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 Sleepers: Week 3
Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary will operate as the team's lead back in Week 3 with rookie Zack Moss (toe) declared out for the contest against the Rams. That should open up at least 15 touches for Singletary against a Rams Defense that ranks 27th in rush DVOA. It's a great opportunity for the second-year pro and it vaults him from flex-status up to the RB2 conversation. Singletary is a must-start at this point in redraft leagues and should also be considered a good option in DFS formats.
Los Angeles Chargers edge rusher Melvin Ingram (knee) was placed on the injured reserve on Saturday. The team will be without the services of Ingram- who has recorded at least seven sacks in each of the last five seasons- for the next three contests. It's certainly a downgrade for the Chargers' defensive unit as a whole, considering Ingram is one of their best pass-rushers. They could still be started in Week 3 against Carolina, though matchups against the Buccaneers and Saints, already shaky with Ingram, become matchups to avoid without him.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (hip) is listed as questionable for Week 3 against the Patriots. Tight end Darren Waller (knee) is also questionable. Both players were able to get limited practice sessions in on Friday after not being available earlier in the week and should be able to suit up Sunday. At first glance, it seems like a tough matchup for Jacobs, though New England ranks just 20th in rush DVOA. It's always a nerve-wracking experience starting a player against a Bill Belichick-defense, though Jacobs is currently seeing a ton of volume in this offense. If he's playing, you're starting him.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins (concussion, neck) is questionable for Week 3 against the Ravens while running back Darrel Williams (ankle) will suit up. Watkins was able to practice in full on Saturday after getting in a limited session on Friday, so he's heading in the right direction. The veteran receiver is a risky start against Baltimore's tough secondary, considering he registered just one catch in Week 2 after posting a 7-82-1 line in Week 1. Williams will likely take a backseat to rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire and won't have much fantasy value in Week 3.
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) has been placed on the injured reserve by the team on Saturday. This means he'll miss the Cowboys' next three contests, which includes a big matchup against the Seahawks in Week 3. Rookie corner Trevon Diggs is also banged up with a shoulder injury, so this secondary is now far from healthy. It's bad news for Dallas because they'll be tasked with slowing down a red-hot Russell Wilson on Sunday. It's a safe bet to expect a lot of points to be scored in this game. Nearly every skill-position player should be started in this contest.
Detroit Lions cornerback Desmond Trufant (hamstring) has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals. Trufant was able to get in a couple limited sessions after not participating in Wednesday's practice, though it appears he is not quite ready yet. It's a blow to a Lions' pass defense that has surrendered five passing touchdowns in two games. Cardinals wideout DeAndre Hopkins will now likely go toe-to-toe with rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah, which is a boost to Hopkins' already elite fantasy value this week.
Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell (illness) was placed on the COVID list on Saturday. The number-16 overall pick from the 2020 draft is the NFL's first positive case of the season, as the results came back from a Friday morning test. As of right now, the Falcons have no other positive tests, though this is obviously something to monitor up until kickoff on Sunday. The rest of the team was tested again Saturday morning and those results will come back Sunday morning. From a football perspective, this hurts an already-struggling Falcons' defense that has allowed the fourth-most passing yards in the NFL heading into Week 3.
Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith (neck) isn't expected to play against the Seahawks in Week 3. Ordinarily, replacing a tackle of Smith's caliber with someone else would be an issue for any offense, but the Seahawks rank in the middle of the league this year in pressure percentage and the Cowboys passing and rushing offense should still be in fine shape in a game that many expect to be a shootout. Don't think Smith's absence means you need to downgrade Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, or any of the team's other options.
Free-agent CB Morris Claiborne (Chiefs) is not actively looking for work but is remaining in shape in case the ideal circumstance to return presents itself.
Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle (ankle/knee) is set to return on Sunday against the New York Jets. Quarterback Philip Rivers looked to tight end Mo Alie-Cox often in last week's game and with Doyle sliding into the lineup, Rivers should continue to target the tight end position. Doyle might not see the same snap rate we're used to from the reliable veteran, but he's a definite streaming option for fantasy managers who are looking for additional help at a shallow position.
The San Francisco 49ers are promoting running back JaMycal Hasty to the active roster for Sunday's game against the New York Giants. With injuries to their top two running backs, the Niners weren't going to go into Week 3 with only Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson Jr. on the roster. McKinnon and Wilson should see almost all of the work, so don't get too excited about Hasty this week, who'll likely see just a handful of touches at best and shouldn't be on anyone's fantasy radar...yet.
The Carolina Panthers have promoted running back Reggie Bonnafon to the active roster ahead of Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers. With Christian McCaffrey on the injured reserve, making this move seems like an obvious choice. Many expected Bonnafon to be the primary backup to McCaffrey this season, but he was passed by both Mike Davis and Trenton Cannon on the depth chart and wound up on the Carolina practice squad. Don't expect more than a handful of touches at most for Bonnafon, whose addition shouldn't impact Mike Davis's workload.
Philadelphia Eagles DT Fletcher Cox (oblique) is considered a game-time decision for Week 3's game against the Cincinnati Bengals, according to head coach Doug Pederson. He practiced on a limited basis Friday, Sept. 25, after missing the team's first two practice sessions of the week, and is officially listed as questionable on the injury report.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeSean McCoy was targeted seven times in Week 2, which is just enough times to make him semi-interesting as a rosterable option in deep leagues. His complete lack of involvement in the run game and 18 percent snap rate show just how risky of an option he is, though, and he should be barely on the fantasy radar in Week 3 against the Broncos. Maybe in a 16-team league, you throw the dart at him and hope the targets continue, but otherwise steer clear of the veteran rusher.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Preston Williams was unable to make much of an impact during the Thursday night victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He hauled in both of his two targets for seven yards and one touchdown. It was a disappointing game for Williams, but quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick only had 20 passing attempts on the night. It has been a slow start to the season for Williams, but things should pick up next week. He'll get a favorable matchup against the Seattle Seahawks who have one of the worst pass defenses in the league.
Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki was able to score a touchdown for the second time in two weeks during the Thursday night victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Gesicki hauled in one of three targets for 15 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick only had 20 passing attempts in this one, so it was a bit of an odd game. Regardless, Gesicki carries TE1 value into a favorable matchup versus the Seattle Seahawks shaky pass defense in Week 4.
If you thought the Texans and their revamped wide receiver core would feature some wide-open, four-receiver sets this season, you were wrong. Houston hasn't run a single play this season with four receivers and has run just one play without a tight end. This is one of the reasons to stay away from the team's No. 4 receiver, Kenny Stills, in Week 3. Still a talented wideout, Stills is on the field less than half of the time and has just two catches for 16 yards this season. Unless there are injuries ahead of him, Stills is a fantasy afterthought right now.
Las Vegas Raiders rookie wide receiver Bryan Edwards (foot) has been removed from the team's injury report, a sign that he'll be on the field this week against the New England Patriots. With Henry Ruggs III (hamstring/knee) sitting, Edwards will look for a larger role on Sunday. He's been targeted just three times through two games, but did catch both Week 2 targets for 42 yards. The promising young wideout has some appeal in deep leagues this week with no Ruggs, but he remains an incredibly risky play until we see him get a higher target share.
Seattle Seahawks CB Quinton Dunbar (knee) will be 'ready to play' against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3, according to head coach Pete Carroll.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker is clearly still not 100 percent healthy, but did play during the Thursday night win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He caught all five of his targets for 69 yards in Week 3. He'll get 10 days to heal up before his matchup with the Seattle Seahawks next week. Seattle has been horrendous at stopping the pass attack this season. Parker should be a reliable WR2 for that one, assuming he's healthy.