, answering the question, “What’s wrong with Cam Newton’s shoulder?” The second article was published in February and focused on the details regarding the surgery that was performed on Newton’s right shoulder on January 24. I would encourage you to go back and read those articles in order to have a thorough understanding of Newton’s injury history and the timeline since his season ended early in 2018.

Here’s a quick summary of those two articles:

  • Cam Newton missed the final two games of the 2018 season due to right shoulder pain
  • Newton originally showed up on the Panthers injury report in Week 8. From Weeks 1-9, he was QB4 in fantasy, but in Weeks 10-15, he was QB21.
  • Newton underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery on his right shoulder on January 24
  • Surgery performed was a clean up procedure in order to remove debris in the joint
  • Cam’s doctor confirmed in his vlog that there was cartilage damage inside the shoulder joint but that his rotator cuff was not injured.
June Update

Going into surgery in January, there was a lot of uncertainty about what exactly was going on with Cam. Was his rotator cuff injured? Would it need repaired? And, if so, would he be ready for Week 1? Fortunately, we can answer all of those questions with confidence now: No, his cuff wasn’t injured so it won’t need repaired, and yes, he will certainly be ready for Week 1.

The nice thing about these clean up procedures is that there isn’t any tissue (ligaments, labrum, muscle, tendon, etc.) that is repaired. Basically, this means that rehab can progress without concerns for tissue healing. Sure, there’s soreness for a bit after this surgery and the shoulder may feel a little stiff for a couple of weeks, but when you have your rotator cuff repaired, you’re in a sling for the first six weeks. There is a big, big difference in rehab afterwards.

With surgery taking place in January, Cam Newton is now about 5 months removed from surgery. By now, he is most definitely demonstrating full range of motion and strength. Take a look at these videos from his vlog. The first video is from 3 months ago.

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In this video, Cam is seen with his physical therapist doing some higher level exercises in a variety of movements, including overhead positions as well he is taking natural testosterone booster. In rehab, you don’t progress to these exercises unless full range of motion is achieved.

In this second clip, you can see Cam doing some more overhead movements and doing a lot of explosive drills as well as stability exercises for his upper body and core. Again, you don’t do these types of exercises for training if you aren’t progressing as expected.

Recent updates all point to Cam being ready to go at 100% well ahead of Week 1. He has already begun throwing in mini camps in June, so there is little doubt about his status as we look towards the start of training camp and Week 1. The Panthers start training camp on July 25, giving Cam an additional month to further prepare his body for the rigors of yet another NFL season.

What to do with Cam Newton in fantasy drafts

In late June ADP on Fantasy Football Calculator, Cam Newton is being drafted as the QB13, which is an extreme value in the 9th Round of 12-team drafts. Short term, I have no concerns about the health or status of Cam’s shoulder, and I think he absolutely smashes this ADP when we look back on the end of season fantasy rankings. Draft him with confidence in 2019 and don’t look back.

In dynasty leagues, it’s important to be a bit more realistic regarding the long term status of Cam’s shoulder. Given that he has a known diagnosis of arthritis in the shoulder and his history of rotator cuff repair surgery in 2017, Cam is unlikely to be a guy throwing a football until he’s 40. However, for this season, Cam provides excellent upside and safety and is being criminally undervalued in fantasy football. Dating back to 2012, Newton has finished as a top-4 fantasy QB four times and has only finished outside the top-12 twice. At his current QB13 draft price, he is a perfect mid-round draft target with the upside to finish top-5 at the position in 2019.

Interested in more injury content for your draft? Dive into the Ultimate Draft Kit where you can find my detailed Injury Report section along with other fantastic content, including Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception as well as stat projections, video profiles, and tons more from The Fantasy Footballers!

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