NFL teams are starting to report to camp, and finally the 2016 NFL season is underway. Kind of. There will be a ton of reports stemming from across the league as preseason moves along. We’ll hear about Player 1 being in the best shape of his life; we’ll hear how Player 2 is the healthiest he’s been in years; we’ll hear about how Player 3 is making great strides, finally ready to make the leap to a more elite category of play (probably Ryan Tannehill). A lot of “Camp Talk” is nonsense and truly irrelevant until the season starts, but there’s definitely big and important news, too, that’s worth mentioning. That’s what I will focus on: the meaningful news that, whether it be injuries or roster placements, comes out of the many different training camps taking place up until the regular season begins in early September.
I will list each team in accordance to division with important updates relating to fantasy news, health and other notes coming out of training camp. All information comes from reports of members or organizations who are reporting/covering the team, as per RotoWorld
- August 5: RB Ryan Mathews returned to practice after dealing with an ankle injury.
- July 31: Receiver Rueben Randle is already taking some heat from the media. MMQB’s Peter King speculated he may not even make the 53-man roster after saying he’s the “fourth receiver at best.”
- August 3: Doctson is now in a walking boot. He is dealing with a “sore achilles” and his timetable is listed at 1-2 weeks to return.
- July 31: Rookie receiver Josh Doctson is dealing with an achilles’ tendon injury, but is supposedly feeling better in his first phases of rehab.
New York Giants
- August 2: The New York Daily News thinks it’s “clear” RB Rashad Jennings will be the no. 1 guy this year, putting to rest any “running-back-by-committee” talks.
- July 31: Odell Beckham limped off the field after getting a cleat to his leg in camp. He’s fine, but worth noting considering we’re talking about a top-3 wide receiver in the league.
- Victor Cruz is “on schedule,” and he’s actually practicing. Coach Ben MaCadoo said he “trusts” rookie Sterling Shepard. If all goes well for the GMEN, Beckham, Cruz and Shepard will be one of the most explosive receiving corps in the league.
- The Giants are reportedly rotating all tight end snaps. Will Tye and Larry Donnell are the favorites to win the starting job.
- August 3: Elliott is going to be reevaluated after a week.
- August 3: Rookie Ezekiel Elliott will “miss some time” with a hamstring injury. It sounds like Dallas is just being conservative, but it’s definitely worth monitoring moving forward.
- August 2: Backup QB Kellen Moore broke his ankle and will be sidelined for 3-4 months. Dallas will sign a backup QB.
- August 2: Rolando McClain has reportedly gained 40 pounds and is addicted to codeine. He won’t be on the roster to finish the season, in my opinion, but we’ll see if he even makes it to the Cowboys facility before then.
- July 27: The Cowboys officially start camp Saturday, July 30, but that doesn’t mean they’re not already making noise in the headlines. And of course, it’s for the wrong reasons. Second-year DE Randy Gregory’s suspension is being increased from a 4-game stint to 10 or 14 depending on the league’s discretion. As reported, Gregory has already entered into a treatment facility, and there’s serious concern he misses the entire season with the Cowboys. That’s a killer for Dallas, whose biggest weakness is clearly their lack of pass rush – their active sack leader is a cornerback, Orlando Scandrick with 9.5 career sacks.
- An investigation is underway concerning rookie Running Back Ezekiel Elliott. He was accused by his ex-girlfriend of domestic violence, but was never charged at the time of the incident, and witnesses claim he never laid a finger on her. It’s still definitely worth monitoring, but the Cowboys nor Zeke seem worried about it; he’ll be ready for camp this week.
- August 5: Tyrann Mathieu is two weeks away from practicing, Bruce Arians said.
- August 2: Cardinals signed defensive stud Tyrann Mathieu to a five-year, $62.5 million deal through 2020. This is especially noteworthy because of the troubles surrounding Mathieu coming out of LSU. He’s a great story and one of the rare risks that really pay off in the NFL.
- Chris Johnson and David Johnson are “both even” at the running back position, which is worth noting considering Johnson looked locked in as the feature back after his performance in the second half of last season.
- August 5: Jimmy Graham and Thomas Rawls are both close to returning, Pete Carroll said.
- July 31: Jimmy Graham is on the PUP list, but is in “great shape.” He’s supposed to be ready for week 1 after missing most of last year with a patellar tendon injury. His health will be closely monitored throughout camp.
- Running back Thomas Rawls is also on PUP to start camp. He’s recovering from surgery in December, but should be ready for camp.
- July 28: 13-year veteran and undrafted pass rusher Chris Clemons is retiring this season. He was expected to be a situational pass rusher for one of the league’s best defenses this year.
- July 27: The Seahawks just recently locked up General Manager John Schneider to an extension, and they just did the same with the oldest coach in the NFL, 64-year-old Pete Carroll. Both are signed through 2019 and it’s worth mentioning because the Seahawks have been dominant under the two. They’ve been to the playoffs five of six years under Carroll, and have been to two Super Bowls (1-1). They have led the league in least points allowed for four straight seasons.
San Francisco 49ers
- August 2: New Head Coach Chip Kelly said preseason games will determine the starting QB job between Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert. This will at least make 49ers preseason games entertaining since there’s an actual competition going on.
- August 2: Falcons signed DE Dwight Freeney to a one-year contract. Freeney had eight sacks in nine games last year for Arizona.
New Orleans Saints
- July 31: Rookie receiver Michael Thomas has “been the best player” in training camp so far. Brees certainly likes to spread the ball around, which is easy when you throw more than 500 times in a season consistently. Thomas will be a player to monitor throughout camp, and definitely worth considering fairly early in fantasy leagues.
- August 2: WR Devin Funchess reportedly looks great in camp. He has all the tools, just needs to mature and come into his own as a receiver. It sounds like he may be beginning to do that.
- July 28: Coach Ron Rivera said receiver Kelvin Benjamin is in “pretty doggone good form” after missing last year with an ACL injury.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- August 3: Tight end Cameron Brate is emerging as the favorite to open the season as starter. This is significant since it’s so early in camp and Austin Seferian-Jenkins was expected to be the starter.
- August 5: Adrian Peterson is expected to return to practice after missing a couple with a hamstring injury.
- August 4: Free Agent RB Kevin Monangai signed with the Vikings. This is especially noteworthy to me because Monangai is a Seton Hall Prep Alumni and came on my podcast a couple weeks ago. He’ll be back soon to discuss his experience with the Vikings.
Green Bay Packers
- August 3: Receiver Ty Montgomery offered no timetable on his return to action after undergoing ankle surgery last December. Montgomery had “tight ropes inserted into his ligaments to hold them in place, a cartilage repair and — perhaps most serious — a microfracture procedure on his talus (a bone between the heel and fibula and tibia).” Does not sound good.
- August 2: Wide receiver Jared Abbrederis is ahead of Jeff Janis and Ty Montgomery on the Packers’ first depth chart of camp. It’s only the opening days, but still noteworthy considering the hype surrounding Janis and Montgomery.
- July 31: Wide receiver Davante Adams has “caught everything” in training camp. Obviously it’s only training camp, and reports like this surface everywhere; a couple weeks ago, Adams wasn’t even a lock to make the roster. It’s worth noting, though, that he’s having a good camp. He was a “sleeper” last year in fantasy football, and he disappointed a ton of owners that took the bait. You can probably draft him for cheaper this year.
- July 27: Jordy Nelson is starting camp on the active/PUP list because of tendinitis in his knee. The good news for Packers fans is that this isn’t his recently surgically repaired knee from tearing his ACL in a preseason game last season. It’s still a concern considering Nelson has missed games due to a knee injury dating back to his college days. He’s supposed to be good to go for the season, but it’s definitely worth monitoring throughout preseason activities.
- July 28: Tight End Eric Ebron is expected to see a “ton of uptick” in targets this season. Ebron’s been a fantasy sleeper, but he can be a legit TE1 if reports prove true.
- August 4: Alshon Jeffery is dealing with a mild hamstring injury. This is definitely worth monitoring – he couldn’t stay healthy last year because of soft tissue issues like this.
- WR Kevin White has impressed, but is “still raw.” He missed his rookie year, but the Bears are hoping for big things from him.
New York Jets
- August 2: Forte returned to practice after missing four days with a hamstring injury.
- July 31: Matt Forte is day-to-day after suffering a hamstring injury in the offseason. Worth monitoring considering the veteran back’s age.
- WR Devin Smith is on PUP, and he isn’t expected to participate in offseason training anytime soon. That’s a big blue to the Jets receiving corps, as Smith is dealing with recovering from an ACL tear last year in December.
- July 28: Fitzpatrick signed a 1-year deal for $12 million guaranteed and has reported to Jets’ training camp.
- July 27: The big news from the Jets offseason has been contract disputes with Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. They’re still at a stand-still, which is concerning for Jets fans who don’t want to see Geno Smith take snaps. I personally am interested in seeing how Smith would do with an actual receiving core, but Fitzpatrick seems to be their most desired option at the position.
- In other news, Wide Receiver Brandon Marshall reportedly showed up to camp 10 pounds less than last season. At 32 years old, it’s encouraging to see the receiver coming into camp in great shape – he just needs his friend and quarterback to show up. Marshall had a career-high 14 touchdowns in his 10th season in the league last year with Fitzpatrick throwing him the football. He also produced his second-most catches (109) and yards (1,502) in his career.
New England Patriots
- August 5: RB Dion Lewis could start the season on PUP. He’s recovering from a torn ACL in November, and hasn’t participated in any offseason activities.
- July 31: Julian Edelman has been getting in work on the sidelines, which is a good indicator that he’s close to returning. Edelman dealt with a broken foot last year, and he’s the Patriots #1 receiver after TE Rob Gronkowski.
- August 5: RB Jay Ajayi returned to practice, but WR DeVante Parker has missed the past four days with a hamstring injury.
- July 31: Veteran back Arian Foster was activated from the PUP list after annihilating his conditioning test. He’s expected to be the Dolphins week 1 starter, which will all depend on his health. This is a positive step toward that, especially since Jay Ajayi is dealing with injuries.
- August 1: LeSean McCoy supposedly looks five years younger. The Bills are expecting big things from him this year.
- Bills signed Reggie Bush to primarily be a returner.
- July 31: Sammy Watkins passed his conditioning test, a great step forward in getting him back on the field. There was some concern about Watkins’ status after getting foot surgery, but it sounds like the receiver can be 100% for the season.
- August 5: Kroft was diagnosed with a sprained knee and will be out 4-6 weeks. Him and Eifert will both likely miss the season opener.
- August 3: Kroft’s knee injury does not seem to be serious, Bengals.com reported.
- August 2: Tight End Tyler Kroft was carted off the field with a knee injury during Tuesday’s practice. This is especially important because the Bengals will be without Tyler Eifert for the first part of the season.
- First-round CB William Jackson III was diagnosed with a torn pectoral. His season is in jeopardy.
- Andy Dalton said WR Tylor Boyd has made great strides from OTAs, which is encouraging considering the lack of options Dalton will have going into the season.
- August 2: RB Terrance West has been the Ravens’ most explosive back, according to the Baltimore Sun.
- July 28: Fourth-round running back Kenneth Dixon has been diagnosed with a mild, Grade-1 MCL sprain. Current starter Justin Forsett said he expects to get most of the carries.
- August 2: WR Sammie Coates is “night and day” ahead of where he was at this point last year, according to Steelers’ OC Todd Haley. This is big considering the Steelers’ second receiving option is wide open with Martavis Bryant suspended for the year.
- July 28: Tight End Ladarius Green is on the active/PUP list after getting ankle surgery. I like Green as a sleeper tight end this year with his new team, but his health will be key.
- July 28: Le’Veon Bell was cleared from training camp, which is nice to hear considering all of the bad news surrounding him recently.
- July 27: Bell is facing a 4-game suspension for missing “several” drug tests. Bell took to Instagram his take on the reports, saying that he’s going to win his appeal and start the season as the #1 running back. We’ve heard that before from suspended players, so it’s no surprise he’s defending himself. This is definitely worth monitoring considering Bell is arguably the best running back in the league, and definitely one of the highest-rated fantasy players going into the 2016 season.
- July 31: Second-year back Duke Johnson is the lead back in an offense that wants to be “run oriented.”
- July 27: Wide Receiver Josh Gordon was recently reinstated into the NFL by Commissioner Roger Goodell after being suspended for 27 of his last 32 games. Gordon’s going to have to shake off a ton of rust if he wants to become dominant like he was in 2013 when he led the league in receiving (1,646 yards) in only 14 games played. He’ll have to wait a “couple weeks,” as Gordon is sidelined due to a quad injury he suffered while training. He should return to the field well before the regular season. The good news is Gordon is only 25 years old; he has a ton of time to turn his career around and rewrite his script.
- August 5: Jadeveon Clowney appears visibly quicker after dropping 20 pounds from his last-season playing weight of 285.
- July 31: Wide receiver Jaelen Strong is in “optimal condition” according to reports. He looks notibably quicker and in better shape than last year, and he’s a true candidate to be a go-to guy behind Deandre Hopkins.
- July 31: Receiver Donte Moncrief has made a ton of “breakout candidate” headlines this offseason, and you should be paying attention. Most recently, headlines say he’s running a 4.3 40 at 222 pounds. He ran a 4.4 in his combine a couple years ago, and the third-year receiver’s stats have progressed significantly in his first two years. The Colts have their QB coming back, and Moncrief may be the best fantasy receiving option on this team considering how high T.Y. Hilton will go.
- Moncrief said his surgically repaired toe is “96-97” percent after missing all of mini camp and OTAs dealing with it.
- August 5: DL Dante Fowler has been embarrassing offensive linemen in training camp. He was last year’s third overall pick in the draft, but missed the entire season after getting injured in the preseason.
- August 5: DeMarco Murray will be the Titans’ starting running back, but draft pick Derrick Henry has impressed with his pass-catching ability this offseason.
San Diego Chargers
- August 2: Chargers signed WR James Jones to replace Stevie Johnson, who is recovering from a torn meniscus.
- July 31: Second-year running back Melvin Gordon feels more “comfortable” in his second training camp, and has no limitations after undergoing surgery in the offseason on his knee.
- Stevie Johnson, wide receiver, was carted off with a knee injury.
Kansas City Chiefs
- July 27: Running Back Jamaal Charles is starting camp on the active/PUP list after missing most of 2015 with a torn ACL. Charles is roughly nine months removed from surgery, and he’s supposed to be ready for camp. He’s a nine-year veteran, though, and the Chiefs have solid running backs behind him to back him up in Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware. They’ll take it slow with the stud back, and I’m sure he won’t see as many carries as he usually does this season.