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
Jacob Hollister Dec 15 2:10am ET

Seattle Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister has been a revelation this season, but he's come back to Earth recently. He'll be facing another uphill battle this weekend when Seattle visits Carolina, one of the stingiest defenses in the game versus opposing tight ends. Hollister has been held without a TD for three straight weeks, and he hasn't cracked 50 yards receiving during the stretch either. Meanwhile, the Panthers have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, and they haven't allowed a tight end touchdown in nearly a month. Hollister is still a talented receiver, but other teams have caught on to some of his moves and he'll be in for another challenge in Week 15.

From RotoBaller

Jason Myers Dec 15 2:10am ET

Seattle Seahawks kicker Jason Myers has cranked it up recently, and he'll look to continue his stellar ways in the cool, crisp air of Charlotte on Sunday. Myers hasn't missed a field goal in over a month, he's been better on the road than in his wet and windy home stadium, and he'll be facing a Carolina team that does an excellent job of locking down opposing offenses only after they've gotten in field goal range. Carolina has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing kickers this year, and it should be a perfect day for booting the ball on Sunday. If there was ever a day to roll the dice on Myers, this is probably going to be the day.

From RotoBaller

Chris Carson Dec 15 2:00am ET

Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson is set to face a Carolina Panthers Defense that has been plagued by the run all year. Carolina is the most generous run defense in the game for opposing running backs, and Carson will now shoulder nearly the entire load since Rashaad Penny has been lost for the season with a torn ACL. With Seattle's defense being beat up and their wide receivers still recovering from a flu epidemic that spread through the locker room, it's a perfect situation for Carson. Owners should be confident starting him, and he could be looking at a huge week.

From RotoBaller

D.K. Metcalf Dec 15 2:00am ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf stepped into the primary role quite well while Tyler Lockett was banged up and ill, and he'll look to continue that growth this weekend as he faces a Carolina squad that has allowed the third-most yards to opposing wide receivers this year. The Panthers have proven quite adept at limiting touchdowns, but their bendy secondary has allowed some big weeks on the outside. Expect Metcalf to push the field and look for the home run ball, and his improved catching should keep him on the scoreboard even if he can't land the big one.

From RotoBaller

Russell Wilson Dec 15 1:50am ET

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had a rough game last week against the improved Rams Defense as he was held to zero touchdown passes for the first time in a year. Now he'll face off against another strong defense in Carolina. Though Wilson has usually found a way to have success against the Panthers, they always present a solid defense and make the games close. Wilson has won three of their last four matchups, but the games have only been decided by more than four points once. Wilson will have his full complement of receivers, and hopefully Tyler Lockett will finally be fully healthy and ready to resume his role as Wilson's favorite target.

From RotoBaller

Seattle Seahawks Dec 15 1:40am ET

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (flu) was officially ruled out of Sunday's game on Saturday afternoon, and the Seahawks Defense is starting to look a little thin. Linebacker Mychal Kendricks (hamstring) was ruled out for the second week in a row, defensive end Ziggy Ansah is questionable with a neck injury, and cornerback Shaquill Griffin, one of the team's breakout stars, is questionable with a hamstring injury of his own. The good news is that the Seahawks defense will be facing a rookie quarterback that has thrown 12 interceptions this season, but they'll also be facing Christian McCaffrey, an MVP finalist. It's not a great week to bet on the Seahawks defense.

From RotoBaller

Michael Badgley Dec 15 1:00am ET

Los Angeles Chargers kicker Michael Badgley is back in sunny southern California for Sunday's game against the Vikings, and he's been on a bit of a hot streak. Badgley isn't known for his power, but his accuracy has returned after a shaky start. Badgley is 10-for-12 from less than 50 yards over the last five weeks, pushing his season stats up closer to his career numbers now that he's healthy. Badgley's groin injury put him behind when he returned to the team, but the further he gets away from the issue, the better he's getting. He should be considered a highly accurate kicker from here on out.

From RotoBaller

Derwin James Dec 15 1:00am ET

Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James will get his first opportunity to face former teammate and friend Dalvin Cook when LA squares off against the Vikings on Sunday. James has faced Cook plenty of times in practice, but this will be the first game against one of the NFL's leading rushers. To go along with Cook, Pro Bowl wide receiver Adam Thielen will be returning to the field, and Kirk Cousins will be working on padding his resume as he's looking like one of the top passers in the league. The Chargers Defense has been better lately, but this matchup looks like a beastly one for the squad. Owners are probably able to make a better choice with a different one this week.

From RotoBaller

Mike Williams Dec 15 12:50am ET

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams is carrying quite the streak, and he'll be looking to add to it with another deep pass on Sunday. Williams has a reception of 40 or more yards in six straight games, though amazingly, only one of those bombs has turned into a touchdown. The third-year wideout is at 841 yards receiving, but it wasn't until last week's blowout against Jacksonville that he recorded his first score of the season. Facing off against a stingy Minnesota secondary, Williams will be hard-pressed to find an opening for another big play, but owners can bet he'll be trying and Rivers will give him a chance.

From RotoBaller

Hunter Henry Dec 15 12:50am ET

Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry has put up 60 or more receiving yards or a touchdown in seven of his nine games this season, and he'll get another opportunity on Sunday when he faces a Minnesota defense that is surprisingly soft against opposing tight ends. Though the Vikings are above average in just about every defensive category, opposing tight ends have been particularly successful in the fat part of the field. Minnesota has allowed the 10th-most yards to opposing tight ends this season, but they have done a good job of clamping down once they get close to the end zone. Expect Henry to get some opportunities, and he'll probably be able to keep his good games going with some decent numbers.

From RotoBaller

Keenan Allen Dec 15 12:40am ET

Following a series of ho-hum weeks through the middle of the season, Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen has been on a hot streak of late, racking up 27 catches and 290 yards receiving over the last four games. Allen was able to haul in a pair of touchdowns over the stretch as well, and he has put up 68 or more receiving yards in each of the games. That said, Allen will be facing a tough matchup as he'll possibly be lining up across from Pro Bowl cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle) and the rest of an intimidating Minnesota secondary. With the Vikings on a hot offensive streak, don't be surprised if LA is playing catch-up and Allen sees plenty of chances. He'll just have to fight his way through a lot of coverage to bring them in.

From RotoBaller

DeVante Parker Dec 14 10:40pm ET

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Devante Parker (concussion) has cleared the league's concussion protocol and will play on Sunday against the New York Giants. The Giants are starting four rookies in the secondary and Parker and the Dolphins shouldn't have too hard a time moving the ball. Parker is a strong WR2 with a nice ceiling for the fantasy semifinals this week. Parker's fellow Dolphins receiver Albert Wilson also cleared the protocol and will suit up for Sunday's game.

From RotoBaller

Saquon Barkley Dec 14 9:43pm ET

New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley said he is feeling 'healthier and healthier' ahead of a Week 15 matchup with a Miami Dolphins team ranked 31st in the NFL in rushing defense.

Fantasy Spin: Barkley hasn't had a 100-yard rushing game since Week 2, and he has gone five straight games without scoring. He has been one of the bigger fantasy disappointments this season, but RB2 numbers should be possible in Week 15 with a friendly matchup on tap.

From TheHuddle

Rashaad Penny Dec 14 9:23pm ET

Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list, Saturday, Dec. 14.

Fantasy Spin: The knee injury certainly won't help the former first-round pick establish himself as the potential starter in Seattle in 2020. If you own Penny in a dynasty league, you just have to stash him and hope he eventually turns things around.

From TheHuddle

Mecole Hardman Dec 14 9:10pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman has seen his targets decrease since Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins returned healthy. He's seen one target over the last two games, but that catch was a 48-yard touchdown. Hardman doesn't see enough targets to warrant owning in most formats. He's a touchdown-dependent receiver that is only worth using in the deepest of leagues. It's unclear how he'll be worked into the game plan, so he's risky for fantasy formats.

From RotoBaller

Travis Kelce Dec 14 9:10pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has been arguably the best tight end in the NFL alongside George Kittle. Kelce is expected to easily surpass 1,000 receiving yards on the season during the Week 15 matchup with the Denver Broncos. Kelce should be in for a solid game against the average Broncos Defense. Fantasy owners have been able to count on Kelce basically every week this season. He'll remain a TE1 for this home matchup with Denver.

From RotoBaller

Sammy Watkins Dec 14 9:00pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins has been unable to live up to his epic Week 1 performance. He's been able to carry enough fantasy value worth rostering him in most 12-team leagues, but hasn't scored since Week 1. Watkins heads into a matchup against the Denver Broncos in Week 15. The Broncos Defense has allowed the sixth fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season, according to Yahoo Sports. Fantasy owners should consider Watkins a WR3 or flex option for Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Darwin Thompson Dec 14 8:40pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs running back Darwin Thompson has seen increased involvement in the offense the last two games. Damien Williams (ribs) and Darrel Williams (hamstring) both being sidelined has given Thompson an opportunity in the backfield. Damien has a chance to play in Sunday's Week 15 contest against the Denver Broncos. Having him back might push Thompson out of the backfield rotation. Thompson showed promise in the passing game when he caught four passes for 36 yards versus the Patriots in Week 14. Thompson could again have value in the passing game if Williams is forced to sit out again. He's only a deep league option at this point, but he could have some flex value if Williams remains out.

From RotoBaller

Tyreek Hill Dec 14 8:40pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill has been a reliable fantasy option throughout most of the season. However, Hill has been unable to find the end zone through the last three games. He's heading into a matchup with the Denver Broncos in Week 15. The same team that he caught three passes for 74 yards and a touchdown on in Week 7. Fantasy owners should feel confident that Hill can be a WR1 for this home matchup with Denver. Hill has caught at least five receptions in each of the last two games.

From RotoBaller

LeSean McCoy Dec 14 8:30pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy has been the lead back lately with Damien Williams (ribs) sidelined. However, Williams is listed as questionable for Sunday's Week 15 matchup with the Broncos. McCoy saw 11 rushing attempts for 39 yards during the Week 14 victory over New England. He might end up getting another start, but will battle with Darwin Thompson and Spencer Ware for carries. McCoy is basically a touchdown-dependent option that will be handcuffed to around 10 to 12 carries.

From RotoBaller