Mon Jul 25 11:37am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Gallup could be slowed early
This is the fifth 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 Eagles made some moves this offseason, hoping to bring their team to a new level. The big move was adding receiver A.J. Brown, giving Jalen Hurts an elite receiver on his side. This should be a huge boost to the offense. Expectations are going to be very high for the Eagles. The big thing to watch this camp will be the development of Hurts. Philadelphia needs Hurts to up his game if they hope to improve and make a run at the Super Bowl. Hurts and his teammates train at the Philadelphia Eagles NovaCare Training Complex in Philadelphia, Pa.
Position battle: Miles Sanders is fully expected to start, but the Eagles aren’t going to just hand him the job. He has been up and down in a starting role and the Eagles have never fully committed to him as their No. 1 back. So he will get some competition from Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott for work. Hopefully, Sanders can separate himself from the competition, but this hasn’t happened to date. It is a situation to watch.
Injury watch: Miles Sanders has missed time because of injury each of the past two seasons, missing nine games during that stretch. He has yet to prove he can withstand a full season as a three-down back in the NFL. Sanders needs to shed that label if he hopes to start and play a big role in the Eagles offense this season.
The Giants made a lot of moves this offseason, most notably adding coach Brian Daboll. He is considered a great offensive mind, so the Giants hope he can transform an offense that struggled last year. Much of the focus for camp watchers should be how Daboll impacts players on that side of the ball, especially guys like Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay. We will get to see all the Giants in action at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center at East Rutherford, N.J.
Position battle: The Giants have a lot of receivers, looking to grab playing time this year. It really is up in the air, especially if you consider the team has a new coaching staff. They are going to play the guys that catch their eye and deserve the work. Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and Wan’Dale Robinson are all candidates to earn significant playing time this year. And whoever starts should have some fantasy value in an offense that has a chance to be much improved.
Injury watch: Sterling Shepard is returning from a torn Achilles’ tendon suffered in Week 15 last season. He has a long road back but is holding out some hope he might be ready for Week 1. That might be a little wishful thinking, but there is a chance. He also could miss some games to start the year because of the injury. This is an injury situation to watch during training camp. HIs status is up in the air for the start of the season.
There are always high expectations for the Cowboys and this year will be no different. Dallas has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball and an owner that can be impatient. This could be a make or break year for the coaching staff. They will need to get the Cowboys performing in a hurry if they hope to make a long run in the playoffs this year. Dallas trains at the Marriott Residence Inn in Oxnard, Calif.
Position battle: Michael Gallup is not expected to be ready for the start of the season, leaving an opening for the other starting job opposite CeeDee Lamb. The two top candidates for that job are James Washington and Jalen Tolbert. There is a lot of buzz for Tolbert right now, but he is going to need to keep making plays and showing well in camp. Washington is an established veteran with past starting experience, so don’t discount him to start over Tolbert. This isn’t a given right now.
Injury watch: Michael Gallup is trying to return from a torn ACL. He is holding out hope to be ready for Week 1, but nothing is set for him right now. Gallup has a real chance to miss a few games to start the year as he recovers from his serious knee injury. We should get a better idea of his injury status during camp and preseason action, though. If Gallup is out there practicing and looking good, don’t count him out to be ready for Week 1.
Washington had a lot of turmoil with their day to day operations once again, so hopefully this doesn’t the team on the field. It hasn’t in the past, but you never know. The team has a new quarterback once again, hoping to have solved that problem that has plagued the team in recent years. Carson Wentz now gets to take over and try to establish himself as the franchise quarterback. He should be the big talk of camp, trying to bring more consistency to the offense. Washington has training camp at The Park in Ashburn, Va.
Position battle: Terry McLaurin is the No. 1 receiver and top target for Washington, but the other starter is up for grabs. Curtis Samuel was a big addition to this roster last season but couldn’t stay healthy. The Commanders drafted Jahan Dotson this season, adding more talent to the receiver room. Dotson should have a good chance to start from day one, but Samuel has a track record and the coaching staff likes him. Samuel could keep that starting job if he proves to be healthy and is making plays on the field.
Injury watch: Starting tight end Logan Thomas tore both his ACL and MCL last season. He has made good progress from the injury, though, and could be ready for Week 1. But there seems a better chance that Thomas will miss some time early in the year. He has a long history of injury, so the Commanders won’t rush him back unless he is fully healthy.
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 email@example.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson caught 10 passes for 147 yards and added a three-yard rushing touchdown as he totaled 31.0 PPR fantasy points. Jefferson got back on track in a huge way after having two straight duds despite the tough matchup with a stingy Saints defense. The 23-year-old was able to connect on two explosive plays, with the most important play of the game being a 41-yard reception to get the Vikings in field goal range to win the game. Jefferson will continue to possess high-end WR1 value moving forward and will look to build on a strong performance in Week 5 against the Bears.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen caught eight passes for 72 yards in the 28-25 victory over the Saints in Week 4. Thielen was the clear No. 2 option in the passing game, as he was second to Justin Jefferson's 14 targets with nine of his own. Moving forward, Thielen looks like a low-end WR2 option because of his prominent role in the Minnesota offense. He'll look to build on a solid performance in Week 5 against an exploitable Bears defense.
Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. caught three of four targets for 23 yards in Week 4 against a tough Saints defense. The 24-year-old wasn't a big part of the offense in this one, as Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen combined for 24 targets on 38 pass attempts. Moving forward, Smith Jr. can be valued as a TE2 option with streaming appeal against good matchups. He'll look to get back on track in Week 5 against the Bears.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott (rib) is inactive for Week 4 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, as expected. The 27-year-old had totaled 10 rushes, 29 yards, and one touchdown through the first two weeks. With Scott sidelined, Trey Sermon will be active for his Eagles debut behind Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 25-of-38 passes for 273 yards and a touchdown in the team's Week 4 win over the Saints. The Vikings' offense looked out of sync at some points of this game, but Cousins was able to connect with Justin Jefferson on a 41-yard pass late in the game to set up a game-winning field goal. The veteran's fantasy production in this one wasn't eye-popping, but the tough matchup with the Saints shouldn't discourage fantasy managers from starting Cousins in the coming weeks. He gets a good matchup with the Bears in Week 5 and can be valued as a low-end QB1.
Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook carried the ball 20 times for 76 yards and caught two passes for 10 yards in the team's Week 4 win over the Saints. Cook came into this game banged-up, but his hefty workload is an encouraging sign for his fantasy value moving forward. The 27-year-old figures to have RB1 value despite a bit of a slow start to the season. He'll look to get loose against a poor Bears defense in Week 5 back at home.
Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt (calf, heart) is officially active for Week 4 against the Carolina Panthers. On Sunday morning, Watt personally announced that he went into atrial fibrillation this past Wednesday, had his heart "shocked back into rhythm" on Thursday, and will play this week. The 33-year-old has amassed three tackles and two sacks through two games this season.
New York Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams (knee) is officially inactive for Week 4 against the Chicago Bears. The 28-year-old has totaled seven tackles through just two games this season. Jihad Ward and Nick Williams will take over for Williams during Sunday's matchup against a weak Bears offense.
Houston Texans tight ends Brevin Jordan (ankle) and Pharaoh Brown (shoulder) are both inactive for the Week 4 contest against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. With both Jordan and Brown out for this one, the Texans will roll with a combination of Jordan Akins and O.J. Howard at the position. Howard had two touchdowns in his team debut in the season opener, but he's had just one catch for seven yards on two targets in the two games since. Meanwhile, Akins caught three of his four targets for 31 yards and one touchdown in his season debut in last week's loss to the Chicago Bears. In a weak Texans offense, both Akins and Howard are low-upside, touchdown-dependent TE2 streamers in fantasy.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz (knee) is officially active for Week 4 against the Washington Commanders. The 26-year-old missed last week's game and was listed as questionable ahead of this Sunday's divisional clash. Schultz should be viewed as a TE1 in fantasy football thanks to his role as a physical security blanket for Cooper Rush in the short passing game.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Jalen Tolbert (coach's decision) is inactive for Week 4 against the Washington Commanders. While Tolbert was active last week, he now loses his gameday roster spot to Michael Gallup (knee), who will make his season debut on Sunday. Tolbert drew plenty of praise during the preseason but has struggled to make a name for himself in September.
New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram (undisclosed) left the Week 4 game because of an undisclosed injury but was able to return in the fourth quarter of the game.
Fantasy Spin: Ingram has been the starting running back with Alvin Kamara sidelined and appears to be fine after leaving the game. He can be at least a flex option in leagues as long as he receives most of the work at running back.
Jacksonville Jaguars WR Zay Jones (ankle) is not active for Week 4's game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Fantasy Spin: Jones had been listed as questionable on the injury report after missing one of the team's three practice sessions during the week and being limited in another session. WR Marvin Jones should see additional targets in Zay Jones' absence and can be a middling flex option this afternoon in deeper fantasy leagues.
The Cleveland Browns have declared OT Joe Haeg, DE Jadeveon Clowney, QB Kellen Mond, DT Taven Bryan, OG Chris Hubbard, WR Michael Woods II and DE Myles Garrett inactive for Week 4.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Josh Reynolds (ankle) is officially active for Week 4 against the Seattle Seahawks. The 27-year-old is expected to be one of the Lions' top pass-catching options with Amon-Ra St. Brown, D.J. Charkand D'Andre Swift all inactive due to ankle injuries. Reynolds hauled in six of 10 passes for 96 yards last week and should continue to see a high volume of targets this Sunday. With his newfound role, Reynolds falls into the WR3 range for the time being.
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Donald Parham Jr. (hamstring) is once again inactive in Week 4 against the Houston Texans after coming in with a questionable tag. Parham will have to wait until a Week 5 matchup against the Cleveland Browns to make his season debut. The good news is the 25-year-old put in a full practice on Friday, so it would seem he has a good chance to be active next week, barring a setback. Veteran Gerald Everett will continue to serve as the Bolts' top pass-catching tight end this Sunday. The 28-year-old has been a decent streamer at the tight end position through three weeks with 11 catches on 20 targets for 150 yards and a touchdown.
Chicago Bears rookie wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. (hamstring) is officially active for Week 4 against the New York Giants. He will make his NFL debut after missing the first three games of the season. While the Bears are thin at the wide receiver position, they don't throw the football much. As a result, Jones should be left on waivers in redraft leagues.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Bryan Edwards is a healthy scratch for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns. Edwards has one catch for two yards through two games this season. Kyle Pitts, Drake London, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Olamide Zaccheaus should headline the receiving game in this one.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabe Davis (ankle) and tight end Dawson Knox (back, hip) are both officially active for the Week 4 contest against the Baltimore Ravens. Both players came into this one with questionable tags but were fully expected to play, so fantasy managers should keep them locked into their starting lineups. Davis returned in the Week 3 loss to the Miami Dolphins and caught three of six targets for just 37 yards. The 23-year-old isn't fully healthy, though, but he'll work opposite Stefon Diggs on the outside against a Ravens secondary that has given up a lot of passing yards early on. Knox hasn't done a ton yet in fantasy, catching only nine receptions for 71 yards through three games. He'll be a low-end TE1/high-end TE2 option for fantasy managers against Baltimore.
Baltimore Ravens running back Kenyan Drake and left tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle) are both inactive for Week 4 against the Buffalo Bills. With J.K. Dobbins playing in his second straight game, Drake will be a healthy scratch for the second straight week. Stanley is still recovering from season-ending ankle surgery he had last year and will have to wait to make his season debut until next week, at the earliest. The 28-year-old practiced in full on Wednesday and Thursday but was a DNP on Friday, so he's trending in the right direction. In addition to Drake and Stanley, outside linebacker Justin Houston (groin) is inactive after coming into this one with a doubtful tag.