Tue Jul 30 1:21am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Gurley's knee is a concern
This is the final 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 Rams made it all the way to the Super Bowl but came up just short in the big game. The team has some question marks heading into this year, though, most notably the health of star running back Todd Gurley. This should be the story of camp, seeing if Gurley can regain his old form.
Position battle: The Rams tight end position continues to be up in the air. Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee look to grab the starting job, which has been the case the last few seasons. Both guys normally just end up splitting work. But for now, there could be a player that emerges and gets more playing time. Everett is the favorite to land more playing time but nothing is certain with the tight end spot in Los Angeles.
Injury watch: This is not a surprise but Todd Gurley is the big injury situation to watch this training camp for the Rams. Gurley was slowed late last year because of a knee injury, a knee that has been surgically repaired. Gurley is a big question mark coming into the season. You just aren’t sure how his knee is going to respond and if he will be at full strength. He might be the biggest fantasy question mark going into the year. You will want to watch his progress closely.
The Cardinals used the first overall pick on quarterback Kyler Murray. He should be the story of training camp, seeing their face of the franchise in action for the first time. His development is likely the key to the season. Arizona needs Murray to get up to speed in a hurry if the team hopes to have any sort of turnaround this year.
Position battle: The Cardinals are another team with their starting tight end job up for grabs. Ricky Seals-Jones and Charles Clay will battle it out for the right to start. Seals-Jones had a mixed first season as starter in Arizona. He showed potential but was hit or miss. Clay is a veteran with a lot of starting experience, but you have to wonder how much he has left in the tank. This is likely Seals-Jones’ job to lose.
Injury watch: Arizona took a chance on receiver Kevin White, who has done little since entering the league. His big issue has been staying healthy. He has played 14 games in three seasons. White has a lot of talent and is a former top-10 pick. He will be given every chance to win a roster spot, but will need to prove he can stay healthy and perform at the level that made him such a high draft pick.
The 49ers had injury issues again last year, which marred their season. The big issue for the team is keeping starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on the field. He has played all of nine games since being acquired by the team. So the key to the season for the 49ers might be the health of Garoppolo. They need their franchise quarterback on the field if they hope to have success in 2019.
Position battle: San Francisco has quite the mess at running back with three viable starters on their roster. Any of these guys could start and have success. Tevin Coleman, Jerrick McKinnon and Matt Breida are the three backs vying for playing time. Coleman seems the best fit to be the lead back because he knows the offense and has three-down ability, but he won’t be handed anything. He will have to hold off the other talented backs to start. This could just end up being a rotating back situation, which could be a nightmare for fantasy teams.
Injury watch: Starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL last year, playing in just three games. He has recovered pretty well from the injury, though, and expects to be ready for the start of training camp. He should be a full go for Week 1 of the season, but you will want to make sure all is well by keeping an eye on him in camp and preseason action. Needless to say, this is a tough injury to return from, so nothing is ever certain.
The Seahawks made the playoffs last year but came up short in the postseason. This team has plenty of talent on both sides of the ball, though. The coaching staff remains intact as well as most of their key players. The defense has seen some turnover in recent seasons, though, with a few mainstays moving on. So the big thing to watch this camp might be the defensive side of the ball to see if any of the younger players emerge to become the next mainstay on that side of the ball for the Seahawks. This team has produced some great players defensively in recent seasons.
Position battle: Running back Chris Carson was a surprise last year, emerging as the lead back for the Seahawks and having a ton of success in that role. He had his first 1,000-yard season as a pro and was the workhorse back for the team. Rashaad Penny took a backseat to Carson most weeks because of nagging injuries but will get a chance to earn a bigger role this year. The Seahawks are very high on Penny and expect big things from him going forward. He will challenge Carson for the right to start in Seattle. We would not discount Penny because of Carson’s big season last year.
Injury watch: The aforementioned Chris Carson had minor knee surgery this offseason. He missed some offseason workouts. The surgery is not supposed to be an issue going forward but any surgery on the knee is something to monitor. Carson should be fine for the start of camp but keep watch of his training camp work to make sure there isn’t some sort of setback. He is trying to win the starting job, so any issue could impact that position battle.
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
August 5th: ADP Value
The Green Bay Packers have claimed wide receiver Travis Fulgham off waivers from the Detroit Lions. A sixth-round pick out of Old Dominion last season, Fulgham appeared in three games for Detroit, playing 42 offensive snaps against Green Bay in December but not recording a target. With Devin Funchess opting out and a top-heavy receiving corps, it makes sense for Green Bay to add someone at the position, but Fulgham's a longshot to make any kind of impact on this team in 2020.
At one point, it looked like Washington quarterback Alex Smith would never step onto a football field again after a devastating leg injury in 2018, but head coach Ron Rivera says that if Smith is healthy, he'll have a chance to compete for the starting job. That's bad news for second-year passer Dwayne Haskins, who struggled as a rookie. Haskins not winning the starting job this year would signal bad news for his future in Washington and could suggest that the team will be looking for a new quarterback in 2021, as Smith's not the long term answer at this point in his career. This is a quarterback room to avoid in re-draft leagues this season.
The New England Patriots have signed former Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller to a one-year deal. Miller missed all of 2019 after tearing his ACL and MCL in preseason, but the veteran back has shown some explosiveness in the past and adds important insurance to this backfield, especially with Sony Michel (foot) not a lock to be healthy Week 1. Miller's been good before, but he's likely just keeping the seat warm for Michel and even if Michel does miss time, Miller's likely to be part of a committee approach in New England. There's not a ton of reason to be excited about this signing for fantasy purposes, but Miller could be worth a late-round dart throw in deeper formats.
New England Patriots running back Sony Michel (foot) isn't a lock to be recovered by Week 1, putting a major question mark beside the back who most expected to lead this New England backfield in rushing attempts. The team signed veteran Lamar Miller as insurance on Monday, further complicating things and suggesting that Michel's injury issues will bleed over to the regular season. You almost have to be more wary of drafting Michel than you already were with this news, and you already should have been fairly low on him. He's not undraftable, but he's become a huge risk without a lot of upside.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara spoke to the media earlier Monday and offered more details about his injury-plagued 2019 season. Kamara said he "tore his knee' in Week 5 against Jacksonville last year and that he had to deal with it the rest of the season. The 25-year-old didn't require surgery, though he spent the entire offseason rehabbing the knee and said he feels healthy now. Kamara finished as the RB16 in PPR formats despite dealing with the knee and ankle injuries. Coming into 2020 a bit leaner after adopting a plant-based diet, Kamara is poised to have the best season of his career in a contract year. He should be a top-five pick in both formats and could be taken as early as the third pick in PPR leagues.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green reportedly has been impressing teammates in practices this week as he works back from injuries that robbed him of his entire 2019 season. Tight end C.J. Uzomah told reporters, "We're just running routes and haven't gone full speed against the defense. Drew (Sample) only saw him last year for, what, that first practice? He said, 'I forgot how explosive he is.' I told him, 'You haven't seen the half of it yet.'" Green has serious bounce-back potential as the No. 1 WR in a Bengals offense that should be one of the most-improved in the league. He can be treated as an upside WR3 in fantasy drafts.
Free-agent CB Tramaine Brock and DT Carl Davis were signed to undisclosed contracts by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Aug. 9.
Free-agent RB Derrius Guice (Football Team) passed through waivers unclaimed Sunday, Aug. 9.
Free-agent RB Kenjon Barner (Falcons) is expected to sign with the Baltimore Ravens in the near future, according to a source.
Free-agent DT Caraun Reid (Cardinals) signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, Aug. 9. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Free-agent S Marqui Christian (Jets) recently met with the Chicago Bears.
Free-agent TE Jordan Reed (Football Team) officially signed a one-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Aug. 9. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Fantasy Spin: Reed has dealt with injuries during his career but has posted solid numbers when healthy. He will be the No. 2 tight end for the 49ers behind George Kittle but should have a decent role in the passing game. Reed probably should be considered a No. 2 fantasy tight end in most leagues.
Free-agent CB Tramaine Brock (Titans) is meeting with the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, Aug. 9, and likely will sign with the team if the meeting goes well, according to a source.
Philadelphia Eagles LB Jatavis Brown was placed on the Reserve/Retired list Sunday, Aug. 9.
Free-agent DT Mike Daniels (Lions) is meeting with the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Aug. 9, and is expected to sign with the team, according to a source.
Los Angeles Rams DT A'Shawn Robinson (undisclosed) is expected to play at some point during the 2020 season, but the team will take things slow with him since he was diagnosed with a medical issue during the medical on-boarding process.
Buffalo Bills WR Duke Williams was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday, Aug. 9. The team also released CB Akeem King.
Washington Football Team TE Logan Thomas was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday, Aug. 9.
Free-agent S J.J. Wilcox (Falcons) officially re-signed with the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Aug. 9. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.