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Training Camp Preview: NFC West

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.

Rams

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. 

Cardinals

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. 

49ers

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. 

Seahawks

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 jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

Player Notes
Blake Countess Sep 22 8:53pm ET

Free-agent DBs Blake Countess (Jets), Mark McLaurin (Giants), Obi Melifonwu (Patriots), Tyvis Powell (Broncos) and Abraham Wallace (Bills) tried out for the Indianapolis Colts Tuesday, Sept. 22.

From TheHuddle

Devonta Freeman Sep 22 8:33pm ET

Updating a previous story, free-agent RB Devonta Freeman (Falcons) officially agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $3 million with the New York Giants Tuesday, Sept. 22.

Fantasy Spin: It may take Freeman a couple weeks to get fully up to speed but he should eventually control the bulk of the touches out of the Giants' backfield. His dual-threat abilities should allow him to be a FLEX option most weeks.

From TheHuddle

Trevor Siemian Sep 22 7:53pm ET

Tennessee Titans LB Daren Bates, WR Cameron Batson, PK Tucker McCann and QB Trevor Siemian were designated as protected practice squad players Tuesday, Sept. 22.

From TheHuddle

Jayrone Elliott Sep 22 7:43pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Deon Cain, LB Jayrone Elliott, DE Henry Mondeaux and RB Wendell Smallwood were named as the team's protected practice squad players for Week 3 Tuesday, Sept. 22.

From TheHuddle

DeAndre Washington Sep 22 7:23pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs DB Chris Lammons and RB DeAndre Washington were named as protected practice squad players Tuesday, Sept. 22.

From TheHuddle

Garrett Gilbert Sep 22 7:13pm ET

Cleveland Browns QB Garrett Gilbert, RB Dontrell Hilliard, PK Matthew McCrane and OT Greg Senat were placed on the team's Week 3 protection list Tuesday, Sept. 22.

From TheHuddle

Rashard Robinson Sep 22 7:13pm ET

Dallas Cowboys DB Deante Burton, DE Ron'Dell Carter, DB Rashard Robinson and OT Eric Smith were named to the Week 3 protection list Tuesday, Sept. 22.

From TheHuddle

Devin Smith Sep 22 7:13pm ET

Houston Texans C Greg Mancz, DB Jonathan Owens, RB C.J. Prosise and WR Devin Smith were named to the Week 3 protection list Tuesday, Sept. 22.

From TheHuddle

Edmond Robinson Sep 22 7:03pm ET

Atlanta Falcons QB Kurt Benkert, P Cameron Nizialek, LB Edmond Robinson and WR Chris Rowland were named the team's protected practice squad players Tuesday, Sept. 22.

From TheHuddle

Brandon Allen Sep 22 7:03pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals DE Freedom Akinmoladun, QB Brandon Allen, WR Stanley Morgan and G Keaton Sutherland were named as the team's protected practice squad players Tuesday, Sept. 22.

From TheHuddle

Sep 22 6:53pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers NT Daniel McCullers terminated his practice squad contract Tuesday, Sept. 22.

From TheHuddle

Muhammad Wilkerson Sep 22 6:53pm ET

Free-agent DE Muhammad Wilkerson (Packers) had his suspension lifted by commissioner Roger Goodell Tuesday, Sept. 22.

From TheHuddle

Paul Perkins Sep 22 6:53pm ET

Free-agent RBs Paul Perkins (Ravens), Karan Higdon (Texans) and Austin Walter (Giants) are among the running backs trying out for the San Francisco 49ers.

From TheHuddle

Jonathan Bullard Sep 22 6:53pm ET

Arizona Cardinals DE Jonathan Bullard, DE Michael Dogbe, RB Jonathan Ward and DB Jace Whittaker were protected from selection off the practice squad Tuesday, Sept. 22.

From TheHuddle

Bennie Fowler Sep 22 6:33pm ET

New Orleans Saints WR Bennie Fowler and DT Margus Hunt were bumped from the active list to the inactive list Tuesday, Sept. 22.

From TheHuddle

Xavier Grimble Sep 22 6:33pm ET

Baltimore Ravens TE Xavier Grimble (undisclosed) was added to the practice squad's injured list Tuesday, Sept. 22.

From TheHuddle

Sammy Watkins Sep 22 5:43pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (head) declared he is 'healthy' after taking a helmet-to-helmet shot from Denzel Perryman in Week 2 against the Los Angeles Chargers.

From TheHuddle

Phillip Dorsett Sep 22 5:30pm ET

The Seattle Seahawks are placing wide receiver Phillip Dorsett II (foot) on Injured Reserve on Tuesday, according to a source. Dorsett will be eligible to return in three weeks, and it'll give him some time to let his injured foot heal. The earliest he'll be able to return will be in Week 6. He hasn't played yet in 2020. Dorsett's injury has opened the door for David Moore as the No. 3 behind wideouts DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Moore took advantage in the Week 2 win over the Patriots, catching all three of his targets for 48 yards and his first touchdown of the year. However, he's still a reach in deep leagues, as he's competing with rookie Freddie Swain and has only six targets through two games.

From RotoBaller

Davante Adams Sep 22 5:13pm ET

Updating a previous report, Green Bay Packers WR Davante Adams (hamstring) is reportedly dealing with a 'minor' hamstring strain, but his status for Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints has yet to be determined, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

Fantasy Spin: Given the Packers' history for erring on the conservative side with injuries and the fact they will play on Sunday night, fantasy owners need to prepare for the stud receiver to sit. The practice reports this week will be telling, and even one full practice would probably be enough for owners to rest easy. Adams is arguably the top wideout in fantasy, so he needs to be in lineups if it sounds like he will play.

From TheHuddle

Phillip Dorsett Sep 22 5:13pm ET

Seattle Seahawks WR Phillip Dorsett (foot) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Sept. 22.

From TheHuddle