Training Camp Preview: AFC South

Wed Jul 20 10:16am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Related photo caption below

Titans need Henry back healthy


This is the third 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. The season is right around the corner.

Titans

The Titans had another great season last year but came up short in the playoffs. Tennessee certainly has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, but can’t seem to get over the hump. Will this be the year? The team might be running out of time with Derrick Henry another year older. The window could be closing, making this camp an important one to see if this team can take one more step forward. That Titans hold training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park in Nashville, Tenn.

Position battle: The Titans traded their No. 1 receiver, A.J. Brown this offseason, leaving some big shoes to fill at receiver. The team did bring in Robert Woods and Treylon Burks to help fill that void. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine also will be in the mix to start, though, do don’t discount him. All three players will battle it out for the right to start in Tennessee. Burks is the projected top receiver but missing workouts this offseason didn’t help matters for him. He had some asthma issues, causing him to miss time. And Woods is recovering from a torn ACL, so nothing is certain with this receiver room right now. It should get sorted out this training camp. 

Injury watch: Derrick Henry missed half of last season because of a foot injury, which required surgery. This is a serious injury to return, but Henry has looked great in offseason workouts and looks back to 100 percent. This is still an injury to watch going forward. Just make sure he is back to his old self in camp and preseason action before using a high draft pick on him this year. 

Colts

The Colts made a change at quarterback once again this offseason. Indy traded for Matt Ryan and dealt Carson Wentz after just a season. The Colts hope Ryan can steady the ship at quarterback and take this team to a new level. Ryan certainly has the track record to help this team reach new heights. So much of the focus of this camp will be getting Ryan up to speed in the offense. Ryan and the offense will get going at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind.

Position battle: Michael Pittman is the No. 1 receiver for the Colts, but the starter opposite him is up for grabs. Parris Campbell and rookie Alex Pierce should challenge for that other starter spot. Campbell has performed well on the field but hasn’t been able to stay healthy. Pierce is a very talented rookie, but could need some seasoning before he is ready to jump into a starting role. This one is really up for grabs.

Injury watch: Parris Campbell has played 15 games in three seasons. He has a world of talent and has produced when on the field, but he can’t stay healthy. He is returning from foot surgery this time. His health will be a big thing to watch this training camp for the Colts. Campbell can be a difference maker for the offense, but needs to be on the field.  

Jaguars

The Jaguars were a disaster last year because of a coaching situation that didn’t work out. The team made changes to the coaching staff once again, hoping this is the right fit. Training camp will be a good time for the coaching staff to get the team on the same page. Plus, the Jaguars made a lot of changes to the roster this offseason, hoping to find new talent for franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence. There is a lot of new in Jacksonville, which should make for an intriguing training camp. Jacksonville trains at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Fla.

Position battle: The Jaguars added plenty of playmakers offensively this offseason. The receiver spot really looks different with Christian Kirk and Zay Jones added to the mix. Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault are still around, though, and will look for playing time. These four players should battle it out for playing time this camp and preseason. 

Injury watch: Travis Etienne missed his entire rookie season because of a Lisfranc injury suffered during the preseason. He is well on his road to recovery and should be all systems go for training camp and the start of the season. As long as he is healthy, Etienne will play a huge role for the Jaguars offense. He has a load of talent and can be used on a variety ways offensively. 

Texans 

Houston had another tough season last year, leading to another change to the head coach. Veteran Lovie Smith will look to get this team going in the right direction. The good news is the Texans have a lot of young talent and competed hard last year. This team might not be as far off as many think. We will get a better idea during training camp and preseason action, though. Houston holds training camp at the Houston Methodist Training Center in Houston, Texas. 

Position battle: The Texans are looking for a No. 1 running back. The team drafted Dameon Pierce but he is not going to be handed the job by any means, especially since he was a fourth-round pick. Marlon Mack might be No. 1 on the depth chart right now, followed by Rex Burkhead. It would seem Pierce has the best chance to emerge, but Mack could be the one to open the season as the starter. 

Injury watch: Marlon Mack has a chance to be the starter for the Texans, but will need to be healthy and at full strength to win that job. He has played six games the last two seasons. Last year he was a healthy scratch much of the season, but injuries have always been an issue for Mack throughout his career. They are always going to be a concern going forward for Mack. Hopefully, he has a clean camp and can earn a big role with the team.  

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.

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Player Notes
Matthew Stafford Aug 9 6:40pm ET
Matthew Stafford

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (elbow) resumed throwing in individual drills at training camp practice on Tuesday. The Rams are managing Stafford's elbow pain this offseason in order to attempt to keep him healthy all years as the Rams try to defend their Super Bowl championship. The 34-year-old will likely continue to take it easy on his right arm throughout the rest of camp, and it's definitely something to watch as we get into the regular season. For now, fantasy managers should expect Stafford to be fine for Week 1. He has an amazing connection with All-Pro wideout Cooper Kupp and also has Allen Robinson II at his disposal, but Stafford should be targeted as a low-end QB1 in fantasy.

From RotoBaller

Adam Shaheen Aug 9 6:40pm ET
Adam Shaheen

The Houston Texans acquired tight end Adam Shaheen and a seventh-round pick in 2023 from the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday in exchange for a sixth-round pick in next year's draft. The Dolphins already have Mike Gesicki locked in as their starting tight end, with Durham Smythe, Hunter Long and Cethan Carter providing depth behind him, so Shaheen was expendable after catching 12 of 16 targets for only 110 scoreless yards in 12 games (seven starts) in 2021. Shaheen will now join a tight end group in Houston that already has Pharaoh Brown and Brevin Jordan. Jordan is expected to be the primary pass-catching option at the position, so Shaheen should remain well off the fantasy radar entering the 2022 campaign.

From RotoBaller

Marlon Mack Aug 9 6:30pm ET
Marlon Mack

Houston Texans running backs Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead are listed as co-starters at running back on the team's first unofficial depth chart of training camp. They are followed by rookie Dameon Pierce, Royce Freeman, Dare Ogunbowale and Darius Anderson. Coming off a serious Achilles injury that limited him to seven games the last two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, the 26-year-old Mack figures to lead Houston's backfield to begin the 2022 season. However, this could be a frustrating backfield to predict early on, and Pierce has the goods to become the starter by season's end in an offense run by quarterback Davis Mills. If you're betting on anyone as a last-round RB for depth, Pierce is probably the best low-cost investment with the most upside.

From RotoBaller

Danny Shelton Aug 9 6:30pm ET
Danny Shelton

The Kansas City Chiefs agreed to an undisclosed one-year deal with veteran free-agent defensive tackle Danny Shelton on Tuesday, according to his agents, Drew Rosenhaus and Ryan Matha. Shelton played in 13 games (zero starts) for the New York Giants last year, recording 31 tackles (12 solo) and half a sack. He was originally a first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2015 out of the University of Washington, and he spent his first three seasons in the NFL in Cleveland. The 28-year-old pass-rusher has also spent time with the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions. Shelton will be looking to compete for a starting spot on the interior of KC's defensive line. He has 278 tackles (138 solo), 17 tackles for loss, 19 QB hits, six sacks and a forced fumble in seven NFL seasons.

From RotoBaller

Jalen Reagor Aug 9 6:20pm ET
Jalen Reagor

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jalen Reagor continues to stack good days at training camp in what has definitely been his most consistent camp as a professional. At the moment, he looks too good to consider releasing, in the opinion of The Athletic's Bo Wulf, although a trade remains on the table. The former first-round pick has been a disappointment through his two NFL seasons, compiling 64 catches (111 targets) for 695 yards and three touchdowns in 28 games (24 starts). The 23-year-old will probably only be fantasy relevant if he's traded to a team that gives him a realistic chance to start. As things stand now in Philly, he's behind the likes of A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins and Zach Pascal.

From RotoBaller

Jakeem Grant Aug 9 6:10pm ET
Jakeem Grant

Cleveland Browns All-Pro returner and wide receiver Jakeem Grant Sr. (Achilles) is feared to have torn his Achilles in training camp practice on Tuesday. He will undergo tests to confirm after he was carted off the field on Tuesday. This will be a big blow to Cleveland's special teams unit this year as well as their receiver depth. The 29-year-old speedy wideout was looking for a role on both special teams and as a pass-catcher in his first year with the Browns after catching 11 of his 17 targets for 132 yards and two touchdowns in 2021 with the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears. He was a Pro Bowler last year for his work as a returner, handling 23 kickoff returns for 539 yards and 26 punt returns for 309 yards and one touchdown.

From RotoBaller

Zach Pascal Aug 9 6:10pm ET
Zach Pascal

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Zach Pascal missed the first week-plus of training camp with food poisoning and has been slowly acclimating since, but Monday was his best day by a wide margin. He showcased nice route-running and dominated a portion of seven-on-seven drills with a one-handed catch. Pascal has yet to make much of an impact in team drills, though, and he's still trying to get on the same page as quarterback Jalen Hurts. Unfortunately for Pascal, he's currently fourth on the Eagles depth chart behind A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins, who had a productive day in team drills on Monday with a couple of nice catches. Pascal can be passed over on draft day in most leagues to begin the 2022 season.

From RotoBaller

Donovan Peoples-Jones Aug 9 4:13pm ET
Donovan Peoples-Jones

Dynasty | Browns wide receiver and special teams ace Jakeem Grant was carted off with an apparent leg injury at practice. Dynasty Analysis: This has the looks of a potentially serious injury. Grant was making some headway on the depth chart and figured to be the Browns primary return man as well. If he's indeed lost for the season, it would open up more snaps and targets for the likes of Donovan Peoples-Jones and David Bell. As for Grant, he's already a fringe dynasty player and there would be little reason to keep him should this be a serious injury. Stay tuned.

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Jakeem Grant Aug 9 3:43pm ET
Jakeem Grant

Cleveland Browns WR Jakeem Grant (leg) was carted off the field after suffering an apparent left leg injury at practice Tuesday, Aug. 9.

From TheHuddle

Saquon Barkley Aug 9 3:00pm ET
Saquon Barkley

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley continues to look good in training camp this summer. He looked decisive and quick during training camp practice on Sunday when the team mostly worked on red-zone runs. Head coach Brian Daboll has called Barkley "explosive," and it's been evident on the field as well. Center Jon Feliciano said this version of Barkley is the best he's seen from any RB on any of his teams. The 25-year-old was still rehabbing from an ACL tear last summer and didn't look like the same player in 2021. But he's looking much different in 2022 as he enters the final year of his rookie contract. If your league mates are hesitant to touch Barkley in fantasy drafts, take advantage. He could be a massive value pick as a high-end RB2.

From RotoBaller

Trey Lance Aug 9 2:50pm ET
Trey Lance

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance finished Saturday's training camp practice with a flourish, but it didn't carry over to Sunday. He completed just four of his 12 passes on Sunday, which included a bad interception that was forced during the final period of the day. However, according to receiver Brandon Aiyuk, Lance was not fazed by his performance and talked to teammates about the plays he wanted back and how he could improve going forward. It shows Lance's maturity at a young age, but even though the Niners believe he's their long-term answer at the position, they're unsure how well he'll play in his first full year as the starter in 2022. The 22-year-old will surely have his ups and downs, but his dual-threat abilities give him low-end QB1 upside right away.

From RotoBaller

Adrian Colbert Aug 9 2:40pm ET
Adrian Colbert

The Tennessee Titans signed former Cleveland Browns safety Adrian Colbert to an undisclosed one-year deal on Tuesday, according to his agents. Colbert spent the 2021 season with the Browns and New York Jets, but all of his production came in New York. He had 16 tackles (10 solo) in just four games played (three starts) for Gang Green. Originally a seventh-round pick by the San Francisco 49ers in 2017 out of the University of Miami, Colbert has put up 109 tackles (84 solo), eight passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in 39 career games (22 starts) with the 49ers, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, Browns and Jets. He'll simply provide defensive back depth in Tennessee if he sticks around.

From RotoBaller

Kyle Sloter Aug 9 2:33pm ET
Kyle Sloter

Updating a previous report, free-agent QB EJ Perry (Jaguars) signed an undisclosed contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Tuesday, Aug. 9. QB Kyle Sloter was released to make room for him on the roster.

From TheHuddle

Zach Wilson Aug 9 2:30pm ET
Zach Wilson

New York Jets former first-round offensive tackle Mekhi Becton (knee) suffered an avulsion fracture of his right kneecap in training camp practice on Monday. He'll visit with a surgeon on Wednesday, but Becton will likely miss all of the 2022 season. It's brutal news for the Jets and the 23-year-old, who missed all but one game last year due to an unrelated knee injury. In his absence, George Fant stepped in at left tackle and did a commendable job protecting quarterback Zach Wilson's blind side in his rookie season. Becton had a solid rookie season in 2020, but injuries in back-to-back seasons have quickly turned him into a bust early in his career.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Allgeier Aug 9 2:20pm ET
Tyler Allgeier

Atlanta Falcons rookie running back Tyler Allgeier was listed as the team's eighth running back on the first official depth chart of training camp, but not much should be read into it, as head coach Arthur Smith generally puts rookies on the back end of the depth chart at this stage of the preseason. Along with Allgeier, eighth overall pick Drake London was listed fifth at the wideout position behind KhaDarel Hodge, Geronimo Allison, Damiere Byrd and Auden Tate. London has been working with the first-team offense in camp, and it's fair to expect him to play a ton once the regular season begins. Allgeier has a realistic shot to become the No. 2 in his rookie season behind Cordarrelle Patterson and ahead of Damien Williams.

From RotoBaller

James Robinson Aug 9 2:13pm ET
James Robinson

Dynasty | James Robinson reportedly took first team reps in Jaguars practice on Monday. Dynasty Analysis: Robinson still has a ways to go before being ready for game action, but this is a big step forward after he was only participating in team drills prior to Monday. Travis Etienne's presence is obviously going to eat into Robinson's value, but Robinson and Cam Akers are both proving achilles tears may not be the death knell they used to be. Sitting at RB41, there could be some serious value in Robinson and he looks like a "buy" candidate.

From Dynasty League Fantasy

Travis Kelce Aug 9 2:13pm ET
Travis Kelce

Kansas City Chiefs WR JuJu Smith-Schuster could be the second-most targeted player behind TE Travis Kelce, in the opinion of Arrowhead Pride's Pete Sweeney on Tuesday, Aug. 9. 'Speaking of Smith-Schuster -- Marquez Valdes-Scantling looked like he could be the go-to WR in OTAs, but at training camp, through my looks, it's been Smith-Schuster. I'm now tending to think he'll be the second-most targeted Chiefs pass-catcher behind TE Travis Kelce in 2022.'

Fantasy Spin: With Tyreek Hill gone, Smith-Schuster has a chance to be the top WR for Patrick Mahomes. Given the ambiguous depth chart and the history of success early in his career, Smith-Schuster carries WR2 upside despite being drafted as a WR3.

From TheHuddle

Deshaun Watson Aug 9 2:10pm ET
Deshaun Watson

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski has a plan for quarterback Deshaun Watson and the rest of the team's QBs for the team's preseason opener on Friday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he hasn't told them yet and won't tell the media. It's unclear if Watson will play. NFL disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson handed down a six-game suspension for Watson, but the NFL has appealed and is seeking a full-season suspension, which could result in the case moving to federal court. It's anyone's guess as to how much he'll play in the preseason, but it doesn't really mean much in the grand scheme of things for fantasy. With at least a six-game ban for Watson in 2022, he's a low-end QB2, at best in upcoming fantasy drafts.

From RotoBaller

Drew Lock Aug 9 2:10pm ET
Drew Lock

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith took all of the first-team repetitions during Sunday's walk-through practice, while Drew Lock worked exclusively with the No. 2 offense as the QB competition appeared to remain status quo. Smith has gotten virtually all of the first-team reps in the first week and a half of training camp, but that could start to change based on Lock's strong showing in Saturday's mock game. Lock was clearly the better QB, while Smith underwhelmed while leading the first-team offense against backups. The Seattle coaching staff hasn't made any judgments on the two QBs since the weekend, but there's a chance that Lock could have his opening to take the starting QB job and run with it for the rest of camp and the preseason. Stay tuned.

From RotoBaller

Justin Watson Aug 9 1:23pm ET
Justin Watson

Kansas City Chiefs WR Justin Watson is a precise route-runner that the team's quarterbacks - including Patrick Mahomes - love throwing to, according to Peter King of NBC Sports.

From TheHuddle