NFL Training Camp News and Notes: August 17

NFL Training Camp News and Notes: August 17

This article is part of our Training Camp Notes series.

Training Camp Storyline

Packers Rushing Attack

Aaron Rodgers said this week that AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones could catch at least 50 passes each this year. For Jones, that's to be expected. But for Dillon, that would be a major jump from the 34 receptions he had in 2021.

Fantasy managers already seem to be in on this backfield, as Jones is typically being drafted as a  top-12 RB with Dillon going inside the top 24. In terms of the Packers' offense, there's much uncertainty as to whether the WRs will be assets or liabilities this year. The one thing we know for sure is they have an outstanding duo in Jones and Dillon at RB. In addition, they potentially have an elite defense, so making the RBs the centerpiece of the offense makes sense. Don't be surprised if both RBs are often on the field at the same time. Also, it's possible that Jones is the team's best receiver, so he could be lined up both in the slot and out wide. 

Earlier this summer, I debated the merits as to which RB was the best to roster at ADP. At this point, we may have a scenario where both can be drafted and started each week. The only downside I see is that if the WRs actually outperform expectations, which is possible. If that happens, the offense could be more balanced, lowering the upside of both RBs. 

 I prefer Cam Akers and Elijah Mitchell over Dillon, as both are being drafted in the same range as Dillon. But I can't fault fantasy managers who want to load up on the green and gold RBs.

Injuries

  • Darren Waller - After missing this entire month with a hamstring injury, Waller returned to practice Wednesday. Assuming he doesn't suffer a setback, he should remain safe to select at his current price, which is typically after Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews and Kyle Pitts.
  • J.K. Dobbins - The news on Dobbins (knee) ebbs and flows from week to week. Dobbins has pushed hard to get on the field and start Week 1. However, coach John Harbaugh said it's too early to know if his running back will be ready for the season opener. At this point, it seems reasonable to think that Dobbins will be ready early in the season, though nothing is a lock. The recent positive buzz moved his ADP to RB20. Fantasy managers have to consider this a risk/reward situation.
  • CeeDee Lamb - Lamb is dealing with a minor foot injury. As a result, he might not play in Saturday's preseason game against the Chargers. However, he's expected to be back on the field soon. His ADP shouldn't be impacted.
  • Jaylen Waddle - Waddle was held out of practice Tuesday with an undisclosed injury. The injury is not considered serious. Waddle wanted to suit up for practice, but the coaching staff held him out. This doesn't sound as if it should impact his fantasy value.
  • Josh Jacobs - Jacobs has been sidelined with an undisclosed injury since Aug. 12. Although there's no update as to when he'll return, he'll likely compete for work with Kenyan Drake and Zamir White. With an ADP just inside the top-24 RBs, it seems fantasy managers are convinced Jacobs will have little issue leading the Raiders' backfield.
  • Kenneth Walker - Coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday that Walker is having a "procedure." The procedure is believed to be to repair a hernia, though Carroll said Walker does not have a core muscle injury (or sports hernia). Walker hopes to be ready for Week 1. The lack of clarity adds risk, though it might not be an an issue to start the season. Walker has recently moved slightly ahead of Rashaad Penny in ADP, as both are being selected around RB35.
  • Treylon Burks - The inconsistent offseason continues for Burks, who left Wednesday's practice with an undisclosed injury. After dealing with conditioning and asthma this spring, he was listed on the depth chart as a second teamer (though that may not have meant anything), and now we'll await word as to when he'll return. His ADP has fallen outside the top-45 WRs, and he can often be drafted outside the top-100 players. If his talent turns into quick production, he'll be a steal, but it's also possible that fantasy managers are properly assessing his 2022 value.
  • Mecole Hardman - Hardman (groin) left Wednesday's practice early. No word has been given as to the severity. As one of the only Kansas City pass catchers returning from last year, he certainly could see an expanded role in the offense. However, he's likely facing an uphill battle to move into the top-two WRs, JuJu Smith-Schuster and this year's second-round draft pick Skyy Moore.
  • Jameis Winston - Due to a foot sprain in addition to his return from last year's ACL injury, Winston will miss his second straight preseason game. Last year, Winston threw for fewer than 200 yards per game, but fantasy managers who are excited about a new WR depth chart that includes  a returning Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry and Chris Olave, his ADP of QB19 seems reasonable.
  • Jerick McKinnon - McKinnon has a strained hamstring that kept him out of Wednesday's practice. If this injury doesn't linger, he could have a role as a receiving back with the Chiefs after putting together a strong late-season run that included the NFL playoffs.
  • Robbie Anderson - Coach Matt Rhule confirmed that Anderson missed Wednesday's practice due to a quadriceps injury. There's no word as to whether the injury is serious. For now, Anderson remains a late pick in fantasy drafts in the hope he bounces back from an unproductive 2021 season.

Job Battles

  • Joshua Kelley - According to Daniel Popper of The Athletic, Kelley is the frontrunner in first-team work over Isaiah Spiller and Larry Rountree. Unless Kelley has turned a corner in his development, the 2020 fourth-round pick has yet to surpass 3.1 yards per carry in either of his two seasons. However, he did impress in the preseason opener by posting 44 yards on six touches. Meanwhile, this year's fourth-round draft pick, Isaiah Spiller, posted 44 yards on 11 touches last week. This training camp battle should continue while the coaches decide who will back up Austin Ekeler.

League News

  • Deshaun Watson - The league appealed Watson's six-game suspension a couple weeks ago. While the process continues, Watson's representatives and the NFL Players Association are trying to negotiate a discipline settlement. It seems that the league wants at least a full year suspension. At this point, this situation is still unsettled.

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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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