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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
DeVante Parker Sep 25 9:00pm ET

Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker is clearly still not 100 percent healthy, but did play during the Thursday night win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He caught all five of his targets for 69 yards in Week 3. He'll get 10 days to heal up before his matchup with the Seattle Seahawks next week. Seattle has been horrendous at stopping the pass attack this season. Parker should be a reliable WR2 for that one, assuming he's healthy.

From RotoBaller

Mark Andrews Sep 25 8:50pm ET

Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews will look to get back on track in Week 3 against the Chiefs. After a strong start to the 2020 campaign, the 25-year-old caught only one pass against the Houston Texans on Sunday. While that performance certainly left a bad taste in the mouths of fantasy managers, Andrews should remain starting in all formats, especially since his ceiling is higher than most at his position.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Howard Sep 25 8:50pm ET

Miami Dolphins running back Jordan Howard has been having trouble finding any room to run this season. He rushed three times for one yard and one touchdown in the Thursday night win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Howard has 16 carries for 12 yards on the season, but has three touchdowns as well. Myles Gaskin has become the clear lead back in Miami, so there is little reason to keep Howard rostered in 12-team leagues. He does have a three game touchdown streak, but that won't be enough value to warrant ownership in most leagues.

From RotoBaller

Marquise Brown Sep 25 8:40pm ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown will face his most formidable task of the season against the Chiefs in Week 3. Hollywood has compiled at least five catches in each of his first two games to go along with 143 yards. While Brown hasn't found the end zone yet during the 2020 campaign, he is always in line for a productive outing, especially with so many weapons on the offensive side of the ball opening things up for him. Fantasy managers should keep him starting for the Monday night showdown with Kansas City.

From RotoBaller

Myles Gaskin Sep 25 8:40pm ET

Miami Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin saw a heavy workload during the Thursday night victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Gaskin rushed 22 times for 66 yards and caught five passes for 29 yards through the air. He has become the clear lead back in Miami, but Jordan Howard and Matt Breida will still get a few touches each game. Gaskin is quickly picking up steam in PPR formats. He'll get another favorable matchup against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 4.

From RotoBaller

Matt Breida Sep 25 8:40pm ET

Miami Dolphins running back Matt Breida has been having issues finding any momentum through the first three weeks of the 2020 NFL season. He rushed three times for four yards during the Thursday night victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Breida has been horrendous this season and is a cut-candidate in most formats. Myles Gaskin has become the clear lead back in Miami. Breida will still get a few carries each week, but it won't be enough to have value in most formats.

From RotoBaller

Ryan Fitzpatrick Sep 25 8:30pm ET

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick put together another solid performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3. He completed 18 of 20 passing attempts for 160 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed seven times for 38 yards on the ground with a rushing touchdown as well. The Jaguars had no answers for Fitzpatrick through the first half, but were able to slow him down after halftime. He'll get another solid matchup against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 4. Seattle is struggling to slow down the passing game, so Fitzpatrick could be a possible streaming option again.

From RotoBaller

New Orleans Saints Sep 25 7:20pm ET

The New Orleans Saints Defense faces a tough test against the Packers, the league's highest-scoring team heading into Week 3. New Orleans has racked up some good stats so far, including six sacks, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a defensive touchdown. Unfortunately, Green Bay hasn't been giving to defenses this year, as quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been sacked just once and has yet to throw an interception. When you consider that this game could become high-scoring, it makes the New Orleans defense less appealing for fantasy purposes. There are better starting options out there.

From RotoBaller

Jared Cook Sep 25 7:00pm ET

New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook will square off with one of his former teams, the Packers, in Week 3. Cook ranks as the TE16 through two weeks of play and he was a bit disappointing in the first Saints game without Michael Thomas (ankle). Still, he's arguably the best pass-catcher this offense has besides Alvin Kamara, which should make fantasy managers feel better about starting him. Green Bay has been good against tight ends this year, though they haven't faced one who can stretch the field like Cook can. Plug him into lineups as a low-end TE1.

From RotoBaller

Wil Lutz Sep 25 7:00pm ET

New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz gets a tough matchup against the Packers in Week 3. Lutz has made all three field-goals and all seven extra-points in two contests. New Orleans will have to put up more points in this one, considering that Green Bay currently leads the NFL in points per game. Fantasy managers should keep rolling with Lutz, as this contest could become high-scoring, lending to more opportunities for the veteran kicker. A top-12 finish at the position is certainly possible.

From RotoBaller

Montez Sweat Sep 25 6:40pm ET

Washington Football Team defense will be in play again in Week 3 in a matchup with the Cleveland Browns. Washington has a high-floor as a defense thanks to a ferocious defensive line that features Ryan Kerrigan, Montez Sweat, and second-overall pick Chase Young. Washington put up eight sacks in Week 1 and should be able to put pressure on Baker Mayfield this week. Their secondary is certainly capable of getting picked apart so their upside is limited, but they are a fine starting option in this matchup.

From RotoBaller

Emmanuel Sanders Sep 25 6:40pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders faces off with the Packers in Week 3. Sanders saw the second-highest number of snaps in Week 2 against the Raiders, but was third in wide receiver targets behind Tre'Quan Smith and Deonte Harris. This makes the veteran wideout hard to trust against Green Bay, despite the fact that they rank 22nd in fantasy points allowed to opposing wideouts. While both Sanders and Smith are obviously risky, Sanders is even more volatile right now considering he saw so few targets in Week 2. Sanders is in the WR4 range for Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Antonio Gibson Sep 25 6:30pm ET

Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson led the team in carries in Week 2 and should continue his ascent up the fantasy football ranks in a good matchup in Cleveland. Gibson handled 13 carries in Week 2 and started over veteran Peyton Barber and pass-catching specialist J.D. McKissic. Gibson only has three receptions thus far in 2020 but should get more involved in the passing game as he gets more comfortable with the NFL game. Start the rookie as a high-upside RB2.

From RotoBaller

Terry McLaurin Sep 25 6:20pm ET

Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin has a tough matchup versus former Ohio State teammate Denzel Ward, but is still a WR1 for a matchup in Cleveland. McLaurin typically sees the opposing team's top corner, but the sophomore receiver has beaten good cornerbacks before as he went for 125 yards and a touchdown versus Patrick Peterson in Week 1. Washington has struggled on offense but they tend to force-feed McLaurin targets making him solid starter for fantasy managers.

From RotoBaller

Logan Thomas Sep 25 6:10pm ET

Washington Football Team tight end Logan Thomas made four catches in each game so far this season and is a streamable tight end in a good matchup with Cleveland. Thomas hasn't eclipsed 40 yards in a game yet this season so he is a touchdown-dependent option in fantasy, but he has been getting a good amount of targets in an offense that lacks playmakers. Cleveland has given up a touchdown to tight ends in two-straight weeks so Thomas has a chance to pay off as a streamer in Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Tre'Quan Smith Sep 25 6:10pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith could be a sneaky play in Week 3 against the Packers. In the first game without Michael Thomas (ankle), Smith played 53 snaps, compared to Emmanuel Sanders' 47, and caught five passes for 86 yards. He out-targeted Sanders seven to three. You can't feel entirely great about playing Smith, especially against a solid Packers' pass defense. Still, he has had a knack for finding the end zone in his career and saw the most targets of any pass-catcher not named Alvin Kamara. Smith is a sneaky play in all formats.

From RotoBaller

Dwayne Haskins Sep 25 6:10pm ET

Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins has played efficiently in 2020, but is not a quarterback to target in fantasy. Haskins is quickly earning the dreaded "game manager" tag as he has thrown for under 225 yards and exactly one touchdown, but no interceptions, through the team's first two games. The Browns are a solid matchup and Haskins could play well again, but fantasy managers should aim higher with their QB. In 2QB leagues Haskins can be considered a low-end starter, but he should be left on waivers in most leagues.

From RotoBaller

Evan Engram Sep 25 6:00pm ET

New York Giants tight end Evan Engram has struggled thus far in 2020 and things won't get easier in Week 3 versus San Francisco. The 49ers won't be at full strength on defense after several injuries in Week 2, but they have still allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends through two weeks. Engram has just eight catches for 74 scoreless yards this season as New York has struggled on the offensive side of the ball. Engram isn't the slam-dunk fantasy starter he was after the draft but remains a low-end TE1 for this matchup at a weak tight end position for fantasy.

From RotoBaller

Darius Slayton Sep 25 5:50pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton had a letdown game in Week 2 with just 33 yards after he exploded for 100-plus yards and a touchdown in Week 1. Slayton should be in a position to see more targets this week as Sterling Shepard (toe) was placed on Injured Reserve. New York has struggled to move the ball on offense but will catch a break this week facing a 49ers Defense decimated by injuries. Slayton should be in line for seven-plus targets giving him appeal as a WR3 in fantasy.

From RotoBaller

Latavius Murray Sep 25 5:50pm ET

New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray gets a favorable matchup against the Packers in Week 3. Green Bay has surrendered the 11th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs and has allowed a back to score in each of their two games so far. Murray saw far less touches in Week 2, though it can't be forgotten that he carried the ball 15 times in Week 1, against a much tougher Buccaneers' run defense. With Michael Thomas (ankle) ruled out, it's possible New Orleans opts for a run-heavy approach. If the veteran halfback sees at least 10 touches, he could do enough to return flex value in Week 3. The risk is the week-to-week uncertainty with his role and the fact that Kamara could gobble up all the backfield touches once again.

From RotoBaller