Few seem to be picking the defending NFC South champion Carolina Panthers to offer up a repeat performance this season, and with good reason. They didn’t seem to make themselves a whole lot better during the offseason, and their franchise quarterback, Cam Newton, is dealing with a nagging injury.
Newton suffered the fractured ribs (mmm…ribs) in the Panthers’ preseason game against the New England Patriots a few weeks back, but it wasn’t really thought to be serious. However, the Panthers held Newton out of practice on Thursday before he resumed throwing drills in practice on Friday.
Head coach Ron Rivera wouldn’t commit 100% to the idea that Newton will be in the lineup when the Panthers take on Tampa Bay Sunday, though. Newton himself said that he wouldn’t “put (the Panthers) in jeopardy” by playing if he didn’t feel he was healthy enough to play. Considering the Panthers’ backup QB is still Derek Anderson, it’s tough to imagine Carolina being in worse shape even without a fully-healthy Newton out there.
As far as fantasy goes, starting Newton this week may be a risk that isn’t worth taking. If he’s truly a game-time decision, QB is not really a position you can be risking getting nothing from if he decides to sit. Add that to the fact that this offense doesn’t offer Cam much surrounding help and the idea that the Bucs may have a solid defense makes this a dicey proposition. If you have another quarterback on the roster you feel at all comfortable spot-starting, doing so may be the best course of action here.