Training Camp Preview: NFC South

Wed Jul 27 10:52am ET
Sr Fantasy Writer

Related photo caption below

Thomas continues to battle injury

This is the seventh 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 Falcons will be without longtime quarterback Matt Ryan for the first time in a long time. So the big storyline of this camp will be the quarterback spot. Marcus Mariota is expected to take over but rookie Desmond Ridder could also be in the mix. Either way, a new player will be at the helm at the most important position on the team. There will be plenty of pressure on this new player. Atlanta holds their training camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flowery Branch, Ga.

Position battle: The Falcons have a lot of openings at receiver this year. Calvin Ridley is suspended for the entire season, leaving a huge hole at the position. The team drafted Drake London to serve a big role, but after him, it is Bryan Edwards, Olamide Zaccheaus, Auden Tate and Damiere Byrd are the top candidates to start opposite London. This is a wide open battle with a lot of similar options looking to start. 

Injury watch: Calvin Ridley has been indefinitely suspended through the conclusion of the 2022 season for gambling. He can appeal the suspension, though, so that is something to watch going forward. There is a slight chance he could get the suspension reduced because his gambling offense seems pretty minor. We might get more clarity on it all before camp is out. This is a situation to watch. 


New Orleans is another team that will be without a franchise staple at quarterback for the first time in several season. Drew Brees hung it up, leaving Jameis Winston as the new quarterback for the team. Winston will have a lot of pressure on him, taking over for one of the best quarterbacks of all time. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out in New Orleans. Winston and his teammates train at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center in Metairie, La. 

Position battle: The Saints gave Adam Trautman a shot to start much of last year but he wasn’t great in that role. He should get first shot again this year, but won’t be handed anything. He will need to earn that job. Juwan Johnson and Taysom Hill should be the top competition for Trautman. We should get a better idea of this position battle as camp practices get underway and preseason games get started. 

Injury watch: Michael Thomas didn’t play at all last year as he continued to be slowed by an ankle injury. He played just seven games the previous year. He is going to open camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list to start, which is not a great start for Thomas. The Saints don’t expect him to be on that list long, though. He should be practicing before long. Either way, his health is one to watch. If healthy and playing like his old self, Thomas can be an elite fantasy player. 


The Panthers had a disappointing season last year, mainly because of inconsistent quarterback play and injury. Those should be the big issues to watch in camp for the Panthers. The Panthers will have a two quarterbacks batting it out to start. And Christian McCaffrey is healthy for now, but his injury issues the last few seasons really slowed the entire offense. It is essential for McCaffrey to be healthy if the Panthers hope to have a successful season. The Panthers hold their training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C. 

Position battle: As mentioned, the Panthers will have quarterback battle on their hands this camp. Baker Mayfield is a heavy favorite to win, but the Panthers want him to earn the job. He will need to hold off Sam Darnold, who disappointed with his chances last year. Darnold will need to take a big step forward this year if he hopes to beat out Mayfield. 

Injury watch: Christian McCaffrey might be the most important player on the Panthers. Unfortunately, he has played just 10 games the past two seasons. He has battled various injuries, which is a big concern for potential fantasy owners. McCaffrey has the potential to be the top fantasy player in the game if he is able to play a full season. That is a big “if” after his last two years, though. 


The Bucs likely get one more year out of Tom Brady, hoping to make another run at the Super Bowl. Tampa certainly has the pieces on both sides of the ball to win it all. Much of season might depend on Brady. If he can still keep performing at his usual level, this team will be tough to beat once again. Does Brady still have it in him at age 45, though? That is the question. Brady and company will start their quest for another Super Bowl at the AdventHealth Training Center in Tampa, Fla.

Position battle: Rob Gronkowski decided to retire once again, giving the Bucs an opening at their staring tight end spot. There are three candidates to start, including Kyle Rudolph, Cameron Brate and Cade Otton. Rudolph seems the most likely candidate to start, but his lack of production the last few years is a bit of a concern. He will need to show well in camp and preseason action to hold off the other two candidates. 

Injury watch: Chris Godwin suffered a torn ACL late last season, putting the start of his season this year in jeopardy. Godwin is making great progress from his injury, though, and is not even being placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list as camp opens. This is a great sign for Godwin. The Bucs still might be cautious with their star receiver, though, bringing him along slowly early in the year. It is no sure thing he is in the lineup Week 1. 

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 Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

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Under the Radar Plays: Week 4

Player Notes
Luke Musgrave Sep 28 10:30pm ET
Luke Musgrave

Updating a previous report, Green Bay Packers rookie tight end Luke Musgrave (concussion) will not return on Thursday night against the Detroit Lions after being evaluated for a concussion. Before injuring his head in the second quarter, Musgrave caught his only target for one yard. It's a tough break for any fantasy managers that started the 23-year-old in Week 4. With Musgrave now out the rest of the way Thursday night, rookie Tucker Kraft, who has two catches for five yards, should have a bigger role as the Packers look to make a major comeback. The good news for Musgrave is that he'll have extra time recover from his head injury before the team's next game in Week 5 on Monday night against the Las Vegas Raiders on Oct. 9.

From RotoBaller

Brian Branch Sep 28 10:30pm ET
Brian Branch

Detroit Lions rookie defensive back Brian Branch (ankle) is questionable to return to the Thursday night game at Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers due to an ankle injury he suffered in the third quarter. Branch walked off the field very gingerly and had to be carted to the locker room, so it looked like his night was done. However, he came back out shortly afterwards and was seen having his ankle taped on the sideline. With the Lions up big in the second half, it seems unlikely that the talented 21-year-old will return to the contest. If he doesn't make it back, Brandon Joseph will see more playing time the rest of the way against the Packers. Branch could be questionable to play in Week 5 at home against the Carolina Panthers, although he'll have extra time to heal up before that game.

From RotoBaller

Kyle Pitts Sep 28 10:10pm ET
Kyle Pitts

Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts was able to have some success during last week's loss to the Detroit Lions. The young tight end hauled in five of his nine targets for 41 yards in the loss. Pitts still has yet to top 45 yards in any game this season, but maybe he'll do it in Week 4. He does have a favorable matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars defense this week. Clearly, the Falcons are trying to get Pitts more involved in the offense. He'll be a borderline TE1 for the upcoming Week 4 matchup.

From RotoBaller

Drake London Sep 28 10:00pm ET
Drake London

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Drake London is off to a slow beginning to the season. The young wideout has only 98 yards on 15 targets through the first three games. It's not all his fault as the Falcons offense as failed to move the ball successfully through the air. That being said, London is looking like a risky fantasy option right now. He'll head into a decent matchup versus the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 4. Fantasy managers should consider London as a low-end WR3 for this matchup.

From RotoBaller

Luke Musgrave Sep 28 9:50pm ET
Luke Musgrave

Green Bay Packers rookie tight end Luke Musgrave (concussion) is heading to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion. The young tight end was banged up during the first half of Thursday's Week 4 matchup versus the Detroit Lions. It's uncertain at the moment if Musgrave will be able to return to the contest. That would be a shame considering the rookie tight end was coming off his best game of his career. The Packers will likely have to ask fellow tight end Josiah Deguara to pick up the slack in the absence of Musgrave.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Allgeier Sep 28 9:50pm ET
Tyler Allgeier

Atlanta Falcons running back Tyler Allgeier came out of the gate quick with a strong performance during the season opener. Since then, Allgeier has slowed down with only 60 yards on 23 carries over his last two games. That good news is, Allgeier appears to have a weekly role in this backfield. However, Bijan Robinson might continue to pull away as the lead back. That means, Allgeier might not have much fantasy value for long, assuming he doesn't pick up his performance. He won't be an ideal fantasy option for the Week 4 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Allgeier should be considered a RB4 for this game.

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Bijan Robinson Sep 28 9:40pm ET
Bijan Robinson

Atlanta Falcons running back Bijan Robinson was bottled up for the first time during the Week 3 loss to the Detroit Lions. The rookie back was held to 33 yards on 10 attempts, while hauling in four receptions for an additional 27 yards in Week 3. It could've been a bigger game for Robinson, but the Falcons had to abandon the run in the second half of the game. Fantasy managers should expect Robinson to rebound versus the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 4. He should be considered a RB1 as the Falcons will continue to lean on the rookie back.

From RotoBaller

Desmond Ridder Sep 28 9:30pm ET
Desmond Ridder

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder had a tough time finding any success during the Week 3 loss to the Detroit Lions. The second-year quarterback continues to make too many mistakes under center. Ridder took seven sacks last week, while overthrowing his wide receivers on countless occasions. It's hard to imagine him having much more success against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 4. Right now, Ridder can be avoided in most standard leagues. He does have potential, so he's worth holding in dynasty leagues, but he hasn't put it all together yet.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Higbee Sep 28 9:20pm ET
Tyler Higbee

Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee (Achilles) was unable to suit up for Thursday's practice session. Higbee has now missed back-to-back practices as he continues to deal with a lingering Achilles issue. This is not good news ahead of Sunday's Week 4 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. There's still a chance that Higbee plays, so Friday's practice session will go a long way to determining his status. Otherwise, Brycen Hopkins and Davis Allen would likely split up the reps at tight end, assuming Higbee is unable to go.

From RotoBaller

Will Dissly Sep 28 9:10pm ET
Will Dissly

Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly (shoulder) was a limited participant during Thursday's practice. Dissly was able to get out on the practice field after head coach Pete Carroll said he was going to be sidelined. Dissly continues to deal with a lingering shoulder issue that he suffered during Week 2. The fact Dissly was able to practice gives some hope that he could play Monday night versus the New York Giants. Otherwise, Noah Fant and Cody Parkinson would likely split up the reps at tight end.

From RotoBaller

D.K. Metcalf Sep 28 8:40pm ET
D.K. Metcalf

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (ribs) did not take part in the team's first practice of the week on Thursday. Metcalf took a hard shot to his ribs in Week 2 in the overtime win over the Detroit Lions, but he was able to suit up in the Week 3 win over the Carolina Panthers. The 25-year-old saw fewer snaps last Sunday, but he remained productive with six catches for 112 yards. Metcalf will likely be rested for a few days before returning to practice on Saturday and playing on Monday night on the road in New York against the Giants. He's still one of the most physical pass-catchers in football and will continue to be a top target for quarterback Geno Smith in Seattle's passing game. As long as Metcalf is active, he's a must-start in fantasy lineups.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Love Sep 28 8:40pm ET
Jordan Love

Green Bay Packers All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) had arthroscopic left-knee surgery on Wednesday and was placed on Injured Reserve on Thursday, according to sources. Another surgery is planned for Bakhtiari in the coming weeks, which will be aimed at allowing him to play at full strength next year. Bakhtiari will miss at least the next four games, but his return this season is now uncertain. The 31-year-old probably won't be back in 2023, which is a big loss on inexperienced quarterback Jordan Love's blind side. The Packers are missing a few other key offensive-line regulars on Thursday night against the Detroit Lions. Rasheed Walker will start at left tackle moving forward for Green Bay.

From RotoBaller

Rondale Moore Sep 28 8:30pm ET
Rondale Moore

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rondale Moore could start seeing more work out of the backfield as the coaching staff tries to utilize his speed and shiftiness. Moore's big-play ability showed itself when he blazed his way to a 45-yard rushing touchdown in the Week 3 upset of the Dallas Cowboys. However, his usage as a runner will be something to monitor because of his size (5-foot-7, 180 pounds). Moore has lined up as an RB 13 times after lining up as a runner just nine times last year. "You look at stuff he's done in his past and look at what he can do with the ball in his hands and how dynamic he can be," offensive coordinator Drew Petzing said. "You say, how many different ways can we get him in that position?"

From RotoBaller

Miles Sanders Sep 28 8:10pm ET
Miles Sanders

Carolina Panthers running back Miles Sanders (groin) put in yet another limited practice on Thursday. Sanders continues to put in limited practices early in the year, but he's not really in any danger of missing the team's Week 4 tilt against the Minnesota Vikings this weekend. The 26-year-old is Carolina's clear lead back through three weeks. He found the end zone for the first time (twice) in the Week 3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, but he produced only 24 rushing yards on nine carries and 38 receiving yards on five catches. Sanders should see an uptick in touches with rookie quarterback Bryce Young (ankle) returning this weekend, making him a volume-based RB2 for fantasy managers.

From RotoBaller

Cordarrelle Patterson Sep 28 8:10pm ET
Cordarrelle Patterson

Atlanta Falcons running back/wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (thigh) was listed as a limited participant in practice on Thursday. Patterson was also limited on Wednesday with an injury that has been bothering him since the preseason in August. As long as rookie Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier are healthy for Atlanta, Patterson is mostly going to be an afterthought in this offense. The 32-year-old veteran has yet to even make his season debut while he tries to get back to 100 percent health this fall. Even if Patterson is active and makes his 2023 debut this Sunday in London against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he should remain on the waiver wire in most fantasy leagues.

From RotoBaller

Breece Hall Sep 28 8:00pm ET
Breece Hall

New York Jets running back Breece Hall (knee) was listed as a full practice participant on Thursday for the first time this year. The Jets have been easing Hall back in ever since he tore his ACL in his rookie year in 2022, but he hasn't missed any games yet in 2023. The further the season goes, the healthier the 22-year-old should get, allowing the Jets to increase his workload in both practices and games. Dalvin Cook isn't just going to go away, though, and coupled with New York's sluggish offense under quarterback Zach Wilson, Hall's fantasy ceiling and floor have suffered. The good news is Hall should continue to see more playing time, but he faces another tough matchup this Sunday night against the visiting Kansas City Chiefs.

From RotoBaller

Jonathan Mingo Sep 28 8:00pm ET
Jonathan Mingo

Carolina Panthers wide receivers DJ Chark Jr. (hamstring) and Jonathan Mingo (concussion) were both limited at practice on Thursday. Chark was rested on Wednesday before returning to a limited showing Thursday. The 27-year-old had a strong day in the Week 3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, catching four of his 11 targets for 86 yards and a touchdown, but it also came with backup quarterback Andy Dalton at the helm. Most of his damage is going to come deep down the field, and he'll be more unpredictable with rookie QB Bryce Young (ankle) returning this week against the Minnesota Vikings. Mingo is even more of a dice roll as a flex option in deeper leagues, and he still needs to clear the concussion protocol before getting the green light to play in Week 4.

From RotoBaller

James Conner Sep 28 7:40pm ET
James Conner

Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (back) was able to practice in full on Thursday after he was listed as limited in Wednesday's session. Meanwhile, running back Keaontay Ingram injured his neck and was added to the injury report as a limited participant. Conner isn't dealing with a serious issue and should be just fine to play this weekend in an extremely tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers on the road. The 28-year-old has looked good through three weeks, though, and should remain a volume-based RB2, at worst. Conner faces zero threat to his workload as the lead back in Arizona. In the first three games of 2023, he has 51 carries for 266 yards (5.2 yards per tote) and two touchdowns. He's also added seven receptions for 26 yards through the air.

From RotoBaller

David Njoku Sep 28 7:30pm ET
David Njoku

Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku is off to a slow start in 2023, having caught just 10 passes for 92 scoreless yards through three games. Njoku will look to break out against the Baltimore Ravens at home in Week 4. The Ravens will represent a tough challenge for Njoku, however, as they are allowing the second-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends through three weeks. Njoku can be an explosive playmaker at the tight-end position but this is a tough week to trust him. Treat him as a mid-range TE2 and don't hesitate to bench him if you have a better option on your bench.

From RotoBaller

Dustin Hopkins Sep 28 7:30pm ET
Dustin Hopkins

Cleveland Browns kicker Dustin Hopkins is off to a nice start this year, having made seven of his eight field goals and all four of his extra points for his new team. That includes him hitting both of his field goals, including a 52-yarder, against the Tennessee Titans in Week 3. Hopkins will look to keep it going against the Baltimore Ravens at home in Week 4. Baltimore has been generous to opposing kickers in fantasy through three weeks as they are allowing the third-most fantasy points per game to the position so far. Hopkins sets up as a top-20 fantasy option for Week 4.

From RotoBaller