Training Camp Preview: AFC South

Wed Jul 24 10:12am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Funchess looks to start


This is the third 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.

Titans

The Titans were close last year but just missed out on the playoffs. The team made a few more changes this offseason and look to get over the hump. The big thing to watch this camp is the development of Marcus Mariota. This could be a make or break year for him. He needs to take his game to another level if the Titans hope to make the playoffs on a yearly basis. He battled injury much of last year, though, but seems to be over that. Mariota is likely the key to the Titans season. 

Position battle: The Titans are pretty crowded at receiver this year. The big battle should be for the starter opposite Corey Davis. Tajae Sharpe and rookie A.J. Brown should battle for that job. Sharpe has been a bit of a disappointment to start his career but has been around and knows the offense. Brown is an exciting, young talent but might take some time to get up to speed to the pro game. This should be a close battle this training camp. 

Injury watch: Tight end Delanie Walker broke his ankle the first game of last season and missed the rest of the year. He is healthy and ready for the start of training camp, but his health is something to keep an eye on. Walker turns 35 just before the start of the year and is coming off a season he played just a game. He can be a big part of the offense if he rebounds well from his injury. 

Colts

The Colts had a good season last year and will look to have a great one this season. The team is on the upswing and have a lot going for them. There isn’t a whole lot to decide in camp but keeping Andrew Luck healthy is key. He came back strong last year and could be even stronger this season. The Colts need Luck on the field and leading the way offensively. He makes this offense click. 

Position battle: The Colts made some changes at receiver this offseason, signing Devin Funchess and drafting Parris Campbell. This guys will compete for the right to start opposite TY Hilton. Funchess has done well in spurts throughout his career but has not played in an offense like this before. He could flourish in a more pass-happy system. Campbell is a speed burner at receiver that could be the top deep threat for the Colts this year even if he doesn’t start. He will be stiff competition for Funchess. 

Injury watch: Tight end Eric Ebron had offseason groin surgery. He missed most of offseason workouts but was near full strength during minicamp. He should be ready to go for training camp and not be limited. His injury situation is still something to keep an eye on, though. Ebron had a huge first season with the Colts and should be setup for more big things this year. 

Jaguars

The Jaguars took a step backwards last year. The team really disappointed, especially offensively. The team will need to get things going on that side of the ball if they hope to return to the playoffs. Jacksonville made a big splash this offseason, signing Nick Foles to take over as their starting quarterback. Foles might be the key to the season for the Jaguars. He can play at a high level but has lacked some consistency throughout his career. It will be interesting to see how he does in this offense, moving from the Eagles to the Jaguars.  

Position battle: It seems like this is the case every year but the Jaguars have some things to sort out at receiver once again. Chris Conley, Marqise Lee, Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook and Terrelle Pryor will fight it out for playing time. Lee might be the only sure thing but is returning from a torn ACL and might not be ready for the start of the season. Westbrook is a good fit for the slot and seems destined to serve that role. Conley is a free agent acquisition that could play a big role with a strong camp and preseason. Cole has done well in spurts and has plenty of talent but lacks consistency. Pryor is a wild card. He has done little in past years but is a former 1,000-yard receiver.  

Injury watch: Receiver Marqise Lee tore his ACL last season and missed the entire season. He is still recovering from the major injury and might not be ready until late in camp and preseason action. He will have a big role in the offense once healthy, but nothing is certain about his status right now. You’ll want to check out his status in camp and preseason action before deciding if he is worth a draft pick this year. 

Texans 

The Texans won a very good division last year and will look for a repeat this season. The pieces are certainly in place for good things from this team. The big key for this team the last few seasons has been staying healthy. When that happens, good things tend to happen for the Texans. But when some key pieces get hurt, things don’t go so well for Houston. So for now, just staying healthy this camp and preseason is something the Texans hope happens.  

Position battle: The Texans should have a pretty good battle for the tight end spot with Jordan Thomas, Jordan Akins, and rookie Kahale Warring looking to start. Thomas is the odds on favorite to start but isn’t going to be handed anything. Akins and Warring will get their chances as well to show their stuff. Warring is the most intriguing of the two. He is a good pass catcher and has the potential to improve in a hurry. 

Injury watch: Receiver Will Fuller tore his ACL last year and missed most of the year. He is recovering well, though, and expects to be ready for Week 1. We’ll know more when camp and preseason action gets underway. Fuller will need to get some work in and show he is healthy to get the go ahead for Week 1. Fuller just produces when he is on the field but has endured injury issues throughout his career. Hopefully, this year is different for him. 

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
Ryan Tannehill Aug 17 11:40pm ET

Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill put together another solid outing in Week 2 of the preseason, completing 7-of-11 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown. While Tannehill continues to play well, he was still operating as the clear backup quarterback to Marcus Mariota. Although Tannehill is not on the radar for redraft leagues in 2019, he remains a decent stash in superflex dynasty leagues, especially for Mariota owners.

From RotoBaller

Deshaun Watson Aug 17 11:40pm ET

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson played one series in Saturday's preseason win over the Detroit Lions, going 5-for-7 for 60 yards and a touchdown. Both incompletions came on accurate passes in the red zone. Houston was playing fast on that first series and running some no-huddle offense, which could be an indication that the team wants to pick up their pace in 2019. If they do, Watson's ceiling inches higher, though he remains limited by the team's questionable offensive line. Still, he should be drafted as a top-five quarterback.

From RotoBaller

Joshua Dobbs Aug 17 11:40pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Joshua Dobbs finished 6-of-11 fo 95 yards with an interception, while also tucking and running once for five yards in Saturday's 17-7 preseason win over Kansas City. The 24-year-old started the second half after Mason Rudolph got the entire first half of the game, while Dobbs saw the majority of the first half in the first preseason game. The Steelers are giving both signal callers an ample opportunity to earn the spot of Ben Roethlisberger's backup. Dobbs served in the role last season, but after Pittsburgh drafted Rudolph in the third round of the 2018 draft, many knew that Rudolph will likely be the heir apparent. Dobbs holds no real fantasy value unless he earns the backup job and/or if Roethlisberger sustains a long-term injury.

From RotoBaller

Jeremy McNichols Aug 17 11:40pm ET

Tennessee Titans running back Jeremy McNichols put together another solid performance in Week 2 of the preseason against the New England Patriots. McNichols only delivered 13 yards on the ground, but added 24 yards receiving, including a 15-yard touchdown. McNichols also had a 33-yard rushing touchdown called back on a questionable holding penalty. He continues to make his case to be kept as a fourth running back, but his lack of contribution on special teams make it an uphill battle.

From RotoBaller

Marcus Mariota Aug 17 11:30pm ET

Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota looked sharp in limited action against the New England Patriots on Saturday, completing 6-of-9 passes for 63 yards and a touchdown strike to tight end Delanie Walker. Mariota capped off a solid week of camp with a convincing performance, leaving no room for speculation about a quarterback competition in Tennessee. Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky went as far as to say "There is no circumstance under which a healthy Marcus Mariota is not the Week One starter in Cleveland. Period." While Mariota's job is not in question, his ability to be a consistent fantasy option at a position filled with options is. Mariota is nothing more than a low-end QB2 option going into his fifth season.

From RotoBaller

Dontrelle Inman Aug 17 11:00pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Dontrelle Inman caught only one pass but it was a crucial 17-yard reception in the fourth quarter of the Patriots 22-17 comeback preseason win. The veteran had seen only one target before he made the catch but Inman came through in the clutch. Inman has bounced around the league the past few seasons and certainly will be a 'bubble' player as he fights for a spot in the final two preseason games.

From RotoBaller

Brandon Bolden Aug 17 11:00pm ET

New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden scored a 1-yard touchdown in the Patriots preseason victory over the Titans. Bolden registered only two yards on four carries but was able to convert in the red zone. Bolden is far down the running back depth chart on the Patriots but every year, it seems, he plays snaps during the regular season. Bolden will be not be fantasy viable unless multiple injuries hit the New England backfield.

From RotoBaller

Damien Harris Aug 17 10:50pm ET

New England Patriots running back Damien Harris carried the ball 14 times for 80 yards and added 23 receiving yards in the Patriots 22-17 preseason win over the Titans. Harris has been a non-factor in the early portions of training camp but has been dealing with a wrist injury. Harris made some solid, tough runs and looked like the talented prospect the Patriots selected out of Alabama. Harris has pass-catching ability and could find himself in the mix of the running back carousel in New England if he can maintain consistency moving forward.

From RotoBaller

Jakobi Meyers Aug 17 10:50pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers caught six passes for 82 yards in the Patriots 22-17 preseason win over the Titans. Meyers provided the only consistent offense in the passing game, joining teammate Damien Harris as the only players to post multiple receptions. Meyers made two key 10-yard receptions in the fourth quarter during a game-winning drive. The return of Josh Gordon makes things more complicated for players like Meyers but the 22-year-old is showing what he can do on the field.

From RotoBaller

Lance Kendricks Aug 17 10:50pm ET

New England Patriots tight end Lance Kendricks caught his first pass as a Patriot, a 28-yard reception in the team's preseason win over the Titans. One catch normally is not significant but Kendricks is expected to play a role early on this season with starter Benjamin Watson suspended the first four games. The Patriots have enjoyed production from the tight end position for almost a decade now and Kendricks could benefit playing in New England's offensive system. This is a very small step, but a step nonetheless for Kendricks.

From RotoBaller

Jarrett Stidham Aug 17 10:40pm ET

New England Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham completed 14-of-19 passes for 193 yards, including a game-winning touchdown, in the Patriots 22-17 preseason win over the Titans. Stidham hit wide receiver Damoun Patterson down the left sideline for 23 yards to put the Patriots ahead for the first time in the game. It was an efficient performance for the fourth-round rookie, who is looking at starting the season as the third-string quarterback. It is impossible to say whether Stidham is the "future" at quarterback for the Patriots but should see plenty of snaps in the final two preseason games.

From RotoBaller

Nick Brossette Aug 17 10:40pm ET

New England Patriots running back Nick Brossette totaled only 37 yards from scrimmage but scored a touchdown in his second straight preseason game against the Titans. Brossette's numbers have not been impressive but has executed in the red zone thus far in the preseason. Brossette will have to show more productivity than stuffing in one-yard touchdowns to be considered a serious factor when the regular season rolls around.

From RotoBaller

Demetrius Harris Aug 17 8:30pm ET

Cleveland Browns tight end Demetrius Harris was unable to corral either of his two targets in a 21-18 preseason win over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday. Harris, who came over to Cleveland as a free-agent after spending five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, is expected to serve as the team's second tight end after David Njoku. Of course, Njoku is dealing with a knee injury, which will give Harris more run with the first team during preseason practices. The Browns should run more 12 personnel this season, which would get Harris on the field alongside Njoku in certain situations. Harris doesn't need to be drafted but he is worth monitoring just in case the Browns show that he is a significant part of their plans, especially in the red zone.

From RotoBaller

Rashard Higgins Aug 17 8:20pm ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins turned in a solid game in a 21-18 preseason win over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday. Higgins caught all four of his targets for 34 yards in the win. The veteran receiver has been productive during the preseason as he further cements himself as the team's No. 3 wide receiver. While he won't see a high volume of targets behind Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, Higgins is likely to have a few big games this season on what should be an exciting Browns offense. Keep him in mind as a potential flex option in deeper fantasy leagues this season.

From RotoBaller

Kareem Hunt Aug 17 8:20pm ET

Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt saw two touches in a 21-18 preseason win over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday. Hunt carried the ball twice for six yards and was unable to haul in his lone target in the win. The game action marked Hunt's preseason debut after he was not involved in the preseason opener last week. Hunt will begin serving an eight-game suspension once the regular season begins but he has some value as a flex option in PPR leagues when he does come back. Of course, using a draft pick on him will require a fantasy owner to keep him on the roster for over half of the fantasy regular season. That only seems like a viable plan in leagues with large roster settings.

From RotoBaller

Greg Joseph Aug 17 8:10pm ET

Cleveland Browns kicker Greg Joseph missed a 53-yard field goal in a 21-18 preseason win over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday. The 53-yarder was Joseph's only field goal attempt in the game although he added an extra point. Joseph has been in a preseason camp battle with rookie Austin Siebert for the right to be the team's kicker during the regular season. Both have been pretty even during their battle, with Siebert also missing his lone field goal attempt against the Colts. Whoever wins the starting kicker role will have plenty of fantasy value tied to what should be an explosive Cleveland offense.

From RotoBaller

Daniel Carlson Aug 17 7:40pm ET

Oakland Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson had an impressive season with the Silver and Black in 2018 and is primed to improve in this campaign. After getting waived by the Vikings following Week 2, Carlson finished the last 10 games of the season with the Raiders setting a new team record with a 94% field goal succession rate. With an improved offense likely providing more point-after attempts and better field goal positioning, the former fifth-round pick could put up a considerable point total this year if he can stay in the 90% conversion range.

From RotoBaller

Keelan Doss Aug 17 7:20pm ET

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Keelan Doss has turned a few heads through the team's first two preseason games. The undrafted rookie caught a touchdown pass in Week 1 and followed that performance with a five-catch 38-yard game in Week 2, making a case for a place on the 53-man roster. Doss is competing for one of the final roster spots at WR, but faces an uphill battle with only one spot available and three players ahead of him on the depth chart for the job. Even if the 23-year-old cracks the squad, he won't receive enough playing time to become a fantasy contributor in 2019.

From RotoBaller

Doug Martin Aug 17 7:10pm ET

Oakland Raiders running back Doug Martin is slated for a backup role with the Silver and Black this season after leading the team in rushing in 2018. The "Muscle Hamster" racked up an underwhelming 723 yards and four touchdowns last season and will play second fiddle behind rookie Josh Jacobs in 2019. Martin didn't hold much fantasy value as a starter a year ago and is off the radar this campaign in a backup role. With Jalen Richard finding work in the passing game, it would take a significant injury from Jacobs to give Martin any sort of fantasy relevance. He's a late-round handcuff in best-ball leagues and can be avoided in season-long formats.

From RotoBaller

Jalen Richard Aug 17 7:00pm ET

Oakland Raiders running back Jalen Richard is coming off a successful 2018 campaign which saw him accumulate 55 rushes and 68 catches for 866 all-purpose yards. With the team using a first-round pick on Josh Jacobs, Richard finds himself third on the depth chart this season with a question mark surrounding his usage for this year. Richard was a huge factor in the passing game last season finishing seventh among running backs in receptions. With the coaching staff hopeful of Jacobs becoming an every-down back, Richard will struggle to find playing time on this improving offense. Unless Jacobs gets injured or struggles mightily as a pass-catcher, Richard won't hold any fantasy appeal in 2019.

From RotoBaller