Wed Jul 11 9:33 am
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Giants need a healthy Beckham
This is the fifth preview in a series of training camp previews. We will continue to release the previews throughout the week. The previews give you a quick look at each team, going over position battles and injuries to watch in camp. The season is right around the corner.
The Eagles won the Super Bowl last year, so expectations will be very high for the coming year. And much of this camp will focus on the return of quarterback Carson Wentz from injury. Wentz was playing at an MVP-level before getting hurt. He will have a lot of pressure on him to play at a high level once again, especially with the backup leading the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory.x
Position battle: The Eagles signed Mike Wallace this offseason with the hopes he still had something left in the tank. Wallace will have to earn a starting spot but could be the starter opposite Alshon Jeffery if all goes well for him this camp. Nelson Agholor had his best season as a pro last year, though, and won't go away quietly for Wallace. Those two should compete for the right to start opposite Jeffery. Both will have a role this year, but the starter carries a little more value for fantasy teams in a pass-first offense.
Injury watch: Quarterback Carson Wentz was on his way to a breakout season before tearing his ACL. He had to watch backup Nick Foles lead the Eagles all the way to a Super Bowl victory. There was some concern with Wentz being ready for the start of this season but all signs are very positive for him right now. He has progressed very well and might not even have any limitation for training camp. All expectations are he will be ready for Week 1 and his usual self for the start of the year.
The Giants were a mess last year because of injury and coaching shenanigans. Much has changes this offseason, so this camp will be focused on getting all the players and coaches on the same page. The talent is there for this team to do well, but might depend on the play of Eli Manning, which wasn't good last year. How much does Manning have left in the tank? We will have a better idea about Manning when training camp gets going.
Position battle: The Giants moved on from Brandon Marshall this offseason, making Sterling Shepard the starter opposite Odell Beckham. This leaves the No. 3 receiver job wide open for the Giants. Roger Lewis, Cody Latimer and Travis Rudolph are the top candidates to man the slot for the Giants. The winner of this job doesn't carry a ton of fantasy value but might be worth a spot start or two in a pinch.
Injury watch: Star receiver Odell Beckham suffered a broken ankle last season and needed surgery on the injury. He still hasn't done a ton this offseason but reports are he should be near 100 percent for the start of training camp. This injury shouldn't be much of an issue moving forward. It is still worth watching, though, to make sure Beckham is back to his normal self. He might be the best receiver in the game at 100 percent health.
Dallas had a disappointing season last year but will look to get it turned around, starting in training camp. As always, expectations will be high for the Cowboys, especially with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott healthy and ready to lead the offense. Dallas has the talent to win some games, but needs some receivers to step up and emerge, and the defense to play more consistently.
Position battle: The Cowboys released Dez Bryant this offseason, leaving some openings at the receiver spot. There really isn't a No. 1 receiver on the roster right now. Terrance Williams, Allen Hurns, rookie Michael Gallup, Cole Beasley and Deonte Thompson are the top candidates to start for the Cowboys this year. There really isn't anything too certain with this position for the Cowboys. We could see any of these guys starting. Keep an eye on this situation in training camp to see how this all shakes out.
Injury watch: He wasn't hurt last year but missed time because of suspension. Running back Ezekiel Elliott probably is the key to the entire offense, so the Cowboys need him on the field for all 16 games. Dallas can't afford for Elliott to get suspended once again or go down with an injury. Hopefully, Elliott stays out of trouble and can stay healthy. He is the most important cog in the offense.
The big thing to watch this camp is the quarterback change in Washington. The Redskins lost Kirk Cousins but traded for Alex Smith to take over as their starter. It will be interesting to see how the offense functions with Smith now at the helm. These two quarterbacks have different styles, so don't be surprised if the offense functions differently now with Smith running the show. You can get a better idea of how Smith operates, starting in camp and seeing him in preseason action.
Position battle: The Redskins took Derrius Guice in the second round of this year's draft with the hopes he can fill the void at running back for the team. Guice is not going to be handed the starting job, though. He will have to earn it from Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley. It isn't a slam dunk that Guice will start for the Redskins, especially with how the team has rotated backs in recent years.
Injury watch: Tight end Jordan Reed missed most of last year with various injuries and needed offseason surgery on his toes. Reed has never played a full season and is a big injury risk going forward. Reed is a difference maker in the offense, though, so getting him back to full strength is essential for the Redskins to have big success offensively. Reed also can be a huge fantasy factor when on the field. It would be great to see him play a full season.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwins fantasy stock skyrocketed in Week 6 after he amassed 126 yards including touchdowns of 67 and 30 yards. Goodwins explosiveness seemingly convinced quarterback C.J. Beathard to stray from his dink and dunk ways. The tandem will try to carry the momentum to Week 7 against the Los Angeles Rams who have struggled against the pass in the past three weeks, allowing almost three scores per game through the air and 7.8 yards per attempt. While his outcome variance remains wide, Goodwin is the perfect option to complement high-floor receivers on fantasy rosters. Hes a solid WR3 with upside.
Many a gym-goer have experienced the frustration of putting in a ton of work without seeing any immediate results in the mirror. Should you fall in that boat, Denver Broncos tight end Jeff Heuerman feels your pain. Heuerman has seen 17 targets over the Broncos last three games (tied with Demaryius Thomas for the second-most on the team) but has produced a mere nine receptions for 98 yards. In other words, less than four fantasy points per game. Despite facing four of the league's premier TEs, Arizona has held opposing tight ends to an average of 43.8 yards per game (eighth-fewest) so while quarterback Case Keenum has looked his way quite often in recent weeks, Heuerman shouldn't warrant much consideration outside of the deepest of leagues.
San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert was the teams biggest surprise in Week 6, racing for 87 yards on 12 carries. After experiencing fumbling issues throughout his career, Mostert earned the trust of head coach Kyle Shanahan by working on ball security. He was rewarded with 40% of offensive snaps, rendering veteran Alfred Morris to the bench. Shanahans played coy on Mosterts usage going forward, but its apparent the fourth-year back provides a spark spelling starter Matt Breida (ankle, shoulder). Mostert shouldnt be on starting rosters in Week 7, but his role is something to monitor. Hes a speculative add for managers with bench flexibility.
San Francisco 49ers Matt Breida (ankle, shoulder) isnt fully healthy but has suited up for all six games in 2018. Breidas proven his toughness and also been effective, leading the NFL in yards per carry (6.8). The Niners take on the Los Angeles Rams in Week 7, who surrender just 99.0 rush yards per game but are fifth-worst in yards per attempt (4.8). With the Niners structurally dedicated to a committee running game, hell share snaps with backfield mates Raheem Mostert and Kyle Juszczyk. However, hes immune to game script. This bodes well against the high-powered Rams offense. Despite the timeshare risks, Breida is a back-end RB2 with upside if he factors into the passing game.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas ranks 46th among WRs at 55 receiving yards per game. Unsurprisingly, all three of his double-digit fantasy point performances this season (standard scoring) have come in games where he was able to showcase his dancing ability. Thomas has found the end zone in two-straight games, and while I'd normally ride the wave, the Cardinals have yet to allow a TD to an opposing WR at home this season - while allowing the fewest to the position overall (two). Even more concerning is the fact that Thomas has now seen a total of 22 targets over the Broncos last four games after amassing 21 through their first two. Factor in the inconsistent quarterback play and Thomas should be viewed as a WR3/flex option heading into this Thursday night matchup.
Michael Jordan once told us that "The ceiling is the roof!" Well, the floor might be the ceiling this week for Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders has seen seven or more targets in five of six games -- catching at least five passes in all five -- so it's safe to assume he'll see around five receptions Thursday night against the Cardinals. Problem is, Arizona has yet to allow a receiver to find the end zone at home and the two touchdowns opposing WRs have put up on them on the season are the fewest in the league. Sanders should be viewed as a WR2 in PPR leagues -- based on volume alone -- but owners in standard leagues would be wise to look elsewhere if upside is the goal this week.
Having put up at least 75 yards from scrimmage in four of his six games this season, Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay quietly ranks among the Top-20 RBs in terms of scrimmage yards per game (including the ejection-shortened Week 3). Meanwhile, the Cardinals have allowed opposing RBs to pick up 138.8 rushing yards per game on 4.5 yards per carry while giving up an additional 57 yards through the air - all of which rank among the dregs of the league. He doesn't see the volume some of the league's elite backs see -- his 12.5 touches per game rank 32nd -- but he's averaging 14 PPR fantasy points per game (over the five games in which he played all four quarters) and shouldn't have much trouble surpassing that number this week given the matchup.
Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman has been held out of the end zone in two-straight games but a matchup with the Arizona Cardinals could be just what he needs to bring the scoring drought to an end. No team has allowed more rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs than the eight allowed by the Arizona Cardinals, and while I could run through their statistics, just trust me when I say their run defense has been lousy. In nearly every way imaginable. Freeman lands in the RB2 conversation this week -- due to the presence of Phillip Lindsay -- but don't be surprised if he outperforms his ranking on Thursday night.
Detroit Lions tight end Luke Willson is the starter in name only. He did not garner a target in Week 5 against the Packers and only has seven targets on the season, which leads all Lions tight ends. He's been able to corral four of those looks for 29 yards, but hasn't found the end zone, and has yet even draw a red zone target. The tight end position isn't of use to the Lions right now and is often the fourth, and sometimes fifth option in the passing game. Fade Willson and any other Lions tight end until we see a shift in target share.
The boos were audible Sunday, but sometimes you have to take the good with the bad. Unfortunately, the bad for Denver Broncos quarterback Case Keenum is that his back-to-back 300-plus yard, two touchdown passing performances have been overshadowed by Denver's four-game losing streak. It also doesn't help that this offense is averaging the seventh-fewest points per game at 20 or that he's riding an every game this season interception streak. Keenum enters this Week 7 matchup against the Cardinals on the heels of his two best games of the season, yes. However, Arizona's defense has held opposing QBs to the second-fewest passing TDs (6), 243.2 passing yards per game, and the seventh-fewest fantasy points per game (14.99) - making him nothing more than a last resort option for fantasy owners.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones saved his owners in Week 5 when he hauled in an eight-yard touchdown, his only reception against the Packers. As each game is played, it seems as though Kenny Golladay has supplanted Jones as the big-play threat for the Lions. With just 16 receptions for 231 yards, Jones has served his purpose by finding the end zone three times. This week against the Dolphins, things won't get any easier for him as Miami's secondary has been one of the best in the league this year. In his favor though is that the average yards per attempt against the Dolphins is 8.1 yards, so if Stafford can find Jones for one deep ball, it could pay off big for owners. However, tread lightly this week and label Jones as a boom-or-bust WR4.
Detroit Lions wide receiver TJ Jones has played just 20 combined snaps in his last two games and has not been targeted once. Jones is an afterthought in the offense with receivers like Golden Tate, Kenny Golladay, and Marvin Jones in the mix. Especially in a tough matchup with the Dolphins, leave the Lions fourth wide receiver on waivers where he belongs.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay has vaulted himself into the fantasy limelight with a strong start to the season, posting 27 catches for 428 yards and three scores through five games. However, Golladay is welcomed out of the bye week with a likely matchup of Xavien Howard. Despite the tough matchup, the second-year receiver very well may be the best pass catcher on his team, and that alone will have Matthew Stafford looking his way. Expect a floor of a WR3 with his touchdown upside giving him a big boost. Regardless, he should be in your lineup.
Free-agent OT Dieugot Joseph was signed to the New York Jets practice squad Wednesday, Oct. 17. The team also released RB De'Angelo Henderson from their practice squad.
Washington Redskins DT Stacy McGee (groin) participated in practice Wednesday, Oct. 17. He is currently on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list.
Free-agent TE Devante Bond (Buccaneers) signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Oct. 17.
New York Jets RB Elijah McGuire (foot) participated in practice Wednesday, Oct. 17. He is currently on the Reserve/Injured list.
Detroit Lions WR Andy Jones (undisclosed) participated in practice Wednesday, Oct. 17. He is currently on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list.
Houston Texans SS Andre Hal (illness) participated in practice Wednesday, Oct. 17. He is currently on the Reserve/Non-Football Illness list.
Miami Dolphins C Jake Brendel (calf) and LB Mike Hull (knee) participated in practice Wednesday, Oct. 17, and are the two players that will be activated from the Reserve/Injured list this season.