We're at the peak of Fantasy Football silly season. Fantasy analysts have been arguing about players for months with nothing actionable to go on, so we are absolutely starved for anything resembling football so we can start to figure out who is right and who is wrong.
And grainy training camp videos resemble football! There are football players doing actions that football players do when they are playing football. They're running, and cutting, and jumping, and throwing, and catching; it looks like football!
But, we know it isn't actually football. Certainly not when the players aren't even wearing pads or trying to tackle each other. Wide receivers look un-guardable the first week of preseason when most of what we're seeing is one-on-one drills against defensive backs with no help. Running backs are running through arm tackles because real tackles aren't allowed yet. And quarterbacks? Well, as it turns out, it's a lot easier to play the position when you know your opponents will get in trouble if they even touch you -- I mean, more so than in actual games.
This is all to say that, on the signal-to-noise scale, the first week of training camp especially is a cacophony, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, as the man once said. Most teams put pads on the first first time Monday, which might be the first time you can really look at anything happening on those practice fields as real.
But that doesn't mean we just ignore everything in camp. Though most teams have limitations on what can be reported, this is our first chance to see who might be holding the upper hand in position battles, or how new coaches might be using new players. Nothing we've seen so far should definitively change your view of any player, but we can start to, perhaps, form the beginning of new ideas about how the upcoming season should go.
That's what today's Fantasy Football Today Newsletter is all about. I went through camp reports for every team over the past week, searching for storylines that you need to know about, and I came up with 15 notes that might actually matter.
Who knows, maybe in a week, these will all look silly. But, at least for now, we're starting to get a sense for what might matter.
Kamara is set to meet with Goodell in the next few days to discuss possible discipline for his part in a fight outside a Las Vegas nightclub in 2022 for which he recently reached a plea agreement. He is no longer facing a felony charge for the incident, but that doesn't mean isn't facing a suspension from the NFL, with Saints head coach Dennis Allen telling reporters Mondays, "I think part of it is, 'Let's get some resolution with where we're at and move forward.'" I'm still expecting Kamara to receive a suspension as a result of this, with four games seeming like a reasonable expectation. But, the truth is, we genuinely don't know. The Saints added Jamaal Williams in free agency and Kendre Miller in the third round of the NFL Draft, but those are more like contingency plans than actual Kamara replacements. If he ends up with a suspension shorter than four games, Kamara could end up being a pretty nice buy in Fantasy leagues, but hopefully, we can get some resolution soon one way or the other.
Ravens – Whatever's going on with JK Dobbins
In a camp where the Ravens are installing a new offense with a bunch of new weapons, it'd be nice if the focus was on the field. But Dobbins' situation remains tough to parse. He's on the Physically Unable to Perform list, but nobody really seems to be talking about what the injury actually is – when coach John Harbaugh was asked about Dobbins' absence from camp early on, he said, "That's a J.K. question. I wish there was a simple answer. There are always a lot of things that go into football, but there's some complexity to it. We're working through all that, and we're looking forward to when he's out there." That's not particularly helpful! We know there are contract-related issues here, and if that's ultimately all it is, I won't really be too concerned. But he's missing reps in the new offense, including the first days of padded practices, which isn't ideal. I like Dobbins as a breakout candidate if he puts this all behind him quickly, but the longer it drags on, the more uncertainty there will be.
Seahawks – RB injuries all over the place
Kenneth Walker is "week to week" with a groin injury, while rookie Zach Charbonnet is out indefinitely while dealing with a shoulder injury. , Pete Carroll was characteristically short on details when discussing the injuries, and the fact that he downplayed them doesn't necessarily mean neither is at risk of missing time come the regular season – Carroll always downplays injuries. You should at least get the name Kenny McIntosh onto your late-round targets list, as the seventh-round rookie could be in line for a nice role early on if Walker and Charbonnet's injuries linger. I'm not dropping either down my rankings too much yet, but that's mostly because there's just no way of knowing how long they might be out. But there's certainly risk here – and opportunity if one of them gets back ahead of the other.
Sanders hasn't really been a factor in the passing game since the first half of his rookie season, but the Panthers gave him a $25 million contract this offseason and everything they've said since indicates he's going to have a chance to be a do-it-all back for them. Panthers GM Scott Fitterer has compared the signing of Sanders to when the Seahawks added Marshawn Lynch, and though it's unlikely Sanders is going to make that big of an impact, it sure looks like he's going to get the chance. It helps that Chuba Hubbard hasn't shown much as a pass-catcher despite plenty of opportunities over the past few seasons. Sanders has to prove he can hold on to a third-down role, which was the issue in Philly, but at the very least, he's going to get the chance.
Bengals – Joe Burrow will miss several weeks with a calf strain
We don't know what "several weeks" means at this point, but I'd be shocked if we saw Burrow in action during the preseason. He doesn't really need it, so all eyes will be on Burrow getting back on the field at least by the start of September. If he can do that, there won't be any reason to downgrade anyone in this offense, and I'm not really doing so right now.
Williams says he's ahead of schedule in his recovery from a torn ACL, and he's been cleared for the start of practice. That doesn't mean he's been a full participant yet, but it bodes very well for his chances of being ready for Week 1. Williams is about 10 months removed from the injury right now, and it might be another couple of months until he's back to 100%, so don't be surprised if he's somewhat limited early in the season. But his recovery has gone about as well as could be expected so far, and if he avoids setbacks during camp, he should at least be active for Week 1, even if it might take a little while before you can trust him for Fantasy.
We'll also add here that Tim Patrick went down with what the team reportedly believes is a torn Achilles. That's a gutting outcome for a guy who already missed last season due to a torn ACL and seemed poised to return to a prominent role in the Broncos offense -- he'll miss the rest of the season instead. With KJ Hamler waived Monday with an injury designation, it seems like rookie Marvin Mims, a second-round pick out of Oklahoma, could be in line for a starting role in this offense alongside Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. Add him to your late-round sleepers list.
Lions – Jameson Williams is having a rough camp
Williams was able to practice Monday after he was limited early on by a hamstring injury, but that's not to say he had a good day. According to reports at camp, Williams struggled with drops, and appeared to let his frustration get the better of him, ending up involved in a few scuffles with teammates. Williams had a frustrating rookie season, catching just one pass while being limited due to his recovery from a torn ACL, and now he's suspended for the first six games of this season for violating the league's gambling policy. He needs a good camp to build on because of the suspension, and it sounds like it's been a rocky start. I'm not giving up on last year's No. 12 overall pick, but he's not particularly high on my list of mid-to-late-round targets at this point.
, including my top three landing spots for Taylor if the Colts decide to trade him. Of course, the Colts owner already came out and said they aren't going to do that, so this one might just be a staring contest between two sides that seem increasingly distrustful of one another. I don't think it's particularly likely that Taylor ends up traded, but I also don't see how this situation gets easily reconciled. I'm moving Taylor into the second round of my rankings and hoping this gets settled soon, one way or another.
There are still questions about how much of a role Kincaid will have, but he's drawing positive reviews early on in camp, a continuation of how spring workouts went for the team's first-round pick. Rookie tight ends rarely make an impact for Fantasy, but the case for Kincaid is that he's not really going to be a tight end – Dawson Knox will line up in-line a lot more often and handling more of the dirty work, while Kincaid operates as more of a slot receiver. He'll still need to prove he can be a willing blocker when the pads go on to maximize his upside, but early returns suggest he's going to play a role in this offense, and he's a viable late-round target with upside.
Chiefs – Justyn Ross should be on your radar
Ross was a huge producer very early on in his college career, putting up 1,865 yards and 17 touchdowns as a freshman and sophomore at Clemson, before spinal surgery seemingly derailed his career. He ended up going undrafted after coming back in 2021 and hasn't caught a pass in his NFL career, but he's working with the first-team offense so far in camp and has drawn a lot of attention for a few highlight reel catches. Ross still feels like a long shot to earn a significant role, though another injury to Kadarius Toney does help his chances. Ross is still trying to work his way off the roster bubble, but his size makes him stand out in this group, and if he builds on this fast start and shows he can be a consistent playmaker in the preseason, he's worth a late-round look, at least.
Rams – Matthew Stafford has not been limited
It's kind of ironic that there's so much more concern and skepticism around Stafford this preseason than there was a year ago, despite the fact that he is, by all accounts, healthier than he was then. That skepticism is not unreasonable after Stafford dealt with neck and back injuries last season, but he hasn't been limited by any issues so far. The Rams are emphasizing the need to protect Stafford, so they know there's risk here, but if Stafford is healthy, I think Cooper Kupp should be the No. 2 WR in Fantasy, and Stafford is at least a viable QB2. And Stafford is healthy right now.
Raiders – Josh Jacobs still hasn't reported
There have been some reports about Jimmy Garoppolo looking a bit rough in camp so far, which isn't a huge source of concern for me – yet. He didn't get to do much work this offseason while recovering from foot surgery, so he's learning a new offense on the fly. We're a few weeks from really worrying too much about that kind of thing -- though I will point to the pretty rough reports out of Steelers and Patriots camp last preseason as evidence that we shouldn't necessarily ignore a steady drumbeat of an offense struggling. So, we're still keeping an eye on Jacobs, who hasn't signed his franchise tag and remains at home. He doesn't have a ton of leverage if he opts to stretch his holdout into the season, so I do expect Jacobs to report at some point. However, his absence is creating an opportunity for second-year back Zamir White to serve as a lead back for the start of camp – though the fact that I've seen little talk about him, good or bad, doesn't necessarily bode well. White is worth a late-round look in Fantasy, but he's also a fourth-round pick who managed to earn just 17 carries as a rookie, so even if he opens the season as the RB1, there isn't much job security there.
Vikings – Jordan Addison is working with the first-team
That was the expectation when they took Addison with the No. 23 pick in this year's NFL draft, but it's still good to see that he's on schedule. Outside of Justin Jefferson and T.J. Hockenson, there isn't much competition for targets in this offense, and it's entirely possible he'll open the season as the No. 3 option in what might be one of the pass-happiest offenses in the league. 100-plus targets feel like a pretty safe bet, which I don't say about every rookie wide receiver.
Jets – Waiting on a Dalvin Cook decision
Cook visited Jets camp over the weekend, but he didn't immediately decide to sign. He is reportedly weighing multiple offers, with the Dolphins and Patriots also linked to Cook, though only the Dolphins would seemingly offer a direct path to a starting role. Cook looked like he lost a step last season despite finishing as a top-12 RB in Fantasy, and landing in a timeshare with either Breece Hall or Rhamondre Stevenson certainly wouldn't be a best-case scenario for his value. More than anything, Cook right now looks like a bit of a Fantasy landmine, someone we're hoping Hall and Stevenson can avoid, more than a player we're necessarily excited about drafting. He's fine as an upside RB3, but I'm not drafting Cook expecting him to be a starting Fantasy option right now.
Eagles – D'Andre Swift has been "used primarily in the passing game"
Swift has drawn expected praise for his work in the passing game, and while that's a welcome element in an offense that didn't throw to their running backs very often last season, it's not necessarily the most direct path to Fantasy stardom here. I haven't seen much to indicate whether Swift is working behind Rashaad Penny in the running game, and that's the role to watch here – the Eagles are one of the best run-blocking teams in the league, and if someone emerges as the clear lead runner next to Jalen Hurts the way Miles Sanders did a year ago, that'll be the guy to roster for Fantasy. Sanders has more upside if he's also involved in the passing game, but I'd take Penny ahead of him if it became clear Penny was the likely RB1.
49ers – Brock Purdy is working exclusively with the first-team offense
Trey Lance and Sam Darnold are getting first-team reps, but that's almost entirely because Purdy isn't quite ready for a full complement of reps. But when he's out there, Purdy's working with the starters. There wasn't much doubt about whether Purdy would be the starter if he was healthy, but his quick recovery from elbow surgery led to him being cleared for the start of camp and puts him on track for a Week 1 debut. The 49ers still have a lot of questions about how they will divvy up targets and touches in a very crowded offense, but there's at least some certainty about the QB spot.