Training Camps are in full swing. Everyone is reported and we have already had our first taste of preseason action in Canton with the Falcons and Broncos kicking the season off with a Denver win in a 14-10 barn burner. The HoF game is such a rollercoaster ride of emotions; there’s the excitement of the first game of the year immediately followed by a showcase of terrible throws, embarrassing penalties and drops on drops on drops. But I digress- now that we are a few weeks into camp there’s been an air of clarity around some fantasy relevant camp battles. Whether by injury or first team reps here are some positions that are starting to take shape.
Steelers WR2 Job
Donte Moncrief, Diontae Johnson and James Washington are all fighting to be starting every week across from Juju Smith-Schuster. There are 168 targets looking for a home now that AB took a hot air balloon ride to Oakland. Some of those targets will be absorbed by TE Vance McDonald and RBs James Connor and Jaylen Samuels but the bulk of them will find themselves in the arms of one of the 3 WRs.
Moncrief had the first crack at the starting job but has missed a lot of time with an injury opening the door for Diontae Johnson and James Washington. Washington struggled to get on the field his rookie year and when he did he struggled with some drops. Moncrief has came back from injury and continued to play with the first team.
Early in camp James Washington struggled to keep Dionte Johnson at bay. Johnson had some people comping him to AB coming out at the draft (yes I know it’s laughable, but there are some similar traits) so there are some high expectations. My money is on Moncrief starting the year off in the lineup (barring injury). I’m excited to see how Washington and Johnson perform during the preseason and one can pull away from the other.
Denver RB Job
UDFA Phillip Lindsay finished as RB12 last year but the Broncos drafted Royce Freeman in 3rd round and they are not ready to give up on him yet. Devantae Booker has managed to hang around as well even though he has rarely impressed on the field.
Neither Freeman or Lindsay played in the Hall of Fame game which was expected. Khalfani Mohammed was probably the best player on the field but I think the backfield is too muddled for him to have any fantasy impact.
This is going to be a tough situation to monitor but it looks like if the Broncos get their way it will be a near 50/50 split between Lindsay and Freeman which would signal a significant regression for Lindsay and a possible improvement for Freeman. Denver also just brought in Theo Riddick as a passing threat out of the backfield to muddle the backfield even more.
Patriots WR 2 Job
There’s not much to watch here expect to note that 1st rounder N’Keal Harry has been outperformed by UDFA Jakobi Meyers. I don’t believe that Jakobi Meyers will be the starting outside receiver for the Patriots come week one but I do believe that the Patriots will not rush Harry into a starting role if he isn’t ready.
Eagles RB1 Job
The Eagles have a very crowded backfield with a lot of talent between Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement. Philadelphia has already admitted to a full blown RBBC (running back by committee) which is going to put a cap on all of these players.
Jordan Howard seems to have a bit of a stranglehold on the first two downs so far. Add that to the likelihood that he will be the main guy to get goal line carries makes him the guy with the safest floor in this backfield.
Reports have been coming out that Miles Sanders has looked electric. He may not start the season as the lead back but could end up as the highest scoring fantasy player in that backfield. If I was gambling man (oh wait- I am) then I would take the safe floor of Jordan Howard this year. Sproles will probably eat into some of Sanders opportunity so sign me up for the former Bear to be the top dog for 2019.
As fantasy drafts are kicking off through the month of August it’s important to keep an eye on these players who could win you your league by making a more informed dart throw in your later rounds. Share your thoughts with me on Twitter @FootballBry15 and be sure to listen to JetSet Fantasy Football every week for more dazzling football analysis.