The NFL season is officially upon us. We are going to give you a rundown of the biggest storylines coming out of NFL training camps and what the fantasy implications are. Be sure to check back each week for our weekly NFL Training Camp Fantasy News updates.
1. Jordan Reed finally feels healthy and is ready to play his first full 16 game season of his career.
Fantasy Impact: Everyone knows how good Reed can be. He reportedly finally feels like he is at a point in his career where he can hold for an entire season. He had toe surgery performed during the offseason to cure the nagging turf toe he had last year and so far appears to be ready to play. Alex Smith fed his tight end Travis Kelce in Kansas City and Reed can be a similar type of downfield pass catcher for Smith in Washington. If Reed holds up through camp he could be a steal in drafts.
2. Danny Amendola is the new slot man in Miami and no one knows what the Dolphins are doing with Albert Wilson.
Fantasy Impact: What people thought would be an interesting camp battle between Amendola and Wilson was basically over from the start of camp. Head coach Adam Gase even came out and said that Wilson is not a slot WR and deserves to play on the outside. The problem is Devante Parker and Kenny Stills are locked into the starting outside WR roles so the Dolphins paid a lot of money for a fourth-string wide receiver. Amendola can be a PPR machine in 2018 taking over for Jarvis Landry, but whether he can hold up for a full season in that type of role remains in question.
3. Don’t forget about 2017 first round pick John Ross in Cincinnati. He has been making plays since the start of Bengals camp.
Fantasy Impact: Everyone remembers the speedster John Ross from his blazing forty time back during the 2017 rookie combine. Not many remember his 2017 rookie season though. Ross had lingering injuries and wasn’t right all season. The Bengals are in desperate need for another pass catcher to take some of the load off of AJ Green and that WR2 role is still up for grabs in 2018. He is a name to watch during the preseason to see if he can fully take over that job from veteran Brandon LaFell.
4. The Broncos’ running backs are all impressing not just Devontae Booker and Royce Freeman.
Fantasy Impact: It seems every day there are more stories coming out of camp about how 2018 draft pick Freeman looks like a steal for the Broncos. Then there are also stories about how Booker is the starting running back until he loses it and he has looked the best of all the backs in pass protection. After those two running backs, there are even more reports about how the third running back spot battle is heating up between De’Angelo Henderson and Phillip Lindsay. I expect Freeman to eventually win over the starting job, but it sounds like Booker may still be involved in the offense unless Freeman can improve his pass protection.
5. Not only do the Broncos running backs look good, but so do the wide receivers… except Carlos Henderson.
Fantasy Impact: Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are locked into the first and second WR roles on the team, but the third spot is up for grabs. Both 2018 rookies Courtland Sutton and Daesean Hamilton have impressed early in camp. The Broncos clearly plan on moving on from Thomas and Sanders at some point in the near future and they are hoping their 2018 rookies can fill that role. Both Sutton and Hamilton were two of my favorite wide receivers coming out of the 2018 draft. They may have to wait a year or two to really get involved in the offense, but if they keep impressing they may force their ways onto the field sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, 2017 rookie Henderson has not even shown up for camp.
6. David Njoku has flashed his explosive talent during camp but has also struggled with drops.
Fantasy Impact: There isn’t a quicker way to get behind in target distribution than to struggle with drops early in camp with a new quarterback throwing you the ball. Many fantasy analysts see Njoku as a tight end breakout candidate in 2018, but if he doesn’t get the drops under control soon Tyrod Taylor/Baker Mayfield will start to look elsewhere to throw the ball to a more trusted receiver with reliable hands.
7. Darren Sproles looks just as quick and elusive as before the ACL injury he had during the 2017 season.
Fantasy Impact: Many wondered if Sproles could return to form and be the same after recovering from an ACL injury at the age of 35. Reports out of camp have been positive and head coach Doug Pederson certainly seems excited to see what Sproles can do this season. With Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement also getting involved in the offense it is easy to see why it will be difficult for all of these backs to valuable fantasy assets. Ajayi will likely get the bulk of the work, but when drafting Clement remember that Sproles could easily end the season getting more work than him.
8. None the of the Cowboys’ wide receivers are pulling away from the pack and all the spots seem up for grabs.
Fantasy Impact: The Cowboys got rid of their star wide receiver Dez Bryant this offseason. In 2018 they plan to replace him with a combination of Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and Terrence Williams. Cole Beasley will still likely man the slot as we have seen in camp so far, but none of the other WRs have stepped up and taken over as the number one guy in the offense yet. There still is time for someone to emerge, but for now, it does not seem like there is a fantasy WR1 in Dallas.
9. Norv Turner doesn’t want to change Cam Newton. He still wants him to run the ball and throw deep.
Fantasy Impact: Many were initially worried that the Panther’s hiring of Turner would stifle Newton’s fantasy production. Turner has worked with mostly immobile quarterbacks such as Philip Rivers and Sam Bradford in recent years while Newton’s fantasy value is predicated on his rushing abilities. Turner has reportedly stated he wants that part of Newton’s game to stay the same which is exactly what all fantasy players want to hear.
10. Quincy Enunwa is back and healthy for the Jets in a weak wide receiver corps.
Fantasy Impact: None of the Jets wide receivers are particularly standing out besides Robby Anderson. However, a name to remember is 2016 standout Enunwa. He was the Jets top receiver two years ago and can potentially step right back into that role. With all new quarterbacks on the team, any one of them can build a connection with any of the wide receivers.
11. Sony Michel looks very talented, but fumbling is still an issue for him.
Fantasy Impact: Belichick has a history of not tolerating running backs who fumble and Michel is not off to a hot start. He also had fumbling issues in college. With Rex Burkhead, Mike Gillislee, and James White all fighting for playing time with him, one fumble in a regular season game could quickly send him to the bench. This is a reminder of how fragile the New England backfield is especially since Michel is being drafted way ahead of all the other guys on the team.
12. Peyton Barber is the clear lead back for the Buccaneers while Ronald Jones learns how to play in the NFL.
Fantasy Impact: When Jones was drafted by the Buccaneers in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft, fantasy analysts immediately penciled him in as the starting running back for the team. After the first week of training camp, it is clear that Barber is the lead back for the time being. Sometimes rookies take time to learn an NFL offensive system or adjust to the lifestyle. Jones certainly has time to take over the starting gig, but he is being heavily overdrafted as of right now in the fifth round while Barber is going undrafted.
13. Spencer Ware is filling in for a banged up Kareem Hunt who is nursing a hamstring injury.
Fantasy Impact: Hunt’s breakout season came about last year due to a preseason injury suffered by Ware in 2017. Right now Hunt is being limited due to a hamstring injury, but it does not appear to be serious. What is more important is that Ware seems healthy coming into 2018 and likely will eat into Hunt’s workload in some capacity. How much is still to be determined, but it is something to monitor throughout training camp.
12. The Seahawks are treating Chris Carson like their RB1, but do they really mean it?
Fantasy Impact: Undrafted free agent Carson was mostly an afterthought after the Seahawks drafted Rashad Penny with their first-round pick in the 2018 draft. Now that camp has started his name is creeping up draft boards. There hasn’t been any bad news about Penny, but the Seahawks continue to talk about Carson as their starting running back. It is hard to imagine a team would spend first round draft capital on a running back only to have him play behind an undrafted free agent. Carson played well in 2017 but wasn’t on the level as many other 2017 breakout rookie running backs. I expect Penny to slowly take over as the season approaches.
13. Taywan Taylor is filling in nicely for an injured Rishard Matthews in Tennessee
Fantasy Impact: 2017 rookie Taylor has been impressing early and often in Titans camp. He has been playing much more on the outside instead of in the slot like he did last year with Matthews landing on the PUP list. Taylor has every opportunity right now to lock up that WR2 job opposite Corey Davis and Matthews can play the slot if and when he returns healthy. Taylor could play the Sammy Watkins role from offensive coordinator Matt LeFleur’s time with the Rams last year.Download the Free GoingFor2 App by Clicking Here...