Training Camp Week in Review, August 6th
Now that we are getting deeper into training camp, some of the position battles around the league are beginning to heat up. Here’s a look at how some of those battles are looking from a fantasy football perspective.
In Tennessee, the quarterback job looks like it’s second-year player Jake Locker’s job to lose. But veteran Matt Hasselbeck isn’t going to go down without a fight. Hasselbeck has looked good in practice, while Locker has struggled at times. If Locker struggles in Tennessee’s preseason opener Aug. 11 against Seattle, Hasselbeck could take the job back. Wide receiver Kenny Britt remains on the PUP list and could end up drawing a suspension after yet another run-in with the police in the offseason. That could open the door for big moves up by Nate Washington and rookie Kendall Wright.
In Miami, David Garrard is emerging as the favorite to be the Dolphins’ starting quarterback ahead of Matt Moore and rookie Ryan Tannehill. Moore finished the 2011 season as Miami’s starter, but Garrard has more of a proven track record. He won’t wow you with his stats, but he could hold onto the job this season while Tannehill spends the season learning the ropes.
In Green Bay, second-year wideout Randall Cobb has impressed and could be working his way up the depth chart. But it’s a crowded field. Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson are established starters, but Cobb could be working his way past aging Donald Driver and James Jones for the No. 3 spot. If that happens, his fantasy value shoots up considerably. Running back James Starks, meanwhile, was called out recently about his pass catching ability. Keep an eye on Alex Green, who could be a nice late-round sleeper.
In Pittsburgh, with Mike Wallace still a holdout, Emmanuel Sanders has moved into the starting lineup opposite Antonio Brown. Remember, Sanders was ahead of Brown on the depth chart heading into training camp in 2011 before a foot injury caused him to miss most of training camp. Sanders is in a contract year and looking for a big year and could surprise as a No. 3 fantasy receiver.
In Seattle, look for Matt Flynn to emerge as the team’s starting quarterback. Reports are that he has looked the best among Tavaris Jackson and rookie Russell Wilson. Rookie running back Robert Turbin, meanwhile, has looked good in training camp and could wind up starting some games if Marshawn Lynch is suspended for an offseason DUI as expected.
In New Orleans, all reports say that running back Mark Ingram is healthy and looking good. Ingram figures to get the majority of the carries near the goal line in what promises to be a potent offense once again. It wouldn’t be enough to make him a No. 1, but he could have value as a second running back.
In Washington, Evan Royster has been getting most of the first-team carries at running back with Tim Hightower injured. Roy Helu is viewed as more of a change-of-pace runner by the coaching staff. Royster could be the latest running back to come out of nowhere for a 1,000-yard season under Mike Shanahan.
In Denver, it’s starting to look like Eric Decker, not Demaryius Thomas, is emerging as Peyton Manning’s favorite target. Given that it’s Manning, not Tim Tebow throwing the ball in Denver this season, Decker could be primed for a big season.
In Detroit, veteran Kevin Smith might win the starting running back job by default. Jahvid Best still hasn’t been cleared for contact as he comes back from a pair of concussions, while Mikel Leshoure has been battling hamstring issues.
In Tampa Bay, rookie running back Doug Martin opened camp as No. 1 on the depth chart ahead of LeGarrette Blount. At the very least, they are 1 and 1A. But expect Martin, who is much more versatile, to win the job. The new coaching staff isn’t enamored with Blount’s nine fumbles in the past two seasons.
In Buffalo, the battle is on for the No. 2 receiver position behind Steve Johnson. The contenders are Donald Jones, Marcus Easley and T.J. Graham. Easley (6-2, 217 pounds) has reportedly looked the best of the group. With his size, he could be a nice red zone target.
Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter and will be providing weekly recaps throughout the preseason.