Guest of the League
Going once
FFL: Week 3 | NFL: Week 3

Training Camp Preview: NFC South

Mon Jul 27 11:13am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Gronk joins Brady in Tampa


This is the seventh preview in a series of training camp previews. We will continue to release the previews throughout the week. The previews give you a quick look at each team, going over position battles and injuries to watch in camp. The season is right around the corner.

Falcons

The Falcons will look to get things going in the right direction again this year after a few disappointing seasons. Atlanta made a big change at running back, getting Todd Gurley. He should be the player to watch this camp. Can he regain the form of past years and provide a big lift to the Falcons rushing attack? We’ll get an idea, starting in camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia.     

Position battle: Todd Gurley is the clear lead back for the Falcons, but his backup is up in the air. Brian Hill and Ito Smith are the top candidates to be the No. 2 back, but Qadree Ollison should also be in the mix. This job is wide open. And the winner has some fantasy value because Gurley has some injury concerns.

Injury watch: Ito Smith missed much of last year because of a neck injury. He is making his way back from the injury but might not be 100 percent recovered by the start of camp. Smith is battling for the top backup job, so he will need to get up to health in a hurry if he hopes to win that job. Nothing is certain with Smith right now. 

Saints

The Saints have very high expectations this year, looking to make another run at the Super Bowl. And time might be running out for the Saints because Drew Brees is nearing retirement. This might be the last chance the Saints have to win another title with Brees at the helm. The Saints hold training camp at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility in Metairie, Louisiana.

Position battle: Tre’Quan Smith has not lived up to expectations to date, so he won’t be handed the No. 3 receiver spot. He will have to earn it. And he has some competition in Deonte Harris and Krishawn Hogan. Smith is going to need to up his game and show more consistency on the field if he hopes to hold off Harris and Hogan for the slot receiver spot.

Injury watch: Drew Brees missed five games last year because of a thumb injury. He is 41 years old and hasn’t played a full season in two years. You have to wonder if he can hold up at this stage of his career. He is not battling an injury right now, but you’ll want to monitor his health in camp to make sure he doesn’t get dinged, giving him an injury going into the season.

Panthers

Carolina has a new quarterback for the first time in several seasons. Teddy Bridgewater takes over for the Panthers, replacing Cam Newton. Plus, the team has a new head coach (Matt Rhule) for the first time in a long time. These two big changes should be the focus of training camp for the team, seeing how the key pieces adjust to their new surroundings. Carolina will hold training camp this year at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Position battle: The Panthers offensive side of the ball is pretty sorted out when it comes to starters. There isn’t much debate. The one spot to watch is the top backup quarterback spot. Will Grier and P.J. Walker are the candidates for the job. Walker was arguably the top player in the XFL, turning a lot of heads with his great play. He gets a shot to make an NFL roster. Don’t discount Walker to win the backup job for the Panthers. 

Injury watch: Graham Gano missed all of last season because of a knee injury. He is making good progress in his rehab and should be near full strength for the start of camp. Gano will compete with Joey Slye for the kicking duties in Carolina. Gano will need to prove he is healthy and over his injury if he hopes to start this season.

Bucs

The Bucs made quite the splash this offseason, adding Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski to their team. Tampa might be the most watched team this training camp, seeing how Brady adjusts to his new team. There are going to be a lot of eyes on this team to see if Brady can lead his new squad to a Super Bowl title. Brady and teammates train at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida.

Position battle: The Bucs have a real battle on their hands for the starting running back spot. Ronald Jones and rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn will battle it out for the right to start for the Bucs. This is a wide open competition. This might come down to the back that blocks the best. Tampa will need to keep Tom Brady upright, so the back that can pass protect best probably has the best chance to start.   

Injury watch: The Bucs were able to get Rob Gronkowski out of retirement. He should be a big part of the offense, but health is always a concern for Gronk. He has not played a full season since 2011. Gronk has missed 13 games his last three seasons in the NFL. The year off should have done him some good in getting back to full strength, but you never know with Gronk. He has taken a lot of punishment throughout his career.

Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

Player Notes
Robby Anderson Sep 23 7:20pm ET

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson has impressed in his first two games with the team, getting over 100 yards in both and seeing at least eight targets. While it's encouraging to see Anderson start out hot, it remains to be seen if his target share and yardage will remain consistent in the weeks ahead. For this week, he should be a flex when he plays the Chargers considering they have been stingy to opposing WRs thus far in the season.

From RotoBaller

Curtis Samuel Sep 23 7:20pm ET

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel is not a viable starter in this week's bout against the Chargers. The dual-threat player only has 51 receiving yards and 31 rushing yards in two weeks. He is now considered the WR3 on the team with the emergence of Robby Anderson and though he could see more rushing opportunities with the absence of Christian McCaffrey, the volume remains uncertain. Steer clear of Samuel for this week.

From RotoBaller

D.J. Moore Sep 23 7:10pm ET

Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore should be considered a high-end WR2 for this week's contest against the Chargers. As the WR1 on this team, Moore has proved he is worthy of his role, grabbing at least nine targets in two games and 120 yards in Week 2 as well. The Chargers present a tough matchup for opposing wideouts, but Moore's rich value on this offense makes him a worthy starter for this week.

From RotoBaller

Teddy Bridgewater Sep 23 7:00pm ET

Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is best left on the bench for Week 3's tough road bout against the Chargers. The QB has opened up the season with a decent 636 passing yards, but only has one touchdown and two picks. Even though the Chargers have been a favorable matchup for opposing QBs, Bridgewater has not proved he is a weekly starter and doesn't offer much upside in terms of touchdowns and rushing.

From RotoBaller

Mike Davis Sep 23 7:00pm ET

Carolina Panthers running back Mike Davis should only be considered a flex piece for this week's matchup against the Chargers. With Christian McCaffrey on injured reserve for the next month or so, the journeyman RB Davis will take lead rusher duties. Right off the bat, he faces a tough matchup as the Chargers have allowed the third-fewest points to opposing RBs to start the season. Davis is only a mere flex play in deeper leagues this week considering he hasn't played much at all in the past couple seasons, making it hard to trust him.

From RotoBaller

Mike Gesicki Sep 23 6:10pm ET

Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki is coming off a fantastic game versus the Buffalo Bills in Week 2. He was able to haul in eight of his 11 targets for 130 yards and one touchdown last week. It was a strong showing from Gesicki who was coming off a dud during the season opener. He'll get a favorable matchup versus the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3. The same team that allowed tight end Jonnu Smith to score two touchdowns on them last week. Gesicki should be considered a top tight end candidate for his Thursday night matchup with Jacksonville.

From RotoBaller

DeVante Parker Sep 23 6:10pm ET

Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (hamstring) has been removed from the injury report heading into Week 3 versus the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was limited during Monday and Tuesday's practices, but was upgraded to full on Wednesday. Parker is coming off a Week 2 performance where he hauled in five receptions for 53 yards and one touchdown in the loss to the Buffalo Bills. He'll get a matchup against the Jaguars Defense that allowed four passing touchdowns last week. Parker should have high-end WR3 upside for this matchup.

From RotoBaller

Preston Williams Sep 23 6:10pm ET

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Preston Williams has been held to just three receptions through the first two weeks of the regular season. He was only able to haul in one of his five targets versus the Buffalo Bills last week. However, he'll get a more favorable matchup versus the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3. Williams hasn't shown much promise this season, but fantasy owners should be able to trust him as a WR3 here. Another bust week might turn him into a possible cut-candidate in some formats.

From RotoBaller

Matt Breida Sep 23 6:00pm ET

Miami Dolphins running back Matt Breida is not looking like a trustworthy option this season. He has had trouble getting anything going through the first two games of the season. Breida rushed seven times for 37 yards in the loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 2. He's in a three-back committee, which is going to limit his value even more. He'll get a more favorable matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3. However, there is no need to even consider starting Breida unless it's a 14-team deep league.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Howard Sep 23 6:00pm ET

Miami Dolphins running back Jordan Howard has been unable to find much room to run during the first two games of the regular season. However, Howard has found his way into the end zone during both contests. Sadly, Howard only has 11 total rushing yards on the season through two games. He's part of a three-back committee, which is going to somewhat limit his value. He does appear to get a majority of the work on the goal line. Fantasy owners should consider him a touchdown-dependent RB3 for his matchup versus the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Ryan Fitzpatrick Sep 23 5:50pm ET

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has an intriguing matchup versus the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3. Fitzpatrick is coming off a performance where he completed 31 of 47 passing attempts for 328 passing yards and two touchdowns. Sadly, the Dolphins weren't able to get the win during that Week 2 matchup. However, Fitzpatrick bounced back nicely after his Week 1 dud. He'll now get a favorable matchup against the Jaguars on Thursday night. Fitzpatrick is not a recommended option in most formats, but could be a streaming choice for quarterback-needy teams in Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Myles Gaskin Sep 23 5:50pm ET

Miami Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin has quickly created fantasy value for himself this season. He's coming off a Week 2 performance where he rushed seven times for 46 yards and caught six passes for 36 yards through the air. However, his value is somewhat limited due to the fact he's in a three-back committee, but he's outperformed both other backs on the roster. Gaskin has promising upside in PPR leagues during his Week 3 matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The team is likely going to continue to involve him heavily in the rushing and passing attack.

From RotoBaller

Dalton Schultz Sep 23 5:20pm ET

Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz is suddenly a viable fantasy starting tight end in 12-team leagues. Schultz led the Cowboys in targets in Week 2 with 10, catching nine passes for 88 yards and a touchdown. With that kind of usage and with another potentially high-scoring game on tap for Week 3, Schultz could see another TE1 finish. With Blake Jarwin (knee) done for the season, Schultz will remain the top receiving tight end for the high-octane Cowboys offense.

From RotoBaller

Greg Zuerlein Sep 23 5:20pm ET

Dallas Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein is a strong fantasy kicking option for Week 3 lineups. Zuerlein has made three of his four field goal tries and all six of his extra points so far this season. The Cowboys will be taking on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 3, making for another possibly high-scoring game which should lead to kicking opportunities for Zuerlein. He's a starting kicker in 12-team leagues.

From RotoBaller

Dallas Cowboys Sep 23 5:20pm ET

The Dallas Cowboys Defense is not a recommended start in Week 3 fantasy lineups. Despite the team coming back to win in Week 2, it's no secret that the Cowboys defense struggled quite a bit against the Falcons, allowing 39 points. This week, they'll take on a red-hot Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks in what should be another high-scoring contest. The Cowboys defense hasn't been able to put any pressure on opposing quarterbacks so far this season, and Wilson and the Seahawks shouldn't have too much trouble putting up points. Most fantasy leagues will have far better DST options on the waiver wire this week.

From RotoBaller

Amari Cooper Sep 23 5:10pm ET

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper has been an effective fantasy wide receiver through two games despite not coming down with a touchdown yet. Cooper has totaled 16 catches for 181 yards on 23 targets. Facing the Seattle Seahawks in Week 3, the Cowboys should have another high-scoring offensive performance and Cooper is about as good a bet as anyone to score his first touchdown of 2020. Cooper is a mid-tier WR1 for Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Davante Adams Sep 23 5:10pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (hamstring) did not practice on Wednesday. It's not a great start to the week, but Adams still has two more days to get back on the field heading into Week 3 against the Saints in what could be a high-scoring affair. The 27-year-old went off for 14 catches, 156 yards and two touchdowns in the season-opener, but he had just three receptions for 36 yards in the Week 2 win over Detroit while he battled his injury. Adams is a must-start, high-end WR1 whenever he's playing. Keep a close eye on his practice status the rest of the week. If for some reason he can't play, Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling would both become intriguing flex plays.

From RotoBaller

Michael Gallup Sep 23 5:10pm ET

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup has been mostly disappointing through the first two weeks of the season, but he's a solid fantasy bet for a Week 3 potentially high-scoring affair with the Seattle Seahawks. So far, Gallup has turned 10 targets into five catches for 108 yards. He's been on the field for almost every offensive play, however, seeing the field on 96% of Week 1's offensive snaps and 91% of Week 2's. In a game sure to feature some high scores, Gallup is a solid WR2 option with touchdown upside.

From RotoBaller

Michael Thomas Sep 23 5:10pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday while he tries to recover from a high ankle sprain. Thomas missed the Monday night loss to the Raiders and could miss several more weeks. Fantasy managers shouldn't be expecting to get the All-Pro receiver back in Week 3 against the Packers. As we witnessed against Las Vegas, you can't really count on New Orleans' other receivers in Emmanuel Sanders or Tre'Quan Smith in the absence of Thomas. This game has the potential to be a high-scoring affair, but Sanders remains a boom/bust WR4/flex for much deeper leagues.

From RotoBaller

CeeDee Lamb Sep 23 5:10pm ET

Dallas Cowboys rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb comes in right on the WR2/3 turn for a good Week 3 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. Lamb somewhat surprisingly tied for the team lead in wide receiver targets with nine in Week 2. Week 3 draws another potentially high-scoring contest, with Lamb sure to see many targets for a second consecutive week. He's playing behind Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup in terms of offensive snaps, but he's being targeted heavily when he in on the field. In Week 1, Lamb was in on 82% of the team's offensive snaps, with a similar 83% number in Week 2. He's certainly made the most of his snaps, turning 15 targets into 11 catches for 165 yards so far this season.

From RotoBaller