Tue Jul 26 3:38pm ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Watson could play big role
This is the sixth in a series of training camp previews. 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.
The Packers should have an interesting camp because of the departure of Davante Adams, leaving a huge hole at receiver for the Packers. Can Green Bay get by at receiver without Adams on their side? This is a massive hole to fill, putting even more pressure on Aaron Rodgers to perform at a high level and carry the offense. We will see how this all plays out at Nitschke Field in Green Bay, Wisc.
Position battle: As mentioned, the Packers have some openings at receiver for the coming season. The loss of Adams is a huge one, leaving a lot of targets to be had for Packers receivers. Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, Christian Watson and Randall Cobb will battle it out to start this coming season. Lazard is a heavy favorite to start, but after him, it really is up in the air for the other spot. It is anyone’s guess at this point on the No. 2 receiver for the Packers.
Injury watch: The Packers are not disclosing the injury that rookie Christian Watson is dealing with, but he is opening camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. This is not a great start to his pro career, especially if he hopes to make a big impact as a rookie. There is certainly opportunity there for Watson to emerge, so hopefully he is able to get back on the field sooner than later.
Minnesota has a new head coach for the first time in several seasons. This should be the focus of training camp, seeing how the team reacts to the new coaching staff. There is plenty of excitement for the offense with new head coach Kevin O’Connell in charge of that unit. He is a bright offensive mind with a lot of top offensive weapons to work with for the coming season. We will get to see that unit in action at the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center in Eagan, Minn.
Position battle: The Vikings don’t really have a key position battle during training camp. The big thing we would watch is Kirk Cousins. This could be a make or break year for him as a Viking. If he doesn’t endear himself to the new coaching staff, they might look to be move on from him after this season. He needs to impress if he hopes to keep starting for the Vikings long term.
Injury watch: Vikings tight end Irv Smith missed all of last season because of a knee injury suffered before the start of the season. He has yet to play a full season because of injury. Smith is a talented player that could play a big role offensively as long as he can stay healthy. Smith is expected to be cleared for the start of training camp, but his injury history makes him a player to watch this training camp.
The Lions competed hard last year and were in a lot of games despite lacking some talent on both sides of the ball. Detroit added some new faces to get them competing at a higher level this year. Things are looking up for this young team. There is more and more excitement surrounding this team than in recent years, including several talented players on the offensive side of the ball. If the young players can keep improving, the Lions could win a few more games this year. The Lions train at the Detroit Lions Training Facility, Allen Park, Mich.
Position battle: The Lions signed D.J. Chark this offseason but he isn’t guaranteed a starting job. He will need to earn it and hold off Quintez Cephus, Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond for the job. Chark should have a big upper hand but he has not done much the last two seasons and couldn’t stay healthy last year. It is his job to lose, but he won’t be handed anything.
Injury watch: Rookie Jameson Williams suffered a torn ACL during the National Championship game last year, getting hurt very late in the game. He is not expected to be healthy for the start of the season and could miss much of his rookie season. But if he starts doing stuff in camp and ramping up his activity as the season draws closer, he could make an impact at some point during the season. His injury is one to watch this camp because he could be a difference maker for fantasy teams during the playoffs if he finds his way back on the field.
Chicago is looking to take a step forward this year with Justin Fields in year two. And a new coaching staff could help get him to that next level. Either way, there will be a lot of pressure for Fields to perform this year and get the offense performing more consistently. Fields is probably the key to the success of the Bears this year. Fields and his teammates hold training camp at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Ill.
Position battle: The Bears are a mess at receiver after Darnell Mooney. They have a host of options looking to start, including Equanimeous St. Brown, Byron Pringle, Velus Jones, Tajae Sharpe and N’Keal Harry. We really have no idea on the receivers that emerge out of this group. All have their plusses and minuses. There is not a clear favorite at this point. We should have a better idea after practices start and games get underway during the preseason.
Injury watch: David Montgomery missed four games last year and one the previous season because of injury. He has been slowed by nagging injuries each of the last two years. He could be a fantasy monster if he can stay on the field for a huge season. Montgomery’s health during camp and preseason action is one to watch for fantasy owners. He has a chance for a big season with a new coaching staff taking over the offense.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
The Buffalo Bills have declared DT Jordan Phillips, TE Tommy Sweeney, DL Ed Oliver, OT Justin Murray, CB Christian Benford and WR Jake Kumerow inactive for Week 4.
The Tennessee Titans have declared S Amani Hooker, CB Theo Jackson, DE Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, CB Ugo Amadi, OT Le'Raven Clark, LB Wyatt Ray and LB Zach Cunningham inactive for Week 4.
Cleveland Browns DE Myles Garrett (shoulder) is expected to be bother by his shoulder injury for the next two to four weeks, according to a source.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz (knee) is expected to suit up for the Week 4 matchup against the Washington Commanders. The 26-year-old is preparing to return and was seen playing catch on the field. He missed last week's game and is tagged as questionable, but is expected to play. Fantasy managers should treat Schultz as a low-end TE1 for this contest. He figures to benefit with Cooper Rush under center once again in Week 4. Rush seems to lean on Schultz as a safety blanket, so he should get plenty of targets.
Los Angeles Chargers DE Joey Bosa (groin) underwent surgery to repair a groin tear Thursday, Sept. 29, and is expected to miss eight to 10 weeks, according to multiple sources.
Indianapolis Colts LB Shaquille Leonard (back) is optimistic about making his season debut in Week 4's game against the Tennessee Titans. He had been listed as questionable on the injury report despite logging three full practice sessions during the week.
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (thigh) is currently listed as questionable heading into the Week 4 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. However, it sounds like the team wants McCaffrey to go through his pregame warmups. The team wants to see McCaffrey out on the field before they make their final decision. All signs are pointing to McCaffrey being active, but fantasy managers will have to wait and see. He will be a must-start, assuming he's active. The Cardinals do have a strong run defense, but McCaffrey remains one of the best backs in the league when healthy.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (hamstring) is expected to play in Week 4's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Fantasy Spin: Godwin had been listed as questionable on the injury report after logging two limited practice sessions during the week. He can be a starting option in fantasy leagues but owners should have a backup plan in place since the Buccaneers won't play until Sunday night.
Houston Texans tight end Pharaoh Brown (shoulder) is listed as questionable for the Week 4 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Texans have already ruled out Brevin Jordan (shoulder) for this contest. They've elevated Jordan Atkins and Mason Schreck with the team short on options at tight end. Brown was able to practice in full on Wednesday and Thursday. However, he was limited on Friday, which raises the question on whether or not he'll suit up. Regardless, O.J. Howard is really the only tight end worth looking at in Houston right now. He'll have some TE2 value in deep leagues for this upcoming contest, but could have increased value if Brown is out.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Julio Jones (knee) is expected to play in Week 4's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Fantasy Spin: Jones had been listed as questionable on the injury report after logging two limited practice sessions during the week. At best, he should be considered a risky flex option in fantasy leagues because the Buccaneers won't play until Sunday night and also because he is coming off a knee injury which has caused him to miss the last two games, meaning that his offensive snaps could be limited.
Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine (leg) was carted off the field after an ugly play during the Week 4 matchup against the New Orleans Saints. The rookie safety was put on a backboard and onto a cart before exiting the field. The entire Vikings surrounded Cine in what looked to be a horrendous leg injury. He will be transported to a nearby hospital. The organization should give updates on Cine later in the day. Although, the 22-year-old is likely to miss significant time after that incident.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Russell Gage Jr. (hamstring) is expected to play in Week 4's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Fantasy Spin: Gage had been listed as questionable on the injury report after logging two limited practice sessions during the week. He makes a risky fantasy option this week because the Buccaneers won't play until Sunday night and they are also expected to get several of their top receivers back versus the Chiefs, making Gage's role in the offense uncertain.
San Francisco 49ers running back Tyrion Davis-Price (ankle) has been ruled out for the Week 4 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. This marks his second game in a row that he's forced to miss due to a high-ankle sprain. The expectation is that Jeff Wilson Jr. will continue being the lead back in San Francisco. He played 73% of the offensive snaps during Week 3. Wilson should be considered a low-end RB2 for this upcoming matchup. Jordan Mason is expected to back him up, but won't have much value with Wilson playing over 70% of the snaps.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (ribs) continues to play through fractured rib cartilage, but he is progressing. The organization mentioned that they plan on being more aggressive with their play-calling in Week 4 against the Houston Texans. Clearly, they trust that Herbert is healthy enough that they don't need to limit their playbook. Fantasy managers should expect a strong outing from Herbert in Week 4. He'll play a winless Texans defense, so Herbert should be considered a strong QB1 for this one.
New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (knee) is set to make his season debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4. The second-year quarterback missed the first three games after suffering a meniscus injury and a bone bruise in his knee during the preseason. Surprisingly, the Jets have looked halfway decent with veteran Joe Flacco under center. Despite that, Wilson will get the keys to the offense going forward. However, the organization is tempering their expectations for Wilson in his return. The 23-year-old does have potential, but remains a low-end QB2 right now.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul plans on making his team debut against the Buffalo Bills in Week 4. The veteran linebacker signed with the team last week. The Ravens are in desperate need of help after losing three linebackers due to injury. The expectation is Pierre-Paul will immediately slide into a significant role on defense. This doesn't completely fix their problems, but the addition of Pierre-Paul should help ease the loss of the other players.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. (hamstring) is expected to make his NFL debut against the New York Giants in Week 4. The third-round rookie has missed the first three weeks due to a lingering hamstring issue. Luckily, it sounds like he's ready to go here, which is a boost for the Bears offense. Although, the Bears have thrown the ball only 45 times through the first three games. Jones appears to be more of a deep league stash or dynasty hold right now. It's unlikely he has much fantasy value right out of the gate.
Los Angeles Chargers pass rusher Joey Bosa (groin) underwent surgery and is expected to miss roughly 8-10 weeks of action. The star defender suffered a torn groin in Week 3 and was immediately placed on the injured reserve. At this moment, it doesn't sound like Bosa is going to be back until the final month of the season. Luckily, the Chargers have Khalil Mack who has four sacks in three games. They will lean on Mack to do a majority of the damage without Bosa available. The loss of Bosa does make this defense less appealing to fantasy managers looking for a defense to stream.
Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt (calf) is expected to play in Week 4's game versus the Carolina Panthers, according to a source. Watt had been listed as questionable on the injury report after logging just one limited practice session during the week.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (thumb) is eyeing a potential return for the Week 5 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. There was a report last week that Prescott was pushing to play in Week 4. However, the organization doesn't want to push it and Week 5 is a more realistic timetable. The 29-year-old underwent surgery following the Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Cowboys have surprisingly been able to stay afloat with Cooper Rush under center. Although, these offense would obviously improve once Prescott returns.