Fantastic Updates: Training Camp News on Romeo Doubs, Isiah Pacheco, Matthew Stafford
The flood gates for player news are set to go full steam ahead this week as all 32 teams take to the field in preseason. Every year a player or two comes out of nowhere, leading to a productive fantasy season.
2019 – DJ Chark (73/1,008/8) was a late round flyer at wide receiver. He finished 17th in fantasy points (225.80) in the PPR leagues after an empty rookie campaign (14/174).
2020 – In mid-August, James Robinson started hitting the backend of fantasy rosters while ending up being a top Week 1 pick in leagues with early draft dates. He finished seventh in the running backs standings (251.40 fantasy points), courtesy of 289 touches. Tee Higgins was consistently selected after round 15 in the high stakes market. He produced a WR3 season (67/908/6) despite posting minimal stats in the first two weeks (3/35).
2021 – Last year, Elijah Mitchell stole the show in San Francisco as most drafters threw worthless darts at Trey Sermon in the sixth round. He ranked 26th in running backs (174.70 fantasy points) while playing just 11 games. Mitchell was picked up in Week 2 in most leagues after a thrilling Week 1 show (104/19/1). Cordarrelle Patterson emerged in the second week of last season (69 combined yards with a touchdown and five catches), rewarding his fans with a season-high 10 running backs (153/618/6 with 52 catches for 548 yards and five scores).
When browsing camp news, the goal is to identify players with potential starting jobs with relatively little competition. Here are some names that have emerged over the past two weeks:
WR Romeo Doubs, Green Bay Packers
As Christian Watson recovers from minor surgery, Doubs got valuable shots in Packers training camp. He received a favorable report last week, bringing more attention to his name in fantasy drafts. I looked back at my Green Bay Packers prospects to see my first thoughts on him. My last lines in his article: “There’s more here than meets the eye, but Doubs will need time to develop. Possible second-half player.” offered a bullish window in 2022.
fantasy catch: Doubs needs work in his running, which makes him a deeper threat early in his career. He is expected to slip into the old role of Marquez Valdes-Scantling until Christian Watson regains his health. I view his growing stock as a sleight of hand within a magic trick. While most buy into a blurb, the real pot of gold at wide receiver Green Bay is Amari Rodgers. He projects better out of the slot, and the Packers have an aging group of wides ahead of him. Watson’s lost development time and injuries are big hits for me.
RB Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs
Pacheco is the buzz guy in Chiefs training camp in August. Kansas City selected him in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft after a lackluster career at Rutgers in 43 games (2,691 yards combined with 19 touchdowns and 47 catches). He gained just 4.3 yards per carry and 5.3 yards per reception. His hands don’t rank well and his pass protection skills won’t earn him valuable shots in his rookie season. Pacheco projects himself as a change of pace runner who needs to add patience to his running style to take advantage of winning creases in run blocking.
fantasy catch: I can’t see Pacheco jumping Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Ronald Jones on the depth chart without injury. Jerick McKinnon is a much better receiver with a lot of experience in the NFL. I consider Pacheco a donate pick unless 10 or 12 team draft leagues with 20 or less roster locations. He may surprise with coaching, but his fantasy value is minimal in 2022.
RB Breece Hall, New York Jets
The Jets potentially lost RT Mekhi Becton for the season this week after suffering a right kneecap problem. New York drafted him 11th overall. He also missed all but one game in 2021 when Jets running backs gained 1,462 yards on 340 carries (4.3 yards per carry) with nine rushing scores. I don’t see this as a devastating blow to the New York racing game. It hurts for sure. Fantasy editors have no problem selecting Najee Harris in the first round. His offensive line opened up tiny little holes last year (386/1,525/9) for their running backs. Hall has star power while being priced at an intermediate RB2 in the NFFC. Its shared role is reflected in its value.
fantasy catch: I won’t go up Hall in the drafts, but there is a point where his ceiling and his opportunities are much better than the remaining inventory of running backs. Some say his head coach likes to spin in multiple backs; I say talent prevails in the long run, and Robert Saleh didn’t make any offensive calls in San Francisco as defensive coordinator. Last year, the Jets suffered running back injuries. Michael Carter fought his way through mid-season, but left Week 11 with an ankle injury that cost him four games. This backfield is a two-man show (Hall/Carter). Tevin Coleman is past his prime while only offering veteran experience. Ty Johnson has the pass-catching advantage, but he’s never started full-time in his four years in the NFL.
QB Matthew Stafford Los Angeles Rams
Stafford progressed to throwing drills over the past week. In early March, he received an injection in his right elbow to treat the inflammation, and the Rams did not expect him to return to full practice until the second week of August. I feel like his elbow injury is similar to a baseball pitcher with a UCL problem. Los Angeles will limit his reps to keep him healthy all season. Stafford could miss several games and possibly the season with a setback. My thoughts are purely speculative, but something a fantasy writer should consider before investing in a Rams offensive player.
fantasy catch: After a great season (145/1947/16), Cooper Kupp worked his way to the top of the wide receiver rankings in 2022. Additionally, Allen Robinson began to move the needle of fantasy in the summer drafts. If Stafford isn’t 100% or misses at any point, his best spreaders would have a natural regression in production. If Kupp finished with 100 catches for 1,200 yards with 10 touchdowns, he would still provide WR1 stats, but would that be the best wide receiver season? I don’t trust Stafford, so I won’t fight for Kupp or Robinson in the drafts.
WR Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys
With so many injuries in the NFL, it’s easy to lose sight of when a player should be back at full strength. Typically, a player with a torn ACL needs a minimum of nine months to return to play. Gallup had surgery on his left knee on February 10. According to my calculations, he should be out of action until November. Dallas signed him to a five-year contract for $62.5 a month later.
fantasy catch: Gallup has a starting playable cap, but I don’t expect him to play much before the end of the season. I don’t like signing players who have significant injuries, so I have him in the avoid column unless his price is free.
More injury news:
QC Kyler Murray landed on injury report this week with a minor right wrist issue. The Cardinals suggested the injury would not be a long-term problem. TE Zach Ertz remains limited with a calf problem. WR Marquise Brown went to handcuffs for speeding in early August. He seems almost fully recovered from his previous hamstring injury.
The Ravens activated RB JK Dobbins from the PUP list on Monday. He tends to play Week 1, so his ADP should increase with every positive report in August.
RB Melvin Gordon injured his foot on Wednesday. As a result, he should miss some training time while still having enough time to recover for Week 1.
During his first two seasons in the NFL, Paris-Campbell played nine games due to multiple injuries. He did some limited training this week due to a hamstring issue.
WR Christian Kirk was ruled out Wednesday with a minor ankle injury. The Jaguars don’t expect him to play in this week’s preseason game.
The Raiders have been without a TE Darren Waller during the first three weeks of training camp without updating any problem.
QC James Winston suffered a minor foot problem (sprain) on Monday which led to the Saints pumping the breaks when he returned to full training.
WR up Kadarius Toney may have suffered a hamstring injury on Tuesday. Earlier in camp, a knee problem led to several missed practices.
The Eagles are without RBs Kenneth Gainwell for a few days with a hip problem. There has been no update on the severity of the injury. WR DeVonta Smith is listed as day to day with a groin problem.
WR Diontae Johnson injured his hip on Monday. His problem seems minor, with no update on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Tampa Bay had two of its wide outlets—mike evanshamstrings and Russell Gage, foot – get nicked in training this week. Fortunately, the two players didn’t suffer any major injuries.
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