NFC Training Camp: First Week Fallout
NFC Training Camp: First Week Fallout
NFL training camp is officially underway for all teams from both the AFC and NFC. Injuries and touch distributions in early practices have already impacted the fantasy relevance of several players. This weekly two-part recap series will cover all of the pertinent goings-on for the 32 teams in the NFL. The AFC recap came out Tuesday. This article will catch you up on the NFC fallout article.
We will sort it by division finishes from last season, breaking down one noteworthy topic and providing data from FFStatistics tools to show you what it may mean for each team. Let us get started.
Obviously, the big story out of Oxnard, California is the hold out of Ezekiel Elliott. The early indications are positive that this will not be a lengthy holdout. However, if it is, the Dallas Cowboys have their ducks in a row. They drafted Tony Pollard in the fourth-round this past April. They also recently brought back Alfred Morris. Pollard is an intriguing prospect that averaged 8.6 yards from scrimmage and scored 10 touchdowns as a senior in a crowded Memphis backfield (data courtesy of College Football Reference).
Jordan Howard is reportedly garnering a large portion of the first-team reps early on in camp. The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Miles Sanders in the second round of this past April’s draft as well. How the touches shake out in this backfield may go a long way in determining multiple fantasy championships this season. Howard is a relative bargain while Sanders is drawing all of the hype. A return to rookie season form would certainly go a long way to winning a title for you this season.
Trey Quinn is seemingly penciled in as the starting slot receiver for the Washington Redskins. What does that mean for you? How about an absolute steal with no ADP data for redraft or dynasty. All Quinn did was average more points per opportunity than Julio Jones and just a hair less than Michael Thomas.
New York Giants
The New York Giants receiving corps has been devastated early on with injury and suspension. Gone for four games due to a PED suspension is Golden Tate. Sterling Shephard is out with a finger injury and Corey Coleman tore his ACL. That leaves a plethora of targets open for Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley early on. Eli Manning may lean heavily on Engram early on as he had his best passer rating (minimum 50 targets) when looking towards the young tight end.
The David Montgomery hype train is forging full steam ahead. Rightfully so. There were 270 touches vacated by Jordan Howard and the Chicago Bears traded up in the draft to secure him. Tarik Cohen is obviously still a factor, but Montgomery may well be on his way to an RB1 finish in his rookie season in the Windy City.
The early reports out of Vikings training camp is that Alexander Mattison has looked really good with the pads on. This is worth noting with the departure of Latavius Murray and the injury history of Dalvin Cook. A look at the FFS splits tool shows that Murray was an RB1 with Cook off the field in over a full season worth of games to sample. Should Cook go down yet again, Mattison has to jump into at least the RB2 category and costs virtually nothing in drafts.
Green Bay Packers
There has not been any news of significance out of Green Bay, Wisconsin as of yet. It is worth noting that Matt LaFleur is getting praise for the well-oiled camp he has been running to start the preseason. The expectation is that the offense will be better in Green Bay with the departure of Mike McCarthy. The obvious target here is Davante Adams. He is hands down a top-3 WR in fantasy football. His weekly metric plot is off the charts. Almost literally.
Theo Riddick is officially no longer a Detroit Lion and it is now Kerryon Johnson season. The good news here is that Johnson did not really need Riddick to depart to be considered an RB1 for 2019. The rookie was on pace to finish as the RB9 before his season was derailed by injury. With Riddick out, there was over a four-point per game increase in average points scored. Good enough for a finish of RB5.
New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints were one of the first teams in the NFC to report to training camp, with rookies arriving on July 17th. It has been relatively quiet in the Big Easy. The Saints did make a couple of lower-key offseason acquisitions by signing Latavius Murray and Jared Cook. Keith Kirkwood has put in some solid practices early on. A look at Cook’s metric plot last year in a horrible offense gives us an idea of what may be in store for 2019.
Gone is Tevin Coleman to the San Francisco 49ers. Devonta Freeman appears to be back in full health and was called a “multiplier” by Coach Quinn. The offense is expected to be more up-tempo this season as well. If this is the case, look for Freeman to contend to be the RB1 in 2019 and replicate his 2015 season.
Curtis Samuel will not be under the radar much longer if he continues his strong camp. The soon to be third-year wideout for the Carolina Panthers is making plays early on.
Curtis Samuel with the deep reception vs. Donte Jackson. Crowd approves. pic.twitter.com/8dXdn37J56
— Max Henson (@PanthersMax) July 27, 2019
Samuel was a point per opportunity monster in 2018, scoring five touchdowns on just 39 targets.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bruce Arians has arrived in the sunshine state. Jameis Winston has finally arrived to make plays on day five of camp. A look at what Arians has done with his QB1 over the years gives optimism that Winston can finally live up to his draft status.
Los Angeles Rams
Todd Gurley is on the “veterans plan” early on at Rams camp. His injury and availability have dominated fantasy headlines all offseason. Cooper Kupp is coming off an ACL injury. The duo of Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods are consistently undervalued in the fantasy community. A look at the yearly finishes for all three wideouts courtesy of FFStatistics shows how consistent Cooks has been. He has been top-20 for four straight years and for the first time in his career, gets to play consecutive years in the same offensive scheme.
The NFC training camp tour continues to Seattle, where to no one’s surprise, Tyler Lockett was a standout in camp on Tuesday. The retirement of Doug Baldwin has left the door wide open for the talented wide receiver to smash his ADP of WR23 and overall ADP of 53.1. While seeing limited targets last season (70), he still managed double-digit points in all but three of 16 games played in 2018.
San Francisco 49ers
The story here is that Jerick McKinnon has started camp on the PUP list. Not surprising coming off of an ACL tear last year. The backfield as about as crowded as any for fantasy purposes with McKinnon, Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, and even Raheem Mostert vying for touches. It is a situation to be avoided if at all possible. Even if there were a true workhorse back in this bunch, Kyle Shanahan has shown a disdain for his RB1.
****BREAKING NEWS**** At the time of the writing of this article (9:15 PM, Tuesday the 30th), KeeSean Johnson has been shining at camp for the Cardinals and could start as the WR3 behind Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk. This may not just be camp noise as it was noted that Johnson is performing better early on than that of Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler. Monitor the situation and adjust your rankings accordingly. Kliff Kingsbury’s offense could be lethal in 2019. Try and get any piece of it you can. A look at his offensive ranks while in college:
This concludes the NFC training camp fallout recap. These are just a few of the things to watch early on in training camp. Each week there will be an update from both conferences that will bring you up to speed on the latest issues relating to fantasy. Be sure to keep a lookout for the AFC each Tuesday and the NFC every Wednesday. As we gear up for peak draft season, these are the issues we need to be playing the closest attention to.