Training Camp Preview: AFC East

Wed Jul 15 10:06am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Newton heads to New England


This is the first 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.

Jets

The Jets made progress last year, finishing 7-9 and will look to build on that this season, getting started in training camp. The team has some holdout concerns with safety Jamal Adams, which will be something to watch. Adams is a key part of the Jets defense and will need to be on board if the team hopes to reach their potential. The Jets training camp is at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham, New Jersey.

Position battle: The Jets have a lot of new options at receiver and it will be interesting to see how the depth chart shakes out during camp and preseason action. Breshad Perriman, rookie Denzel Mims, Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson and Josh Malone area ll battling for playing time. The first three mentioned should be the top options for the Jets this year, but nothing is certain, especially when it comes to the receiver that garners the most targets. You’ll want to keep an eye on this position during camp to see if a player emerges as the go-to target for Sam Darnold.

Injury watch: Joe Flacco continues to recover from neck surgery. He is not expected to be ready for Week 1. We’ll get a better idea of his status during camp, though. Flacco will be the top backup for the Jets when healthy but his injury could jeopardize his chances to make the roster.

Patriots

The Patriots should have a very interesting training camp because of the absence of Tom Brady. The big focus of camp should be the quarterback position, seeing who will emerge as the starter for New England. We’ll get to see that battle play out at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Position battle: For the first time in a long, long time, the Patriots have an opening at quarterback. Tom Brady is gone, leaving huge shoes to fill in New England. The Patriots signed Cam Newton late in the offseason, but he is not going to be handed the job. This is going to be an open completion with Newton, Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer looking to start for the Patriots this year. Newton has the experience and a leg up but nothing is ever certain with the Patriots. They will put the best quarterback out there that they think will win them games. 

Injury watch: Cam Newton has battled injury the last few seasons, including a broken foot last season. He will need to show the Patriots he is healthy if he hopes to have any chance of winning the starting quarterback job. Newton has been disappointing in recent years when having all his injury issues. He is a former MVP, though, so the ability is clearly there when he is near full strength.

Dolphins

The Dolphins have a lot of new faces this season, getting plenty of players in the draft and offseason acquisitions. This should make training camp even that more important, trying to figure out starters while all getting on the same page. Miami trains at the Baptist Health Training Facility in Davie, Florida.

Position battle: The Dolphins used their first pick in the draft to take Tua Tagovailoa. Miami hopes he is the franchise quarterback for years to come. This doesn’t mean he will be starter from day one, though. He will need to win the job, competing with Ryan Fitzpatrick for the right to start. Fitzpatrick probably has a leg up to start but don’t discount Tagovailoa if he shows well and produces in preseason action.

Injury watch: Preston Williams was having a big rookie season before tearing his ACL. He is making a strong recovery and has a decent chance to be ready for Week 1. Williams will start and play a big role in the offense as long as he is healthy. He needs to show he is back to full strength before the Dolphins put him in the starting lineup, though. 

Bills

The Bills made the playoffs last year and will look to take another step forward this season. Josh Allen might be the key to that for the team. Allen had a shaky showing in the playoffs, which is a concern. He will need to show better in the big game if the Bills hope to keep getting better. Allen and the rest of the team start training camp at One Bills Drive in Orchard Park, New York.

Position battle: Second-year back Devin Singletary should be the starter for the Bills this year but the team used a third-round pick on Zack Moss. Moss is a super talented back that could challenge Singletary for carries right away. This cloud the value of Singletary some for the coming year. You will want to keep an eye on Moss this training camp to see if he makes waves with his new team. If that happens, downgrade Singletary some in your rankings.

Injury watch: The Bills don’t really have any injuries of note from last season. One player to watch is Singletary. He missed four games his rookie season because of injury. He will need to show he is durable and able to be a three-down back if he hopes to be the franchise back for the Bills. This is a concern for Singletary and probably is the reason the team used a high-draft pick on Moss.

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
Tee Higgins Aug 5 8:20pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins was selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft and has a high ceiling without a doubt, especially since he will be catching passes from No. 1 overall selection Joe Burrow. Both rookies have built a rapport already as the duo conducted workouts together during the offseason. Higgins finished his final season at Clemson with 59 catches and 13 touchdowns off of 1,167 yards. While he is a risky selection in redraft leagues this season due to his potential limited playing time, he is surely worth a first-round pick in dynasty formats as he will likely rack up plenty of receptions from Burrow for years to come.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Boyd Aug 5 8:10pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd has begun catching passes from rookie signal-caller Joe Burrow as the team kicks off training camp. The 25-year-old has plenty of hype heading into the 2020 season after racking up over 1,000 yards in his previous two seasons. With A.J. Green seemingly healthy along with the addition of Clemson wideout Tee Higgins, Boyd could see things open up more on the offensive end, while also remaining the team's top pass-catcher.

From RotoBaller

A.J. Green Aug 5 8:00pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green went through his first walkthrough under second-year head coach Zac Taylor on Tuesday. The veteran, who recently signed a one-year tender a few weeks ago, missed all of 2019 after injuring his ankle during training camp. While consistent ailments have been the theme for the 32-year-old over the past seasons, there is no denying his ability when healthy. He is no longer considered an elite wideout, however, he is worth a mid-round pick for those looking for an option with an enormous upside.

From RotoBaller

Joe Mixon Aug 5 7:40pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon is still without a new deal as the team heads toward the 2020 season. However, according to director of player personnel, Duke Tobin, the organization views the 24-year-old as a "cornerstone piece of the franchise." Mixon is looking for a contract that would pay him north of $8 million per year, a significant increase from the $1.2 million that he is expected to earn in the final year of his rookie deal. The former Sooner is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons and is projected by many to be a fantasy breakout by year's end.

From RotoBaller

Ezekiel Elliott Aug 5 7:10pm ET

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was quick to respond to Ed Werder's Twitter post regarding a potentially reduced role for the former rushing champ, quipping "we all gonna eat." Though Elliott is a shoo-in, first-round pick in fantasy drafts for the 2020 campaign, many still wonder how he will co-exist on an offense that has plenty of mouths to feed, notably Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and 17th overall pick, CeeDee Lamb. Elliott finished 2019 as a top-five back in the majority of formats. Under new head coach Mike McCarthy, who has overseen some productive runners throughout his career, the 25-year-old could be in store for another productive year.

From RotoBaller

Michael Thomas Aug 5 6:50pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas broke the single-season receptions record last year by racking up 149 catches, surpassing Marvin Harrison's 2002 mark of 143. While that accomplishment would be good enough for most throughout the league, the 27-year-old is aiming to exceed his 2019 total heading into the 2020 campaign. Thomas convincingly dominated the fantasy picture last season, and in addition to his catch total, he also accumulated over 1,700 yards while finishing fifth in yards after the catch. He is expected to finish as the top fantasy wideout this season, and will likely get snagged off the draft board within the top three picks, especially in PPR formats.

From RotoBaller

Travis Benjamin Aug 5 5:43pm ET

Updating a previous story, San Francisco 49ers WR Travis Benjamin was officially placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, Aug. 5.

From TheHuddle

Albert Wilson Aug 5 5:33pm ET

Updating a previous story, Miami Dolphins WR Albert Wilson was officially placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, Aug. 5.

From TheHuddle

Davon Godchaux Aug 5 4:43pm ET

Miami Dolphins DT Davon Godchaux was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, Aug. 5.

From TheHuddle

Tyeler Davison Aug 5 4:43pm ET

Atlanta Falcons DT Tyeler Davison was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, Aug. 5. LB Ahmad Thomas was released.

From TheHuddle

Austin Hooper Aug 5 4:33pm ET

Cleveland Browns TE Austin Hooper lived part of the summer with QB Baker Mayfield while the two worked out together.

Fantasy Spin: It certainly could help Hooper to at least be somewhat familiar with his new QB despite all the lost reps from canceled offseason programs following his signing as a free agent. Hooper is expected to be the No. 1 tight end over David Njoku and should be drafted as a top-tier option at his thin position.

From TheHuddle

Jayon Brown Aug 5 4:33pm ET

Tennessee Titans LB Jayon Brown (undisclosed) passed his physical Wednesday, Aug. 5, and was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list.

From TheHuddle

Stefon Diggs Aug 5 4:13pm ET

Buffalo Bills WR Stefon Diggs restructured his contract Tuesday, Aug. 4, according to a source. He'll receive an extra $3.3 million in 2020, an extra $7.7 million in guaranteed money but a decrease of $300,000 cash in 2021 and a drop from $25.55 million to $22.67 million in 2022-23 cash.

From TheHuddle

LeSean McCoy Aug 5 3:53pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB LeSean McCoy probably will have a role in the passing game this season, according to head coach Bruce Arians.

Fantasy Spin: It appears like McCoy may be in line for the third down back job, but fantasy players should keep an eye on the situation. McCoy probably would see a handful of touches each games if he makes the roster but may only be a depth option in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Kentrell Brice Aug 5 3:53pm ET

Free-agent S Kentrell Brice (Bears) signed with the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday, Aug. 5. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

From TheHuddle

Avery Williamson Aug 5 3:23pm ET

New York Jets LB Avery Williamson (knee) said he expects to be ready for the start of the regular season.

From TheHuddle

Jeremy Hill Aug 5 3:13pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders RB Jeremy Hill was released Wednesday, Aug. 5.

From TheHuddle

Ronald Jones II Aug 5 3:10pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II was called "the main guy" in the running back room by his coach Bruce Arians. Arians said he is confident in Jones II and that the other guys are fighting for roles. The other guys include third-round draft pick Ke'Shawn Vaughn, who will lose valuable practice time after he hit the COVID-19 list, and veteran running back LeSean McCoy, who won't challenge for a lead back role at this point in his career. Jones II looks the part after an offseason spent bulking up and catching hundreds of passes to address a weakness in his game. The 23-year-old has RB2 upside in the 7th round but it's likely that Vaughn and McCoy cut into his ceiling in 2020, despite what Arians said.

From RotoBaller

Kentrell Brice Aug 5 3:03pm ET

Free-agent S Kentrell Brice (Bears) is expected to sign with the Arizona Cardinals as long as he passes a physical and tests negative for COVID-19, according to a source.

From TheHuddle

Ronald Jones II Aug 5 2:13pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones will be the main ball carrier for the Buccaneers this season, according to head coach Bruce Arians.

Fantasy Spin: Jones rushed for 724 yards and six touchdowns last season and should improve those stats with more playing time and touches. He will be a part of one of the better offenses in the NFL and can be considered a No. 2 running back in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle