Training Camp Preview: AFC South

Sun Jul 19 8:56pm ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Fuller could play big role


This is the third 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.

Titans

The Titans were a win away from the Super Bowl last year, surprising many. The emergence of Ryan Tannehill was a big reason for the success. He starts from day one this year and will be watched closely in camp to see if he can build off last season. Tannehill might have a lot of pressure on him, so it will be interesting to see how he handles it. Tennessee opens camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park in Nashville, Tennessee.

Position battle: Jonnu Smith should be the starting tight end for the Titans this year but the team won’t hand him the job. He was up and down in a starting role last year, so he’ll need to show more consistency if he wants the job full time. Anthony Firkser and MyCole Pruitt will provide some competition for Smith for the starting job. Again, Smith should be the starter but this isn’t a 100 percent slam dunk.

Injury watch: Running back Derrick Henry is not injured but it will be interesting to see how the Titans handle his workload. Henry topped 300 carries for the first time in his career last season. He is expected to be the workhorse back for the offense again this year, getting a lot of work. Tennessee should take it easy with their star back in camp and preseason action. They need him 100 percent for the start of the year and for him to stay healthy all season.

Colts

The Colts made a big change at quarterback, getting Philip Rivers to take over. So much of this camp will be focused on Rivers and his switch to a new team and offense after so many seasons with the same team. Can Rivers make a smooth transition and take the Colts offense to a new level this season? We’ll get an idea, starting in training camp at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Position battle: The Colts surprised some by taking Jonathan Taylor in the second round of this year’s draft. Many considered Taylor the most talented back in the draft, so he has a chance to make a big impact his rookie season. He will need to beat out Marlon Mack for the staring job, though. Mack had his first 1,000-yard season last year and was a productive back in a starting role. Taylor has a lot of talent, though, and seems to have a real shot to open the season as the starter, beating out Mack for the job. 

Injury watch: Receiver Parris Campbell battled injury much of his rookie year. This really derailed his once promising season. Campbell was a shell of himself because of a foot injury. He is supposed to be 100 percent now, though, and will challenge for a big role offensively. He has the talent to be a difference maker in the passing game, so keep an eye on his status this training camp. As long as he is healthy, Campbell should play a role in this offense.

Jaguars

The Jaguars were a disappointment last year, finishing 6-10. The team will look to get things going in the right direction again, starting in training camp. Much of the season might depend on the development of Gardner Minshew. He will need to take a step forward if the Jaguars hope to win more games. Minshew and his teammates train at the TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. 

Position battle: The Jaguars have a lot to sort out at receiver. D.J. Chark is the top option in the passing game but after him, there is a lot up for grabs. Chris Conley, Dede Westbrook, Laviska Shenault and Keelan Cole are vying for playing time behind Chark. This should be a fierce battle because many of these players have similar ability. The starter opposite of Chark should have some fantasy value in an offense that will air it out on occasion. 

Injury watch: Tight end Tyler Eifert is not injured right now but has missed a lot of time three of his last four seasons. He played a full season last year but played just 14 games the previous three years. He is a big-time injury risk. Eifert will start for the Jaguars as long as he proves he can stay healthy and looks 100 percent this training camp.

Texans

Houston had a lot of turnover this offseason as head coach Bill O’Brien continues to put his stamp on the team. O’Brien has a lot of pressure on him to succeed after getting rid of some of his top players in recent seasons. He will need to prove his moves were right if he hopes to keep coaching this team. O’Brien and his players will train at the Houston Texans Training Center in Houston, Texas. 

Position battle: The Texans made a big change at receiver this offseason, trading DeAndre Hopkins. The team added some new players, getting Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb. The Texans also have Will Fuller, Kenny Stills and Keke Coutee. These five will try to earn big spots on the depth chart and battle it out in camp for the right to start. You’ll want to watch this depth chart play out because the Texans are going to be a pass first team, meaning the receivers playing often could have a high fantasy ceiling.

Injury watch: Receiver Will Fuller missed five games again last season and has failed to play a full season all four seasons in the NFL. He is recovering from offseason core surgery and might not be 100 percent for training camp. Fuller should be ready to go for the start of the season but his injury history makes him a player to watch in training camp. Fuller has a chance to start and play a huge role in the Texans passing game, but needs to stay on the field for that to happen.

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
Julian Edelman Sep 19 12:53am ET

New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman was on the field for five of the 27 offensive snaps played with two receivers against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1. From 2017 to 2019, he was on the field for 41 percent of the snaps in two-receiver sets.

Fantasy Spin: One game isn't a big sample, and Edelman was still New England's most productive receiver in the opener. Fewer snaps would lead to less consistency, but Edelman is going to have WR3 potential regardless.

From TheHuddle

Mark Andrews Sep 19 12:43am ET

Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews played a career-high 71 percent of the offensive snaps against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1, topping his previous high of 55 percent of the snaps.

Fantasy Spin: Andrews emerged as an elite fantasy tight end last year despite playing about half the snaps. If his increased usage from Week 1 becomes the norm, he should be a lock for top-five production.

From TheHuddle

Gerald Everett Sep 18 11:33pm ET

Los Angeles Rams TE Gerald Everett (back) is expected to play against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2, according to head coach Sean McVay. 'We put him as questionable, but he ended up going today,' McVay said. 'He felt good. I fully expect him to be ready to go.'

From TheHuddle

Doug Middleton Sep 18 11:03pm ET

Free-agent S Doug Middleton (Titans) was signed to the Jacksonville Jaguars' practice squad Friday, Sept. 18.

From TheHuddle

Devante Bond Sep 18 10:53pm ET

Free-agent LB Devante Bond (Bears) and OG Dieter Eiselen (Bears) were signed to the practice squad of the Chicago Bears Friday, Sept. 18.

From TheHuddle

Mason Schreck Sep 18 10:43pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals TE Mason Schreck was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster Friday, Sept. 18.

From TheHuddle

C.J. Uzomah Sep 18 10:43pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals TE C.J. Uzomah (Achilles) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Friday, Sept. 18.

From TheHuddle

Antonio Callaway Sep 18 9:43pm ET

Miami Dolphins WR Antonio Callaway will be eligible to return from his suspension after the Dolphins have played seven games in 2020.

From TheHuddle

Lamical Perine Sep 18 9:20pm ET

New York Jets rookie running back La'Mical Perine (ankle) is questionable to face the 49ers in Week 2. Perine was limited in practice the last two days, so he has a real chance to make his NFL debut after he was inactive in the season-opener. The Jets could really use some depth with Le'Veon Bell on Injured Reserve. But even if Perine suits up on Sunday, he's unlikely to see much of a workload behind veteran Frank Gore. Plus, he'll be facing a really tough San Francisco defense after an offseason in which he didn't get many on-field repetitions.

From RotoBaller

San Francisco 49ers Sep 18 9:10pm ET

San Francisco 49ers defensive end Dee Ford (neck) is listed as questionable for Week 2 against the Jets. Ford didn't practice the last two days after dealing with some neck stiffness following the season-opening loss to the Cardinals. San Francisco placed cornerback Richard Sherman on the Injured Reserve this week, so they won't be at full strength against New York. Ford had just three combined tackles in Week 1. He should be avoided in IDP leagues because of his injury, but even at less than full strength, the 49ers Defense remains a must-start fantasy defense against a Jets team that will be missing both Le'Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder.

From RotoBaller

Brandon McManus Sep 18 9:00pm ET

Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus didn't attempt a single field goal in the 16-14 Week 1 loss to the Titans, but he did make both of his extra-point tries. McManus has a very strong leg and kicks half the time in high altitude, but he'll be on the road this week and just can't be trusted in fantasy yet while the Broncos offense tries to get in sync. Quarterback Drew Lock showed potential last week, though, and he has plenty of talented weapons to work with in 2020. The 29-year-old kicker will become a streaming option at some point this year, but it won't be in Week 2 against the Steelers, especially if wide receiver Courtland Sutton (shoulder) misses another game.

From RotoBaller

Noah Fant Sep 18 8:50pm ET

Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant caught five of his six targets for 81 yards and a touchdown in the Week 1 loss to the Titans, leading the team in receiving yards with Courtland Sutton (shoulder) inactive. Sutton is questionable heading into Week 2 against the Steelers, so Fant could once again be the team's leading receiver this Sunday. He'll obviously be a better upside TE1 if Sutton sits out, but at the very least, Fant will have some low-end TE1 appeal as one of quarterback Drew Lock's favorite targets. Some people believe the second-year tight end is primed for a breakout season with Lock under center for a full year.

From RotoBaller

Denver Broncos Sep 18 8:50pm ET

The Denver Broncos won't have any rowdy fans to worry about on their trip to Pittsburgh in Week 2, but a healthy quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his cast of weapons will pose a big challenge to a defense missing Von Miller (ankle) for the year and cornerback A.J. Bouye (shoulder) for at least three weeks. Inside linebacker Mark Barron (hamstring) will also be out. Denver's run D didn't allow Derrick Henry to run wild last week, but their inexperienced rookie cornerbacks Michael Ojemudia and Essang Bassey will surely be tested by Big Ben with talented wideouts JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson leading the charge. While the Broncos Defense was worth starting last week, they should be avoided this week with key injuries mounting.

From RotoBaller

Jerry Jeudy Sep 18 8:40pm ET

Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy showed off some of his trademark route-running ability and quick feet in the team's Week 1 loss to the Titans, but he also had a couple uncharacteristic drops in his NFL debut. The 21-year-old from Alabama caught only four of his eight targets for 56 yards as the team's lead wideout last Monday with Courtland Sutton (shoulder) inactive. There's a lot to like in the long-term with Jeudy in this offense, but there will continue to be some growing pains throughout his rookie campaign. He'll be a more attractive upside WR4/flex in deeper leagues if Sutton misses another game, but the matchup against the Steelers is a difficult one regardless.

From RotoBaller

Melvin Gordon Sep 18 8:30pm ET

Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman will be the primary backup to Melvin Gordon in the team's Week 2 matchup against the Steelers after Denver ruled Phillip Lindsay (toe) out for the week. Freeman won't have any standalone fantasy value, though, after he saw just two touches -- a carry for no gain and a 12-yard reception -- in the second half of the Week 1 loss to the Titans when Lindsay didn't return after the first half. On top of it, Pittsburgh's rush defense was one of the best in the league last year and held Saquon Barkley down in their season opener. The 24-year-old will see more than two touches over the full game, but he should be ignored in pretty much any fantasy format.

From RotoBaller

Courtland Sutton Sep 18 8:13pm ET

Denver Broncos WR Courtland Sutton (shoulder) was limited during practice Friday, Sept. 18, and is listed as questionable for Week 2.

Fantasy Spin: Sutton is expected to be a game-time decision, so fantasy players will need to check the inactive list. Players will need to have other options available in case Sutton is ruled out, but Sutton would be a risky option if he is active.

From TheHuddle

Chris Godwin Sep 18 7:53pm ET

Updating a previous report, Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (concussion) was limited during practice Friday, Sept. 18, and is listed as doubtful for Week 2.

Fantasy Spin: Godwin likely will be a game-time decision, so fantasy players will need to monitor his progress during the weekend. He is a must-start option when healthy, but players should have other options available in case he is ruled out.

From TheHuddle

Mike Evans Sep 18 7:53pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans (hamstring) fully participated in practice Friday, Sept. 18, and is not on the injury report for Week 2.

Fantasy Spin: Evans should be more involved in the passing game this week since he was limited in Week 1 because of the hamstring injury. He should be considered a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Will Fuller Sep 18 7:43pm ET

Houston Texans WR Will Fuller (non-injury) did not participate in practice Friday, Sept. 18, but is not on the injury report for Week 2.

Fantasy Spin: Fuller led the team in receptions, receiving yards and targets last week and showed good chemistry with Deshaun Watson. He will be facing a tougher opponent in Week 2 but can still be a No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Corey Davis Sep 18 7:43pm ET

Tennessee Titans WR Corey Davis (hamstring) fully participated in practice Friday, Sept. 18, and is not on the injury report for Week 2.

Fantasy Spin: Davis was upgraded during each day of practice this week and will be ready for his normal workload against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He likely will be the main option in the passing game for the Titans and can be at least a No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle