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Training Camp Preview: NFC North

Fri Jul 26 9:16am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Rodgers played hurt last year


This is the sixth 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.

Packers

The Packers have a new coaching staff for the first time in a long time. This means the team has to learn a new offense and defense for the coming year. This will be the big theme of training camp for Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers has a new offense to learn for the first time in his entire career, so there could be a learning curve for him. Keep an eye on the team’s progress during camp. There could be some bumps along the way.

Position battle: The big position battle in Packers camp is for the right to start opposite Davante Adams. The two most likely candidates are Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The Packers have a lot of young receiver vying for playing time but these two players stand out above the rest. Many think Valdes-Scantling is the most likely to earn the job but don’t discount Allison, who has produced with past chances. The winner of this job will have some fantasy value for the coming year in the Packers pass-first offense. 

Injury watch: Aaron Rodgers played the entire season last year, but was hurt much of the year. He played at less than 100 percent because of a tibial plateau fracture and a sprained medial collateral ligament. It is pretty amazing he was able to play with these injuries. He is recovered from the injuries but his health is really a key to the Packers season. He played hurt last year and was limited to just seven games the previous year. Injuries have been a factor for him in recent years.

Vikings

There were high hopes for the Vikings last year with Kirk Cousins now on board as their franchise quarterback, but things didn’t go quite as planned. Cousins had an up and down season and the team followed his lead with inconsistent play. Minnesota will look to right the ship this training camp. Much of the year might depend on Cousins. He will need to play more consistent football if the Vikings hope to return to the playoffs. Cousins has a new offense to learn but could be a better fit for the system, which bodes well for him. We will get our first look at Cousins and the new offense, starting in camp. 

Position battle: The Vikings surprised some by using a second-round pick on tight end Irv Smith in this year’s draft. Smith is a pretty complete tight end that does well as a blocker and receiver. He will look to push Kyle Rudolph for the starting job this year. Rudolph has produced for the Vikings in recent year but probably hasn’t been the player the team hoped. He could lose out on playing time to the rookie this year.

Injury watch: Running back Dalvin Cook has played 15 games in two seasons. He missed time again last year after missing nearly all of his rookie year. Cook has really struggled to stay on the field to start his career. He seems to be over his hamstring injury from last year, though, and should be 100 percent for the start of the camp. The trick for Cook is now staying healthy for the entire season. We’ll see if he is able to do that. 

Lions

Detroit had a season to forget last year, finishing 6-10. The team is in a bit of rebuild mode after trading and letting some key players from past teams go. Some younger players will get their chance to shine this year, though, so much of this camp should focus on the progress of those young players. Can guys like Kerryon Johnson and Kenny Golladay take their games to new levels this year? The Lions sure hope that is the case, giving them a chance to shine this year. 

Position battle: The Lions made some changes at tight end this offseason, signing Jesse James and drafting T.J. Hockenson. Both these guys will challenge for the right to start. James might have the edge because of his experience, but Hockenson is the future of the position for the Lions. He should be given every opportunity to start because he provides the most potential for big things. James can be a bigger asset as a blocker. 

Injury watch: Quarterback Matthew Stafford played every game last season but played with a back injury much of the year. He reportedly played with broken bones in his back, which could explain his down play. Stafford didn’t play at his usual level, struggling with accuracy and consistency. He should be over his back injury for the start of this year but keep an eye on him in camp to make sure he looks back to old form. Stafford could be a sneaky late pick for fantasy teams this year if he is healthy and back to his old self. 

Bears

The Bears had a great season last year, going 12-4. Expectations are going to be very high for this team and with good reason. It is a pretty complete squad. The big thing to watch this training camp could be the progression of starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, though. He played well last year but had some consistency issues. If the Bears truly hope to be a special team, they will need Trubisky to play at a high level all season. 

Position battle: The Bears will have a battle on their hands for the starting running back job. The team signed Mike Davis this offseason and drafted David Montgomery. These guys will battle it out for the right to start. Davis had a breakout season last year with the Seahawks, showing he could start and produce at a high level in the league. Montgomery is a three-down back that can carry the load. He probably has the edge to start but don’t discount Davis. He just made plays when given the chance last season. 

Injury watch: Tight end Trey Burton had hernia surgery this offseason. He should be ready for the start of camp but nothing is 100 percent certain right now. Keep an eye on his progress to make sure he doesn’t have any setbacks. Burton can play a big role in the offense, an offense that likes to look for the tight end. He didn’t have quite the season as expected last year but could turn things around this year in year two with the Bears.

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
Chidobe Awuzie Sep 26 6:13pm ET

Dallas Cowboys DB Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Sept. 26.

From TheHuddle

C.J. Prosise Sep 26 5:53pm ET

Houston Texans RB C.J. Prosise was elevated from the practice squad to the active roster Saturday, Sept. 26.

From TheHuddle

Edmond Robinson Sep 26 5:33pm ET

Atlanta Falcons LB Edmond Robinson was activated from the practice squad as a COVID-19 replacement Saturday, Sept. 26.

From TheHuddle

Ty Montgomery Sep 26 5:13pm ET

New Orleans Saints RB Ty Montgomery (hamstring) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Sept. 26. WR Bennie Fowler and DL Margus Hunt were signed to the active roster from the practice squad. C/G Will Clapp was waived.

From TheHuddle

Josh Allen Sep 26 5:00pm ET

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has been fantastic through the first two weeks of the regular season. In Week 2, Allen threw for 415 passing yards with four touchdowns in the victory over the Miami Dolphins. However, he'll face a tougher battle against the Los Angeles Rams this week. The tough Rams secondary held quarterback Carson Wentz to zero touchdowns. Allen has looked good this season, so we'll give him the benefit of the doubt. He should be treated as a low-end QB1 for this matchup.

From RotoBaller

Devin Singletary Sep 26 5:00pm ET

Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary has been fairly average through the first two games of the regular season. He rushed 10 times for 56 yards in the victory over the Miami Dolphins in Week 2. He continues to split up the carries with rookie Zack Moss, which hurts his value. However, he'll get a favorable matchup against the Los Angeles Rams this week. The same Rams Defense that allowed Miles Sanders to nearly rush for 100 yards last game. Although, Singletary is likely only going to see around 10 carries, so he should be treated as a high-end RB3.

From RotoBaller

Stefon Diggs Sep 26 5:00pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs gets a tough test in Week 3 against the Rams. Diggs will be going up against star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who has traditionally limited most top receivers in his career. Diggs ranks in the top-five in targets and is tied for first in the league with 239 receiving yards, so he's certainly talented enough to win this matchup. However, the Rams have been a classic funnel defense in the first two games of the season, so expect Buffalo to have more success with the run than the pass. It's possible Diggs connects on a long shot with Josh Allen, though it's best to view him as more of a WR2 than the WR1 he's been through the first two weeks.

From RotoBaller

Steven Hauschka Sep 26 4:53pm ET

Free-agent PKs Stephen Hauschka (Bills) and Aldrick Rosas (Giants) are among those expected to try out for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

From TheHuddle

Kyle Emanuel Sep 26 4:43pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders LB Kyle Emanuel and CB Madre Harper were activated from the practice squad Saturday, Sept. 26.

From TheHuddle

Tevin Coleman Sep 26 4:43pm ET

San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Sept. 26. OL Hroniss Grasu was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster. RB JaMycal Hasty and LB Joseph Walker were activated from the practice squad.

From TheHuddle

Devin Singletary Sep 26 4:40pm ET

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.

From RotoBaller

Johnny Holton Sep 26 4:33pm ET

New York Giants WR Johnny Holton was activated from the practice squad Saturday, Sept. 26.

From TheHuddle

Kenjon Barner Sep 26 4:33pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Kenjon Barner was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster Saturday, Sept. 26.

From TheHuddle

Melvin Ingram Sep 26 4:30pm ET

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.

From RotoBaller

Frank Clark Sep 26 4:23pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs DE Alex Okafor didn't participate in practice Saturday, Sept. 26, and was ruled out for the Week 3 game against the Baltimore Ravens Monday, Sept. 28. CB Charvarius Ward (hand) was limited at practice and is questionable. FB Dorian O'Daniel (knee/ankle) and WR Sammy Watkins (concussion/neck) practiced in full but are questionable for Monday. RB Darrel Williams (ankle), DE Frank Clark (illness), CB Antonio Hamilton (groin), DT Derrick Nnadi (ankle), C Austin Reiter (knee) and S Juan Thornhill (knee) all practiced in full.

From TheHuddle

Melvin Ingram Sep 26 4:13pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers G Ryan Groy, LB Malik Jefferson and DE Jessie Lemonier were promoted from the practice squad to the active roster Saturday, Sept. 26. In corresponding moves, LB Asmar Bilal (calf), DE Melvin Ingram III (knee) and DT Justin Jones (shoulder) were placed on the Reserve/Injured list. S Jahleel Addae and RB Darius Bradwell were activated from the practice squad.

From TheHuddle

Sep 26 4:03pm ET

Baltimore Ravens CB Tavon Young (knee) did not participate in practice Saturday, Sept. 26, and was ruled out for the team's Week 3 game Monday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Ravens OG D.J. Fluker (shoulder), LB/DB Anthony Levine (abdomen), DT Justin Madubuike (knee) and WR Chris Moore (finger) were limited practice participants Saturday and are listed as questionable for Monday.

From TheHuddle

George Iloka Sep 26 4:03pm ET

Minnesota Vikings CB Mark Fields and S George Iloka on Saturday, Sept. 26, were elevated to the active roster from the practice squad for Week 3.

From TheHuddle

Josh Jacobs Sep 26 4:00pm ET

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.

From RotoBaller

Alex Okafor Sep 26 3:53pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs DE Alex Okafor (hamstring) on Saturday, Sept. 26, was ruled out for the team's Week 3 game Monday against the Baltimore Ravens.

From TheHuddle