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AFC training camp update: Travis Etienne out for season

With only a few weeks to the regular season, training camps are starting to wind down and teams are headed into their final preseason games. Some big news is that we got to see some position battles won. Teddy Bridgewater will be the starter for week one and so will Trevor Lawrence. Some trades were dealt in Sony Michel and Travis Etienne will miss the regular season with a foot injury.

Let’s get into it.

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AFC South

Tennessee Titans

The big news for the Titans is Julio Jones suited up in full uniform for training camp for the first time since early August. He did not work out in team drills but more with the receiving coaches on individual drills.

Jones, A.J. Brown, Derrick Henry, and Ryan Tannehill have yet to see the field in the preseason and that shouldn’t scare off fantasy owners. Last season all the stars missed all of the preseason and you know how productive they were in fantasy last season.

Tannehill for sure won’t be playing in the team’s final preseason game this Saturday as he has been moved to the Reserve/COVID-19 list.

The Titans are a top-heavy team in terms of fantasy, so it is smart to see them sitting out team drills and preseason games to avoid injuries. The Titans are one of those teams where you know what you’re going to get out of their offense as they don’t have any sleepers outside their big three.

Indianapolis Colts

I didn’t see this coming but both Carson Wentz and Quenton Nelson returned to practice after both suffered a similar foot injury. It is reported Wentz took on a heavy workload in every type of rep except for full-team drills. It is unlikely we’ll see him play in the final preseason game, but this is great news for fantasy owners.

Now with Wentz and Nelson both practicing, this opens up upside for Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman. In early drafts, I thought Taylor was ranked a little too high around the fifth or sixth pick. Since the injuries he dropped, but if you can snag Taylor at the end of the first or second with a back-to-back pick. He is still going to have RB1 upside with Nelson and Eric Fisher as his blockers.

Houston Texans

I’ll stay away from Deshaun Watson news as nothing has changed with his situation. As for their backfield, there is no clear-cut winner who is going to handle the run game. David Johnson looks to be the safe pick if you needed to draft a running back from the Texans.

All four backs in Mark Ingram, Philip Lindsay, Rex Burkhead, and Johnson have been making plays in training camp.  Ingram scored a touchdown in their second preseason game. I liked Lindsay as a sleeper but with Ingram and Burkhead getting involved now, I would stay away from drafting one of these backs early.

As for the receiving side, my favorite sleeper of the team returned to practice. Nico Collins missed the second preseason game because of a pulled muscle. Throughout camp, Collins has built a chemistry with Tyrod Taylor and I love Collins as a flex or maybe WR2 in a deep league.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Well, it’s official, Trevor Lawrence will be the week one starter. But, the even bigger news is Travis Etienne will miss the season with a left foot injury.

I loved Etienne for a PPR league, but now this moves James Robinson way up in the draft. Robinson has already shown he is a top fantasy back with his speed and downhill running. He just hurts you in the passing game, but Lawrence could elevate that part of Robinson’s game.

The only thing that is nerve-racking with the running game is the Jaguar’s offensive line is terrible. In their last game against the Saints, Lawrence only had seconds to get the ball off.

But on the upside of that game, both Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault look like viable fantasy options. Shenault has been one of Lawrence’s favorite targets during camp and preseason. Good thing Shenault is going late around the 8th or 9th round.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills

The Bills are another team like the Titans, where they have all their fantasy options set in play. The good news this week is that Stefon Diggs returned to practice to participate in walk-throughs after missing the last few camps due to a knee injury.

Other than the running back position battle is the one to watch with the Bills. In their second preseason game, Zack Moss and Devin Singletary both saw limited time. But it was Singletary who snagged a touchdown on two carries for 21 yards.

Moss had four carries for 21 yards. There still has been no word on who will be the number one back. I think Moss has the higher ceiling, but Singletary could steal the goal-line touchdowns this season.

Miami Dolphins

Both Tua Tagovailoa and Myles Gaskin looked solid in their second preseason game. Tagovailoa threw for 183 yards and a touchdown. Gaskins went for 27 yards on the ground with a touchdown and had four catches for 44 yards and a touchdown.

Gaskins is one of my favorite third or fourth-round picks for a running back. He has the full game with running and catching. And with a young quarterback in Tagovailoa, expect to see him dump the ball off to Gaskin.

Aside from Gaskin producing in preseason and camp, Mike Gesicki has been solid in both games catching all four of his targets for 79 yards.

As for the rookie Jaylen Waddle, he has a quiet game going for 21 yards on three catches. But, the upside was 22 of his 21 yards were yards after the catch. One of his receptions was caught four yards behind the line of scrimmage.

New England Patriots

Some big news for the Patriots this week. The team traded Sony Michel to the Rams for draft picks. This is huge for fantasy owners who already have Damien Harris or who were unsure of drafting him.

The Patriots are one of the more frustrating teams with running backs, but with only James White as the only competition, I still see Harris taking a big leap this year. The Patriots have a top-tier offensive line and if Cam Newton or Mac Jones struggles, expect a lot of running attempts from Harris.

New York Jets

Zach Wilson was exceptional in his second preseason game going for 128 yards and two touchdowns. He also completed 9 of his 11 passes. Michael Carter also had a solid game going for 52 yards on 10 carries. Corey Davis caught four passes for 70 yards. I love Davis as a sleeper at the wide receiver position. I see him being a lifeline for Wilson this season.

But, if you can’t grab Davis in the draft, I see Elijah Moore having a solid rookie year. Moore returned to practice this week after suffering a minor injury and could make his debut against the Eagles for their final preseason game.

During practice, Moore showed off his route running in a joint practice with the Eagles and caught a deep ball from Wilson.

The Jets will be an exciting team to watch this season in terms of fantasy options.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers are a tough team for fantasy options, but during this preseason and training camp, I’m positive Najee Harris will be a top running back at the end of the season. He does it all, but it is his catching that separates him from the rest.

In their preseason game against the Lions, Harris caught two passes for 53 yards. His second catch was on a dump off from Ben Roethlisberger, where he showed off his speed and left defenders in the dust for a huge gain.

Harris is going in the second round, sometimes to the very end of the first if it is a deep league. But, I see him as a huge steal going into the second round. I can see Harris finishing better than Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley who are both going ahead of Harris.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens are another team that has been dealing with injuries. My other favorite sleeper at wide receiver Rashod Bateman still hasn’t returned to practice. Sammy Watkins isn’t practicing either but it was reported that he is just resting and no need for concern.

Watkins has been outstanding in training camp and if he can stay healthy he is a late-round wide receiver that has WR2 upside. He showed sights in Kansas City with a lot of competition and now the competition isn’t so high on the Ravens.

The Ravens are dealing with so many injuries it’s hard to judge how the starters will play in the regular season. I loved J.K. Dobbins as an RB2 this year, but he hasn’t shown much production since early in camp. So far Lamar Jackson is the only solid choice for consistent fantasy production.

Cleveland Browns

Huge news for both the Browns and fantasy owners is Odell Beckham Jr participated in full-speed team reps this week. It’s sad to see Beckham going in the late rounds as he used to go in the second round of drafts. But there is no telling of how someone will come back from an ACL tear.

So, this practice is huge for the veteran wide receiver. He also worked on some 7-on-7 passing drills early in the week and the knee did not bother him one bit. Beckham won’t play in the final preseason game.

Other than Beckham coming back, the Browns are pretty much set for the regular season to start. With Beckham back, that just opens up the running game as well. Maybe this will be the year we see the Browns offensive come out and dominate for our fantasy teams.

Cincinnati Bengals

Last week Joe Burrow didn’t look so hot with signs of his knee slowing him down. But, this week both he and Ja’Marr Chase turned it around in training camp this week.

After an hour of practicing Chase had no drops from Burrow and came down with an end zone catch as well. This is all great news for Chase as he has had problems with dropping the ball the last few weeks.

Chase also hit the internet being accused of domestic violence from his girlfriend. It was reported on social media, but that was about it. This will be something to follow to see the future of the rookie wide receiver.

The Bengals are a risky team to trust this season and that is mainly because their offensive line is one of the worst in the league. I know Joe Mixon is going around the second round, but he is looking more and more skeptical with this offensive line blocking for him.

We’ll see how they perform in their final preseason game.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs wrapped up training camp last week so all there is to look forward to is preseason games. Patrick Mahomes led three drives and went for 78 yards and one interception. The Chiefs have to be the safest team to take top picks in the draft.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire did suffer an ankle injury, but head coach Andy Reid said it looks to be just a sore ankle right now. I can see Edwards-Helaire sitting out the final preseason game and getting ready for the regular season.

Other than that, draft Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce early. We all know they will be at the top of their positions in the fantasy rankings.

Denver Broncos

Well, the quarterback position battle is over in Denver. Teddy Bridgewater will be the starter come week one. The battle was close as Drew Lock put it all out there in their preseason games but Bridgewater just edged him out.

In other news tight end, Noah Fant has been out of practice dealing with a lower leg injury. But, some good news is head coach Vic Fangio said Fant should be ready for week one.

Jerry Jeudy continues to impress during the preseason. He only caught two passes in their second preseason game. But he went for 40 yards still on the two catches. I see Jeudy having a huge breakout season this year.

Los Angeles Chargers

None of the top fantasy players took the field for the team’s second preseason game against the 49ers. This makes sense as Kennan Allen has had his injury problems in the past and Austin Ekeler coming off an injury from last season.

It has been reported that the running backs have been outstanding in training camp, so it will be hard to tell who gets the reps. But, I see that answer as a coach being a coach. Ekeler will be the running back to draft. Especially for PPR, he should be close to the top five in PPR running backs.

Las Vegas Raiders

Henry Ruggs has been the early talk during training camp, but it looks like Hunter Renfrow will have a huge role in the offense this season. Renfrow showed some success against Jalen Ramsey in their joint practice with the Rams.

Bryan Edwards is another receiver who has shown off in training camp this year. And is expected to have a breakout season as well.

But remember to keep in mind when drafting Raiders players, Darren Waller is still the number one passing option. Josh Jacobs should have another great year, but keep a lookout for Kenyan Drake taking snaps away.

The Raiders will be another one of those fun teams to watch as their defense isn’t the best, so expect a lot of offense from this team. This means a lot of fantasy points.

For more Rankings and Analysis please check out our full 2021 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.

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