NFL Training Camp Notes: Wentz Still On the Mend(tz)

This week’s installment of the Tuesday TC blog is brought to you by me live tweeting a rewatch of DRAFT DAY earlier this evening. If you like football and laughing at truly, horribly, mind-numbingly bad movies, I highly recommend it.

  • Carson Wentz’s recovery from his torn ACL is supposedly going well, but not so well that the Eagles seem inclined to let him play in the preseason. Already ruled out for Thursday’s opener, there’s now a suggestion that he won’t take the field at all before Week 1. That’s not exactly encouraging, and at this point if you’re thinking about drafting him, you need to make sure you have a solid second option on your roster as well, just in case.
  • in happier injury news, Antonio Brown is back with the Steelers after missing most of the previous week getting his quad strain checked out. He still isn’t expected to resume practicing until the weekend, much less play Thursday, but that’s still better than the alternative. Just ask anyone with Doug Baldwin shares.
  • Antonio Callaway’s stint at the top of the Cleveland WR depth chart may not last long. The fourth-round pick seemed to be in line for a starting gig after the Corey Coleman trade, but getting busted for pot possession and driving with a suspended license is going to land him on the league’s disciplinary radar very quickly, especially given his rap sheet from college. With Josh Gordon’s future perennially cloudy, Jarvis Landry might want to start getting ready for a 300-target season.
  • Chris Godwin continues to draw praise from the Tampa coaching staff, with Dirk Koetter suggesting he was a “starting receiver”. Of course Koetter also said he had four starting receivers, but the actual formations on the practice field have had Godwin lined out wide in three-WR sets with DeSean Jackson sliding into the slot. The second-year player may not see a whole lot of targets in that arrangement, as he seems to be in there primarily because he’s a better blocker than Jackson, but more snaps and more responsibilities should eventually lead to more production.
  • switching to the backfields, Frank Gore got named a co-starter in Miami alongside Kenyan Drake. That seems to be purely semantics, as it’s hard to imagine Drake not seeing a much larger share of the touches for the Dolphins, but it’s probably been a decade at least since the first time someone tried to write off Gore as finished, and here he still is. Drake isn’t exactly the kind of back who seems like he’d hold up with a huge workload either, so the odds that Gore remains a useful fantasy asset in 2018 are probably higher than any of us are willing to admit.
  • the Broncos’ initial depth chart is (or at least should be) no surprise, with Devontae Booker the listed starter at RB followed by rookie Royce Freeman and De’Angelo Henderson. Booker’s done very little in the last two years to suggest he’ll be able to hang onto that job for 16 weeks, though, and their respective ADPs is spitting on that initial depth chart — Freeman’s going in about the sixth round in 12-team standard scoring, while Booker’s ADP is down around 150 and Henderson’s off the radar entirely for the most part. Frankly, I’m not happy about this at all. Generally speaking, I like looking for value among the rookie RBs crop and spending up elsewhere, but this seems like most of the value has been leeched out of Freeman already. The kid’s getting drafted ahead of guys like Dion Lewis and Tevin Coleman with no guarantee that he’ll see any bigger a workload than those proven performers. I’m not even that high on him when compared to the other early-round RB picks in this year’s draft. Maybe a decent preseason showing or two from Booker will restore some balance to this situation, but until then I’m probably not going to wind up with many Freeman shares at that price. (Henderson as a deep-league flyer, on the other hand…)
  • among the tight end crowd, Jonnu Smith was listed as a starter by the Titans on their initial depth chart, a hint that they’re going to be running a lot of two-TE sets because Delanie Walker clearly isn’t going anywhere. If that’s good news for anyone it’s Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis, but it can’t hurt Smith’s fantasy prospects either, especially given Tennessee’s rather lackluster wide receiver corps. Last year’s third-round pick seems fully recovered from the knee injury he picked up at the end of 2017, and a second-year breakout is certainly possible given his physical tools, although Walker’s presence and chemistry with Marcus Mariota remains a big obstacle. New offensive coordinator also doesn’t have an extensive track record of producing value in TEs from his time on the staffs of the Rams and Falcons. Consider Smith only a sleeper at this point, despite his placement as a “starter”.