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 email@example.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Five Fantasy Takeaways from Week 2
Las Vegas Raiders TE Jason Witten posted one grab for three yards on his only target in Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints.
Fantasy Spin: Witten won't sniff the field for many snaps as long as Darren Waller is healthy and running hot. He is more of an on-field coach and mentor at this point of his career. His fantasy value is rather negligible at the moment. The Raiders travel to meet the Patriots in Week 3.
Las Vegas Raiders WR Nelson Agholor was limited to just one reception for 19 yards on one target in Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints.
Fantasy Spin: Agholor was mostly invisible, with fellow wideouts Bryan Edwards (two), Hunter Renfrow (three) and Henry Ruggs III (three) each seeing more targets, and Zay Jones scoring the lone touchdown among the group. As such, Agholor has a ways to go before regaining fantasy relevance. The Raiders travel to meet the Patriots in Week 3.
Las Vegas Raiders WR Zay Jones posted a 15-yard touchdown on his only target in Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints.
Fantasy Spin: Despite the score he isn't someone for fantasy owners to count upon going forward outside of the very, very deepest of leagues. The Raiders travel to meet the Patriots in Week 3.
Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr completed 28-of-38 passes for 282 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints.
Fantasy Spin: Carr's favorite target was Darren Waller (12-103-1), and he targeted the tight end 16 times while targeting 10 others players a total of just 18 times. The Raiders travel to meet the New England Patriots in Week 3.
Las Vegas Raiders RB Jalen Richard rushed twice for 26 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown scamper, in Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints.
Fantasy Spin: It wasn't a great night, and he didn't have any receptions. Two touches, even with a touchdown, won't make him terribly attractive for fantasy owners in most leagues. The Raiders travel to meet the Patriots in Week 3.
New Orleans Saints S Malcolm Jenkins posted seven total stops, a sack, a tackle for loss, a pass defensed and a quarterback hit in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders.
New Orleans Saints TE Jared Cook posted just two grabs for 13 yards on five targets in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders, but he was able to score a touchdown.
Fantasy Spin: Cook salvaged the line with the touchdown, even if his yardage total was way down. He had five grabs for 80 yards in Week 1, so he has found a way to contribute each game. He remains a decent low-end TE1 in leagues of 12 or more teams heading into Week 3 against the Green Bay Packers.
New Orleans Saints LB Demario Davis registered eight total stops with one tackle for loss and a pass defensed in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders.
New Orleans Saints CB P.J. Williams posted seven total tackles, including five solo stops, and he added a fumble recovery in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders.
New Orleans Saints WR Emmanuel Sanders registered just one catch for 18 yards on three targets in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Fantasy Spin: Sanders was very disappointing given the fact Michael Thomas was out due to injury and he figured to have a much larger role. Fantasy owners will want to keep him reserved until he gets more acclimated to his new surroundings and he gets more involved. The Packers visit the Saints in Week 3.
New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz connected on his only field-goal attempt and made three extra points in the Week 2 loss to the Raiders. Lutz didn't get to try for many field goals considering the Saints offense capitalized with touchdowns when they were in the red zone. As part of a high-octane offense, Lutz remains a weekly starter considering his large role and reliability.
New Orleans Saints WR Ty Montgomery posted two receptions for 25 yards on three targets in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Fantasy Spin: Montgomery is a versatile player who has lined up in the backfield for rushes, as well as as a wideout, during his time with the Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets. However, he has plenty of company at both spots and isn't going to get enough touches to make him fantasy worthy in most leagues.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara had a tremendous performance in the Week 2 loss to the Raiders, getting 13 carries for 79 yards and two touchdowns along with leading the team with nine receptions for 95 yards on nine targets. The absence of Michael Thomas thrust Kamara into a huge role and he put on a great display in both the passing and rushing game. He remains a solid RB1 going forward.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith came through in the Week 2 loss to Las Vegas, getting five receptions for 86 yards on seven targets. With Michael Thomas sidelined, it was only natural to see Smith see some more targets and he delivered with a great performance. He should see some targets as long as Thomas is out, keeping him in the flex tier for the foreseeable future.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders only managed one reception for 18 yards on three targets in the Week 2 loss to the Raiders. It was certainly a disappointing performance for the temporary WR1 of the Saints as Drew Brees even eclipsed 300 passing yards. Sanders will look to get back on track in Week 3 against the Packers, but his value should be downgraded to a flex considering his Week 2 struggles.
New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook only managed two receptions for 13 yards on five targets in the Week 2 loss to the Raiders. After coming off an 80-yard performance in Week 1, the tight end was certainly disappointing. Nevertheless, with Michael Thomas sidelined, he should still see a decent number of targets and can redeem himself in Week 3. Cook can be explosive, thus keeping him in the TE1 tier going forward.
New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara rushed 13 times for 79 yards and two touchdowns and he also added team highs with nine receptions, 95 yards and nine targets in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Fantasy Spin: Kamara was the apple of Drew Brees' eye with Michael Thomas inactive due to injury. Kamara is off to a monster start for fantasy owners, posting just 95 rushing yards in two games, but he has three rushing scores with 14 receptions, 146 receiving yards and another score through the air. Next up is a home game against the Green Bay Packers on SNF in Week 3.
New Orleans Saints RB Latavius Murray rushed three times for 14 yards and he added two receptions for 19 yards on two targets in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Fantasy Spin: Murray's touches will be limited as long as Alvin Kamara is healthy and going well. He is a solid handcuff for Kamara and only worth starting in the deepest of fantasy leagues heading into Week 3 against the Green Bay Packers.
New Orleans Saints WR Tre'Quan Smith posted five receptions for 86 yards on seven targets in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders, leading all wide receivers in yardage.
Fantasy Spin: Smith stepped up with Michael Thomas sidelined due to injury. In fact, he was the only effective wideout for Drew Brees in this one. If Thomas is sidelined again in Week 3, Smith is worth a look as a WR4 or flex fantasy option on Sunday Night Football against the Green Bay Packers.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees went 26-for-38 and put up 312 yards, one touchdown, and one pick in the loss to the Raiders on Monday. After a hot start, the Saints cooled down and the offense couldn't get going deeper into the game. It was obvious the absence of Michael Thomas was felt, but this was the type of performance that is now expected of Brees, which is generally not explosive in terms of touchdowns. He should remain a low-end QB1 or high QB2 going forward.