Training Camp Preview: AFC South

Sun Jul 19 8:56pm ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Fuller could play big role


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 a win away from the Super Bowl last year, surprising many. The emergence of Ryan Tannehill was a big reason for the success. He starts from day one this year and will be watched closely in camp to see if he can build off last season. Tannehill might have a lot of pressure on him, so it will be interesting to see how he handles it. Tennessee opens camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park in Nashville, Tennessee.

Position battle: Jonnu Smith should be the starting tight end for the Titans this year but the team won’t hand him the job. He was up and down in a starting role last year, so he’ll need to show more consistency if he wants the job full time. Anthony Firkser and MyCole Pruitt will provide some competition for Smith for the starting job. Again, Smith should be the starter but this isn’t a 100 percent slam dunk.

Injury watch: Running back Derrick Henry is not injured but it will be interesting to see how the Titans handle his workload. Henry topped 300 carries for the first time in his career last season. He is expected to be the workhorse back for the offense again this year, getting a lot of work. Tennessee should take it easy with their star back in camp and preseason action. They need him 100 percent for the start of the year and for him to stay healthy all season.

Colts

The Colts made a big change at quarterback, getting Philip Rivers to take over. So much of this camp will be focused on Rivers and his switch to a new team and offense after so many seasons with the same team. Can Rivers make a smooth transition and take the Colts offense to a new level this season? We’ll get an idea, starting in training camp at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Position battle: The Colts surprised some by taking Jonathan Taylor in the second round of this year’s draft. Many considered Taylor the most talented back in the draft, so he has a chance to make a big impact his rookie season. He will need to beat out Marlon Mack for the staring job, though. Mack had his first 1,000-yard season last year and was a productive back in a starting role. Taylor has a lot of talent, though, and seems to have a real shot to open the season as the starter, beating out Mack for the job. 

Injury watch: Receiver Parris Campbell battled injury much of his rookie year. This really derailed his once promising season. Campbell was a shell of himself because of a foot injury. He is supposed to be 100 percent now, though, and will challenge for a big role offensively. He has the talent to be a difference maker in the passing game, so keep an eye on his status this training camp. As long as he is healthy, Campbell should play a role in this offense.

Jaguars

The Jaguars were a disappointment last year, finishing 6-10. The team will look to get things going in the right direction again, starting in training camp. Much of the season might depend on the development of Gardner Minshew. He will need to take a step forward if the Jaguars hope to win more games. Minshew and his teammates train at the TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. 

Position battle: The Jaguars have a lot to sort out at receiver. D.J. Chark is the top option in the passing game but after him, there is a lot up for grabs. Chris Conley, Dede Westbrook, Laviska Shenault and Keelan Cole are vying for playing time behind Chark. This should be a fierce battle because many of these players have similar ability. The starter opposite of Chark should have some fantasy value in an offense that will air it out on occasion. 

Injury watch: Tight end Tyler Eifert is not injured right now but has missed a lot of time three of his last four seasons. He played a full season last year but played just 14 games the previous three years. He is a big-time injury risk. Eifert will start for the Jaguars as long as he proves he can stay healthy and looks 100 percent this training camp.

Texans

Houston had a lot of turnover this offseason as head coach Bill O’Brien continues to put his stamp on the team. O’Brien has a lot of pressure on him to succeed after getting rid of some of his top players in recent seasons. He will need to prove his moves were right if he hopes to keep coaching this team. O’Brien and his players will train at the Houston Texans Training Center in Houston, Texas. 

Position battle: The Texans made a big change at receiver this offseason, trading DeAndre Hopkins. The team added some new players, getting Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb. The Texans also have Will Fuller, Kenny Stills and Keke Coutee. These five will try to earn big spots on the depth chart and battle it out in camp for the right to start. You’ll want to watch this depth chart play out because the Texans are going to be a pass first team, meaning the receivers playing often could have a high fantasy ceiling.

Injury watch: Receiver Will Fuller missed five games again last season and has failed to play a full season all four seasons in the NFL. He is recovering from offseason core surgery and might not be 100 percent for training camp. Fuller should be ready to go for the start of the season but his injury history makes him a player to watch in training camp. Fuller has a chance to start and play a huge role in the Texans passing game, but needs to stay on the field for that to happen.

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