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Training Camp Preview: NFC West

Wed Jul 29 11:02am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Mostert hopes to have big role


This is the final 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.

Rams

The Rams should have an interesting back, mainly because they have a real running back battle on their hands. This should make for some quality entertainment for fantasy owners. The winner of that job will have obvious fantasy value in this offense. The big battle will happen this year at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.

Position battle: The Rams will be without Todd Gurley as their starting running back for the first time in several seasons. This leaves the job up for grabs. The Rams drafted Cam Akers with a high pick, making him maybe the favorite for the job. Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown are still around, though. These three will battle it out for the job. Akers is the favorite, but he’ll need to perform in camp and preseason action to hold off Henderson and Brown .

Injury watch: Cooper Kupp played a full season last year for the first time in his career. He has missed games two of three seasons because of injury. Kupp has struggled to stay healthy at times, but last year was a big step forward. Either way, injury is a concern when it comes to Kupp. He is a huge part of the Rams offense and can be a top fantasy player, but needs to be on the field for that to happen. Make sure he has a healthy camp, though, before taking him come draft day.

Cardinals

Arizona is a team on the rise with a lot of young talent on both sides of the ball. The offense made a big splash this offseason, acquiring DeAndre Hopkins. The offense has a chance to be really good if all the pieces fall into place this season for Arizona. It should be interesting to see how the offense plays out this training camp. The Cardinals hold camp at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Position battle: The Cardinals starting tight end spot is up for grabs. Maxx Williams seems to have the best shot to start of the group, but will be challenged by Dan Arnold and Darrell Daniels. Arizona’s starting tight end doesn’t have a ton of fantasy value, but the starter could be worth a spot start or two in a pinch, making this a job some might want to keep an eye on. 

Injury watch: Larry Fitzgerald just keeps chugging along. He plays every game and produces on the field. It is pretty amazing. He is 37 years old, though, so you have to wonder if he can keep his current pace. It just seems natural that he will slow down sooner than later, maybe because of injury. This makes Fitzgerald a player to keep an eye on in training camp to make sure he comes out healthy and ready for the season.

49ers

The 49ers made it to the Super Bowl last year but lost in the big game. Expectations will be high for this team once again this year. There should be a lot of pressure on Jimmy Garopppolo, who wasn’t great in the playoffs. He might need to up his game a little more if the 49ers hope to win the Super Bowl. Garoppolo and his teammates will train at the San Francisco 49ers Training Facility in Santa Clara, California.

Position battle: Raheem Mostert is threatening a holdout because he wants a new contract. He is expected to start for the 49ers but a possible holdout could open the door for Tevin Coleman. This is a situation to watch going forward. Coleman’s value would take a big step forward if Mostert missed any amount of time. And even if Mostert doesn’t holdout, don’t forget about Coleman as part of a rotation at running back for the 49ers. It is not a slam dunk that Mostert is going to be handed the starting job. (UPDATE: Mostert restructured his contract and ended his holdout)

Injury watch: Deebo Samuel injured his foot in offseason workouts, suffering a Jones fracture. There is a good chance he is not ready for the start of the season, missing a few games to start the year. We’ll have a better idea when camp opens, though. Big things are expected from Samuel this year, but this injury clouds those expectations.

Seahawks

Seattle just keeps chugging along, winning a lot of games while making the playoffs. The big issue is getting over the hump of recent years and making a legit run at the Super Bowl. The team will need to get a little better on both sides of the ball for that to happen. Seattle will need some of that young talent to make progress this year, so that might be the big thing to watch this training camp. The Seahawks hold training camp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Washington.

Position battle: Chris Carson is the starter for the Seahawks but his backup is up in the air. Carlos Hyde and Rashaad Penny are the top options to backup Carson. Hyde is coming off a 1,000-yard season, so he has the leg up on Penny. But Penny is a talented player that has struggled with injury start his career. When healthy, Penny has made plays for the Seahawks. Penny is recovering from a torn ACL, though, so he will need to prove he is healthy if he hopes to win the job over Hyde. This clouds things even more for Penny. 

Injury watch: Chris Carson had his season cut short because of a hip injury last year. He is not 100 percent certain to be ready for the start of training camp. He might be brought along slowly to make sure he is ready for the start of the year. He’ll need to get up to speed in camp to show the team he is 100 percent and ready for the start of the year. Make sure he has an injury free camp before taking Carson come draft day.

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
Marquise Brown Sep 29 12:10am ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown was incredibly quiet in Monday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, catching two of his six targets and finishing with 13 yards. With Baltimore finishing with under 100 passing yards, Brown's numbers still put him third on the team in receiving yards, if you're looking for a positive to take away from this game. Brown's a high-ceiling and low-floor fantasy receiver who'll have a lot better performances than this one, and he probably won't have any worse ones either.

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Devin Duvernay Sep 29 12:10am ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Devin Duvernay showed off his speed on Monday night, taking a kickoff 93 yards to the house for the first kick return touchdown of the 2020 NFL season. He was less effective as a receiver, catching two passes for seven yards. Duvernay is an intriguing young player who should see his role grow as the year progresses, but who also has his upside capped by the fact that Ravens throw so little. It's too early to add him in redraft leagues, but if you have a chance to get him at a low cost in dynasty, you might want to.

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Nick Boyle Sep 29 12:10am ET

Baltimore Ravens tight end Nick Boyle caught the team's only offensive touchdown in the team's Week 3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, with a five-yard grab on his only target of the game. Boyle has just four receptions through three games and while the touchdown was nice for anyone using him as a punt play in DFS, it didn't really help anyone in season-long leagues, and it shouldn't lead to you rushing out and putting a waiver claim in for a guy who just caught his third career touchdown in his sixth NFL season.

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Mark Andrews Sep 29 12:00am ET

Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews led the team in targets on Monday against the Chiefs. Unfortunately, he couldn't bring most of them in, finishing with three receptions for 22 yards. Andrews had trouble with his hands all night. Usually a reliable tight end, we can probably chalk this one up to the struggles of the entire Ravens offense. Andrews remains a weekly TE1 play in season-long leagues.

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Mark Ingram Sep 28 11:50pm ET

Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram II couldn't find any room in Monday night's loss to the Chiefs, rushing seven times for 30 yards and failing to bring in his only target. Not a great showing from the veteran back, but he did have seven of the 12 carries for running backs on the night and remains the lead back. He's a solid RB2/3 option most weeks in a run-centric offense, but does have risk in games like this one where the game script takes the running backs out of the game. Thankfully for Ingram, the Ravens don't play many games like that.

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J.K. Dobbins Sep 28 11:50pm ET

On a night where the passing game never materialized, it was Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins who led the team in targets and yards, catching four passes for 38 yards. He added six rushing yards on one carry. The takeaways from this one are a bit of a mixed bag for fantasy managers. You like to see the targets, but who viable of an option can Dobbins really be if he's barely getting carries? He's still the highest upside back on this roster, but expect some uneven performances in the short term.

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Jeff Wilson Sep 28 11:39pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. had a fantastic fantasy game in Week 3 against the New York Giants. Wilson carried the ball 12 times for 15 yards and a touchdown and added three catches on three targets for 54 yards and a touchdown. Wilson saw extended opportunities with both Raheem Mostert (knee) and Tevin Coleman (knee) out. Jerick McKinnonhad two more carries and one more target than Wilson, but both players should see a lot of action for however long both Mostert and Coleman remain out.

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KJ Hamler Sep 28 11:39pm ET

Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver K.J. Hamler caught three of his five targets for only 30 yards in the 28-10 Week 3 loss to the Buccaneers. Hamler ran the ball once but lost two yards in the process. The speedy youngster has big-play ability, but it'll probably be few and far between that he can take advantage of that with backup quarterback Jeff Driskel leading the team right now with Drew Lock (shoulder) injured. Hamler could do some damage against a poor Jets Defense on Thursday night in Week 4, but he'll be a hail mary in terms of DFS and season-long leagues as long as Driskel remains the starter.

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Jared Goff Sep 28 11:38pm ET

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff and the team's offense couldn't get anything going in the first half against the Buffalo Bills, but they never stopped. They ran up 29 straight points against the Bills, and Goff was a major part of that. He finished the game 22-for-31 for 309 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He also added two carries for four yards and a touchdown. Goff has given solid production in back-to-back weeks, and he's beginning to creep into the QB1 conversation with his safe floor on a weekly basis.

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Darrell Henderson Sep 28 11:38pm ET

Los Angeles Rams running back Darrell Henderson had a big game in Week 2, and he followed it up with another great performance in Week 3. He finished the week against the Buffalo Bills with 20 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown. He also caught one of his three targets for six yards. Henderson is solidifying his role as the lead back for this team, and he has a lot of a fantasy value in that role. If you have Henderson on your roster, he looks poised to give you RB2 production on a weekly basis with the way he's playing right now.

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Cooper Kupp Sep 28 11:38pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp made the most of his opportunities in Week 3, and he finally cashed in on the draft capital you had invested in him. He caught nine of his 10 targets for 107 yards and a touchdown. After failing to score in Weeks 1 and 2, he got into the end zone in Week 3 to give himself a huge day. Kupp gets a fair amount of targets every week, and you should have him locked into your lineups on the majority of occasions. This is the type of production that I would be expecting from moving forward.

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Robert Woods Sep 28 11:38pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods had a tough matchup in Week 3 against Buffalo Bills' cornerback Tre'Davious White, but that didn't stop him from turning in a solid performance. He caught four of his five targets for 62 yards and a touchdown. He also added three carries for 30 yards. This was a good bounceback game after a mostly quiet game in Week 2. The production we've seen from Woods in Week 1 and Week 3 is more indicative of what you can expect from him on a weekly basis.

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Josh Reynolds Sep 28 11:38pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Josh Reynolds is his team's third option at receiver, but he had a solid game in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills. He caught four of his five targets for 60 yards. While this performance was good to see, it's not like he's been doing this on a regular basis. It's unclear if he's going to be able to produce at this level moving forward, and he's nothing more than a desperation option in uber-deep leagues as things stand right now.

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Tyler Higbee Sep 28 11:38pm ET

Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee was unable to replicate his tremendous performance from Week 2 in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills. He caught both of his targets for 40 yards and zero touchdowns. In an offense that's loaded with weapons, Higbee is going to have weeks where he's quiet like this. He's still a consistent TE1 option, but you will need him to snag some touchdowns to truly elevate himself into the upper tier of players at the position.

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Los Angeles Rams Sep 28 11:38pm ET

The Los Angeles Rams Defense got torched in Week 3. The Buffalo Bills' offense ran up 35 points on them en route to their Week 3 win. They were able to get after quarterback Josh Allen a little bit, and they came away with four sacks, a fumble and an interception. They played extremely well through the first two weeks, and they are looking like they might be better than initially expected coming into the season. In the right matchup, they might give you a reasonable streaming option on a week-to-week basis.

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Sam Sloman Sep 28 11:38pm ET

Los Angeles Rams kicker Samuel Sloman started the day slow, but he was able to turn things on as the game wore on in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills. He went 1-of-2 on field goals while going 3-of-3 on his extra point attempts. This offense looks like it's going to return to their explosive ways that we've seen since head coach Sean McVay arrived, and that's going to give him value on a weekly basis. He might not have the highest ceiling among kickers, but he's a safe option to get you points every week.

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Russell Wilson Sep 28 11:38pm ET

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson continued his quest for his first MVP trophy with an explosive performance in Week 3. He completed 27-of-40 passes for 315 yards and five touchdowns. He also added six carries for 22 yards. His day could have been even better if it weren't for a huge mental mistake by wide receiver D.K. Metcalf. Wilson is on the hottest pace that we've ever seen out of him, and he's going to continue to put up incredible numbers. He will be locked in as a top-five QB on a weekly basis barring extremely unforeseen circumstances.

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Darren Waller Sep 28 11:38pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller had a tough day against the Patriots, catching just two balls for nine yards on four targets. The Patriots clearly took notes after Waller's performance last week against the Saints. Waller was a non-factor, which is the complete opposite of what he did in Week 2. This performance is going to be more the exception than the rule for Waller going forward. Fantasy owners can chalk it up as an off day and look to next week. Waller remains one of the top tight ends in the league, and he will look to bounce back in Week 4 against the Bills. The Bills have one of the top defenses in the league, but don't expect to see the same performance from Waller.

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Chris Carson Sep 28 11:38pm ET

Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson had been an RB1 through the first two weeks of the season, but that pace came to an end in Week 3. He finished with 14 carries for 64 yards to go with three catches for 12 yards. He was unable to get into the end zone despite three short opportunities, and that limited his ceiling against the Dallas Cowboys. Late in the fourth quarter, he sustained a leg injury that caused him to miss the remainder of the game. It will be important to pay attention to the news regarding that injury moving forward. If he were to miss any time, teammate Carlos Hyde would be the immediate beneficiary.

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D.K. Metcalf Sep 28 11:38pm ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf had an exceptional game in Week 3, but it could have been even better. He caught four of his eight targets for 110 yards and a touchdown, but he should have had another. After catching an easy ball at the eight-yard line, he coasted to the one-yard line where he was stripped by Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs. Metcalf was nearly uncoverable on the afternoon, and that's going to continue thanks to his supreme size and athleticism. Moving forward, he is a near-lock for your lineups on a weekly basis.

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