Our 2023 NFL Training Camp News articles are intended to be a one-stop shop for the most important news from around the NFL during training camp. I’ll post a new Market Report every week during August to help our subscribers keep the pulse of what’s happening in the fantasy marketplace. I’ll update this article on a daily basis during the week so make sure to check back for the latest training camp buzz.
This article will focus mostly on news, beat reports, and injuries coming out of team practices. Be sure to check out Graham Barfield’s Preseason Reviews for key takeaways on player performances and playing time implications from preseason action.
ADP in this article is based on our ADP tool’s PPR setting, which pulls from NFFC drafts over the last 14 days.
CATCH UP ON PREVIOUS TRAINING CAMP MARKET REPORTS
INJURY UPDATES FROM PAST MARKET REPORTS
Kenneth Walker (RB, Sea) — Kenneth Walker picked up a groin injury in Seattle’s first training camp practice. Walker missed about a month’s time last season for a hernia procedure, which elevates concern about his groin issue. KWIII resumed running in a straight line on Aug. 9 and returned to individual drills on Aug. 12 and team drills on Aug. 17.
Jerome Ford (RB, Cle) — Ford left an Aug. 7 practice early with a hamstring injury, and HC Kevin Stefanski said his status is “week to week.” The injury is serious enough that the Browns signed Jordan Wilkins for additional RB depth behind Nick Chubb — Demetric Felton and John Kelly are the top backups while Ford is out.
Kendre Miller (RB, NO) — Miller suffered a knee sprain in New Orleans’ preseason opener but won’t need surgery, per Tom Pelissero. The sprain is to the same right knee that he injured in the Fiesta Bowl last December, which kept him out until training camp, but the Saints are optimistic he’ll be ready for the season opener. He’ll travel with the team to California for their second preseason game, and he returned to practice on Aug. 17. The Saints still signed Darrel Williams to help with their RB depth after sniffing around Kareem Hunt on Aug. 8.
Davante Adams (WR, LV) — Adams left an Aug. 11 practice with the 49ers early with a right leg injury, but HC Josh McDaniels said the issue wasn’t “crazy serious” after the joint practice with the 49ers. He took a hit from 49ers CB Charvarius Ward and limped off the field under his own power while favoring his right leg.
T.J. Hockenson (TE, Min) — Hockenson returned to practice on Aug. 14 after battling an ear infection. He sat out team drills in the early part of training camp for the mysterious issue, which led to some speculation he was holding in for a contract extension as he enters the fifth and final year of his rookie contract.
George Kittle (TE, SF) — Kittle will sit out practice for this week after straining his adductor last week. Kittle’s ADP (62, TE4) is too rich for a player who has missed 13 games the last three seasons in a run-heavy offense that’s loaded with star weapons.
Players whom we’re feeling more optimistic about based on training camp reports and injury news.
Joe Burrow (Cin) — Burrow left a July 27 practice early with a calf strain, which was the best-case scenario since video of the injury made it look like it could’ve been a more serious Achilles injury. HC Zac Taylor said Burrow would be out for “several weeks” but declined to answer when asked if his injury would affect his Week 1 status. The Bengals are taking their time with Burrow’s injury, especially given he’s the next quarterback in line to get a fat new contract. Taylor was once again vague when asked about his QB’s injury on Aug. 9, “The timeline is several weeks from when I said several weeks.” However, Burrow is getting closer to returning after holding a throwing session before Cincy’s Aug. 11 preseason game. As I preached when the next initially broke, there’s no reason to hit the panic button with the season more than three weeks away. Drafters took that advice to heart as his ADP (37, QB4) barely budged through mid-August. (Added 8/14)
Anthony Richardson (Ind) — The Colts ended all speculation about their quarterback job by officially naming their #4 overall pick, Richardson, as the team’s starter. Indianapolis didn’t slowplay their intentions for Richardson to be the starter, giving him the nod over Gardner Minshew in the preseason opener and handing him all first-team reps the day after he underwent surgery to correct his nasal septum. Richardson is quickly growing not just on the field. He’s packed on 8-10 pounds in muscle as the 21-year-old’s body continued to grow this summer, which puts him at 248-250 pounds. Richardson is going to take his lumps as a rookie — he’s coming off a bumpy preseason opener — but he presents elite rushing upside, which gives him legit low-end QB1 upside at a mid-QB2 ADP (125, QB16). (Added 8/15)
Brock Purdy (SF) — Purdy had his mandatory throwing off-days lifted on Aug. 14 as he continues to ramp up for the season opener against the Steelers on Sept. 10. He started training camp being able to throw two out of every three days. Adam Schefter recently told our John Hansen that Purdy will be the starting quarterback of one of the NFL’s best offenses, and HC Kyle Shanahan cemented it when he told Albert Breer, “He would have to melt in practice to lose it.” Purdy a back-end QB2 target (178 ADP, QB21) after throwing for multiple TDs in his first seven games after Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury. (Updated 8/16)
Sam Howell (Was) — HC Ron Rivera named Howell as the team’s Week 1 starter. It really wasn’t much of a competition despite Rivera telling the media not to sleep on Jacoby Brissett in the team’s quarterback competition. It took until Aug. 7 for the Commanders to give Brissett his first starter snaps, 11 days into camp after Howell took all of the first-team reps during OTAs. Brissett could see significant playing time at some point with Rivera hanging onto his job by a thread, but Howell will be given the first crack to be the team’s starter to open the season. He’s a long shot to come through as a QB3 (210 ADP, QB27) but he theoretically has some upside after posting 183/828/11 rushing in his final season at North Carolina in 2021. (Added 8/18)
C.J. Stroud (Hou) — The Panthers have already named top overall pick Bryce Young their starting quarterback and the Colts followed suit by naming Anthony Richardson their guy for Week 1. It seems to be just a matter of time before the Texans name #2 overall pick Stroud as their starting quarterback. HC DeMeco Ryans has named him the starter in each of their first two preseason games. Stroud had a brutal performance in the opener against the Patriots, completing 2/4 passes for 15 yards with an INT while taking a 15-yard sack. The Texans could always pull an audible and go to Davis Mills if Stroud flops again, but Houston has every incentive to see what their rookie QB can do immediately. Stroud is in a similar situation to Young as QB3s in best ball and two-QB formats, and Stroud should be left to streaming duties during his rookie campaign in redraft leagues unless he surprisingly unlocks some rushing upside. (Added 8/17)
Tony Pollard (Dal) — Pollard had a great day on Aug. 14. First, six-time All-Pro guard Zack Martin ended his holdout by signing a two-year deal with $36 million guaranteed. Then, Pollard saw both Ezekiel Elliott and Dalvin Cook sign one-year deals to play in the AFC East. The Cowboys have been rumored to be eyeing backfield help behind Pollard, but they passed on the two biggest remaining names on the market. Dallas could still make a play for someone like Leonard Fournette or Kareem Hunt, but they’re not nearly the threats to steal touches that Zeke and Cook were. Pollard has no major competition for touches in what could be one of the league’s better offenses, which makes him a bargain at his current ADP (20, RB6). (Added 8/15)
Joe Mixon (Cin) — Mixon’s trial for a misdemeanor charge of aggravated menacing when he allegedly pointed a gun and threatened a woman started on Aug. 14, and he was found not guilty of the charges after a four-day trial. He also had a civil suit filed against him in early August regarding the shooting of his teenage neighbor — check out Drew Davenport’s breakdown of the “harrowing” events detailed in the suit. Mixon fell in the 2017 draft for his assault of a female Oklahoma student. He’s at risk of the NFL suspending him given his growing list of run-ins with law enforcement, but it looks like it won’t happen in 2023 after escaping the menacing charges. Mixon was one of the NFL’s worst backs last season, finishing dead last with just 18 missed tackles forced on 210 carries (.09 per attempt) per Fantasy Points Data. The Bengals have arguably the NFL’s worst backfield situation with no proven backs on their depth chart behind Mixon. I’ve been taking my chances with rookie Chase Brown late in Underdog drafts (201, RB61), especially with fifth-year reserve Trayveon Williams out multiple weeks with an ankle injury, but he’s currently running behind Chris Evans in training camp. It could be ugly based on his play last season, but Mixon could come through as an RB1 on volume alone at his cheap ADP (47, RB16). (Updated 8/17)
J.K. Dobbins (Bal) — Dobbins opened training camp on the PUP list after battling knee injuries the last two years and sitting out OTAs with a “hamstring injury.” He’s also in search of a new contract as he enters the final year of his rookie deal, which was related to his absence to start camp. HC John Harbaugh reiterated on Aug. 9 that “the ball is in J.K.’s court” and that he expects him back “very soon,” and he finally came off the PUP list on Aug. 14. Dobbins doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on in contract negotiations, owning just 226 carries in 23 career games entering the final year of his rookie contract. The Ravens didn’t waste any time finding an additional RB by signing Melvin Gordon on the same day Dobbins was placed on the PUP. Baltimore’s RB depth chart remains uninspiring with Gus Edwards and Justice Hill currently the top two backs behind Dobbins. Dobbins potentially cost himself playing time early in the season by missing time in OTAs and half of training camp with Todd Monken installing a completely new offense. HC John Harbaugh said Dobbins is “100% healthy” so I’m reluctantly back in on Dobbins at his cheaper ADP (68, RB20), but it’s tough to have full confidence in him after his bizarre holdout. (Updated 8/15)
Javonte Williams (Den) — Williams, who tore his ACL, PLC, and LCL last October, avoided the PUP list to start training camp and has been cleared for contact. He hasn’t been limited during camp and HC Sean Payton announced on Aug. 15 that Williams will see game action in their second preseason game. The Broncos could still hold Williams out to open the season if he has any sort of setback, and they’ll likely limit his work in the first month of the season, but his chances of being ready for Week 1 keep improving. Williams appears to be well ahead of schedule from his major knee injury, and his ADP (60, RB18) has quickly risen through mid-August. (Added 8/16)
Dalvin Cook (NYJ) — Cook finally found a new home with the Jets in mid-August after being released by the Vikings in June. He ended up landing a sizable one-year contract from the Jets, worth $7 million in base income and another $1.6 million available in incentives. He averaged a career-low 4.4 YPC with his fewest scrimmage YPG (86.3) and receptions per game (2.3) since becoming a full-time starter in 2019. Our Graham Barfield points out that Cooks still had strong efficiency marks, ranking 12th in yards after contact per attempt (3.12), 14th in missed tackles forced per attempt (.21), and 20th in rate of runs for 10+ yards (4.5%). Aaron Rodgers did his part to bring Cook to New York by taking a $35 million pay cut in late July. The new Jets QB has big plans for Cook in this offense next to Breece Hall, who is returning from an ACL injury. Hall is clearly the superior talent at this stage of their respective careers, which will cap Cook’s upside in what could be one of the league’s better offenses.
Cook has also yet to be cleared from his own surgery on his labrum. He’s expected to be given the go-ahead in late August, which means he’s going to have fewer training camp reps with his new team than Hall, who was activated from the PUP list on Aug. 15. Hall admitted he still has occasional knee soreness and his uncertain about making certain cuts. Cook will be in a backfield committee for the first time since he worked next to Latavius Murray in his first two seasons in 2017-18. He could hold the early touch advantage as the Jets ease Hall back into action, but he should be the secondary option in the final months of 2023 as the lesser of the two backs the Jets will deploy this season. We were out on Dalvin at his ADP (81, RB29) before his signing, and that will continue to be the case as his price rises over the next three weeks. (Updated 8/17)
Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, and De’Von Achane (Mia) — The Dolphins backfield remains untouched in mid-August after it once looked like Dalvin Cook or another back could be added this summer. It’s tough to get excited about any of these RBs in re-draft formats since this is going to be a volatile committee, but Mostert (154 ADP, RB49) and Wilson (175, RB56) remain late-round best ball targets since they could have spike performances at any point. Achane remains overpriced (114, RB40) since he’s unlikely to be a high-volume option at 5’9”, 188 pounds, but he has a better chance to come through if the backfield remains untouched. (Added 8/15)
Ezekiel Elliott (NE) — Zeke finally found his new home, signing a one-year deal with the Patriots with a $3 million base salary that’s worth up to $6 million in incentives. He’ll immediately slot in behind workhorse Rhamondre Stevenson and ahead of disappointing second-year RBs Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris. Damien Harris previously occupied the role, scoring 15 rushing TDs in 2021 before averaging 11.1/50.8 scrimmage per game with 3 TDs last year. Zeke is coming off career-lows in carries (231), rushing yards (876), YPC (3.8), receptions (17), receiving yards (92), and receiving TDs (0). His declining play over the last three years led the Cowboys to release him after seven seasons. He was still extremely effective in short-yardage situations, handling 70.5% of Dallas’ inside-the-5-yard-line carries in 2022, and he converted an impressive 9 of those 16 looks into touchdowns. Stevenson handled 60% of New England’s inside-the-5-yard-line carries in 2022, converting 2-of-7 chances into touchdowns. Zeke is still elite in pass protection, as well, so he could spell Stevenson in some obvious passing situations. ESPN’s Patriots beat reporter Mike Reiss believes Zeke could handle a snap share of 25-30%. It’s best to let someone else draft Zeke in the final rounds (168 ADP, RB57) unless you’re playing in a non-PPR league or a TD-heavy format. (Updated 8/17)
Elijah Moore (Cle) — Moore picked up a rib injury in his preseason debut with the Browns, but the X-Rays were negative, and he’s considered day-to-day with the issue. The third-year WR did a little of everything before his injury, lining up at receiver and taking a handoff in the backfield. HC Kevin Stefanski said after the game, “We want to use the kid in a bunch of different ways. Teams know that we'll hand it to him, that we’ll throw it to him. As you know, there’s no shortage of plays." I gave out Moore over 45.5 receptions at DraftKings Sportsbook in late July, and he’s a target for me at his ADP (92, WR41), especially when I’ve already drafted Watson. (Added 8/14)
George Pickens (Pit) — Social media was abuzz this week when former Steeler Ryan Clark said that Pickens is much more talented than Justin Jefferson, which is obviously ludicrous to say right now. With that said, Pickens has been generating tons of positivity out of training camp, including from The Athletic's Mark Kaboly. He recently wrote that Pickens took the “next step” as a second-year receiver, transforming into a more polished receiver with an expanded route tree after being a deep-ball, highlight-catch guy as a rookie. He showed off his expanded route tree with a 33-yard touchdown on a slant route in the preseason opener, in which he created extra yardage with a nasty juke move. Pickens ran just 31 slants or posts out 584 routes (5.3%) as a rookie, finishing with 6 targets and 4/40/1 receiving on those routes (per Fantasy Points Data). His limited route tree also caused him to finish with just 2.31 YAC per reception, which ranked 61st out of 64 receivers with 75+ targets (per Fantasy Points Data). I’ve been underweight on Pickens at his current ADP (71, WR33) because of Diontae Johnson’s ball-hog tendencies, but there’s no doubt Pickens has enough talent to make a huge leap if Kenny Pickett has his own breakout campaign. (Added 8/18)
Courtland Sutton (Den) — Sutton is having a strong August by most accounts from Broncos camp. He’s done it thanks to being another year removed from his 2020 ACL injury and to being lighter and quicker. HC Sean Payton wouldn’t go into any specifics about Sutton’s weight but said, “He’s moving well. His body weight was just what we wanted when he reported to camp.” Sutton has been listed at 216 pounds in 2022-23, but a scout told ESPN’s Jeff Legwold “This year I believe it, last year I didn’t.” Denver’s once-deep WR depth chart has already been tested with Tim Patrick (Achilles) suffering another season-ending leg injury and K.J. Hamler waived with an NFI designation. Sutton should be locked into 2-WR sets with Jerry Jeudy, and early indications are that Sean Payton is opting for the blocker, Adam Trautman, over the receiver, Greg Dulcich, as the top TE. Sutton is shaping up to be a bargain (93, WR42) compared to Jeudy (37, WR19), a year after Sutton was drafted two rounds ahead of Jeudy. (Added 8/17)
D.J. Chark and Jonathan Mingo (Car) — Chark, Adam Thielen, and rookie Mingo opened the first preseason games as the top-three WRs with Terrace Marshall behind them. Marshall then suffered a back injury in an Aug. 14 practice, which required him to take a cart to exit the field. HC Frank Reich downplayed the injury after practice, but beat writer Sheena Quick reported Marshall is expected to miss a few weeks after having a scan performed on his back. Marshall was expected to open the season as the #4 WR but Carolina’s new coaching staff was going to have a bit of an open competition with a brand-new receiving corps. Chark (155 ADP, WR64) and Thielen (151, WR62) are the top-two WRs right now and Mingo (178, WR71) has the chance to cement himself as the #3 WR with Marshall expected to miss multiple weeks. (Updated 8/17)
Trey Palmer (TB) — Gage suffered a season-ending knee injury during a joint practice with the Jets on Aug. 16, per Ian Rapoport. Gage was off the fantasy radar after flopping in his first season and only season with Tom Brady, posting 51/426/5 receiving in 13 contests. Sixth-round pick Palmer is a player to monitor as the team’s potential #3 WR and a dynasty riser in Gage’s absence. Our Brett Whitefield called Palmer a “bet on traits” prospect with unteachable track speed and explosiveness. He had a successful preseason opener with 4/33/1 receiving with his score coming with Baker Mayfield. He burned Sauce Gardner for a 60-yard score in the same practice that Gage suffered his season-ending knee injury. (Added 8/16)
Juwan Johnson (NO) — Johnson looks “primed for a breakout campaign” according to NOLA.com's Jeff Duncan. He notes that he’s developed a quick connection with Derek Carr while adding some weight and strength to become a more effective blocker. Duncan also noted that tight end is the most improved position group with Foster Moreau and Jimmy Graham added to the mix. An Aug. 15 practice also turned into the “Juwan Johnson show,” with Carr repeatedly dialing up Johnson in team drills. Johnson is likely to be a volatile fantasy asset in a loaded TE room in a receiving corps that has some big-time WRs in Chris Olave and Michael Thomas, but it isn't a big investment (166, TE19) to buy the hype in deeper formats. (Added 8/16)
Luke Musgrave (GB) — HC Matt LaFleur told Tom Pelissero Musgrave was the fastest player on offense during a day of practice in early August, beating every wide receiver in their daily charting. LaFleur went on to call his second-round TE an “exciting young prospect” who has a lot of potential. The praise keeps coming for the rookie TE with ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reporting that the Packers are treating Musgrave like a full-time starter. Love targeted Musgrave on 3 of his 6 passes in the preseason opener before the two connected three times for 46 yards in the team’s next practice — he was targeted 4 times on Love’s 23 attempts (17.4% share). Packers S Dallin Leavitt, who played four years with the Raiders, compared Musgrave’s body type and athleticism to Travis Kelce. Rookie TEs typically struggle for consistent production, especially ones that are as raw as Musgrave, but the Packers are clearly excited about his potential and he’ll have opportunities to get on the field in a thin depth chart. He’s worth a flier pick as a TE3 in best ball drafts just in case he can quickly earn targets in a wide-open receiving corps, and I won’t be surprised if he pops for a big play or two in the preseason. (Added 8/16)
Zach Ertz (Ari) — Ertz has been cleared for “full football activity” and is on track to play in Week 1, per Mike Garafolo. He opened training camp on the PUP list after tearing his ACL and MCL in Week 10 last year. Ertz had 47 receptions before his season-ending injury, which was second to only Travis Kelce. GM Monti Ossenfort could look to eventually move Ertz before the trade deadline, but he’ll open the season in a committee with second-year TE Trey McBride in one of the league’s worst offenses. (Added 8/14)
Players whom we’re feeling less optimistic about based on training camp reports and injury news.
Deshaun Watson (Cle) — The Athletic’s Zac Jackson wrote that Cleveland’s passing game has been “completely unimpressive,” and that it’s been “an adventure” when Watson remains in the pocket. The downfield passing attack has also been non-existent. He noted that David Njoku has been open throughout camp and that Watson hasn’t been helped by the absences of Amari Cooper (unspecified) and Elijah Moore (ribs). This is not the type of report you want to read after he completed 58.7% of his passes for 6.5 YPA, 7 TDs, and 5 INTs in his first six games with the Browns. Watson previously completed 67.8% of his passes for 8.3 YPA, 104 TDs, and 36 INTs in his first 54 career games with the Houston Texans. I’m hesitant to put too much weight into camp evaluations from reporters, but negative ones stand out a little more since a vast majority of reports are positive. This is a concerning development since Watson has been one of my most-drafted quarterbacks (75 ADP, QB9), and I’ll be following reports on Cleveland’s passing game closely over the next two weeks. (Added 8/17)
Rhamondre Stevenson (NE) — Ezekiel Elliott finally found his new home, signing a one-year deal with the Patriots with a $3 million base salary that’s worth up to $6 million in incentives. He’ll immediately slot in behind workhorse Stevenson and ahead of disappointing second-year RBs Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris. Damien Harris previously occupied the role, scoring 15 rushing TDs in 2021 before averaging 11.1/50.8 scrimmage per game with 3 TDs last year. Zeke is coming off career-lows in carries (231), rushing yards (876), YPC (3.8), receptions (17), receiving yards (92), and receiving TDs (0). His declining play over the last three years led the Cowboys to release him after seven seasons. He was still extremely effective in short-yardage situations, handling 70.5% of Dallas’ inside-the-5-yard-line carries in 2022, and he converted an impressive 9 of those 16 looks into touchdowns. Stevenson handled 60% of New England’s inside-the-5-yard-line carries in 2022, converting 2-of-7 chances into touchdowns. Zeke is still elite in pass protection, as well, so he could spell Stevenson in some obvious passing situations. Stevenson should see a majority of passing-game snaps and a slight advantage in carries while Zeke will open as the favorite in short-yardage and goal-line situations. ESPN’s Patriots beat reporter Mike Reiss believes Zeke could handle a snap share of 25-30%. Stevenson’s ADP (32, RB10) will dip a bit the rest of the summer, but I won’t mind drafting him if he starts to fall into the fourth round. (Updated 8/17)
Breece Hall (NYJ) — Dalvin Cook finally found a new home with the Jets in mid-August after being released by the Vikings in June. He ended up landing a sizable one-year contract from the Jets, worth $7 million in base income and another $1.6 million available in incentives. He averaged a career-low 4.4 YPC with his fewest scrimmage YPG (86.3) and receptions per game (2.3) since becoming a full-time starter in 2019. Our Graham Barfield points out that Cooks still had strong efficiency marks, ranking 12th in yards after contact per attempt (3.12), 14th in missed tackles forced per attempt (.21), and 20th in rate of runs for 10+ yards (4.5%). Aaron Rodgers did his part to bring Cook to New York by taking a $35 million pay cut in late July. The new Jets QB has big plans for Cook in this offense next to Hall, who is returning from an ACL injury. Hall is clearly the superior talent at this stage of their respective careers, but Cook’s mere presence will cap his touches and upside in what could be one of the league’s better offenses.
Cook has yet to be cleared from his own surgery on his labrum, but he’s expected to be given the go-ahead in late August. That means he’s going to have fewer training camp reps with his new team than Hall, who was finally activated from the PUP list on Aug. 15. Hall admitted he still has occasional knee soreness and is uncertain about making certain cuts. Cook could hold the early touch advantage as the Jets ease Hall back into action, but Hall should be the top option in the final months of 2023 barring any setbacks in his ACL recovery. Breece had been overdrafted (43 ADP, RB14) this summer with the Jets indicating that they’d be bringing in competition for Hall all off-season long. That could change in the next three weeks and he could become a target if he falls into the fifth round or later. (Updated 8/17)
Treylon Burks (Ten) — It’s been a rough few weeks for Burks’ fantasy outlook with DeAndre Hopkins signing with the Titans in late July. He then suffered a sprained LCL in an Aug. 16 practice, which will sideline him for a few weeks, per Ian Rapoport. Our Edwin Porras compared the injury to Darren Waller’s IT band injury in 2021, which cost him four games, and Edwin expects him to miss between 2-4 weeks. Burks’ status for the season opener is up in the air and his slow descent down draftboards (91 ADP, WR40) will continue in the upcoming weeks. (Added 8/17)
Kadarius Toney (KC) — It took just one practice for Toney to end up on the sidelines with an injury after tweaking his knee in a punt drill, which was the same knee he had a clean-up surgery on earlier this off-season. He needed yet another clean-up surgery on his injured knee on July 25, which was his third procedure since the 2022 off-season. He’ll be in a race to be ready for the NFL’s season-opening game on Sept. 7, and he’s at risk of aggravating his injury and needing more extensive surgery in the future. Assistant GM Mike Borgonzi told reporters on Aug. 16 that the team wants to make sure “he’s 100%” and they wouldn’t rush him back. The Chiefs demonstrated in August that they’re flush with WR depth, and the franchise’s ultimate goal is to be playing in February. I believe Borgonzi when he says that Toney won’t play until he’s back to full strength, which puts him in jeopardy of missing at least Week 1. It wouldn’t be surprising if Andy Reid uses him in a part-time role to try to keep him available for as long as possible on a team with Super Bowl ambitions. Toney is loaded with talent but his career has yet to take off because he can’t stay available for long stretches of time. His ADP (96, WR45) has plummeted multiple rounds and it’s looking like he won’t realize his fantasy ceiling for a third straight season to open his career. (Added 8/17)
Jameson Williams (Det) — The Lions had a rough Aug. 16 practice. Amon-Ra St. Brown went down with an ankle issue and Jameson injured his hamstring. Ankle issues forced St. Brown to miss a game and to run just 16 combined routes in two other games in 2022, which raises my concern about his latest issue. Meanwhile, Williams is in no rush to get back to the field with a six-game suspension looming to start the season, but hamstring injuries are still the last thing a speedster like Williams needs after a lost rookie campaign. HC Dan Campbell said Williams will miss the remainder of the preseason while St. Brown is expected to rest for a few days. We’re out on Williams at his ADP (110, WR49) because of his six-game suspension and his lack of game reps since January 2022. (Updated 8/17)
Terrace Marshall (Car) — Marshall opened the first preseason game as the Panthers’ #4 WR behind D.J. Chark, Adam Thielen, and Jonathan Mingo. He then suffered a back injury in an Aug. 14 practice, which required him to take a cart to exit the field. HC Frank Reich downplayed the injury after practice, but beat writer Sheena Quick reported Marshall is expected to miss a few weeks after having a scan performed on his back. Marshall was expected to open the season as the #4 WR but Carolina’s new coaching staff was going to have a bit of an open competition with a brand-new receiving corps. He may now be locked into the #4 spot if he misses a few weeks for his back injury. (Updated 8/17)
Russell Gage (TB) — Gage suffered a season-ending knee injury during a joint practice with the Jets on Aug. 16, per Ian Rapoport. Gage was off the fantasy radar after flopping in his first season and only season with Tom Brady, posting 51/426/5 receiving in 13 contests. (Added 8/16)
Mike Gesicki (NE) — Gesicki has had an uneven start in his first Patriots’ camp, quickly falling behind Hunter Henry, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and DeVante Parker as Mac Jones’s top camp receivers. He then left an Aug. 14 practice early with what turned out to be a “mild dislocated shoulder,” but the hope is he’ll be ready for Week 1 off of his AC joint injury (per Ian Rapoport). Gesicki was off the radar in most re-draft formats (196 ADP, TE21) and he’s quickly falling off the best ball radar if he’s going to miss a decent chunk of time for his injury. (Added 8/15)
Trey McBride (Ari) — Zach Ertz has been cleared for “full football activity” and is on track to play in Week 1, per Mike Garafolo. He opened training camp on the PUP list after tearing his ACL and MCL in Week 10 last year. Ertz had 47 receptions before his season-ending injury, which was second to only Travis Kelce. McBride will get more time with the first-team offense than he did as a rookie while Ertz was healthy, but his early-season fantasy outlook isn’t great since these TEs should be locked into some sort of committee to open the season. The rebuilding Cardinals could eventually look to move Ertz before the trade deadline, which would give their second-year TE a chance to be fantasy-relevant in a receiving corps with limited weapons. (Added 8/14)
Players who we’re not ready to upgrade or downgrade but whose situations demand monitoring based on training camp reports and injury news.
None of note.
Jonathan Taylor (RB, Ind) — Taylor surprisingly opened training camp on the PUP list after undergoing an “arthroscopic debridement” surgery to his right ankle in January. He called the procedure a clean-up and targeted a return during training camp at the time of his surgery. Owner Jim Irsay then ignited a fire in his star RB, who has been seeking a contract extension as he enters the final year of his rookie contract. He posted on July 26 that running backs don’t have a leg to stand on to change the depressed running back market under the current CBA. He then said on July 27 that they haven’t made an official contract offer to Taylor. The two sides met to clear the air on July 29, but Taylor left the meeting and announced a trade request publicly — he reportedly requested the trade days earlier, per ESPN’s Stephen Holder. In that same ESPN article, Taylor’s “bitterness” toward the franchise originated with the team’s handling of his ankle injury last season. It continued when the team requested to assess him in advance of training camp.
Taylor is avoiding fines in training camp since he’s on the PUP list, but he’ll need to play at some point if he wants his rookie contract's final season to accrue and get paid. Indy’s RB depth is already being tested after top backup Zack Moss broke his arm in practice on July 31, which left rookie Evan Hull and Deon Jackson as the top RBs currently in camp. The Colts signed Kenyan Drake on Aug. 4 to help with their current depth at the position. Taylor received an excused absence to get treatment on his ankle away from the team starting Aug. 8, and he reported back to training camp on Aug. 14. He then left again on Aug. 16 for a personal matter with permission from the Colts, and ESPN reported that the absence isn’t related to his contract situation. ESPN’s Stephen Holder previously reported that Taylor has made clear to the team that he’ll return to the field when he’s 100% healthy. Taylor’s ADP has fallen eight spots (24, RB8) since his trade request. (Updated 8/17)
Josh Jacobs (LV) — Jacobs didn’t report for the start of training camp, which was expected since he’s not currently under contract with the Raiders. The two sides failed to reach terms on a long-term contract, and he’s yet to sign his franchise tag. Per Mike Garafolo, Jacobs turned down a $12 million per year off, and Mike Florio reported that the Chiefs and Broncos could be among the suitors if Jacobs becomes available via trade or if the Raiders rescind his franchise tag. Jacobs and the Raiders are in a holding pattern as his holdout stretches into a fourth week. Las Vegas signed both Damien Williams and Darwin Thompson to help their depth while Jacobs holds out. (Added 8/14)
Amon-Ra St. Brown — The Lions had a rough Aug. 16 practice with Amon-Ra going down with an ankle issue and Jameson injuring his hamstring. Ankle issues forced St. Brown to miss a game and to run just 16 combined routes in two other games in 2022, which raises my concern about his latest issue. Meanwhile, Williams is in no rush to get back to the field with a six-game suspension looming to start the season, but hamstring injuries are still the last thing a speedster like Williams needs after a lost rookie campaign. HC Dan Campbell said Williams will miss the remainder of the preseason while St. Brown is expected to rest for a few days. It’s not the time to panic with Amon-Ra but this situation needs to be monitored. (Updated 8/17)
Josh Reynolds, Kalif Raymond, and Marvin Jones (Det) — Amon-Ra St. Brown is the clear #1 WR in Detroit, and Jameson Williams is expected to fill the #2 spot once his six-game suspension is complete, but the Lions have a bit of a logjam behind them that needs to be sorted out before the Lions take on the Chiefs in a Week 1 game that has the highest total. Reynolds has been running with the starters in camp and was listed as a first-team wideout in Detroit’s first depth chart. The Lions listed Jones as a starter but the Lions Wire reported that he routinely worked behind both Williams and Raymond to start camp, who were listed on the second-team offense. Raymond contributes as a returner and ranked 22nd in YPRR (2.10) among WRs with 50+ targets (per Fantasy Points Data), and the Lions locked him up with a two-year extension on Aug. 11. Denzel Mims was a non-factor in camp and was cut after HC Dan Campbell said, “He’s in the room. Wish I could give you more.” Detroit could certainly rotate their secondary WRs quite a bit in 2023 but the early pecking order to start the season behind Amon-Ra appears to be Reynolds, Raymond, then Jones. (Updated 8/18)
None of note.