With no preseason we will only be able to use training camp to judge players, here we look at the big stories from the week ending 29th August 2020.
Going into the second full week of padded practice, we edge closer and closer to the start of the NFL season. Teams are slowly but surely putting together their final rosters for the season ahead. Considering all situations under the current climate we are all faced with, including the 77 “False-Positive” tests this past weekend. Questions have been asked about any similar situations happening during the season that will affect these rosters- particularly close to game day.
Here are just some of the stories from this week’s training camps across the NFL. From injury concerns, to just plain hype from beat writers and coaches across the league.
Training Camp Stories 29th August 2020 – Player Focus
Cleveland: Baker Mayfield
NFL Network interviewed QB Baker Mayfield this week. The main points were around his offseason lifestyle change, along with his relationship with Odell Beckham Jr. I wanted to take a look at the pair and what we can expect for the season ahead.
After a poor sophomore season, the pressure is on Mayfield. Along with what felt like a poor season from Beckham, both will be feeling the heat. They have indeed worked out together quite a bit during the offseason, and the hope is there that they can not only improve on their own games, but also help improve each other’s.
At present, in single QB leagues, Baker is deemed a streaming option in a positive matchup.
Cleveland: Odell Beckham
Odell Beckham. A player we all know creates a mountain of hype, not just in the offseason but all year round. Beckham on his day is right up there with the best in the business. Capable of almost anything on the field, but.. what can we expect this season?
Well, listening to OBJ he is playing with a lot of grudges, specifically media based. He feels he needs to prove a point to those who believe he will fail. While he does have a lot to say about these situations, he has the skills to back up his talk. Quite simply, if he is on the same page as Mayfield, he will go off this season. Giving us the bounce-back season that fantasy owners want to see.
Training Camp Stories 29th August 2020 – Injuries
There have been quite a few eye raisers this week. Here are some that stand out to me as worth keeping an eye on. As well as the potential situation faced if there is any time taken out for any of these players;
David Montgomery (RB, CHI)
One injury that raised a lot of eyebrows causing concern this week was that of David Montgomery. At first, the worst was feared. However, scans have now confirmed that Montgomery has suffered a groin strain. Meaning that he will be out for approximately 2 – 4 weeks. Giving him a chance to make the first game of the season.
The Bears could make a move and sign another running back to the roster. But I would expect Tarik Cohen to see an increase in the running game early on.
Kenyan Drake (RB, ARI)
Kenyan Drake was spotted sporting a walking boot this past Monday. However, it was reported by coach Kliff Kingsbury as a precaution.
Assuming this is just a precaution, we don’t need to act hastily to replace Drake. However, owning Chase Edmunds would be a plus. Kingsbury had some positive words about Edmunds recently to back this up.
Dionte Johnson (WR, PIT)
Johnson has reportedly missed a series of practices due to a calf issue he has been having. Like many other teams, however, the Steelers are downplaying this one and are not deeming it serious. With Johnson expected to have a breakout season in his sophomore year, the Steelers may simply be taking this one easy. Not wanting to risk any of their projected starters unnecessarily.
Either way, something to keep an eye on going into the season. With Johnson missing time, receivers James Washington and Chase Claypool will be getting added reps.
As with any season- hamstrings have become an issue. Tyreek Hill (WR, KC), A.J. Green (WR, CIN) and Brandon Aiyuk (WR, SF) are the latest to fall. All three have been all been limited over the past week.
Camp reports have confirmed that both Hill and Green have been participating in running drills. While 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has claimed Aiyuk’s hamstring strain is mild. Good news for all teams that their star receiver’s seem to be on the mend- especially for the 49ers.
If you have any of these players and are concerned for you fantasy team, or are drafting soon, some late round back ups would include;
- Sammy Watkins
- Mecole Hardman
- John Ross
- Auden Tate
- Tee Higgins
Aiyuk is already being classified as a later round pick. Despite the spike in his average draft position with Deebo Samuel being injured earlier in the summer.
Training Camp Stories 29th August 2020 – Hype (Tight Ends)
Just a small sample of some of the training camp hype we are seeing daily. How we should perceive these breaking news articles from beat writers and the coach speak being reported.
Logan Thomas (TE, WAS)
Throughout camp the talk from Washington is that Logan Thomas is stepping up. As part of a tight end group that doesn’t really cause any excitement for our fantasy teams.
With reports that he is finding a connection with quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr., the Washington Football Team seem positive he can make an impact this season. In fantasy terms, however, I would approach this one with caution. I would expect Thomas to go un-drafted in quite a lot of re-draft leagues. At best he may become a tight end that can be picked up through the season to be streamed during bye weeks.
Tyler Eifert (TE, JAX)
Eifert, now of the Jacksonville Jaguars finds himself on a new team for the 2020 season. With a career riddled with injury, he has shown us in spells that he can produce at a top-level. Putting up some games that can help win your weekly matchups.
Do we take a gamble on him in fantasy though? Well, similar to Logan Thomas, it is likely Eifert will go un-drafted in many leagues. I do, however, prefer his situation over Thomas.
Image Credit: Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports