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Training Camp Preview: NFC East

Thu Jul 25 11:08am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Manning hopes to keep job


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.

Eagles

The Eagles didn’t have quite the season as expected last year but finished strong to make it to the playoffs. The team will look to start quicker this year and make another Super Bowl run. The big thing to watch this camp will be starting quarterback Carson Wentz. He needs to stay healthy and regain his past form if this team hopes to make another deep playoff run. The season might hinge on Wentz playing at an MVP-level once again. 

Position battle: The running back spot has been a bit of a rotating door in recent seasons for the Eagles and it could be more of the same this year. It sure looked like Jordan Howard was going to be the man to start after being traded to the Eagles, but Philadelphia used a second-round pick on Miles Sanders, clouding the situation. These guys should compete for the right to start in Philadelphia and the job seems up for grabs. Both are good candidates. 

Injury watch: Carson Wentz has failed to play a full season each of the last two years. He was limited to 11 games last year and had to watch Nick Foles start for the team in the playoffs. Wentz has a ton of talent but health has been the issue with him in recent years. He is healthy heading into camp, but you will want to watch his health to make sure nothing comes up in camp. A healthy Wentz can be a difference maker for fantasy teams. 

Giants

The Giants were a bit of a mess last year and are looking in rebuild mode this year. The most important situation to watch in training camp is the battle between Eli Manning and rookie Daniel Jones to start. This should make for a fascinating camp, seeing longtime starter Manning try to hold onto to his job.  

Position battle: For the first time in many years, the Giants have some real competition for Eli Manning. He is expected to start this year but the team used their first pick in the draft to grab Daniel Jones. He is the future at the position and could push Manning for the right to start out of the gate. Manning has been erratic in recent years, so he is not going to get the benefit of the doubt if Jones looks ready to play. 

Injury watch: Tight end Evan Engram missed five games last year because of injury and has failed to play a full season each of the last two years. Injury has slowed him to start his career. He has a chance to play a big role in this offense this year but can’t do that if he is on the sidelines. Engram has already been slowed by a hamstring injury in offseason workouts, which is a concern. He should be ready to go for camp but keeping an eye on his health is a good idea for any fantasy owner thinking about taking him this year. 

Cowboys

The Cowboys won the division last year and will look to repeat this year. The pieces are in place for this team to have a strong year, but health and the emergence of some young players on both sides of the ball will help determine the fate of the Cowboys. Dallas needs their key players to stay healthy and be on the field (i.e. Ezekiel Elliott ends his holdout). The Cowboys always have an interesting camp, so this should be a good one to keep an eye on for fantasy owners and NFL fans.

Position battle: This shouldn’t be much of a battle but Randall Cobb and Tavon Austin will challenge each other for the No. 3 receiver job. Cobb was signed to take that role but his recent play is a bit of a concern. His production has dipped in recent years, which could open the door for Austin. It is likely that Austin is used sporadically like he was last season, but he has experience as a slot receiver so it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that he challenges Cobb for the No. 3 receiver job. It is something to watch. 

Injury watch: He isn't hurt but Ezekiel Elliott could holdout in search of a new contract. This is a situation to watch, especially after seeing the Le’Veon Bell saga last year. You never know how this is going to play out. The Cowboys seem like they will need to pay up, though, because the team is much better with Elliott in the mix. It is a drastically different team with Elliott starting and carrying the offense. He has a lot of leverage, so this shouldn’t be a lengthy holdout but you never know. 

Redskins

The Redskins have a lot of battles going on in camp, including quarterback, running back and receiver. There is a lot up in the air for this team right now, which should make for an intriguing camp. Washington has a lot to decide at several key positions. This might not be ideal if you are a Redskins fan, though. But for fantasy purposes, you will need to watch all these battles closely and adjust your rankings accordingly when decisions are made. 

Position battle: The big battle this training camp will be for the starting running back spot. Adrian Peterson was a big surprise in a starting role last year, showing he still had something left in the tank. He got a chance to start because of injury and took advantage. Derrius Guice was the reason Peterson started. Guice tore his ACL before the season and missed the entire year. He is back healthy, though, and ready to regain his starting role. He will challenge Peterson for the chance to start and probably has the leg up as long as he is healthy. 

Injury watch: As mentioned, Derrius Guice is returning from a torn ACL. This is a major injury to return but things are going well for him with that injury. He seems to be near full strength. However, he did injury his hamstring in offseason workouts and has missed some time because of that. He could be slowed some to start camp. His failure to stay on the field is a concern going forward. He will need to get healthy in a hurry if hopes to start for the Redskins this year. 

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
Chad Beebe Sep 23 12:50am ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Chad Beebe (ankle) was carted to the locker room in the third quarter of Sunday's 34-14 win over the Oakland Raiders. Beebe didn't have a target in the contest. Olabisi Johnson stepped in as the third receiver in his absence - we should get an update on the severity of Beebe's ankle injury on Monday.

From RotoBaller

Philip Rivers Sep 23 12:40am ET

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers completed 31 passes for 318 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday as the Chargers fell to the Houston Texans. LA continued to struggle in the second half of ballgames, and Rivers was sacked five times on the day. The 46 passing attempts were the most Rivers has had in a regular season game since Week 1 of 2018, and Rivers hasn't won a single game in the last five years when he's thrown the ball 45 or more times. Whether LA wins or loses, Rivers has the ability to put up gaudy numbers, so he'll be valuable no matter how the season goes for the underperforming Chargers.

From RotoBaller

Minnesota Vikings Sep 23 12:40am ET

The Minnesota Vikings Defense shut down the Oakland Raiders en route to a 34-14 win at home in Week 3. They picked up four sacks and an interception, though they also gave up a garbage-time touchdown with two minutes left and fantasy managers probably wanted a few more turnovers in this favorable matchup. Start the Vikings Defense as a top-12 play on the road against the Chicago Bears.

From RotoBaller

Peyton Barber Sep 23 12:30am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber touched the ball as many times as backfield mate Ronald Jones II but was unable to take the reigns, running the ball 13 times for 48 yards while adding just seven yards through the air in a Week 3 loss against the Giants. This type of performance was for from unexpected, and with the Bucs backfield currently the guessing game that it is, Barber will remain nothing more than a low-end bye week streaming option. He is not a recommended start in Week 4 when the Bucs take on the Rams in Los Angeles.

From RotoBaller

Alexander Mattison Sep 23 12:20am ET

Minnesota Vikings rookie running back Alexander Mattison rushed 12 times for 58 yards (4.8 YPC) and a touchdown in Sunday's 34-14 win over the Oakland Raiders. His first NFL touchdown came on an impressive 10-yard run in the third quarter, and Mattison has proven to be a rock-solid backup to starter Dalvin Cook through three weeks. He remains a high-priority handcuff to Cook (and is starting to garner deep-league flex consideration), but keep him on the bench for Week 4's road matchup against the Chicago Bears.

From RotoBaller

Austin Seibert Sep 23 12:20am ET

Cleveland Browns kicker Austin Seibert hit both of his field goals in a 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. He also tacked on an extra point. The rookie kicker had a shaky preseason but he has settled down now that the games count. Seibert has hit all five of his field-goal tries this season while making four of his five extra points. His main problem has not been accuracy but instead that the Browns offense has not been as high-scoring as many expected through the first three games of the season. Seibert will not be a top-12 kicker option in fantasy in Week 4 against the Baltimore Ravens.

From RotoBaller

Ronald Jones II Sep 23 12:10am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II totaled 80 yards on 14 carries while adding an additional 41 yards on one reception to lead the Bucs backfield in Week 3. His usage was a total turnaround from Week 2, where Jones saw just four carries, but it continues the trend of a seesaw Bucs backfield. Jones didn't face the stiffest test this week, facing a Giants squad that had allowed 240 yards on the ground through two games, so this outing should be taken with a grain of salt. Jones is not a trustworthy fantasy option as long as the Bucs backfield remains a guessing game. He faces a stiff test in Week 4 with the Los Angeles Rams on deck and is not a recommended play.

From RotoBaller

Demetrius Harris Sep 23 12:10am ET

Cleveland Browns tight end Demetrius Harris caught a two-yard touchdown in a 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. It was his only catch in a game where he drew just two targets. Harris saw an increased role with David Njoku on injured reserve with a broken wrist but was not a major part of the game plan. His only other target came in the end zone in the fourth quarter on what looked like a catchable ball but Harris was unable to pull down the high pass. He will be a low-end TE2 for Week 4's matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.

From RotoBaller

Cleveland Browns Sep 23 12:10am ET

The Cleveland Browns Defense played well in a 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. Cleveland racked up two sacks while forcing three turnovers in the loss. The performance was all the more impressive considering that the team was without both of their starting cornerbacks in Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams and starting inside linebacker Christian Kirksey. Cleveland's defense has played well this season but they will have their work cut out for them in Week 4 against a white-hot Baltimore Ravens offense. The Browns will not be a recommended fantasy defense for that contest.

From RotoBaller

Jameis Winston Sep 23 12:00am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard has been searching for a spark this season. He hadn't provided anything useful to fantasy owners through two games. This week was supposed to be a real chance to get back on track against the friendly Giants Defense. It wasn't, he barely escaped with three receptions for 66 yards during their difficult home loss. It was a slightly better outing but Jameis Winston clearly made a point of force-feeding Mike Evans early and often. Evans then responded with a monster day. Maybe one of these weeks it will be Howard's turn for greatness. Unfortunately, It'll be difficult to keep him around while we wait for that day to arrive. He's looking like a TE2 as the Bucs travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams.

From RotoBaller

Jarvis Landry Sep 23 12:00am ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry caught three of his nine targets for 62 yards in a 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. Landry's 62 yards led the team, his first time leading the team in receiving this season. The veteran slot receiver now has 10 catches for 161 yards and no touchdowns through three games this season. He has taken a backseat to Odell Beckham Jr in the passing game, which has cut into his production. The fact that the offensive line has struggled to protect Baker Mayfield hasn't helped matters much, either. That being said, Landry could be in line for a big game in Week 4 against a Baltimore Ravens Defense that usually struggles to contain opposing slot receivers. He can be used as a low-end WR3 for that contest.

From RotoBaller

Denver Broncos Sep 22 11:50pm ET

Denver Broncos Defense has had a disappointing start to the season that continued in Week 3 against the Green Bay Packers offense. The Defense failed to log a sack or interception, continuing the streak of not having a sack all season. This is extremely disappointing, as the Broncos host a talented pair of pass rushers. The Defense faces off against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 4, who have struggled to run the ball in previous weeks and have had an improving passing attack.

From RotoBaller

Nick Chubb Sep 22 11:50pm ET

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb carried the ball 23 times for 96 yards and added four catches for 35 yards in a 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. Earlier in the week, the Cleveland coaching staff talking about getting Chubb more looks and they did just that as he was the only running back on the team to see a touch. It could have been a bigger game as he appeared to have a short touchdown in the third quarter but it was called back thanks to a Cleveland penalty. Chubb now has 233 rushing yards and a score through three games. He will be a low-end RB1 in Week 4 against the Baltimore Ravens.

From RotoBaller

Odell Beckham Jr. Sep 22 11:50pm ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr caught six of his 10 targets for 56 yards in a 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. His longest reception went for 19 yards on a quiet night for the star wideout. The Cleveland offense struggled to protect Baker Mayfield against a tough Rams pass rush, which limited Beckham's ability to make plays down the field in the loss. Los Angeles cornerback Aqib Talib also deserves credit for playing solid defense against Beckham. Beckham has been busy through his first three games with the Browns, catching 19 passes for 288 yards and a touchdown. He will be a mid-range WR1 in Week 4 in a road game against the Baltimore Ravens.

From RotoBaller

Brandon McManus Sep 22 11:40pm ET

Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus connected on his one field goal attempt in Week 3, while also going one for two on extra points. McManus connected from 30 yards out on his lone attempt of the afternoon. The missed extra point was his first one missed this season, as he has attempted three over the last three weeks. McManus looks to improve on his game in Week 4 as the team returns to Denver to face off the Jacksonville Jaguars.

From RotoBaller

Baker Mayfield Sep 22 11:40pm ET

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield struggled in a 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. Mayfield completed 18 of his 36 passes for 195 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. His touchdown came on a two-yard pass to Demetrius Harris while his fourth-down interception in the fourth quarter essentially ended the game for the Browns. The Cleveland offensive line continues to be an issue as they rarely afforded Mayfield much time to throw against a fearsome Los Angeles defensive line. He also didn't help matters much by bailing early on some clean pockets and trying to make throws on the run. Things won't get much easier for Mayfield or the Browns in Week 4 in a road matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. Treat Mayfield as a QB2 for that contest.

From RotoBaller

San Francisco 49ers Sep 22 11:40pm ET

The San Francisco 49ers Defense showed up in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, helping the team remain undefeated. The Niners offense committed five turnovers but the defense played exceptionally well, recording two sacks and forcing two turnovers (one interception, one fumble recovery). Aside from a 76-yard touchdown catch-and-run by Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, the defense harassed unproven quarterback Mason Rudolph all day and kept the scuffling offense in the game. Through three contests, the 49ers defense has improved noticeably and could be a deep streamer in Week 5 against a leaky Cleveland Browns offensive line after emerging from their bye week.

From RotoBaller

Kenyan Drake Sep 22 11:30pm ET

Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake saw his highest usage of the year in a 31-6 loss to the Cowboys but it meant little for his fantasy line, as he ended with just 38 yards on 12 carries. Drake also added three catches for 34 yards for a total of 15 touches in comparison to fellow back Kalen Ballage's nine, making him seemingly still the leader of the Miami backfield. But facing another difficult test in a Week 4 matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers, Drake is a low-end flex option only for the most optimistic or desperate of owners.

From RotoBaller

Raheem Mostert Sep 22 11:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert rushed 12 times for 79 yards in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mostert committed a costly fumble in the red zone but continued his strong running, leading the team in rushing on Sunday. After cradling three catches in Week 2, Mostert did not record a reception. The fourth-year back has been a tremendous offensive spark plug, but his role is uncertain as Tevin Coleman (ankle) nears a return. With the Niners ground game rolling, Coleman may be eased back into the mix, making Mostert a likely RB3/flex once the team returns from its bye in Week 4.

From RotoBaller

Noah Fant Sep 22 11:30pm ET

Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant continued his narrative of sub-par stat lines to start the 2019 season against the Green Bay Packers. Fant hauled in three catches for 37 yards in Week 3, once again being the top tight end on the team. The rookie also coughed up the football once on Sunday afternoon. Fant continues to search for a breakout game where he tallies more than four catches as he lines up against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 4.

From RotoBaller