NFL Training Camp News and Notes: August 16

NFL Training Camp News and Notes: August 16

This article is part of our Training Camp Notes series.

We're just a couple days away from Week 2 of preseason games. As always, there's plenty of NFL news to cover.

Training Camp Storyline                                                    

Saints' Passing Attack

Michael Thomas- According to Saints coach Dennis Allen, Thomas (ankle) is going to be ready to go when the season kicks off. Although this may not come as a surprise to many, it is confirmation of what many have hoped for since Thomas began practicing early in training camp.

The last time Thomas played a full season was in 2019, when he caught 149 passes for 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns. However, he's missed the last 26 games as he tried to recover from an ankle injury. Not only will he enter this season at 29 years old, but we have no idea whether or not the injury took away any of his ability to be an elite player. Free-agent signee Jarvis Landry will also be 29 years old this season, and he's coming off the worst season of his career. In 12 games, he posted just 570 yards and 6.6 yards per target. Finally, Chris Olave, who was drafted in the first round of this year's draft, projects to be an excellent player, but along with his competition at wide receiver, and Alvin Kamara being a major threat as a pass catcher, it may be difficult for the rookie to see significant targets.

When handicapping this passing attack for fantasy, many factors must be considered. First of all, Jameis Winston has failed to complete more than 60 percent of his passes over his last 21 games. He's also coming off a knee injury that forced him to miss the second half of the 2021 season. And it's difficult to forget the many struggles he had during his years in Tampa Bay. With former head coach Sean Payton turning over the offense to offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, there's no guarantee that Carmichael will have success with his QB. Also, it appears the Saints are a team that's built to win with defense and the run game, making it possible that this is a low-volume passing attack. It also must be considered that Thomas and Landry may not perform at their past levels of production. And finally, Olave is extremely talented, but also completely unknown in terms of what can be expected during his rookie season. The good news is that each of these players is affordable on draft day. But the bad news is that there is a very real chance that New Orleans has a dysfunctional passing attack this year.

Injuries                                                                                 

  • Chris Godwin- For the first time since undergoing knee surgery, Godwin participated in 7-on-7 work. Although there is still no definitive word as to whether he'll be ready in Week 1, it's certainly beginning to look like he could be a factor early in the season. However, it's unclear as to how close to full capacity he'll actually be, so there is risk when selecting him in fantasy drafts.
  • Kenneth Walker- Coach Pete Carroll stated that Walker didn't practice Tuesday because of a "little hernia issue." Although no further information was given, fantasy managers should have some level of concern, especially in the short term. If Walker is forced to miss time during the regular season, though there has been no indication as to whether that's a possibility, Rashaad Penny would likely have an opportunity to take a major hold on the lead job in the Seattle backfield.
  • Rashaad Penny- after missing Saturday's preseason opener against the Steelers, Penny (groin) was back on the practice field Tuesday. He's currently considered the favorite to lead the Seattle backfield in Week 1. He has had a lengthy injury history, and he's already dealt with various injuries this preseason. When healthy, there are very few RBs as explosive as Penny. However, fantasy managers will need to make a decision as to whether they're confident as to whether he'll stay healthy when spending a draft pick on him.
  • Matthew Stafford- Based on a report from Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic, Stafford (elbow) completed his second consecutive full practice. Although it's possible that his elbow could become an issue at some point, currently, it appears that the veteran QB is on track to start the season.
  • Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson- Both Rams' running backs are dealing with soft-tissue injuries. According to Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com, coach Sean McVay doesn't have a timeline for when either player will return to action. However, his comments indicated the absences may not be longer than one week. With these sounding like potentially minor injuries, both can likely be drafted safely after ADP.
  • Miles Sanders- While dealing with a hamstring injury, Sanders has not practiced since Sunday. It hasn't been determined whether his injury is serious or not. Any missed time would likely allow Kenneth Gainwell to get extra reps, as he tries to expand the role he had as a rookie. However, the coaching staff has consistently stated that Sanders is their lead back.
  • James Robinson- during Monday's practice, Robinson (Achilles) took some reps, which included route running, during 7-on-7 drills. With his usage being ramped up throughout the preseason, it remains a real possibility that he sees regular playing time during the season. Of course, Travis Etienne has been a star during Jaguars' camp, and last year's first-round draft pick should be the primary back. However, with Robinson's ability in pass protection, it wouldn't be stunning if the veteran was used in at least some passing situations.
  • Zach Wilson- According to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, Wilson could return in 4 to 6 weeks after undergoing surgery Tuesday on his meniscus. Although it's possible he is ready to return in Week 1, it would appear that Joe Flacco has the inside track of being under center in the season opener. Regardless, fantasy gamers who believe that Wilson is in line for a breakout season, would likely get him back on the field without too much time missed in the regular season.

Job Battles                                                                              

  • Antonio Gibson- According to Sam Fortier of The Washington Post, Gibson worked on both special teams as well as the third-team offense during practice Tuesday. However, he did finish the session working with the starters. In Saturday's preseason opener, Gibson lost a fumble on the second drive. With J.D. McKissic expected to handle a significant role as a pass catcher, and Brian Robinson potentially in the mix to see work, Gibson's usage in practice has to be a concern for fantasy managers who plan on investing in him. There hasn't been much news during this preseason to instill confidence that Gibson is in line for a heavy workload this season, but fantasy gamers who believe his talent will help him rise to the top will get him as a value in drafts.
  • Rhamondre Stevenson- Based on a report from Chris Mason of MassLive, Stevenson was working in the two-minute drill at Monday's practice. He was functioning in the role that recently retired James White held in the past. Throughout the summer, the consistent buzz around Stevenson has been very positive, which has caused his ADP to rise. There has also been talk of him taking on a larger role as a runner than he did in 2021. In average drafts, he is going ahead of Damien Harris. The main concern for fantasy managers is likely the fact that it's been very difficult to predict how coach Bill Belichick will deploy his RBs. At this point, those who still believe in Harris are getting an excellent discount.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jim Coventry
Coventry covers football for RotoWire. He started playing fantasy football in 1994 and won a national contest in 1996. He also nabbed five top-50 finishes in national contests from 2008 to 2012 before turning his attention to DFS. A published author, Coventry wrote a book about relationships, "The Secret of Life", in 2013.
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