Training Camp Preview: AFC West

Wed Jul 24 9:29pm ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Henry returns from torn ACL


This is the fourth 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.

Raiders

The Raiders made a big splash this offseason, acquiring receiver Antonio Brown. He gives the team a whole new dimension at receiver and should be a big lift to the entire offense. It will be intriguing to watch how Brown influences the entire team because of his experience and success. Oakland hopes that Brown rubs off on some of his teammates, helping this team start a turnaround. We should get a better idea if that happens, watching camp and preseason action. 

Position battle: The Raiders lost tight end Jared Cook this offseason, leaving a big hole at the tight end spot. Darren Waller is the odds on favorite to start but Derek Carrier and Luke Willson also will push Waller for the chance to start. None of these players have much starting experience, so the door is open for any of them to start. This will all be sorted out in camp and preseason action. 

Injury watch: Oakland doesn't really have any injury situations of note, which is a good thing. One guy we might keep an eye on is Antonio Brown. He is not hurt but is 31 years old and has a ton of work under his belt. You have to wonder if he will slow down or have the injury bug hit him at this time of his career. We would keep an eye on him in camp to see how he is performing and if he is showing any signs of slowing down. 

Broncos

The big thing to watch in Broncos camp is the quarterback spot. Denver continues to try to find their franchise player. Joe Flacco was brought in to stabilize the position but rookie Drew Lock is the future at the position. Is either one of these guys the answer? The Broncos sure hope so. We’ll have a better understanding of the position, seeing how both these guys perform in camp and preseason games.  

Position battle: Quarterback Joe Flacco is the starter in Denver but the team drafted Drew Lock to be the eventual starter in Denver. Flacco has not played at a high level in recent years, so if he shows any signs of struggle, don't be surprised if Lock pushes him for a chance to start. Lock has a swagger about him and all the tools to be a successful pro quarterback. You’ll want to watch Lock’s progress during camp and preseason action. 

Injury watch: Tight end Jake Butt has not been able to stay healthy since entering the NFL. He has played just three games. He suffered a torn ACL last year and has now torn an ACL three different times. He has a long road back once again. Butt has some talent, though, and could push for playing time if he is able to come back healthy. 

Chargers

The big issue to watch this training camp is the holdout of star running back Melvin Gordon. He is seeking a new contract and says he will holdout until he gets a new deal or is traded. This is obviously a huge situation to monitor, especially after the Le’Veon Bell fiasco of last year. The longer Gordon holds out, the scarier this gets for fantasy teams. 

Position battle: Running back Austin Ekeler should be the top backup to Gordon this year, but Justin Jackson will compete for that job. Jackson did pretty well with his chances last year and will try to unseat Ekeler for the top backup job. Ekeler has a clear advantage for the job but if Jackson keeps progressing, he can continue to get chances and move up the depth chart. 

Injury watch: Tight end Hunter Henry missed all of last year because of a torn ACL suffered during the spring. Henry has been pretty close to full strength the last few months, though, and should be just fine for the start of the season. But even with that said, you’ll want to keep an eye on him in camp to make sure he doesn’t suffer any setbacks. This is a major injury to return. Anything can happen. But if healthy, Henry has the potential to be an elite fantasy tight end. 

Chiefs

The Chiefs were really close last year to making the Super Bowl but came up just short. Can the team get over the hump this year? That is the big question. The other big question is Tyreek Hill. Will his presence impact the team negatively after his off the field issues? Hill avoided suspension but you can expect the Chiefs to field many questions on the matter in camp. Will this distraction impact the team? We should know soon enough. 

Position battle: Damien Williams is the starter for the Chiefs but the backup job is up for grabs. Carlos Hyde was signed to fill that role but isn’t going to be handed the job. He will be pushed by rookie Darwin Thompson, who might bring more to the table than Hyde at this point. Thompson is a good runner and receiver, and seems like he could be a good fit for the offense. Hyde has the experience, though, and will get first shot at the job. He will need to show he has picked up the offense. 

Injury watch: Tight end Travis Kelce had offseason ankle surgery. He is expected to be 100 percent for the start of training camp. He has not had setbacks in his recovery. Kelce is the clear No. 1 fantasy tight end, so making sure he is back to full strength is a good idea for fantasy teams. He should be fine but keep an eye on practice reports to be sure.

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
Matthew Stafford Oct 15 8:10am ET

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford finished with 265 yards on 18-for-32 passing in the loss to the Packers on Monday. The veteran still played relatively well despite failing to throw a touchdown and had it not been for rookie mistakes from tight end T.J. Hockenson, the story would have been different. With Week 6 in the books, things will get tougher for Stafford against a tough Vikings Defense on Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Graham Oct 15 7:30am ET

Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham pulled in just two of his five targets for 17 yards during the Monday night win over the Lions. With Marquez Valdes-Scantling (leg) and Geronimo Allison (concussion, chest) both missing some time in this one, fantasy managers were hoping for an increase in production. That did not happen. If Davante Adams (toe), Allison, or Valdes-Scantling miss more time moving ahead, look for Graham to see a slight uptick in looks from Aaron Rodgers. However, continue to expect the worst and hope for the best from week-to-week.

From RotoBaller

Marquez Valdes-Scantling Oct 15 7:20am ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling finished with two catches for 48 yards in the win over the Lions on Monday night. Valdes-Scantling would briefly exit this one after injuring his leg but would return to haul in a 46-yard catch to offset his lack of fantasy progress up to that point. With Davante Adams (toe) and Geronimo Allison (concussion, chest) potentially not playing against the Raiders on Sunday, the 25-year-old could see an increased role in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Geronimo Allison Oct 15 7:20am ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison (concussion, chest) hauled in three catches (seven targets) for 40 yards in the win over the Lions on Monday night. After leading the way in looks from quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the 25-year-old would exit the game prematurely in the second half. He did not return. With Allison's status for Sunday's showdown with the Raiders in question, fantasy managers will want to monitor his progress throughout the week.

From RotoBaller

Jamaal Williams Oct 15 7:00am ET

Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams ran for 104 yards on 14 carries to go along with four catches in the win over the Lions. After Aaron Jones fumbled and dropped a wide-open pass from Aaron Rodgers that would have led to a score, Williams was inserted and made the most of it. Though the 24-year-old will likely continue as the No. 1 option out of the backfield, Williams may have some value against the Raiders on Sunday. If Davante Adams (toe), Geronimo Allison (concussion, chest), or Marquez Valdes-Scantling (leg) aren't able to suit up in Week 7, look for Jones to get more looks as a receiver, with Williams coming in for relief, especially on rushing downs.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Jones Oct 15 6:30am ET

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones ran for 47 yards on 11 carries in addition to four receptions for 13 yards in the win over the Lions. It was a much different performance than the four-touchdown outing that Jones had against the Cowboys in Week 5, and while it wasn't a horrible performance, he did fumble and drop a wide-open, 33-yard toss from Aaron Rodgers that would have led to a score. Jamal Williams did get some touches, rushing for 104 yards on 14 carries to go along with a few receptions after Jones hit the sidelines, but expect the 24-year-old to reclaim his role as the No. 1 option against the Raiders in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Rodgers Oct 15 6:10am ET

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers went 22-for-39 for 283 yards and a touchdown in the narrow win over the Lions on Monday night. Though he did throw an interception, it was an acceptable performance for the signal-caller who was without top receiver Devante Adams (toe), while also dealing with the in-game losses of Marquez Valdes-Scantling (leg) and Geronimo Allison (concussion, chest). Despite the injuries on the offensive end, Rodgers' outlook against the Raiders in Week 7 is still promising.

From RotoBaller

Rashaad Penny Oct 14 9:03pm ET

Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny (hamstring) should be a full participant during practice Wednesday, Oct. 16, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Fantasy Spin: Penny was held out of the Week 6 game but likely will be available for Week 7. He will receive a handful of carries if he plays but may only be a flex option in deeper leagues because of the matchup.

From TheHuddle

Mitch Trubisky Oct 14 8:23pm ET

Chicago Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky (elbow) participated in practice Monday, Oct. 14.

Fantasy Spin: Trubisky has been sidelined for a few weeks but appears to have a decent chance to play in Week 7. He would be facing a tough New Orleans Saints defense if he is active and could be benched in leagues if fantasy players have better options.

From TheHuddle

Todd Gurley Oct 14 8:23pm ET

Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley (quadriceps) hopefully will be available to play in the Week 7 game, according to head coach Sean McVay.

Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to monitor the situation during the week to see if Gurley will be able to practice this week. He likely would have a favorable matchup if he is able to play and would be a starting option in leagues.

From TheHuddle

Stephon Tuitt Oct 14 8:13pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers DE Stephon Tuitt (pectoral) has been diagnosed with a torn pectoral muscle and will miss the rest of the 2019 season. He will undergo surgery in the near future.

From TheHuddle

Dre Kirkpatrick Oct 14 8:03pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) is expected to miss around four weeks because of a hyperextended knee, according to sources. He is scheduled to meet with a doctor Tuesday, Oct. 14, to confirm the diagnosis.

From TheHuddle

Nathan Stupar Oct 14 7:53pm ET

New York Giants LB Nathan Stupar was released Monday, Oct. 14.

From TheHuddle

Amari Cooper Oct 14 7:43pm ET

Updating a previous report, Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper's (quadriceps) quadriceps injury is no worse than it was for the last two weeks, but his status for Week 7 is uncertain, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to monitor Cooper's practice participation during the week to have a better idea on his status for Week 7. Cooper is a solid starting fantasy option when healthy, but players will need other options ready is case he does not play.

From TheHuddle

Laquon Treadwell Oct 14 7:30pm ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Laquon Treadwell caught his only target for 15 yards in Week 6's 38-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Treadwell played 7-of-71 (10%) offensive snaps operating as the fourth receiver and hasn't been in on more than 15% of snaps in a game since being re-signed prior to Week 4. Treadwell will likely continue to work in as the fourth receiver moving forward but won't offer any fantasy value with his very limited role in the offense.

From RotoBaller

Kyle Rudolph Oct 14 7:30pm ET

Minnesota Vikings tight end caught 3-of-3 targets for 36 yards in a Week 6 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. This was Rudolph's best game this season by quite a large margin, which just reinforces that he can't be trusted as a starting tight end even with the position being as shallow as it is. He played in 68-of-71 (96%) offensive snaps and had the third-most targets this week, but he still possesses a low weekly floor and ceiling with his lack of red-zone usage. Rudolph is only a desperation play as a TE2 heading into Week 7's road game against the Detroit Lions.

From RotoBaller

Danny Amendola Oct 14 7:13pm ET

Detroit Lions WR Danny Amendola (chest) is officially active for the team's Week 6 game.

Fantasy Spin: Amendola posted 104 yards in Week 1 but has posted only 34 combined yards in his other two games this season. He probably will see a handful of targets this week but can be avoided in most leagues.

From TheHuddle

Cam Newton Oct 14 6:53pm ET

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (foot) is making good progress in his recovery and is expected to return to practice after the team's Week 7 bye, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Kyle Allen has won each of the last four games with Newton hurt, so it is not known if Newton will regain his starting job when he is healthy. Fantasy players will need to monitor the situation over the next few weeks to see if Allen or Newton will be the starting quarterback.

From TheHuddle

Davante Adams Oct 14 6:53pm ET

The Green Bay Packers have declared OL Adam Pankey, TE Robert Tonyan, S Darnell Savage, WR Davante Adams, CB Tony M. Brown, RB Dexter Williams and OT Cole Madison inactive for Week 6.

From TheHuddle

Quandre Diggs Oct 14 6:53pm ET

The Detroit Lions have declared CB Amani Oruwariye, DL Mike Daniels, OG Beau Benzschawel, DE Da'Shawn Hand, OT Oday Aboushi, CB Quandre Diggs and QB David Blough inactive for Week 6.

From TheHuddle