Newton was held out of practice Wednesday with rib soreness resulting from a hairline fracture. Panthers head coach Ron Rivera remarked after practice that he still expects Newton to play, but there was more uncertainty in his tone today than in previous remarks. "I expect him to play," Rivera said, but added "I've been wrong before, but we'll see." Newton said earlier this week he has "no doubt in [his] mind" that he'll play Sunday.
In all likelihood, Newton will be on the field Sunday. Rivera's comments are probably an attempt to stoke uncertainty and throw the Buccaneers, Sunday's opponent, off the scent. The bigger quesiton is how effective Newton will be from a fantasy perspective. He'll be throwing to a brand-new WR corps, and with the rib injury may not be eager to take off running as much as he normally is. Newton is a borderline starter in 12-team leagues this weekend, and many fantasy owners will have better options available.