Training Camp Preview: 8 Burning Questions in the NFC East and NFC North

Jul 26, 2016
Training Camp Preview: 8 Burning Questions in the NFC East and NFC North

Missed the first two parts of my Training Camp previews? Here are Part 1 and Part 2.

NFC East

Will Pierre Garcon continue to start for the Redskins?
Redskins beat writer Mike Jones says that Garcon makes “tough catches” and has done “nothing but produce” since joining the team, so he’ll continue to start. Garcon was the #31 WR last year in PPR formats and is the 65th receiver off the board. It looks like he’s turning into the next Anquan Boldin.

Who starts at tight end for the Giants? Is Rashad Jennings the lead back?
Tye essentially took over as the Giants’ starter in Week 8, and was the #13 tight end in standard formats from that point on. From Week 9 to Week 17, he had the 12th-most targets at his position. If he wins the job this summer, he’ll be a good late-round target for owners looking for a value TE. Larry Donnell had his moments in 2014, but wasn’t very productive to start the 2015 season. Tye reportedly “caught everything” in OTAs.

At running back, you wouldn’t know it by his ADP, but Jennings finished the season as the #22 RB in PPR formats. Then-OC Ben McAdoo abandoned his ponderous four-headed RB committee in the final month of the season and instead fed the ball to Jennings, who responded with 521 total yards and two touchdowns in the the final four games. It’s not often that a clear starting running back is available in the 8th round or later, and Jennings is typically going in the 9th.

Terrance Williams or Brice Butler as the WR2 in Dallas?
According to beat writer Bryan Broaddus, Butler is Dez Bryant’s direct backup at the “X” spot, so he’s not a threat to Williams’ role at the “Z” spot. In 32 games with Tony Romo over the last three seasons, Williams has averaged 49 receiving yards and 0.47 TD per game, which are fringe WR3 numbers in PPR formats. Due to his big play ability, Williams is a good target in best ball formats.

NFC North

Who sees more targets – Stefon Diggs or Laquon Treadwell?
Treadwell has been going about a half-round ahead of Diggs, though players who do what Diggs did as a rookie (52-720-4) generally put up good numbers the following year. The primary issue here is that the Vikings are a run-oriented team and it doesn’t seem like Diggs has much upside from the 6.5 T/G that he saw in the final 13 games, given the addition of Treadwell.

Meanwhile, Treadwell comes in with a 1st-round pedigree and more size (6’2”) than Diggs, but lacks the on-the-job training that Diggs enjoyed last season. I currently have Diggs ranked a bit higher, but given the offense and competition, I’m not running out to draft either player right now.

Who wins the WR3 job in Green Bay?
Beat writer opinions on this subject are all over the place. Davante Adams flopped in his first season as a starter, while both Ty Montgomery and Jared Abbrederis played ahead of Jeff Janis for most of the season. Then Janis caught seven passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns against the Cardinals in the playoffs, indicating that he may be ready for a much larger role.

However, the Packers have showed little willingness to promote Janis. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel recently surmised that Janis is competing for a roster spot (as opposed to competing for starter’s snaps). Complicating matters, the Packers drafted speedster Trevor Davis in the 5th round. This is a camp battle to monitor closely in August, since the Packers run a lot of three-receiver sets.

Who’s the WR1 in Detroit?
With Calvin Johnson’s retirement, I believe Golden Tate has a chance to set a career-high in targets – remember, he had 144 in his first season with the Lions – so he’s the clear option in PPR formats. But things are somewhat closer in standard leagues, where Marvin Jones’s ability in the red zone should serve him well.

What sort of RB split will we see in Chicago?
The Bears saw enough from Langford to convince the team to let Matt Forte walk. Langford averaged 21.3 touches for 122 yards and 1.3 TD in the three games that Forte missed. He finished as the #23 RB in standard formats with a significant role even when Forte was healthy enough to play. He only averaged 3.6 YPC and caught just 22 of the 42 targets that came his way.

Moreover, he averaged about 17 carries in games that Forte missed. RB3 KaDeem Carey averaged 10 carries per game, which could indicate what sort of split we’ll see in 2016. The departure of OC Adam Gase complicates the situation, since John Fox does have a history of favoring a committee at the position.

Langford’s ADP has taken such a beating – it’s in the late 6th round now – that I think it’s a good time to buy. If rookie Jordan Howard is the primary concern, then he can be had as a handcuff in the 13th round.

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