Mon Jul 25 11:37am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Gallup could be slowed early
This is the fifth 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.
The Eagles made some moves this offseason, hoping to bring their team to a new level. The big move was adding receiver A.J. Brown, giving Jalen Hurts an elite receiver on his side. This should be a huge boost to the offense. Expectations are going to be very high for the Eagles. The big thing to watch this camp will be the development of Hurts. Philadelphia needs Hurts to up his game if they hope to improve and make a run at the Super Bowl. Hurts and his teammates train at the Philadelphia Eagles NovaCare Training Complex in Philadelphia, Pa.
Position battle: Miles Sanders is fully expected to start, but the Eagles aren’t going to just hand him the job. He has been up and down in a starting role and the Eagles have never fully committed to him as their No. 1 back. So he will get some competition from Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott for work. Hopefully, Sanders can separate himself from the competition, but this hasn’t happened to date. It is a situation to watch.
Injury watch: Miles Sanders has missed time because of injury each of the past two seasons, missing nine games during that stretch. He has yet to prove he can withstand a full season as a three-down back in the NFL. Sanders needs to shed that label if he hopes to start and play a big role in the Eagles offense this season.
The Giants made a lot of moves this offseason, most notably adding coach Brian Daboll. He is considered a great offensive mind, so the Giants hope he can transform an offense that struggled last year. Much of the focus for camp watchers should be how Daboll impacts players on that side of the ball, especially guys like Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay. We will get to see all the Giants in action at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center at East Rutherford, N.J.
Position battle: The Giants have a lot of receivers, looking to grab playing time this year. It really is up in the air, especially if you consider the team has a new coaching staff. They are going to play the guys that catch their eye and deserve the work. Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and Wan’Dale Robinson are all candidates to earn significant playing time this year. And whoever starts should have some fantasy value in an offense that has a chance to be much improved.
Injury watch: Sterling Shepard is returning from a torn Achilles’ tendon suffered in Week 15 last season. He has a long road back but is holding out some hope he might be ready for Week 1. That might be a little wishful thinking, but there is a chance. He also could miss some games to start the year because of the injury. This is an injury situation to watch during training camp. HIs status is up in the air for the start of the season.
There are always high expectations for the Cowboys and this year will be no different. Dallas has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball and an owner that can be impatient. This could be a make or break year for the coaching staff. They will need to get the Cowboys performing in a hurry if they hope to make a long run in the playoffs this year. Dallas trains at the Marriott Residence Inn in Oxnard, Calif.
Position battle: Michael Gallup is not expected to be ready for the start of the season, leaving an opening for the other starting job opposite CeeDee Lamb. The two top candidates for that job are James Washington and Jalen Tolbert. There is a lot of buzz for Tolbert right now, but he is going to need to keep making plays and showing well in camp. Washington is an established veteran with past starting experience, so don’t discount him to start over Tolbert. This isn’t a given right now.
Injury watch: Michael Gallup is trying to return from a torn ACL. He is holding out hope to be ready for Week 1, but nothing is set for him right now. Gallup has a real chance to miss a few games to start the year as he recovers from his serious knee injury. We should get a better idea of his injury status during camp and preseason action, though. If Gallup is out there practicing and looking good, don’t count him out to be ready for Week 1.
Washington had a lot of turmoil with their day to day operations once again, so hopefully this doesn’t the team on the field. It hasn’t in the past, but you never know. The team has a new quarterback once again, hoping to have solved that problem that has plagued the team in recent years. Carson Wentz now gets to take over and try to establish himself as the franchise quarterback. He should be the big talk of camp, trying to bring more consistency to the offense. Washington has training camp at The Park in Ashburn, Va.
Position battle: Terry McLaurin is the No. 1 receiver and top target for Washington, but the other starter is up for grabs. Curtis Samuel was a big addition to this roster last season but couldn’t stay healthy. The Commanders drafted Jahan Dotson this season, adding more talent to the receiver room. Dotson should have a good chance to start from day one, but Samuel has a track record and the coaching staff likes him. Samuel could keep that starting job if he proves to be healthy and is making plays on the field.
Injury watch: Starting tight end Logan Thomas tore both his ACL and MCL last season. He has made good progress from the injury, though, and could be ready for Week 1. But there seems a better chance that Thomas will miss some time early in the year. He has a long history of injury, so the Commanders won’t rush him back unless he is fully healthy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cleveland Browns WR Jakeem Grant (leg) was carted off the field after suffering an apparent left leg injury at practice Tuesday, Aug. 9.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.