Wed Jul 22 10:43am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Eagles hope Jeffery is healthy
This is the fifth 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 Eagles had all sorts of injury issues last year, so getting healthy and staying healthy will be a big key to their season. This might be the biggest thing to watch during camp this year after last season. Their key players, especially at the receiver position, need to stay on the field for Philadelphia to find success on the field. The Eagles train at the NovaCare Complex in Philadelphia.
Position battle: Alshon Jeffery is the No. 1 receiver for the Eagles but after him, there are some openings for the Eagles. Veteran DeSean Jackson seems likely to start but he won’t be handed the job at this stage of his career, especially after his off the field comments that got him in some hot water. The Eagles also have rookie Jalen Reagor looking for a big role in the offense. Marquise Goodwin and JJ Arcega-Whiteside also are in the mix for playing time at receiver for the Eagles.
Injury watch: Alshon Jeffery is recovering from a Lisfranc injury and is iffy for the start of camp. He might not even be ready for the start of the season. We’ll get a better idea of his status after watching him in camp, though. If healthy, Jeffery is the No. 1 receiver in this offense. He needs to get over his injury issues, though, and stay on the field.
The Giants continue to be in rebuild mode. New York is getting closer to competing for a playoff spot, though. The big thing to watch is the development of their young talent, especially quarterback Daniel Jones. If the Giants hope to win more games, Jones will need to take more steps forward this year. Jones and the rest of his teammates train at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Position battle: It will be interesting to see if Darius Slayton can grab one of the starter spots for the Giants this year. He had a great showing when getting a chance to start late last year and could force his way into the starting lineup. Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard are atop the depth chart at receiver right now, but that might change if Slayton continues to emerge. He has a chance to lead the Giants in targets, especially if he is starting.
Injury watch: Evan Engram was on his way to a big season last year before injury hit. He needed Lisfranc surgery this offseason to repair his foot injury. He is trending towards being ready for the start of camp, though. He might be brought along slowly, but Engram is expected to be near 100 percent for the start of the season. You’ll want to keep an eye on his progress in camp, though, to be sure.
Dallas has a lot of high expectations once again this year. The team disappointed last year, leading to a coaching change. So much of this camp might be focused on Mike McCarthy, seeing how he can bring together the team. McCarthy will have a lot of pressure on him to succeed, but certainly has the track record for hope in Dallas. The Cowboys train at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texans.
Position battle: We should have a battle on our hands for the No. 2 receiver spot in Dallas. Michael Gallup made big progress last year, hitting the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. The Cowboys took CeeDee Lamb in the first round of this year’s draft, though. Lamb was considered the top receiver in this class by man, so he should challenge Gallup for the right to start in Dallas. Both players will play regardless this year, but the starter will hold a little more fantasy value, making this is a position battle to monitor.
Injury watch: Ezekiel Elliott is one of the players that tested positive for coronavirus this offseason. It was just a few weeks back, so his status is a little uncertain as camp opens. He should be ready to go, but you have to wonder if this illness will have any longterm impacts on him. We should see if he is back to full strength early in camp, though. Hopefully, all is well with Elliott going forward.
The Redskins made another coaching change this offseason, making Ron Rivera their head coach. Washington is in rebuild mode but getting veteran coach like Rivera to run the show might accelerate the process. Rivera is a no nonsense coach that should bring some structure to the team. Getting up to speed with the new coach might be biggest thing to watch this training camp. Washington holds trading camp at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Virginia.
Position battle: The Redskins have veteran Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice battling it out for the right to start at running back. Guice has a lot more upside of the two but can’t stay healthy. He will need to prove he can handle the load in camp and preseason action if he hopes to hold off Peterson, who just keeps chugging along. Peterson got to start much of last season because of Guice getting injured and topped 1,000 total yards for the second straight season. He as produced well for the Redskins when given the chance.
Injury watch: Derrius Guice has played just five games in his NFL career. If healthy, he has a chance to be the starter for the Redskins. But that is a big “if” considering his injury history to start his career. Guice has a ton of talent but staying on the field is a big concern for him. A good camp and preseason could go a long way in easing fantasy owners minds a little.
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.
Five Cold Plays: Week 2
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.
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.
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.'
Free-agent S Doug Middleton (Titans) was signed to the Jacksonville Jaguars' practice squad Friday, Sept. 18.
Free-agent LB Devante Bond (Bears) and OG Dieter Eiselen (Bears) were signed to the practice squad of the Chicago Bears Friday, Sept. 18.
Cincinnati Bengals TE Mason Schreck was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster Friday, Sept. 18.
Cincinnati Bengals TE C.J. Uzomah (Achilles) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Friday, Sept. 18.
Miami Dolphins WR Antonio Callaway will be eligible to return from his suspension after the Dolphins have played seven games in 2020.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.