Tue Jul 10 10:39 pm
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Doug Martin hopes to start
This is the fourth 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 Raiders have a lot of new this training camp, most notably head coach Jon Gruden. Much of camp will focus on Gruden, who has a lot of pressure on him to get this squad going back in the right direction. Gruden was given a huge contract, so expectations are high for him. He already started putting his stamp on the team during the offseason, so we will get an idea if his personnel moves are the right ones, starting in training camp.
Position battle: The Raiders should have a battle on their hands with veteran running backs Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin competing for the starting running back spot. Lynch might be the logical choice, but don't count out Martin. He seems a better fit for the offense and might have more left in the tank at this stage of their careers. It should be a legit battle for the job and one worth monitoring for fantasy teams.
Injury watch: The Raiders signed Jordy Nelson this offseason with the hopes of him starting and producing like he has past years. Nelson missed just a game last year but his production was way down. Nelson did not look like the player from past years. His health will be something to monitor in training camp, especially if you consider he is 33 years old. Oakland needs a healthy and production Nelson if this team hopes to have a big season.
The Broncos had a disappointing season last year, mainly because of a poor offense. The team signed Case Keenum to a big contract this offseason, hoping to have finally found their franchise quarterback. So much of camp will focus on Keenum to see if he is the right man for the job. Keenum will be counted on to lead the offense and get things turned around on that side of the ball.
Position battle: The Broncos had C.J. Anderson as their starting running back last year, but he is gone. This leaves an opening for the No. 1 running back job. Devontae Booker should get first crack at the job, but he will be pushed by rookie Royce Freeman. Booker has not done a whole lot with past chances, so he will need to show better in camp and preseason action if he hopes to hold off Freeman, who might be the more complete back of the two.
Injury watch: Tight end Jake Butt missed all of his rookie season as he recovered from a torn ACL. He has a chance to play a big role this year as long as he is healthy. He should be considered the favorite to start because he is a dual threat at the position, doing well as a receiver and blocker. Butt has the talent to help fantasy teams as well as long as he is starting.
The Chargers already had the injury bug hit this offseason and this has been an issue for the team in recent years. San Diego is getting older, so keeping their veterans healthy will be a priority for the team this training camp. If any of their star players go down once again, it could be a long year for San Diego. But if the Chargers can stay healthy, they have the makings of a playoff team.
Position battle: The Chargers have a huge hole to fill, losing Hunter Henry this offseason to a torn ACL. He is out for the season. San Diego doesn't have much behind Henry on the depth chart right now. Virgil Green seems the likely starter but the team could bring in other veteran options, such as Antonio Gates, if Green doesn't show well in camp. This position isn't decided by any means and is one to watch because the tight end in San Diego normally gets a lot of targets.
Injury watch: Mike Williams was a bust his rookie year, having a lost season because of injury. He had back and knee issues that limited him to 11 receptions in 10 games. The Chargers still have high hopes for him, though. and he should play a big role as long as he is healthy. His targets could even increase because of the loss of Hunter Henry at tight end. Williams will need to be healthy from day one, though, if he hopes to take advantage of his more chances.
The Chiefs made a big change this offseason, handing over the starting quarterback duties to second-year player Pat Mahomes. He will be the player to watch this training camp. Mahomes has a lot of pressure on him to produce right away, taking over as the starting quarterback for a good team. The Chiefs hope Mahomes can take their offense to another level. We will get a sense of if that can happen by watching Mahomes in camp and preseason action.
Position battle: The Chiefs have their starting receivers set but the No. 3 job is up for grabs. They have a host of options competing for that job. Demarcus Robinson, De'Anthony Thomas and Chris Conley probably will get first shot at the job. These guys all bring a little something different to the table, but have the skill set to produce at the position. We should have a better idea on the winner of the job as camp and the preseason gets going. It should sort itself out.
Injury watch: Running back Spencer Ware tore his PCL and LCL before last season and missed the entire year. He is still recovering from the injury and no sure thing to be ready for the start of camp or even the regular season. These are very serious injuries to return, so keep an eye on his status during training camp for the latest. He will be the top backup for the Chiefs when he his healthy and playing.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell will not join the team for their Week 8 game against the Cleveland Browns. There had been a report a few weeks earlier that Bell would be back after the Week 7 bye. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport hinted on Monday that Bell may not join the team until after the October 30 trade deadline. Bell has missed all six of the Steelers' games this season to show his displeasure over the lack of a long-term contract. James Conner will remain the team's lead back in Week 8.
Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch is headed to Injured Reserve, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Lynch was ruled out for about a month last week after their game against the Seahawks and now officially on IR. He is able to return in 8 weeks, but until then the backfield work will be split by Doug Martin, Jalen Richard and potentially Deandre Washington, but their roles are unclear as of now.
The Jacksonville Jaguars released running back Jamaal Charles on Monday after he had only six carries in two games. With the team acquiring Carlos Hyde last Friday, there's no need for Charles on the roster with Leonard Fournette (hamstring) likely sidelined through the team's Week 9 bye.
Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich said kicker Adam Vinatieri (groin) has been dealing with a groin injury, and the team will work out kickers in the next few days. However, no decision on whether Vinatieri will play in Week 8 against the Raiders will be made until later in the week. The ageless wonder made a 36-yard kick in the 37-5 blowout win over the Bills but missed two of his four extra-points attempts and aggravated his injury. The 45-year-old will remain a strong fantasy kicker against Oakland's porous defense if he's active, but it's looking like he might be held out.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Brock Osweiler has already been confirmed as the starter for the Dolphins Week 8 matchup against the Houston Texans. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill (shoulder) has been ruled out for the third-consecutive game. Osweiler has played well as a starter having thrown for over 600 yards and five touchdowns in the past two weeks. Osweiler is an option at QB2 but isn't an excellent option as the Dolphins receiving core continues to be littered with injuries.
While Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles will start in Week 8 in London against the Eagles after being benched in Week 7, backup Cody Kessler will receive practice repetitions with the first-team offense, according to a source. If Bortles struggles early again in London, the team could turn to Kessler again. Bortles has earned the short leash with his poor play this year. He's gone over 300 yards in a game three times but also has under 200 yards passing in three other contests, not counting Week 7. Bortles has nine touchdowns and eight interceptions and a 60.6 completion percentage. It hasn't helped that running back Leonard Fournette (hamstring) hasn't played in a full game this year. Bortles will be a low-end QB2 for Week 8 across the pond.
Free-agent QB Tom Savage (49ers) was re-signed to an undisclosed deal by the San Francisco 49ers Monday, Oct. 22.
Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver Daesean Hamilton (knee) is dealing with an MCL sprain after being injured in the Week 7 game against the Cardinals last Thursday. Hamilton has been serving as a punt returner and No. 4 wideout behind Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and rookie Courtland Sutton, so he doesn't have any immediate fantasy value to speak of. Expect Hamilton to be sidelined for a few weeks.
Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott announced that quarterback Derek Anderson will start in Week 8 against the Patriots on Monday night with rookie Josh Allen (elbow) set to miss another week. In his first start for Buffalo after signing the previous week, Anderson was pitiful, going 20-for-31 for 175 yards, no touchdowns, three interceptions and a lost fumble. Although New England's defense has been giving up a ton of yards and points, Anderson isn't a starting option, even in two-QB leagues. The Patriots defense/special teams will be a popular streaming option this week.
Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper was pursued by the Philadelphia Eagles before being traded to the Cowboys. Whether or not the Colts made an offer was not disclosed.
The Jacksonville Jaguars will stick with Blake Bortles as the team's starting quarterback for the Week 8 meeting with the Philadelphia Eagles. Though the team benched Bortles during a rough Week 7 performance against the Texans for backup Cody Kessler, they'll keep Bortles in the starting lineup for at least another week. Don't expect much from Bortles in this matchup, and continue to monitor the situation to see if the Jaguars turn to Kessler if Bortles has another bad week.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills (groin) has been ruled out for Week 8 on Thursday against the Texans and could possibly be out longer. It's been downhill ever since Stills caught four passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener. He hasn't had more than three catches or 61 yards in any game since then and can now be dropped in most leagues. With Albert Wilson now possibly out for the season as well, Danny Amendola, Jakeem Grant and Devante Parker will be featured in three-wide sets on Thursday. Amendola is the most attractive fantasy option in PPR leagues and will be a popular waiver pickup this week.
In an estimation of the injury report, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Danny Amendola (shoulder) and rookie tight end Mike Gesicki (shoulder) would've both been limited in practice on Monday. Both should be fine to play this Thursday against the Texans. With Albert Wilson (hip) and Kenny Stills (groin) both out, Amendola and Gesicki could see bigger roles in the passing game. Amendola will be a WR3/flex for PPR leagues as a waiver pickup, while Gesicki remains a desperation TE2. Tight end A.J. Derby (foot) missed practice again and seems unlikely to play this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles will return as starting quarterback in Week 8, according to head coach Doug Marrone. Marrone said he believes Bortles gives the Jaguars the best chance to win.
Fantasy Spin: Bortles has played abysmally in his last three contests, throwing two touchdowns and five interceptions. His rushing ability makes him more fantasy relevant, but he simply can't be trusted as a starting fantasy quarterback at this juncture.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith followed up his performance against the Washington Redskins in Week 7 with a decent showing against the Philadelphia Eagles. Smith finished the game with four receptions for 61 yards. Smith has largely been ineffective for fantasy so far this year, however, it cannot be ignored that Smith has had two good performances back to back. Smith isn't yet considered to be a good addition to fantasy rosters as of yet with receiving options Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore and Greg Olsen looking to try and compete with the current team leading receiver Devin Funchess
Carolina Panthers rookie wide receiver D.J. Moore had a quiet week against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 7. Moore had seen an increase in this opportunity over the previous weeks since his bye week, finishing the Eagles game with 29 yards from three receptions. Moore will continue to struggle for fantasy relevance with quarterback Cam Newton preferring the passing options of Devin Funchess and Christian McCaffrey regularly.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess was able to take this team-high 11 targets to have a productive game against the Eagles. Funchess finished the game with six receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown. Funchess by far and away had the biggest opportunity in the game, attracting around a third of all of the pass attempts by quarterback Cam Newton.
Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen finished his game against the Philadelphia Eagles with a touchdown which enabled him to have some fantasy relevance. Olsen had a difficult outing in his second week from injury. Olsen finished the game with just two receptions for five yards and a sole touchdown. Olsen attracted five targets in the game, which was far off the team's target leader Devin Funchess but Olsen will attract enough targets to be fantasy relevant going forwards.
Miami Dolphins QB Brock Osweiler will be under center again this week as QB Ryan Tannehill (shoulder) remains sidelined.
Fantasy Spin: Osweiler has held his own in the two games he has started in place of Tannehill, throwing for 609 yards and five touchdowns in that span. Despite the recent success, he's not a recommended start versus the Houston Texans Thursday night.
Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker (quadriceps) is expected to play in Week 8, according to head coach Adam Gase.
Fantasy Spin: Despite Parker's tenure to forget in Miami, the Dolphins need him with both Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson nursing injuries. However, it is best to wait at least a week before deploying Parker into starting lineups. He has played sparingly in 2018 as he has not been able to stay healthy.