The New England Patriots have decided to move on from Cam Newton and go with their first round pick Mac Jones as the starting quarterback. Jones showed in training camp and preseason that he has the stuff to get the job done. His accuracy and quick passes are what Bill Belichick covets for his offense. He will have trouble, there is no doubt, but if he can keep from turning the ball over, the Patriots won’t be any worse for wear.
For fantasy football Jones should be a nice set up from Newton for the Patriots skill position players. Newton’s ability was a mixture of rushing, escapability and a big arm. Crisp, quick passes in rhythm to running backs, tight ends, and wide receivers weren’t his forte. He also took away a lot of goal line opportunities for running backs.
Patriots carries within the 5 yard line last year— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 31, 2021
Cam Newton - 22
Rex Burkhead - 4
Damien Harris - 3
Sony Michel - 2
James White - 1
Damien Harris goal line carries
Damien Harris touchdowns
Damien Harris fantasy value
As Pro Football Focus’ Nathan Jahnke tells us here, Newton was by far the Patriots goal line back and it wasn’t even close. Now that role will fall to Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson. Stevenson could be a problem for Harris, but James White and J.J. Taylor will not. This makes both worth more in fantasy, but with Harris as the lead back and Newton and Sony Michel gone, we’ve really narrowed down the options Belichick will have at the goal line.
This move should also help the Patriots pass catchers, Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor, Jonnu Smith and James White. Each should see better placed passes and likely more, as Newton averaged just 24.6 passes per game last season. Jones won’t average 38.3 passes per game like Brady did in his last season with Patriots, but he will likely meet somewhere in the middle.
I’m not going to invest in Jones as a fantasy play himself, at least not at this point, but he should help the team as a whole put up more fantasy points.