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NFC Training Camp Report: 8/21

This past week in NFC training camp has added a bit of clarity to some running back situations. Wait, what I meant to say was that it makes things even more difficult to predict. Yes, that’s what I meant. Adrian Peterson is back, Jeremy McNichols is the current RB1 in San Francisco, and Latavius Murray may “split carries” with Dalvin Cook. Yes, it’s a lot to take in. Luckily I broke it all down for you, team by team.

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I have been taking a close look at training camp every week for the latest news and how it impacts fantasy football. You can look for updates on the NFC every Tuesday while taking a look at the AFC training camps on Fridays. So without further ado, let’s dive into what happened recently in NFC training camp.

NFC EAST Training Camp Report

Dallas Cowboys

Cole Beasley (groin) and Tavon Austin (hamstring) are expected to resume practicing this week. This, according to Dallas coach Jason Garrett. Beasley missed the Cowboys first two preseason games with the groin injury. Neither player is likely to be much of a fantasy asset this season. However, the wide-open nature of the Cowboys possibly mediocre wide receiver corp would open up some consideration for Beasley.

Philadelphia Eagles

Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) was seen wearing a helmet for the first time in training camp. Jeffrey is six months removed from rotator cuff surgery. Fantasy owners should be fairly concerned, or at the very least confused about his fantasy value. Rumors are that he may start the season on the PUP list, forcing him to miss six games. Of curse, he may not. Either way, it is tough to risk early round draft picks on a wide receiver who could realistically miss six games. If he does, say hello to Mike Wallace.

Washington Redskins

The big news out of Redskins training camp is the signing of RB Adrian Peterson. Why not Orleans Darkwa you ask? Apparently, Washington worked out both him and Jamaal Charles. Peterson simply impressed the most. The 33-year-old does not have much juice in the tank, but the Redskins had to do something with half of their backfield injured.  At best, Peterson may be in the early-down mix with Rob Kelley with Chris Thompson continuing to be the pass-catcher on third-down.

NFC NORTH Training Camp Report

Chicago Bears

Fantrax Football CommissionerTrey Burton continues to show that he is more of a slot receiver than tight end in camp. Burton caught 4 passes for 45 yards and a touchdown in the Bears’ preseason game Saturday. The tight end projects to play a pivotal role in Matt Nagy’s offense, and appears to be a favorite of QB Mitchell Trubisky. You have to like what you see if you are a fantasy owner.

Detroit Lions

Interesting news in Detroit, as Kenny Golladay played over Golden Tate in two-wideout sets during Friday’s game against the Giants. Really? I am intrigued, as should every person reading this.

The Lions ran seven two-wide sets with the starters on Friday with Golladay in the huddle every snap. To be clear, this news is not related to Golden Tate. Tate will get his reps and targets. If Marvin Jones and Golladay are out wide, Tate will man the slot. However, it is nice to know the Lions see Golladay as their go-to in two-wide sets. Kenny Golladay, make sure you draft him.

Green Bay Packers

Packers running back Jamaal Williams (ankle) was taking some reps in training camp on Monday. The projected starter sprained his ankle Thursday night against the Steelers, leaving many to question if it was Ty Montgomery time. It seems as though Williams dodged a bullet, and was seen moving “quite fluidly,” in non-contact drills. Anyone who moved Jamaal Williams down their draft board can safely move him back up (if you believe in him).

Minnesota Vikings

Vikings camp produced some of the more annoying news of the week. Coach Mike Zimmer insinuated that Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray could split carries this season. Now, let’s not go crazy. There are many ways you can have a “split.” However, Cook is coming off a torn ACL and anytime something like a timeshare is mentioned it will make fantasy owners nervous. Cook currently holds a 2nd round ADP, which makes him a risky draft pick with Murray looming as a spoiler.

NFC SOUTH Training Camp Report

Atlanta Falcons

Nothing to report here.

Well, Matt Bryant has an undisclosed injury. Interested in that? I didn’t think so.

Carolina Panthers

Sophomore running back Christian McCaffrey has the focal point of the Carolina offense during first-team reps. He rushed five times for 92 yards and a touchdown while catching four passes for 28 yards in Friday’s preseason game.

The exclamation point came on a 71-yard touchdown run on his second carry of the contest. By the way,  the run originated “between the tackles,” which is something McCaffrey doubters have been squawking about. You know who you are. The Panthers stated early in training camp that McCaffrey was in for a massive workload, and so far that seems to be the case. If true, he could be in for a monster season in PPR.

New Orleans Saints

There have been very positive reports about veteran tight end Benjamin Watson in Saints training camp. Observers even noted that he looks like he is in the prime of his career, making contested catches with an athletic flair. Drew Brees is due to a bounce-back season in 2018, so if you buy into that assumption you might as well cash in on Watson.

The Saints tight end carries a very late ADP (not drafted in many cases) which could end up being a great value. Fantasy owners looking to stream or “punt” tight end should remember Watson.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Nothing has changed in Tampa Bay’s training camp this week. It should be noted that Peyton Barber continues to impress. He has clearly outshined rookie Ronald Jones, and the Buccaneers coaching staff has said as much. Barber is looking more and more like the Week 1 starter, although Tampa Bay thinks they have a “two-headed monster.” We will see about that. Barber/Jones does not scream Kamara/Ingram. Of course, neither did Kamara/Ingram last season.

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NFC WEST Training Camp Report

Arizona Cardinals

Rookie wide receiver Christian Kirk may be earning his way into a starting role. He was always expected to be a contributor on special teams, but have exceeded expectations playing in the slot. eye, isn’t that Larry Fitzgerald’s spot? Yes, it is.  However, Arizona head coach Steve Wilks has been very impressed with Kirk, so expect to see some moving pieces to get Kirk to get on the field.

I would keep an eye on the Cardinals depth chart to see how this plays out. Kirk could be an interesting end-game flier in fantasy drafts.

Los Angeles Rams

Nothing good and nothing bad out of Rams camp. Carry on.

San Francisco 49ers

49ers running backs Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida will be out of action until the regular season. While they were out, first-team reps were going to fall to Joe Williams. However, Williams fractured his rib. Next man up? That would be Jeremy McNichols. If you remember, scouts loved McNichols coming out of the draft. Many preferred him to Alvin Kamara. True story.

Now, I am not saying you should rush out to grab McNichols. It is very likely that McKinnon and Breida are the 49ers starting duo when the regular season starts. All I am saying is pay attention to this situation. If there is a setback in San Francisco, McNichols may be a guy to consider if he can outperform veteran Alfred Morris.

Seattle Seahawks

Doug Baldwin (knee) has started to increase his conditioning this week in training camp. This has been confirmed by Pete Carroll and is fantastic news for fantasy owners. Baldwin ran sprints in practice and appears to be well on his way to being ready for the regular season. With a healthy workload coming his way, Baldwin should be in consideration as a WR1 (if healthy).

The Fantasy Black Book ShowReady to amp up your Fantasy Football prep even more? Check out The Fantasy Black Book Show, where Joe Pisapia, Scott Bogman, and The Welsh bring the goods every week.

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