Thu Jul 22 10:54am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Green looks to make an impact
This is the final preview in a series of training camp previews. The previews give you a quick look at each team, going over position battles and injuries to watch in camp. And for this season, all training camps will open at the same time with the exception of three teams. Camp will open Tuesday, July 27 for 29 of the 32 NFL teams. The Steelers and Cowboys will open July 21 because they play in the preseason Hall of Fame Game. And lastly, the Bucs got an exemption to open early because they have the first game of the regular season on a Thursday night. Tampa gets their camp started July 24. The season is right around the corner.
The big news this offseason was the Rams getting Matthew Stafford to take over as their starting quarterback. Stafford will be the focus of this training camp, looking to take this offense to a new level. Stafford and his teammates will get things going at the Microsemi Field in Irvine, Calif.
Position battle: The Rams lost Josh Reynolds this offseason, leaving a hole at the No. 3 receiver spot. Veteran DeSean Jackson is the top candidate to fill that spot. He has played just seven games the last two seasons, though, so nothing is a given with him. Van Jefferson is the top competition for Jackson. He played pretty well with his chances last year and is a young player with some upside. Don’t discount Jefferson to win the job. This will be a competition.
Injury watch: Matthew Stafford played every game last year but was beat up and came out of a few games early. He also missed half the season the year before. So he has endured a few injury issues the last two years. This is a little concern, especially if you consider he is 33 years old. Stafford will be a player to watch this training camp for various reasons.
Arizona had just a so-so season last year, going 8-8. Expectations were high for the team but they didn’t quite reach them because of some uneven play and a very good division. The Cardinals will look to take a step forward this year. Much of the season might depend on the development of Kyler Murray. He has been a little inconsistent to start his career. If Murray can take his game to a new level, the Cardinals could be a very dangerous team this year. Arizona trains at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
Position battle: The Cardinals signed A.J. Green this offseason, hoping he still has a little something left in the tank. Green won’t be handed the starting job opposite DeAndre Hopkins, though. He will need to show he can still play at a high level and be a productive NFL starter. Christian Kirk will compete with Green for the right to start. Kirk hasn’t had that breakout season just yet but been competing with Larry Fitzgerald for targets. He could get a lot more looks if he wins that starting job. Kirk has some breakout potential.
Injury watch: James Conner was signed this offseason to bring in some competition for Chase Edmonds at running back. Conner has not done much in recent seasons and battled injury those seasons. He is yet to play a full season in the NFL and hasn’t looked quite like himself in recent years. If he can come back healthy and strong, Conner could play a big role in the Cardinals offense.
The 49ers made some moves this offseason to try to improve on their disappointing season. The big move was drafting quarterback Trey Lance. He should be the big storyline in camp, seeing if the 49ers made the right move by taking Lance. The rookie will get a chance to show his stuff at the San Francisco 49ers Complex in Santa Clara, Calif.
Position battle: The 49ers say this isn’t a competition but the team didn’t use a first-round pick on Trey Lance to just sit him on the bench. He will compete for the starting job with Jimmy Garoppolo. He might not have the job to open the year but it might be his before long, especially if he shows well in camp and preseason action. Lance is the future at the position and has a high ceiling if he can find the field for the 49ers.
Injury watch: Raheem Mostert played just eight games last year. He played well when on the field, but couldn’t stay on the field. Mostert can play a big role in this offense if he can stay healthy, but his health is a concern. Mostert has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career. His injury issues make him a boom or bust fantasy player. You will want to make sure he stays heathy during camp before using a draft pick on him this year.
Seattle won the division last year but didn’t advance in the playoffs. Much of the same team is back from last year. If the Seahawks had a weakness last year, it was an inconsistent pass defense. That unit will need to get better if Seattle hopes to be a more complete team. So the storyline of camp for the Seahawks might be on the defensive side of the ball. The offense should be very good once again with Russell Wilson leading the way. Seattle holds training camp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Wash.
Position battle: The Seahawks have their starting tight end spot up for grabs. Gerald Everett is the favorite to start for the team but has Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson to compete with for the job. Dissly has showing flashes of good things with past chances but Everett is likely the more talented. Everett has done a pretty good job in recent seasons with the Rams. He can be a big-play threat in the passing game.
Injury watch: Chris Carson is back with the Seahawks to serve as their lead back once again. He has been very good in that role but is yet to play a full season in the NFL. He missed four games last year because of injury. Carson is a great back but won’t reach his fantasy potential if he doesn’t play a full season. You will want to monitor his health in camp to make sure he is at full strength and ready to put in a full season.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Indianapolis Colts QB Carson Wentz (ankles) is planning on starting against the Tennessee Titans in Week 3, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Wentz has posted pedestrian numbers in his first two games for the Colts, and while the Titans have been struggling on defense, taking a chance on a hobbled Wentz isn't recommended.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (ankles) is expected to be active against the Titans in Week 3. He missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but was upgraded to limited on Friday. Through two games this season, he has gone 45-for-69 with 498 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. The Colts do have contingency plans in place if Wentz experiences a setback during the game. One would speculate that they could carry three quarterbacks (Wentz, Jacob Eason, and Brett Hundley) into the contest. Regardless, Wentz getting the start provides a significant boost to the fantasy values of all the Indianapolis playmakers.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Jacoby Brissett should fill the starting job for at least three weeks after Tua Tagovailoa (ribs) was placed on injured reserve. After relieving the latter in Week 2, the former completed 24 of 40 passes for 169 yards, zero touchdowns, and an interception. He's worth rostering in superflex leagues and is a solid matchup-based play through at least Week 5 and perhaps beyond.
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (calf) is trending in the right direction for Week 3. The team is confident that he'll be able to suit up against the Falcons on Sunday. The 27-year-old missed the first two weeks of the season, meaning this weekend's contest will represent his 2021 debut. Fellow veteran Kyle Rudolph had filled the team's No. 1 tight end role during Engram's absence. The Mississippi product falls into the TE2 range against a poor Falcons defense. He's worth rostering in both redraft and dynasty but should not be started in single-tight end leagues.
New York Giants wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hip) is expected to play during Sunday's game against the Falcons. The team is reportedly "optimistic" regarding his status. Through two games this season, he has caught seven of 14 targets for 102 yards. Although the start to his tenure in New York has been disappointing, Golladay could bounce back against a poor Falcons defense in Week 3. He's worth starting as a flex option in what should be a pass-heavy game.
New York Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims is expected to be a healthy scratch against the Broncos on Sunday. The second-year player out of Baylor caught one pass for 40 yards in Week 1 but was inactive against the Patriots last week. The Jets reportedly still believe in Mims, though evidently he's not at the point where they feel comfortable starting him despite an injury to Jamison Crowder (groin). It will be interesting to see how New York incorporates him into its offense throughout the 2021 season. For now, though, he's limited to the bench. He's only worth rostering in deeper dynasty formats.
Chicago Bears quarterback Andy Dalton (knee) is not expected to be placed on injured reserve. In fact, the veteran signal-caller has a chance to return as soon as Week 4. This situation is truly perplexing as Dalton's injury seems like the perfect time to pass the torch to Justin Fields. Instead, the rookie will start on Sunday but return to the bench once Dalton is healthy again. Between Week 1 and part of Week 2, Dalton completed 36 of 49 attempts for 262 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Despite head coach Matt Nagy's refusal to make a permanent change, Fields is the quarterback to roster in this offense rather than Dalton.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Kenny Stills was added to the active roster and will suit up for the upcoming matchup against the Patriots. With Tre'Quan Smith (hamstring) and Michael Thomas (ankle) listed as occupants on the injured reserve list, Stills will add much-needed depth and stability to a team sorely lacking options outside of Alvin Kamara. While the 29-year-old isn't an everyday fantasy option, he does have some value in deeper formats. He also should be on the DFS radar as a potential sleeper option with upside for Week 3.
Houston Texans rookie quarterback Davis Mills drew praise from head coach David Culley for his performance against the Panthers on Thursday evening. Specifically, Culley spoke fondly of the Stanford product's ability during the two-minute drill. "When we went into our two-minute offense right before half, he did an excellent job of taking us down the field and making some nice throws and nice plays," he said. "I thought he did a nice job for us." Mills completed 19 of 28 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown during his first career start. He should only be rostered in superflex leagues. Even then, he's only worth starting in very favorable matchups.
Los Angeles Rams running back Buddy Howell has been promoted to the active roster. Howell was a member of the team's practice squad after having spent his first three seasons with the Houston Texans. While he likely won't get much action against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the transaction possibly paints a more definite picture of Darrell Henderson Jr.'s (ribs) status heading into Week 3. If Henderson is confirmed absent on Sunday, Sony Michel would likely handle most of the reps out of the backfield, with rookie Jake Funk coming in for relief.
Indianapolis Colts practice squad quarterback Brett Hundley was elevated to the active roster ahead of Sunday's game against the Titans. When Carson Wentz (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday, Hundley took the majority of starting reps over Jacob Eason. As of now, the Colts' quarterback situation remains very much up in the air. Wentz is a game-time decision. If he does play, Hundley would likely be inactive. However, if the former Eagle is ruled out, it's unclear whether Hundley or Eason would get the nod.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (illness) will not play in Week 3. The veteran had a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and didn't travel to Los Angeles with the team as a result. It's unfortunate news, primarily since Brown has been one of Tom Brady's favorite wideouts this season, currently ranked second on the team with 138 receiving yards. Without the 33-year-old in the equation, Scotty Miller may get more involved. However, the likely scenario would spell more targets for Rob Gronkowski, Chris Godwin, and Mike Evans in an anticipated shootout against Matthew Stafford and the Rams.
Minnesota Vikings running back Ameer Abdullah will be on the active roster for the Week 3 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. The veteran could get some chances out of the backfield, mostly on passing downs, if Dalvin Cook (ankle) can't suit up, with Alexander Mattison expected to do most of the heavy lifting in the run game. While Abdullah doesn't have appeal in standard leagues, he could be worthy of a roster spot in deep PPR formats.
San Francisco 49ers running back Kerryon Johnson has been promoted to the active roster. Johnson had been a member of the practice squad for the last few weeks. However, with the injuries to Elijah Mitchell (shoulder) and JaMycal Hasty (ankle), the veteran may provide relief for Trey Sermon (concussion), who is anticipated to handle most of the work against the Packers on Sunday night. Still, Johnson and Jacques Patrick could get a few touches in Week 3, classifying them as borderline adds in deep fantasy formats.
San Francisco 49ers running back JaMycal Hasty (ankle) landed on injured reserve on Saturday evening. Hasty sustained a high-ankle sprain during the Niners Week 2 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles and will be on the shelf for at least the next three contests. With Elijah Mitchell (shoulder) also listed as doubtful for Sunday Night Football versus the Green Bay Packers, rookie Trey Sermon (concussion) may finally get his chance to shine. Kerryon Johnson was also promoted to the active roster from the practice squad in a corresponding move and could also get involved.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers DB Rashard Robinson and TE Deon Yelder were elevated from the practice squad as COVID-19 replacements Saturday, Sept. 25.
New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas (ankle) was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday, Sept. 25. However, Thomas will remain on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform until at least the end of Week 6.
Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday, Sept. 25.
Seattle Seahawks DT Robert Nkemdiche and WR Cody Thompson were elevated from the practice squad Saturday, Sept. 25.
Las Vegas Raiders S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and LB Patrick Onwuasor were elevated from the practice squad Saturday, Sept. 25.