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FFL: Week 3 | NFL: Week 3

Training Camp Preview: NFC South

Mon Jul 29 10:49am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Newton is a question mark


This is the seventh 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.

Falcons

The Falcons didn’t have the season as expected last year, failing to finish above .500. The big issue was the defense, allowing more than 400 points last year. The offense was very good with the passing game excelling. So much of this camp will be focused on getting the defense right. If that happens, the Falcons can make a playoff push.    

Position battle: Receiver Calvin Ridley had a solid rookie season but was a little up and down. Mohamed Sanu is the starter opposite Julio Jones right now but could lose that starting spot to Ridley. Sanu has been a productive NFL player but isn’t off the charts by any means. Ridley is the more talented player of the two with more upside for the big things. He should push Sanu for playing time and likely take over as the starter at some point. 

Injury watch: Running back Devonta Freeman played just two games last year, needing surgery to fix a groin injury. He is back to full strength and will be back to his lead duties for the Falcons. Atlanta needs him healthy with Tevin Coleman gone. Freeman will be counted on to carry the load a little more, so being healthy is pertinent for the Falcons and Freeman’s fantasy owners. 

Saints

The Saints don’t have a lot to be decided this training camp. Much of camp could be getting this team primed for a Super Bowl run. There are high expectations for the team after a good showing last year. Drew Brees doesn’t have a whole lot of time left to make another Super Bowl, so this season could be a big one for his legacy. 

Position battle: The Saints like to rotate receivers, giving plenty of guys chances during the season. But the starter opposite Michael Thomas still has a little more value than the other guys. Right now, Ted Ginn is the favorite to start but Tre’Quan Smith and a healthy Cameron Meredith could push Ginn for the starting spot. This will be a battle to watch because it has fantasy implications. Smith is an intriguing player that showed his rookie year he is capable of the huge game. 

Injury watch: Receiver Ted Ginn played just five games last year because of a knee injury. If he hopes to have a big role this year and keep his starting job, he will need to be healthy and stay healthy. Ginn seems back to his old self during offseason workouts but his age and last year is a concern going forward for him.  

Panthers

The big thing to watch in Panthers camp this year is Cam Newton. How is he going to recover from another surgery to his throwing arm? Newton really is the key to the season for the Panthers. The team needs him healthy and playing at a high level if they hope to have any success this year. The offense really goes through Newton. 

Position battle: D.J. Moore is going to start at one of the receiver spots and Curtis Samuel will work out of the slot, but the No. 2 receiver is up in the air. Devin Funchess is gone, leaving a hole at the position. The candidates to start are Jarius Wright, Torrey Smith and Chris Hogan. It really is a wide open battle without a favorite. We’ll know more as camp and the preseason progresses. 

Injury watch: Quarterback Cam Newton had major shoulder surgery this offseason. He is throwing but will be on a pitch count in camp. The Panthers will take it slow with their star quarterback. Newton has progressed well from the surgery but seeing how he is throwing the ball will be something fantasy teams should monitor closely. Newton is a real wild card this year after having shoulder surgery once again. 

Bucs

The Bucs made changes to the coaching staff once again, hiring Bruce Arians. He should be a big plus for the offense, including starting quarterback Jameis Winston. So the big focus of camp is likely being the Bucs getting up to speed both offensively and defensively with their new schemes. Hopefully, the offense picks things up quick because it could be pretty potent from a fantasy perspective. 

Position battle: The Bucs should have a real battle on their hands for the starting running back spot. Peyton Barber was the starter last year and has a leg up for the job, but second-year back Ronald Jones is looking to rebound from a poor rookie year. A new coaching staff should be a plus for Jones, who had a strong offseason of work. Jones should be given a fair shot to unseat Barber. 

Injury watch: Tight end O.J. Howard had a breakout season last year but missed six gams because of an ankle injury. He is yet to play a full season since entering the NFL. He has a chance for another big year but needs to be on the field for that to happen. Howard has not shown he can on the field to date but hopes to change that perception this season. He could be a star. 

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
New England Patriots Sep 18 12:20am ET

The New England Patriots Defense have allowed only three points all season and now will go up against third-string quarterback Luke Falk and the Jets in Week 3. The Patriots have been suffocating through the first two games and picked up two defensive pick-6 touchdowns against the Dolphins. With the offense humming and perhaps their most talented defensive secondary in the Bill Belichick era, the Patriots are to a great start. The defense suddenly is a must-own in all fantasy formats and will be a top play against the Jets in Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Antonio Brown Sep 18 12:10am ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown's first game with the Patriots was a rousing success, catching four passes for 56 yards and one touchdown in Week 2. Brown sat out the first offensive play but then immediately got in on the action and his quick chemistry with quarterback Tom Brady was evident. This week the Patriots will take on a banged up Jets team and Brown's snaps should increase. The All-Pro receiver still is learning the offense but has the kind of elite talent that can shine in any system. He may not be fully up to speed but Brown should still deliver solid fantasy numbers in Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Josh Gordon Sep 17 11:20pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon will try and rebound after catching only two passes for 19 yards in Week 2. Gordon has plenty of talent but the acquisition of Antonio Brown certainly is cutting into his chances. He will go up against a Jets Defense that was gashed by Odell Beckham Jr. and the Browns last Monday. The Patriots offense is so explosive that keeping everyone happy will be tough. Gordon may be the one to suffer for now and will be no higher than a WR3/4 heading into Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Minnesota Vikings Sep 17 11:20pm ET

The Minnesota Vikings Defense got off to a rough start, allowing Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers to jump out to a quick 21-0 lead in the first quarter. They righted the ship after that, though, holding the Packers scoreless for the rest of the contest. They also notched two sacks, recovered two fumbles, and allowed just 191 passing yards in what was an impressive bounce-back effort. Though this wasn't a productive day from a fantasy standpoint, it wasn't exactly expected to be - on the road against the Packers is not the greatest spot to be in. Slot the Vikings defense in as a top-10 play at home against the bottom-tier Oakland Raiders offense.

From RotoBaller

Rex Burkhead Sep 17 11:10pm ET

New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead has been a fantastic role player for an explosive offense through the first two games of the season. Burkhead has carried the ball 13 times for 5.0 yards per carry and has added seven catches for 88 yards. He clearly is the backup behind teammate Sony Michel but has outplayed veteran James White in the first month of the season. Burkhead is not worth a start in most fantasy formats but has produced when called upon in the Patriots offense. Barring injury, however, Burkhead carries little fantasy value heading into Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Adam Thielen Sep 17 11:10pm ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen had a decent fantasy outing in Week 2, catching five of eight targets for 75 yards in Sunday's 21-16 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Though quarterbackKirk Cousins attempted 32 passes, he only completed 14 of them and had an awful day finding his receivers downfield. The inconsistency from Cousins is impacting Thielen's production, but the team's willingness to completely abandon the pass is of even more concern. Head coach Mike Zimmer will undoubtedly look to again feature the run in Week 3's contest against the Oakland Raiders, though Thielen still has to be started as a low-end WR1/high-end WR2 thanks to the juicy matchup.

From RotoBaller

Julian Edelman Sep 17 11:10pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman will face a Jets Defense in Week 3 that has allowed the 12th most fantasy points to receivers through two games. Edelman has been a rock for a dynamic Patriots offense, picking up first down after first down. The veteran is still looking for his first touchdown of the season but heads into Week 3's action with 10 catches for 134 yards. The Jets come into the contest undermanned on both sides of the football and the Patriots are expected to dominate. Edelman carries WR3 value, perhaps even higher in PPR leagues, heading into this Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Sony Michel Sep 17 11:00pm ET

New England Patriots running back Sony Michel will try and build off of his 85-yard, one-touchdown performance last week when the team takes on the Jets this Sunday. After a disappointing game to start the season, the second-year running back bounced back nicely. Michel ran hard as the Patriots racked up a sizeable lead. The Patriots backfield consists of Rex Burkhead, James White and Damien Harris but Michel led the way last week with 21 carries. The Jets are down to their third-string quarterback and the Patriots could lean heavily on the running game in Week 3. Michel has RB2 value with a high ceiling this week.

From RotoBaller

James White Sep 17 11:00pm ET

New England Patriots running back James White is off to a slow start through the first two games of the season. With so many weapons on offense, there are a lot of mouths to feed for quarterback Tom Brady. White has seen only seven carries through the first two weeks and has eight catches for 75 yards. The veteran will face a Jets Defense that has allowed 12 receptions to running backs but the Patriots game plan could lean towards relying on the running game. White is better suited in the passing game and his production could continue to suffer.

From RotoBaller

Eddy Pineiro Sep 17 10:40pm ET

Chicago Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro played the hero in Week 2 and will now travel to Washington take on the Redskins in Week 3. Pineiro hit all three of his field goals last week, including a dramatic 53-yard boot to win the game with a second left. Pineiro is a perfect 4-for-4 on the season but is still largely unproven. He'll carry some value with a Bears offense that has scored only one touchdown through the first two games, but he doesn't come with much upside.

From RotoBaller

Tom Brady Sep 17 10:30pm ET

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is off to a sparkling start, passing for 605 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions through his first two games. The Patriots offense is loaded with weapons all over the field and Brady has made it look easy. Now in Week 3 he'll go up against a Jets team that is down to their third-string quarterback. On the defensive side, the Jets have allowed 579 passing yards to the first two quarterbacks they have faced. The Patriots are, once again, all lined up to dominate the competition. Brady should be considered an elite QB1 option for Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Adam Vinatieri Sep 17 10:20pm ET

The Indianapolis Colts worked out free-agent kickers Elliott Fry, Cody Parkey, Younghoe Koo, Greg Joseph, Cole Hedlund and Chase McLaughlin on Tuesday in the wake of Adam Vinatieri's struggles through two weeks. The 46-year-old veteran has made just one of his three field-goal attempts and two of his five extra points in 2019, and there were reports speculating that he might retire after Week 2. The Colts may have talked him out of it at least for another week, but he'll need to pick it up unless the team might go in another direction. Fantasy owners should stay away for now.

From RotoBaller

Pittsburgh Steelers Sep 17 10:20pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick will play the free safety spot with his new team to help replace Sean Davis (shoulder), who was placed on Injured Reserve on Tuesday. The Steelers traded a first-round pick to Miami for Fitzpatrick on Monday night, and he'll make his debut in Week 3 on the road against the 49ers. The 2018 first-rounder was being used all over the place in Miami, so he should be more comfortable at safety with his new club. Pittsburgh hasn't been able to stop much of anything on defense through two weeks, so hopefully Fitzpatrick's addition can help shore up their secondary. The Steelers Defense/special teams should be avoided against San Francisco this weekend.

From RotoBaller

Adam Humphries Sep 17 10:10pm ET

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Adam Humphries said his chemistry with quarterback Marcus Mariota is a work in progress. Humphries is working on being a better option for Mariota, especially on third down. The first-year Titan has just three catches for four yards after two weeks and is sixth on the team in targets with four, tied with Tajae Sharpe. There's obviously room to improve from here on out, but Humphries shouldn't be owned anywhere except the deepest of leagues. Tennessee just doesn't throw the ball nearly enough to support more than one or two pass-catchers in fantasy.

From RotoBaller

Chicago Bears Sep 17 10:10pm ET

The Chicago Bears Defense will travel to Washington to take on the Redskins in Week 3 for Monday night football. The elite unit played well last week against Denver but tired down the stretch in the high altitude. They did, however, pick up their first turnover of the season and the unit appears to be among the fastest in the league. They will face a Redskins offense that has allowed only two sacks all season but have not played against anyone the likes of Khalil Mack. Expect a low scoring affair on MNF, making the Bears defense a top choice in fantasy for Week 3.

From RotoBaller

DeAndre Hopkins Sep 17 10:10pm ET

The Los Angeles Chargers signed free-agent tight end Lance Kendricks on Tuesday and placed safety Adrian Phillips (arm) on Injured Reserve in a corresponding move. Kendricks has caught 241 passes for 2,505 yards and 19 touchdowns in 125 career games. He caught 19 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown last year with Green Bay, but he's merely tight end depth until Hunter Henry (knee) can return. Los Angeles is unlikely to utilize the position much with Henry out. Phillips' injury, coupled with Derwin James being out, leaves the Bolts secondary pretty vulnerable. Texans receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller could go off this Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Keith Kirkwood Sep 17 10:10pm ET

The New Orleans Saints placed wide receiver Keith Kirkwood (hamstring) on Injured Reserve on Tuesday after he injured his hamstring in pregame warmups on Sunday. He caught 13 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns in eight games (one start) in 2018. Kirkwood was buried on the team's receiver depth chart and didn't put up any numbers in Week 1. Rookie Deonte Harris and Austin Carr will battle for the No. 4 job behind Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn and Tre'Quan Smith.

From RotoBaller

Baker Mayfield Sep 17 10:00pm ET

Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens said that he needs to put quarterback Baker Mayfield in better position to succeed and get the ball out of his hand quicker because he's taking too many hits after two weeks. It hasn't helped that Cleveland's offensive line isn't giving Mayfield much time to throw, but Mayfield also needs to do a better job of reading the defense's coverage schemes. The Browns could have their hands full next Monday night against the Rams defensive front, making Mayfield more of a low-end QB1/high-end QB2 for that matchup. A shift to more of a short passing game could benefit Jarvis Landry as well.

From RotoBaller

Taylor Gabriel Sep 17 10:00pm ET

Chicago Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel will try and kick-start his season in Week 3 against a very vulnerable Redskins secondary. Gabriel has caught only three passes through the first two games but the entire Bears passing game has struggled. He will go up against a Redskins Defense that currently is allowing the most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. Gabriel has the speed to put a big play on the board but quarterback Mitch Trubisky's long game has been non-existent. The veteran receiver will be no more than a WR5 dart-throw on Monday Night Football.

From RotoBaller

Anthony Miller Sep 17 10:00pm ET

Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller will try and get his season going when the team takes on the Redskins in Week 3 for Monday Night Football. The second-year receiver was expected to take a leap this season but has only one reception for two yards to show for it. Miller also appears to be on a limited snap-count, whether for health or the coaching staff is opting to trust other players. Miller was drafted in a handful of leagues but has been completely non-existent. The talented receiver will, however, face a Redskins Defense that has already allowed five touchdown catches to opposing receivers through the first two games.

From RotoBaller