This article is part of our Training Camp Notes series.
Since the New Orleans rookies were the first NFL players to report to training camp Tuesday, we'd like to welcome you to the first edition of the 2021 Training Camp Notes edition, where we'll go over the news of the day while providing the fantasy context that'll help prepare everyone for their upcoming drafts.
• Well, it's impossible to start with any story other than the report that Rams RB Cam Akers suffered a torn Achilles while training away from the team. Although he's expected to miss the season, the team has not officially ruled him out while awaiting more information. So for those who drafted early in leagues that allow roster moves, it might be prudent to hold off on making a roster move until the team officially makes a roster designation.
Obviously, the Akers injury directly impacts the fantasy value of Darrell Henderson, who moves into the lead role in what projects to be an explosive offense now that the Rams have Matthew Stafford under center. As a result of the QB change, Henderson should see fewer stacked boxes than he did on his 138 carries for 624 yards and five TDs in the Jared Goff led offense last year, and although there's a chance that he moves into the three-down role that seemed set for Akers, that's not yet a guarantee, as Xavier Jones, a 2020 UDFA who failed to see any work last year, could compete to be part of the RB rotation during camp. And don't rule out the team adding another RB in free agency. Henderson's ADP is likely to make him at least a top-50 pick in drafts taking place this week, but time will tell what his actual role will be.
As mentioned, Xavier Jones is the No. 2 RB on the Rams depth chart, and if nobody else is added to the roster, he would have fantasy value at least as a backup to Henderson, but there's little else to know about his potential role until the Rams open camp on July 29, especially since Jones didn't play as a rookie in 2020.
• Moving over to New England, the hamstring injury Jonnu Smith suffered that resulted in him missing most of minicamp isn't expected to keep him from missing time when the Patriots veterans report July 27. Although hamstring injuries can be tricky and lead to setbacks, for now it appears that those who are drafting this week can select him as they normally would. During free agency, the Patriots made Smith one of the first signings, as they will hope to turn his excellent speed and agility into major production, and they could give him more than 65 targets he saw last year in Tennessee that resulted in eight TDs but a disappointing 448 yards.
• Rumors as to whether Aaron Rodgers will participate in camp are likely to continue until Green Bay players report July 25, but Adam Schefter reported that Rodgers reportedly passed on a two-year extension offer from the team. Ultimately, nobody knows what Rodgers will do in terms of reporting to the team, but this is simply another piece of news that points out that him missing mandatory minicamps was not likely about money. Fantasy managers are hoping that Rodgers reports, so that he can look to repeat an amazing season in which he threw a career-high 48 TDs, which was only three fewer TDs than he threw in 2018 and 2019 combined.