Fantasy players to watch in training camp
For a lot of the fantasy football options out there, we already know what to expect. Short of injury, what is training camp really likely to tell you about, say, the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers? He’s an excellent NFL quarterback who has many weapons. No amount of training camp success or failure is going to move his draft position more than a spot or two in the overall average draft positions.
But there are many other players for whom training camp and the preseason matter a great deal. Will this guy be featured in his offense? Will that one have to split time? Who will win this position battle?
In the weeks leading up to training camp, our Dan Schneier is running through some of the biggest names to monitor as the league moves toward training camp. These guys all have roles to one degree or another, but the way their teams use them in camp could tell us a lot about their ultimate fantasy value. These are the guys who could see massive swings in their ADP as the season draws closer.
(Update Aug. 30: Dan Schneier revisited this list after camp to see what changed and what didn’t, who saw the developments he anticipated and who slipped. You can see his AFC and NFC recaps for more.)
The question marks run the gamut in the AFC East, from a big-name veteran tight end in New England to second-year skill players in Miami to a little-used free agent running back in New York. Training camp should tell us a lot about all four.
How might the Eagles plan to use Ryan Mathews and Jordan Matthews under a new coaching staff and with a new offensive system? And what can we glean from training camp on two highly regarded rookies?
The top tier of receivers in this division is pretty established, but the next step down features some rookies and younger players whose roles will become much clearer in the preseason. On top of that, the Cleveland running game could certainly stand to offer some clarity.
It’s all running backs in this division, as we wonder about a rookie in Chicago, a second-year back in Detroit, a third-year guy in Minnesota and a fourth-year should-be star in Green Bay.
An under-the-radar first-round draft pick. A second-year player with breakout potential. A free agent who could be his team’s No. 1 receiver. And a once-star tight end coming off an injury-plagued season. It’s an interest cast of question marks in the AFC South.
This division is all about the pass-catchers. Will free agents in Atlanta and New Orleans be worth the price tags? Can a mild rookie disappointment in Carolina develop into a fantasy producer? And in Tampa Bay, will there be a fourth receiving weapon behind the trio of Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins?
In Kansas City, Denver and Oakland, we have running backs to watch, as battles between Latavius Murray and DeAndre Washington, C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker, and Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West (for the backup spot) will tell fantasy owners a lot in the coming weeks. That, plus the role new Charger Travis Benjamin could play in the offense.
A pair of 49ers come under the microscope, with questions of how their usage might change under new head coach Chip Kelly. We’re also wondering about a rookie receiver in Los Angeles and a second-year running back with injury questions in Seattle.