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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (ankle) plans to play against the 49ers on Sunday. Mixon injured his ankle during the Week 1 matchup against the Seahawks and finished with just 10 yards on six carries to go along with two receptions for seven yards. The 23-year-old practiced in a limited capacity on Friday, with the final determination regarding his status coming during pregame warmups. If Mixon is in the lineup, Giovani Bernard's stock will decrease significantly in Week 2.
Los Angeles Chargers kicker Michael Badgley (groin) is not expected to play against the Detroit Lions. Badgley did practice throughout the week, and despite feeling good, he likely won't be available in Week 2, leaving punter Ty Long to handle the kicking duties once again. Long went 1-for-1 with three extra points against the Colts but shouldn't be considered a reliable fantasy option on Sunday.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (knee) will likely play against the Lions. Williams returned to practice on Friday after sitting out the previous two days, but even though he is likely to suit up, the plan is to utilize him in red-zone situations only. With tight end Hunter Henry (knee) not available in Week 2, Williams could get some targets but not enough to justify his place in formats outside of 14-team leagues.
In Week 1, Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines caught all four of his targets for just four yards. He also added four carries for 13 yards. In Week 2, he's nothing more than a dart throw in very deep leagues. During his rookie season, Hines' value came from his volume in the passing game with an average of 3.9 receptions per game. Against the Tennessee Titans this week, the outlook is not the brightest for him. The Titans allowed just four receptions to Cleveland Browns running backs for 24 yards. Unless you're playing in an ultra-deep league, you're avoiding Hines until he sees an uptick in his workload.
Seattle Seahawks S Lano Hill likely will start at safety in Week 2 if S Tedric Thompson (hamstring) is not able to play.
Minnesota Vikings LB Ben Gedeon (groin) is not expected to play in Week 2 because of his groin injury, according to a source.
Buffalo Bills running back T.J. Yeldon only played two offensive snaps in the Bills' opening game against the Jets in Week 1 and there's little reason to believe that will change much in Week 2. He's the clear third-string running back in a rushing offense that's yet to get going. Veteran Frank Gore is the current starter and rookie Devin Singletary is the second-stringer who could be taking more and more of the load off of Gore in coming weeks. Yeldon is on the outside looking in and should remain on waivers in all fantasy leagues.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Zay Jones caught two passes for 18 yards in Week 1. He was targeted four times in the game. He's the team's No. 2 receiver on paper, but slot receiver Cole Beasley will be soaking up many of the targets that would be going to a No. 2 receiver in most offenses, relegating Jones to minimal targets for the foreseeable future. Jones could end up scoring half-a-dozen touchdowns on the year, but when they'll occur will be extremely tough to predict and he's unlikely to put up solid catch and yardage totals as long as Beasley and John Brown are healthy and productive. Jones can be left on waiver wires until further notice.
New York Jets LB Neville Hewitt is expected to start at inside linebacker in Week 2 since LB C.J. Mosley (groin) has been ruled out.
New York Jets wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (hamstring) is questionable to play on Monday night against the Browns in Week 2. Thomas hasn't practiced all week and is probably on the wrong side of questionable for this one. Quincy Enunwa's season-ending injury is good news for Thomas having a role with Gang Green this year, but fantasy owners must wait and see if Thomas develops as a pass-catching threat. He'll have to prove that he's healthy first behind Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder. Even if DT plays on Monday, he's not a fantasy option with Trevor Siemian at quarterback. Josh Bellamy could see more of a role in three-receiver sets if Thomas is inactive, but he's not on the fantasy map.
Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews is expected to play in Sunday's matchup against the Arizona Cardinals despite being held out of practice Friday with a foot injury. Andrews caught all eight of his targets in Week 1 against Miami for 108 yards and a touchdown. He also caught three of quarterback Lamar Jackson's five third-down completions, which boosts his potential of becoming Jackson's "security blanket" going forward. The growing chemistry between these two will prove to be a nice bonus for your fantasy lineups as the season progresses. It is safe to start Andrews against a Cardinals Defense that allowed rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson to rack up 131 yards and a touchdown in Week 1.
Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert was able to make it through Week 1 without injury while registering a modest five-catch, 27-yard performance. Although fellow tight end CJ Uzomah played more snaps (70.67%) than Eifert (49.33%) in Week 1, Eifert participated in a greater percentage of the Bengals passing routes, meaning Uzomah is being asked to block more than Eifert on passing plays. That being said, Eifert has a four-inch height advantage over San Francisco 49ers safety Tarvarius Moore, which bodes well for his chances of catching a touchdown when the Bengals have the ball in the red zone. Eifert should be considered an extremely touchdown-dependent TE2 in 12-team leagues.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd had the second-most targets (11) for the Bengals in Week 1, but he should lead the Bengals in that department this week. In Week 2, wide receiver John Ross should line up against San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman for roughly 50 percent of his routes. If quarterback Andy Dalton chooses to stay away from Sherman, it could mean more passes for Boyd. The Pittsburgh product should be able to exploit his matchup against 49ers cornerback K'Waun Williams, who has been dealing with a knee injury.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross had a huge Week 1 performance against the Seattle Seahawks, catching seven passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns. Expectations for Ross have increased, but he has a much tougher matchup in Week 2 against San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman. Although Sherman is getting older (31), he's still a solid cornerback and quarterbackAndy Dalton could simply look to avoid the matchup. It's possible that Ross could run by Sherman for a deep ball, but absent that it's quite possible the Bengals speedster comes back down to Earth in this one. Ross will be difficult to trust as a WR3 in 12-team leagues in Week 2 and should be considered a boom-or-bust commodity.
Baltimore Ravens running back Justice Hill was limited to 27 rushing yards and no touchdowns on seven carries in Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins. The Ravens gave the ball to all three backfield options in the opening drive against Miami and it's clear they will be looking to utilize all three as the season progresses. There's no question that Hill will get touches, but Baltimore may look to push the ball through the middle of the Cardinals front line with talented outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Chandler Jones helping Arizona's edge. This type of game plan would result in running backs Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards seeing the bulk of touches to start. Hill can be played as an RB3/4 in Week 2 with the most touchdown potential going to Ingram and Edwards.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Willie Snead caught 2-of-3 targets for 41 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins. Snead is the third receiver on the depth chart being Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin, but was targeted more than Boykin in Week 1. Expect Brown and tight end Mark Andrews to receive the bulk of targets from quarterback Lamar Jackson, but Snead has sneaky upside against a Cardinals Defense that allowed quarterback Matthew Stafford to throw for 385 yards and three touchdowns in Week 1. Snead can be played as a WR4/5 flyer in most formats for Week 2.
Baltimore Ravens practice squad CB Maurice Canady was signed to the 53-man roster Saturday, Sept. 14. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The team also waived OT Greg Senat.
Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram was a full participant in practice Thursday and Friday despite being listed as questionable for Week 2. Expect Ingram to lead the backfield in touches against a Cardinals Defense that allowed the most rushing yards in the league in 2018 (2,479). The Cardinals only gave up 116 rushing yards to the Lions in Week 1 and limited running back Kerryon Johnson to 49 yards with zero touchdowns. Baltimore's run-first offense allows for Ingram to slide in your starting lineups as he will be utilized to wear out the Cardinals front line and keep the defense honest under the looming presence of quarterback Lamar Jackson's seemingly improved passing game.
Coming off an uninspiring performance in Week 1, the future doesn't look much brighter for Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in a Week 2 home matchup with the New England Patriots. Fitzpatrick completed 14-for-29 passes for 185 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in his first start for the Dolphins but most of the damage came after the game was already out of hand, with the Dolphins ultimately losing 59-10 at home to the Ravens. Surrounded by few offensive weapons and protected by a shaky offensive line, Fitzpatrick is only worth a desperation start in leagues starting more than one quarterback.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has good potential for another nice outing against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2. The Week 1 star faces a Cardinals Defense that allowed the fourth-most passing yards in the league in 2018 (3,262). The Cardinals defense allowed Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford to throw for 385 yards and three touchdowns in Week 1. Despite the Ravens run-first offense, expect Jackson to connect with wide receiver Marquise Brown and tight end Mark Andrews for good fantasy output again in Week 2. Thrust him into your starting line up in good faith against the porous Cardinals secondary.