Training Camp Preview: NFC West

Wed Jul 29 11:02am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Mostert hopes to have big role


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.

Rams

The Rams should have an interesting back, mainly because they have a real running back battle on their hands. This should make for some quality entertainment for fantasy owners. The winner of that job will have obvious fantasy value in this offense. The big battle will happen this year at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.

Position battle: The Rams will be without Todd Gurley as their starting running back for the first time in several seasons. This leaves the job up for grabs. The Rams drafted Cam Akers with a high pick, making him maybe the favorite for the job. Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown are still around, though. These three will battle it out for the job. Akers is the favorite, but he’ll need to perform in camp and preseason action to hold off Henderson and Brown .

Injury watch: Cooper Kupp played a full season last year for the first time in his career. He has missed games two of three seasons because of injury. Kupp has struggled to stay healthy at times, but last year was a big step forward. Either way, injury is a concern when it comes to Kupp. He is a huge part of the Rams offense and can be a top fantasy player, but needs to be on the field for that to happen. Make sure he has a healthy camp, though, before taking him come draft day.

Cardinals

Arizona is a team on the rise with a lot of young talent on both sides of the ball. The offense made a big splash this offseason, acquiring DeAndre Hopkins. The offense has a chance to be really good if all the pieces fall into place this season for Arizona. It should be interesting to see how the offense plays out this training camp. The Cardinals hold camp at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Position battle: The Cardinals starting tight end spot is up for grabs. Maxx Williams seems to have the best shot to start of the group, but will be challenged by Dan Arnold and Darrell Daniels. Arizona’s starting tight end doesn’t have a ton of fantasy value, but the starter could be worth a spot start or two in a pinch, making this a job some might want to keep an eye on. 

Injury watch: Larry Fitzgerald just keeps chugging along. He plays every game and produces on the field. It is pretty amazing. He is 37 years old, though, so you have to wonder if he can keep his current pace. It just seems natural that he will slow down sooner than later, maybe because of injury. This makes Fitzgerald a player to keep an eye on in training camp to make sure he comes out healthy and ready for the season.

49ers

The 49ers made it to the Super Bowl last year but lost in the big game. Expectations will be high for this team once again this year. There should be a lot of pressure on Jimmy Garopppolo, who wasn’t great in the playoffs. He might need to up his game a little more if the 49ers hope to win the Super Bowl. Garoppolo and his teammates will train at the San Francisco 49ers Training Facility in Santa Clara, California.

Position battle: Raheem Mostert is threatening a holdout because he wants a new contract. He is expected to start for the 49ers but a possible holdout could open the door for Tevin Coleman. This is a situation to watch going forward. Coleman’s value would take a big step forward if Mostert missed any amount of time. And even if Mostert doesn’t holdout, don’t forget about Coleman as part of a rotation at running back for the 49ers. It is not a slam dunk that Mostert is going to be handed the starting job. (UPDATE: Mostert restructured his contract and ended his holdout)

Injury watch: Deebo Samuel injured his foot in offseason workouts, suffering a Jones fracture. There is a good chance he is not ready for the start of the season, missing a few games to start the year. We’ll have a better idea when camp opens, though. Big things are expected from Samuel this year, but this injury clouds those expectations.

Seahawks

Seattle just keeps chugging along, winning a lot of games while making the playoffs. The big issue is getting over the hump of recent years and making a legit run at the Super Bowl. The team will need to get a little better on both sides of the ball for that to happen. Seattle will need some of that young talent to make progress this year, so that might be the big thing to watch this training camp. The Seahawks hold training camp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Washington.

Position battle: Chris Carson is the starter for the Seahawks but his backup is up in the air. Carlos Hyde and Rashaad Penny are the top options to backup Carson. Hyde is coming off a 1,000-yard season, so he has the leg up on Penny. But Penny is a talented player that has struggled with injury start his career. When healthy, Penny has made plays for the Seahawks. Penny is recovering from a torn ACL, though, so he will need to prove he is healthy if he hopes to win the job over Hyde. This clouds things even more for Penny. 

Injury watch: Chris Carson had his season cut short because of a hip injury last year. He is not 100 percent certain to be ready for the start of training camp. He might be brought along slowly to make sure he is ready for the start of the year. He’ll need to get up to speed in camp to show the team he is 100 percent and ready for the start of the year. Make sure he has an injury free camp before taking Carson come draft day.

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