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 email@example.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Five Waiver Wire Adds: Week 3
The Philadelphia Eagles are saying that rookie wide receiver Jalen Reagor (thumb) is dealing with a UCL tear in his thumb. The first-round pick left the game in the Week 2 loss to the Rams but returned and played through the injury. With Reagor expected to miss a few weeks, the Eagles are expected to place him on the Injured Reserve, which means he'd have to miss at least three games. The talented 21-year-old out of TCU had five catches on eight targets for 96 yards through the first two weeks, and his role was growing before the injury. DeSean Jackson will continue to function as the team's No. 1 wideout, with J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward and John Hightower battling for playing time after that. Reagor has the talent to make it worth stashing him in deeper leagues, and fantasy managers in dynasty/keeper leagues should definitely be holding him.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert remains a TE1 option in fantasy lineups despite a struggling offense and the presence of Zach Ertz. Goedert was excellent in Week 1 before taking a step back in Week 2, but he was actually on the field more in Week 2. In Week 1, Goedert saw 79% of the team's offensive snaps, which went up to 89% in Week 2. The Eagles offense seems like it is going to be run through the running backs and tight ends, so there will be plenty of targets to go around for both tight ends. Ertz is the preferred play by a slight margin, but Goedert is still a solid, high-upside TE1 option.
Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott is a mid-range kicking option for a Week 3 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals. Elliott has made three of his four field goal tries and all of his extra points so far this year. With the Eagles offense sure (maybe?) to get better this season, Elliott could improve in the rankings, but for now he's somewhere in the middle of the pack.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside has been phased out of the offense and doesn't play on special teams at this point either. Despite a decent bit of hype around the second-year wide out before the season, Arcega-Whiteside has yet to catch a football in 2020. He was on the field for 41% of the offensive snaps in Week 1 and only 23% in Week 2. He shouldn't be anywhere near a fantasy roster at this point in his career.
Los Angeles Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert is expected to make his second straight start in Week 3 against the Panthers with Tyrod Taylor (lung) dealing with a punctured lung. Herbert had a costly interception late in Week 2, but he held his own and looked impressive on short notice against the Super Bowl champion Chiefs in an overtime loss. If the first-rounder puts on another solid performance in just his second NFL start, he could supplant Taylor as the Bolts starter under center, even though head coach Anthony Lynn said that Taylor is the starter when he's 100 percent healthy. Herbert has a great matchup this weekend, but he's still more of a low-end QB2 in superflex leagues.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz is still a top-tier fantasy tight end option despite the emergence of Dallas Goedert in Week 1. Ertz was on the field for 85% of the offensive snaps in Week 1 and followed that up with a 94% clip in Week 2. The Eagles will run most of their offense through their two tight ends along with running back Miles Sanders. Ertz and Goedert are both TE1 options, with a slight preference going to Ertz if choosing between the two.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Greg Ward is not a viable starting option in any standard format of fantasy football in Week 3. Ward saw only one target in Week 2, catching it for a five yard gain. He was slightly more involved in Week 1, but still wasn't able to do much, catching five passes for 31 unexciting yards. With the Eagles offense struggling as a whole, the third wide receiver on a team that often plays with two tight ends on the field is not much of a fantasy asset. Ward can be left on the waiver wire in shallower formats.
Cleveland Browns right tackle Jack Conklin (ankle) is over his ankle injury and is "ready to go" according to head coach Kevin Stefanski. Conklin appeared in the team's Week 1 loss to the Baltimore Ravens but sat out last Thursday night in a Week 2 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. When asked, he said, "Ankles feeling great. Ill be back to 100% this week, rolling.'' Conklin's return is a big boost for the Browns as they get ready to contend with a Washington Football Team that employs a nasty defensive line, anchored by No. 2 overall pick Chase Young. Young is tied for the league lead with 2.5 sacks through two games. Conklin's return will also help the Cleveland running game, most specifically Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt as they try to improve to 2-1 on the season.
Philadelphia Eagles rookie wide receiver Jalen Reagor has seen his involvement increase in each of the first two weeks of the season. A good matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals Defense in Week 3 makes for a strong on-paper chance for him to continue moving up in terms of target share. Still, it's hard to trust Reagor as more than a WR4, especially given the fact that the Eagles offense has not looked functional at all through the first two weeks.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson has some nice Week 3 upside despite the mess that has been the Eagles offense over the first two weeks of the season. Jackson hasn't done much so far this season, but the Cincinnati Bengals Defense doesn't really have anyone who can keep up with Jackson's speed. If there were ever a game for Jackson to blow up and get the Eagles passing game back on track, it's this one. All that being said, the Eagles offense was bad enough that the pre-recorded crowd noise booed them at one point in Week 2. Jackson is a solid WR3/FLEX play with upside this week.
Dallas Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) suffered a hamstring injury during the Week 2 game and will be sidelined for multiple weeks.
Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said that wide receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) further strained his hamstring in Week 2 against the Cowboys, and the team will take his injury "through the week," leading up to the game on Sunday against the Bears. So there's a real chance that the All-Pro receiver won't play this weekend, so you'll need to have a backup plan just in case. Jones had nine catches for 157 yards in the season-opener, but he caught only two passes for 24 yards despite the Falcons putting up 39 points last week. He's a must-start WR1 anytime he's on the field, but things might finally start to catch up with the 31-year-old while he seems to constantly be playing through injuries. If he sits out or is limited at all, Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage would benefit from added targets.
The Carolina Panthers placed running back Christian McCaffrey (ankle) on Injured Reserve on Wednesday with his high ankle sprain. The move will keep McCaffrey out for at least three weeks. The team placed a four- to six-week timeline on his return on Tuesday. Carolina wants to make sure that their star running back doesn't try to return too soon from his injury and aggravate it. Mike Davis is in line for lead-back duties in McCaffrey's absence, and he has become one of the top waiver-wire pickups heading into Week 3. Wide receiver Curtis Samuel could also see some snaps out of the backfield to help pick up the slack, beginning in Week 3 against the Chargers.
New York Jets WR Breshad Perriman (ankle) may not be able to play in either of the next two games, according to head coach Adam Gase.
Fantasy Spin: The Jets have multiple injuries at the wide receiver position, so Chris Hogan and Braxton Berrios may be the starters for Week 3. The team will be facing a solid Indianapolis Colts defense this week, but Hogan can be a possible flex option in deeper leagues.
New York Jets WR Jamison Crowder (hamstring) has not run since suffering a hamstring injury last week, and his status for Week 3 is uncertain.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players should check on Crowder's status later in the week to see if he has a chance to play. Braxton Berrios would be the slot receiver for the Jets if Crowder is unable to play but probably should only be a possible flex option in deeper point-per-reception leagues.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott has an excellent matchup against a struggling Cincinnati Bengals run defense in Week 3, but is still not a recommended fantasy starter in most formats. Scott ran clearly behind starter Miles Sanders in Week 2, even though Sanders was just coming off a hamstring injury that kept him out of Week 1. Scott is still worth rostering because he'd clearly take over if Sanders went down, but his standalone value is not significant with Sanders on the field.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Corey Clement is not a Week 3 fantasy option in almost any formats. Clement got some unexpected action in Week 1 with Miles Sanders (hamstring) out and Boston Scott (undisclosed) missing time. With both running backs now healthy, Clement is likely to be on the field only as a member of special teams. Clement does not need to be rostered in standard 12-team leagues.
Chicago Bears practice squad S Marqui Christian was signed to the New York Jets 53-man roster Wednesday, Sept. 23. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders has an excellent Week 3 matchup and could be one of the top fantasy running backs for the week. There were concerns around Sanders in Week 2 mostly based on usage as he was coming off a hamstring injury that kept him out of Week 1, but he was on the field plenty and did well enough to end up as the overall RB12. With a Week 3 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals Defense, Sanders could end up as a top-five fantasy performer at the position. The Bengals have allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing running backs through the first two weeks of the season.
San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (knee) is likely headed to the Reserve/Injured list with a knee injury that's likely to keep him out for four weeks, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan.
Fantasy Spin: Third-year man Jeff Wilson could get his shot this week with Raheem Mostert (knee) unlikely to go as well. Wilson is a flex option in fantasy.