Week 2 NFC Training Camp: Fantasy Fallout
Week 2 NFC Training Camp: Fantasy Fallout
Last week was Week 2 for many of camp for many of the teams in the NFC. It is time your weekly fantasy update on all of the happenings around the NFC camps (click here for the week 1 recap). Yesterday we covered the AFC.
Unlike the AFC, there have not been many waves made on the NFC side of things. The biggest news, of course, is that Zeke Elliott is still holding out as well. There is still plenty of notes to go over and look at the possible fantasy fallout of some of the news that did come out.
We also had our first “official” game of the year Thursday night with the Denver Broncos beating the Atlanta Falcons 14-10. It sure is nice to have real live football back on our screens. On to this weeks fallout, in order by division finishes just like last week.
As mentioned above, the big story is the Elliott holdout. In a mildly surprising move, the Cowboys did cut Rico Gathers on Tuesday. This leaves them with just Jason Witten and Blake Jarwin as their top-2 tight ends. Jarwin showed some potential in a small sample size last season. With Witten coming back after a year in the booth, he may be a bit rusty.
Jarwin could surprise with some value this season. The soon to be third-year tight end had at least four catches in three of the last four games played in 2018. This included a monster three-touchdown game in Week 17. Monitor the situation.
Who can forget Brian Westbrook? The news out of Philadelphia that Miles Sanders is standing out at camp stirs up memories of the versatile pass-catching back of fantasy yesteryear. Could Doug Pederson finally take what he learned from Andy Reid and actually feature a back? If so, the sky is the limit for Sanders. The builds are similar between Westbrook (5’10”, 203 pounds) and Sanders (5’11”, 211 pounds).
Granted, Westbrook was much more prolific as a receiver in college, but Sanders has shown an ability to catch out of the backfield and is the type of back Andy Reid would love in his system, similar to what Doug Pederson runs. A look at RB1 finishes in the “Reid tree”:
Terry McLaurin has been the most consistent wideout at camp. There is speculation that he may even be a starter. If Dwayne Haskins eans the starting gig as well, this could be a development worth watching as the duo connected for 11 touchdowns while at Ohio State last season. McLaurin has also shown big-play ability, averaging 20.0 yards per reception in 2018. Here is a look at the receiving numbers for the past catching half of the reunited teammates courtesy of Sports Reference.
New York Giants
Despite the early injury suffered in camp, Sterling Shepard appears to be good to go. Hopefully, you bought while the price was low. With Golden Tate all but certain to sit the first four games, Shepard is a perfect buy now, sell later target. Let him get a lion’s share of targets Week 1 to Week 4 and then sell, sell, sell. There is an argument to made for keeping him as well as he is somewhat undervalued (WR37 ADP) while finishing as WR29 last season.
Mitchell Trubisky is recovering from a slow start to camp. The weapons are there in Chicago for Trubisky to improve on his already solid finish of QB15 despite playing just 14 games. The Bears have invested heavily in the skill position recently, taking the likes of Anthony Miller, David Montgomery and Riley Ridley the past two drafts. The stars are aligning for Trubisky to be a QB1 if he can play a full 16 games. The second-year player went over 20 points in five of 14 games played in 2018.
Kirk Cousins has been “dealing” early on in camp. This is good news for his fantasy outlook for 2019. Cousins is flying under the radar with an ADP of QB20. How quickly we forget he has been a QB1 for four straight seasons. The former Washington Redskin could easily be on the list of “league winners” for 2019.
Green Bay Packers
Is it finally Jake Kumerow’s time to come through or will he be DeVante Parker 2.0, lighting up the pre-season only to fade once the calendar hits September? Time will tell. One thing is for certain, Aaron Rodgers enjoys having him around, a lot. Granted it is only eight targets, but between the actual data we have and the constant gushing from Rodgers about the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater grad, we have to wonder if the time will come, a la Julian Edelman and Tom Brady.
Last week, we talked about the release of Theo Riddick. This week the buzz around the Lions involves another young star on the rise in T.J. Hockenson. The rookie has impressed coaches and been a fixture in the offense since the offseason program began. While it is often hard for a rookie tight end to make a difference in their rookie seasons, Hockenson lacks the weaknesses in blocking that most rookies have and should see a path to playing time right away. Matthew Stafford is not opposed to throwing to his tight ends when he has someone he trusts at the position.
New Orleans Saints
Rolling on with week 2 of the NFC camp recap, we get to New Orleans. News has been slow to come out of camp here but one nugget that is of interest is Sean Peyton being quoted as agreeing with the notion that Alvin Kamara could go over 1,000 rushing and receiving yards in a season. Given the departure of Mark Ingram, and the arrival of Latavius Murray, one would think that difficult to attain prior to these comments.
Using the robust player database at FFStatistics, we can filter down and see that he was actually not too far off either of his first two years in the league. The expectation is that Murray will fill the Ingram role. What if that is not the case and Kamara assumes three-down back duties? Imagine the possibilities.
Austin Hooper is seeing quite a few targets from Matt Ryan with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley nursing minor injuries. This is noteworthy because Hooper has the potential to break out in a big way this year if he can continue his rapport with Ryan. While a little up and down, the big tight end did manage to finish above league average in nearly half of his games in 2018.
With Greg Olsen out, Ian Thomas has made the most of his chances. Thomas is an interesting prospect this year. One would think any type of injury to Olsen would likely send the veteran into retirement, kicking the door wide open for Thomas to walk in and blow up. At an ADP outside of the top 20 for tight ends, this is another free chip that you may see on a lot of championship teams come December. The tight end position has fared well over the years with Cam Newton at the helm.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The running game continues to be an issue in Tampa. There are questions about the offensive line and the running back depth chart leaves a lot to be desired. This could be an avoid at all costs scenario come fantasy draft day. Compounding those concerns is Bruce Arians history of RB1 finishes, both as a coordinator and a head coach.
Los Angeles Rams
We start our final division in the Week 2 NFC camp recap series with positive news about Cooper Kupp and the Rams. Kupp appears to be at or near 100%. This is great news for Jared Goff. Goff was on pace to be the QB1 the first half of the season before Kupp went down with a torn ACL. The Rams as a whole have to be pleased with his progress as they averaged 291.75 passing yards per game with the shifty receiver on the field and just 271.63 passing yards per game without him.
The starting tight end position is wide open in Seahawks
Training camp recaps roll on with the NFC fantasy nuggets from @FFJeffSmith for @FFStatistics_
Training camp recaps roll on with the NFC fantasy nuggets from @FFJeffSmith for @FFStatistics_with Ed Dickson nursing an injury. Will Dissly seems to have stepped up and has been making plays red zone. Dissly has regained form from a devastating injury of his own last season. When healthy, he was a point per opportunity machine, averaging more than the best two tight ends in the league. This was on just 14 targets so we need to temper expectations, but with no clear cut TE1 in Seattle and a lack of receiver experience, someone has to step up. Make this a name to monitor early on in the season.
San Francisco 49ers
Tuesday saw Jerick McKinnon activated from the PUP list, although he was limited to individual drills. The running back position was covered here last week. This week will focus on the receiver position. There are conflicting reports on Marquise Goodwin being a candidate to be cut. This on the heels of Goodwin having one of his better practices of camp. A thread from FFStatistics own Stompy goes in-depth on Goodwin’s upside even more here.
I wanted to weigh-in a bit on the 49ers passing attack and a guy who I think is being forgotten in Marquise Goodwin. After a breakout season in 2017, Goodwin fell on hard times with injuries and family issues derailing his 2018 season.
— SFB8 Champ Stompy (@FFStompy) August 3, 2019
The final team in our Week 2 NFC camp recap is the Cardinals. Kliff Kingsbury continues to get positive reviews on his first camp as an NFL head coach. The wide receivers continue to be the story for the Cards. There were reports Monday night circulating that they had signed Michael Crabtree. The signing did not make sense at the time and come to find out on Tuesday morning, the reports were false. They were doing what all teams do, being diligent on looking for replacements should the need arise.
KeeSean Johnson continues to excel in camp and should immediately be on everyone’s radar. The Fresno State grad did not lack for yards while in college, holding up with the best of this years draft class.
This concludes the Week 2 NFC camp recap article Thank you for coming back for the second edition of the training camp fallout series. Next week there will be a third 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.