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. Andrew Luck is throwing real NFL footballs and will even play in the preseason.

Fantasy Impact: Luck was seen throwing passes in practice this past week which is a major improvement compared to this time last year. The question now is he ready to throw the ball 200 plus times during the course of the season without his shoulder being in pain. Head coach Frank Reich said he should play about a quarter during the Colts first preseason game. All of the Colts offensive weapons get a big bump if he is good to go for the season.

2. Chris Thompson reportedly won’t be 100% until November opening the door for Derrius Guice.

Chris ThompsonFantasy Impact: Thompson came out this week and said he may not be a full go during the first half of the season. While Guice didn’t catch the ball a ton in college he has shown the ability to do it. Guice could be starting the season as the Redskins three-down back with little competition surrounding him while Thompson gets up to full speed.

3. Cardinals WR2 position is wide open for grabs and no one is taking control of it.

Fantasy Impact: Both John Brown and Jaron Brown left the Cardinals in free agency this year leaving a hole at the WR2 position behind Larry Fitzgerald. 2017 rookie Chad Williams, 2018 rookie Christian Kirk, and veterans J.J. Nelson and Brice Butler are the likely candidates to fill the role. No one has emerged yet, but 124 targets are up for grabs.

3. James Connor seems to be the favorite to be the Steeler’s second string RB.

Fantasy Impact: With Le’Veon Bell holding out, the backup running backs are getting plenty of opportunities. 2018 rookie Jaylen Samuels has flashed at times, but still has much to learn especially in pass protection. Connor has shown a lot of growth since last year. With Bell likely leaving after this year, Connor could be the early favorite to be the lead back for the team in 2019.

4. Saquon Barkley is being used all over the field including playing wide receiver.

Fantasy Impact: The Giants were lining up Barkley out wide against their top corner Janoris Jenkins this week in practice. He proceeded to catch the ball on a slant route and run it in for a touchdown. Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson are known as two of the best running backs to catch the ball like a wide receiver, but Barkley could be joining them soon.

5. Sony Michel has a knee injury that will sideline him throughout the preseason.

Fantasy Impact: The Patriots expect Michel to be ready for the regular season, but any missed time for the rookie running back is bad for his fantasy outlook. Rex Burkhead will have every opportunity to take over the lead back duties. Belichick may not trust the rookie without seeing him in practice further putting him behind the rest of the pack. Burkhead’s ADP will be important to watch in the coming weeks. He was a value late in drafts, but he may rise too high and become a bit of a risk.

6. Steeler’s James Washington is quickly earning his spot to be the team’s third wide receiver.

Fantasy Impact: The Steelers have Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster locked into starting roles on the offense. Washington is a speedster that can fill the role played by Martavis Bryant in previous years. We’ve seen that role produce huge fantasy numbers in the past. The Steelers have a history of drafting and developing wide receivers quickly.

 

7. Kerryon Johnson is the rookie running back not being talked about enough.

Fantasy Impact: Johnson got a lot less hype coming out of the draft compared to other running backs drafted around him early in the 2018 draft. The Lions have a lot of running backs involved at training camp with LeGarrette Blount, Theo Riddick, Ameer Abdullah, and Johnson. However, Johnson is shining and quickly showing why he deserves to move up the depth chart. Johnson could be the surprise rookie fantasy breakout of the year and is currently going much later than other rookie backs.

8. The Browns traded 2016 rookie WR Corey Coleman to the Bills for a 2020 seventh-round draft pick.

Fantasy Impact: The Browns brought in Jarvis Landry in free agency and have Josh Gordon returning from his off-field issues. Both were projected to be the top two wideouts on the team with Coleman being the third option in the passing game. With Coleman being shipped out, rookie wide receiver Antonio Callaway seems next in line to fill the WR3 role on a low passing team. Coleman likely wouldn’t have been a fantasy value in 2018 barring an injury to one of the top guys on the team and now he joins the Bills where he will have more volume. The problem is he may have just gone from the worst QB situation in 2017 to the worst QB situation in 2018. He’s nothing more than a late-round flier.

9. …And based on the above news the Dez Bryant to Cleveland rumors seem all more real.

Fantasy Impact: Rumors surfaced last week about Bryant reportedly drawing interest from the Browns. With Coleman now gone this report could be all more real. The Browns have not been shy about spending money this offseason and have already greatly revamped their WR core. This wouldn’t be the best landing spot for Bryant, but it would give QB Tyrod Taylor another weapon to add to his disposal. Bryant likely wouldn’t get a large target share with Landry, Gordon, Johnson, and Njoku also in the receiving mix.

10. The Bengals cut WR Branden LaFell after he requested to be released.

Fantasy Impact: LaFell was never a superstar, but he is a serviceable WR2/3 in the NFL. It seems he wants his shot on another team, but he likely won’t get a larger target share than he would have gotten on the Bengals. This opens the door for 2017 rookie John Ross to step in. He has reportedly looked good in camp and flashed his deep speed. Ross is a perfect fit to play alongside A.J. Green. With Green getting most defense’s top coverage Ross could be presented with good weekly matchups regularly.

12. Doug Baldwin could miss the whole preseason with a knee injury leaving the Seahawks with little at wide receiver.

Fantasy Impact: Baldwin probably doesn’t need the practice reps as bad as the rest of the receivers on the team, but for a guy going in the third round of fantasy drafts there is a lot of risks. For now, we are forced to wait and see with Baldwin. If he is ready to go Week 1, Baldwin will be a solid start in fantasy just like we projected him to be before the injury news. Wilson’s value takes a hit without him in the lineup. Tyler Lockett and Jaron Brown will have a chance to show their stuff during camp with Baldwin out.

12. Courtland Sutton is being talked about by the entire Broncos staff including the defense.

Fantasy Impact: I don’t know if anyone is getting as much hype as Sutton is this training camp. It seems like he is making plays every day and all but has the WR3 role on the Broncos locked down. The Broncos have been in desperate need of another pass catcher besides Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. With no real pass catchers at tight end, the Broncos will likely use a lot of three wide receiver sets.

13. Mike Williams is practicing like the first round wide receiver he was drafted to be in 2017.

Fantasy Impact: Williams is a guy that many fantasy players have forgotten about since his injury-riddled rookie campaign. Reports out of Chargers camp is that he looks like the big body wide receiver they thought he would be when they drafted him. With the Chargers losing Hunter Henry to an ACL injury already this year, Williams could fill in as a bigger body especially in the red zone. I still expect Keenan Allen to get most of the target share, but Mike Williams could potentially earn more targets than Tyrell Williams.

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