Thu Jul 28 1:38pm ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Penny has long injury history
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. The season is right around the corner.
The Rams won it all last year, so the big story of this camp will be if they can do it again or will they have a Super Bowl hangover. It is so very hard to repeat, but the Rams certainly have the talent to make a run once again. Los Angeles begins their quest for a second straight Super Bowl at the University of California-Irvine in Irvine, Calif.
Position battle: The Rams don’t have a lot going on with position battles. Things are pretty set with this team. The only thing we might keep an eye on is the running back spot. Cam Akers is the starter but his finish to last year was a little concerning, doing little during the Rams playoff run. Akers was returning from a major injury, though, so that could have impacted his play. Either way, Darrell Henderson might make a push for playing time if Akers shows any struggles. We would expect Akers to be fine, but his play is something to watch this camp.
Injury watch: Matthew Stafford had to get an anti-inflammatory shot in his elbow this offseason. He is ready for the start of camp, but is going to be put on a pitch count for his throws. His elbow injury shouldn’t be much of an issue, but is at least something to watch. If he has any setbacks, this might impact the start to his season.
Arizona had high expectations last year but faded down the stretch. Much of this camp will focus on consistency for a whole season. Can the Cardinals play at a high level all year? This team needs to avoid the late-season swoon if they hope to reach expectations. The Cardinals train at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
Position battle: With DeAndre Hopkins suspended to start the season, the Cardinals have some openings at receiver. There are targets available. Marquise Brown should start and Rondale Moore will work out of the slot, but the No. 2 receiver opposite Brown is up in the air. A.J. Green, Andy Isabella and Antoine Wesley are the top candidates to win that job. It really is wide open, especially if you consider Green struggled a little last year with his chances.
Injury watch: Marquise Brown injured his hamstring before the start of camp and is going to be slowed some to start camp. The good news is the injury isn’t considered too serious and he should be practicing very shortly. It is an injury to watch, though, because Brown is going to play a big role for his new team. He needs to get healthy and back on the field to get up to speed in the offense.
San Francisco has their franchise quarterback, Trey Lance, taking over this year. This will be the story of camp for the team. Lance has a lot of pressure on him to get better and perform at a high level for the team. He certainly has the talent to do it, but seeing his progress on the field will be something for fantasy owners to keep a close watch. Lance could be a top fantasy player because of his skill set. Lance and his teammates will get a chance to show his stuff at the SAP Performance Facility in Santa Clara, Calif.
Position battle: Elijah Mitchell is the starter for the 49ers, but the top backup job seems wide open. Rookie Tyrion Davis-Price, Jeff Wilson and Trey Sermon are the top options for the job. And this is a position battle to watch because the backup in San Francisco will get touches in this offense. Davis-Price might be the best bet to win the job, but he isn’t going to be handed anything. He will need to earn it.
Injury watch: George Kittle had a calf injury at the end of last season that kept him out of OTAs during the offseason. Kittle should be just fine for the start of camp, but all the missed time because of this calf injury makes it one to keep an eye on to make sure it is properly healed. Kittle has endured some injury issues the last few seasons, so the 49ers are hoping to buck that trend.
Seattle is in a full rebuild mode after trading quarterback Russell Wilson. He has been a mainstay for the team, so it will be interesting to see how the offense looks without Wilson at the helm. The Seahawks are going to have a quarterback battle on their hands. This should be the big focus on camp, seeing which quarterback emerges to start for the Seahawks. Seattle holds training camp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Wash.
Position battle: For the first time in a long time, the Seahawks will have a new quarterback this year. It is going to be either Geno Smith or Drew Lock. Smith seems to have a slight lead right now, but this job is truly wide open. Both players are going to get their chances to prove their worth. Lock might have the higher ceiling of the two, but needs to clean up his play on the field to win the job.
Injury watch: Rashaad Penny has a long injury history but proved his worth late last season, posting huge numbers in a starting role. He is going to be the starter in this offense as long as he is healthy. Penny already had an injury this offseason, missing some work because of a sore hamstring. Penny will be the starter as long as he is healthy, though. The Seahawks just need him on the field, though, and can’t afford for him to miss any more time.
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.
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.
San Francisco 49ers rookie running back Tyrion Davis-Price is listed as the team's No. 4 RB on the first unofficial depth chart of training camp. Second-year back Elijah Mitchell is the starter, with Jeff Wilson Jr. and Trey Sermon directly behind him. Fantasy managers shouldn't read too much into these unofficial depth charts, but it's another reminder that the Niners backfield is very crowded. Davis-Price has looked impressive in training camp and could be involved early in his rookie season, but it's unrealistic to expect him to have a big role given all the other bodies in this backfield. The 21-year-old will be much more attractive in dynasty/keeper setups, and he might be worth a late-round dart throw in deeper leagues.
Only twice last year in his rookie season did Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rondale Moore have more than six targets in a game, and those two games ended up being his best. He caught seven passes for 114 yards and a touchdown over the Vikings and had 11 receptions for 51 yards in late November in a win over the Seahawks. But other than that, he was mostly used in gadget situations. Moore is expected to have a bigger role in 2022, especially with DeAndre Hopkins suspended for the first six games. The 22-year-old second-year wideout is a popular pick to break out for this offense. The Cardinals anticipate using Moore all over the field, even out of the backfield. In an offense that likes to throw the ball around often, Moore is absolutely worth a late-round pick in fantasy drafts for his upside.
Washington Commanders wide receiver Curtis Samuel has been practicing with the team at training camp, and his presence outside, in the slot or out of the backfield can create mismatches for the opposing defense. However, the fact that he's being nursed through camp without tackling puts doubt into how he'll get through a full 17-game season. Dyami Brown (leg) missed most of the second week of camp with an apparent leg injury and hasn't shined when he's been on the field. Brown has size and should have a roster spot, but his role appears limited for now, barring an extended absence from Samuel. With rookie Jahan Dotson standing out all offseason and summer, it's hard to envision Samuel being a consistent fantasy producer to begin the 2022 season.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (foot) is being listed as day-to-day with a sprained right foot, according to head coach Dennis Allen. Allen initially said that Winston rolled his ankle in training camp practice on Monday, but it was later clarified that he suffered a minor foot injury. Winston, who is also recovering from a torn ACL suffered last year, will not play in Saturday's preseason opener against the Houston Texans out of caution. Expect to see Andy Dalton and Ian Book taking most of the snaps this weekend. The 28-year-old Winston isn't 100% recovered from his knee injury, but he's fully expected to be ready for Week 1 of the regular season. Fantasy managers should consider him a QB2 with upside in the right matchups.
Chicago Bears WR David Moore (undisclosed) was carted off the field Tuesday, Aug. 9, with an apparent leg injury.
Fantasy Spin: Moore is one of many Bears receivers to suffer an injury, and it's still very unclear who the WR2 behind Darnell Mooney will be.
Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz's inaccuracy concerns have followed him to Washington with an assortment pack of misfires in training camp. Wentz has routinely bricked passes in various directions in practices with no defense on the field. It hasn't been an every-play issue for Wentz, and his strong arm opens up more downfield plays in the team's playbook, but his accuracy issues are a real concern. He's still learning offensive coordinator Scott Turner's system and what to expect from his receivers, so perhaps Wentz will gain more consistency as training camp and the preseason progress. For what it's worth, head coach Ron Rivera said the team isn't "overly concerned" about Wentz, but fantasy managers may be avoiding him as a QB2 in fantasy drafts. Wentz will play in the team's preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers.