We’re still anxiously awaiting the first preseason game, but in the meantime, it’s been a very eventful first couple weeks of camp. For today, well start out with the non-injury news of the day.
- We’ll start out with Giants’ news- according to Ralph Vacchiano of SportsNet New York, Golden Tate isn’t expected to win his appeal of the four-game suspension that will begin in Week 1 for taking a performance-enhancing drug. As a player who’s on the decline and joining an offense with too many issues to mention, the missed time will make him a difficult player to select aside from a very late pick in deeper leagues.
- Also, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN is reporting that Melvin Gordon may sit out until midseason unless he gets the contract that he feels he deserves. It would seem that the Chargers are comfortable rolling with the duo of Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson. Anyone who has fantasy drafts before the season (assuming Gordon has yet to report) will need to make their prediction as to how this will shake out, but Austin Ekeler is likely to be the committee leader, as he’s nearly 200 pounds and solid as a runner and receiver while Jackson is one of the smallest RBs in the league at just about 190 pounds, so he’ll likely be on the smaller side of the committee. Just remember, if paying a premium pick for Ekeler, he’ll return to a reserve role whenever Gordon chooses to return to action.
- Moving to more positive player news- although the fantasy community is locked onto David Montgomery- he’s a top-24 RB selection in drafts- it’s good to hear some specifics about the rookie’s performance from Matt Nagy. The coach explained how Montgomery uses power and vision to evade tackles as a runner, and that he’s a savvy route-runner with great hands. There’s no doubt that Tarik Cohen will see plenty of work, but that doesn’t mean that it’ll take much away from Montgomery, who profiles as a three-down player. Also, they both could see plenty of time together on the field. And although Mike Davis is also in the picture, Davis has been a career backup for a reason. All three will get work, but Montgomery should see enough volume to justify his ADP.
- I’ve been quite bullish on Jameis Winston’s fantasy prospects this season, and it doesn’t hurt that Bruce Arians has specifically praised his QB’s consistency, which is something he’s struggled with during his career. In addition, the coach believes that Winston is ‘where he needs to be’ in terms of mastering the offensive system. Between Arians’ attacking offense along with outstanding weapons at WR and TE, Winston may be forced to carry an offense that has a very shaky rushing attack. Winston’s being drafted as a borderline top-12 QB, but a case can be made that he can finish the season in the top-five.
- As many expected, Miles Sanders is looking great in training camp, and Mike Kay of NJ.com mentions the rookie’s playmaking ability and versatility. Yes, he’ll clearly have a role in the offense, but those who are dismissing Jordan Howard, who’s also having a great camp, need to remember that the Eagles traded for Howard, who is an excellent pass blocker. It’s not what fantasy owners want to hear, but that ability to protect Carson Wentz could have much to do with being a close to even division of work between the RBs.
- Moving over to Miami, Dolphins’ head coach, Brian Flores, made it clear that Ryan Fitzpatrick is leading the way over Josh Rosen at QB this summer, and Fitz seems to be setting the stage for being the Week 1 starter. Given his flaws, it’s understandable why some may have no interest in drafting the veteran, but in two-QB leagues, he’s a player who can be targeted late, and he’s certainly capable of producing big games. This also potentially gives a significant bump in fantasy value to Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker and the other Miami receiving options.
- And finally, are you looking for a really deep stash at WR? Cody Core is working as the No. 2 receiver while A.J. Green and John Ross miss time due to injuries. Sure, they both may be back at varying points in time, but between Green’s injury history and Ross’ lack of production along with injuries, it wouldn’t take a huge turn of events for Core to be in the mix as a fantasy option. Also, if coach Zac Taylor runs a similar offense to the Rams, the heavy use of 11 personnel means that they frequently use three WRs, boosting Core’s value.
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As always, training camp is always good for proving us a plethora of injury updates-
- Fortunately, Damien Williams proved his worth to the Chiefs with his fantastic play down the stretch last year because he missed his second-straight practice with a hamstring injury. With Williams firmly entrenched as the starter, as long as he makes it back in enough time to be properly conditioned for the regular season, he’ll continue to be a player who can return first-round value for a second-round pick. For those who’ve been high on him, this injury may help to keep his ADP from creeping up. Now, if the injury lingers longer than another couple weeks, we’ll need to revisit his draft value.
- At least we’re getting some clarity about Derrick Henry’s injury- Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that Henry has a strained calf that’s expected to keep him out about two weeks. Based on this news, and as long as there are no setbacks, there’s no reason to alter Henry’s position on draft boards.
- Another piece of good news is that Marquise Brown passed his physical and may begin practice as soon as tomorrow. With the expectation that he’ll be a starting WR, he may be worth a late draft pick for upside, despite being in what seems to be a run-heavy offense in Baltimore. Of course, he’ll likely get reps in preseason games, and he’ll be player to keep an eye on to see how he’s adapting to the NFL.
- Something doesn’t smell right in Indianapolis where Andrew Luck is now out for the rest of the week with a calf strain that also kept him out of the spring offseason program. That seems like a long time to be dealing with a strain, but coach Frank Reich, although admitting that Luck’s in pain, said his signal-caller would be able to play if the team had an upcoming regular-season game. And for what it’s worth, Luck said he ‘absolutely’ plans to be on the field to start the season. So for now, it seems fine to hold him steady on draft boards, but if he’s still missing time a few weeks from now, it might be best to move him lower in the upper-tier of QBs.
- We now have a bit more clarity regarding A.J. Green’s injury- today, he underwent a minor ankle procedure, and although he still has an outside chance of being ready for Week 1, coach Zac Taylor thinks it’s likely that Green misses a couple games. With his ADP starting to drop by the day, those thinking that they can steal a WR1 for a large portion of the season, may be able to do so with a fifth-round (or later) pick. Sure, he’s missed 13 games over the past three years, but when he’s on the field, there’s been no real slip in his performance, so I’d recommend taking a chance on drafting him.
- Last year, Jamaal Williams was passed by Aaron Jones on the depth chart, and now Williams is dealing with a hamstring injury that’s allowing rookie Dexter Williams to get extended work in the Packers’ backfield. This is potentially a big training camp battle, as the winner would be an Aaron Jones injury or suspension away from being a weekly fantasy starter who will see light boxes running behind Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay passing attack.
- It’s never good for a rookie to miss time when trying to earn a starting role, and after suffering a hamstring injury, Parris Campbell missed Tuesday’s practice and although the Colts aren’t overly concerned about the injury, he may miss some preseason time. If this somehow turns into a multiple-week injury, it may be wise to lower him on draft boards.
That’s all for today, but we’re only a few days away from our first preseason game!