NFL Training Camp is a busy time of year. This is when the coaches implement their system, playbooks are drawn up and every position on every team is up for grabs. Injuries are as common as practice cones and tackling dummies. If you blink, you could just miss the preamble to a breakout season. Fortunately, I’ll be keeping up with all of it in order to ensure Fantasy Alarm Nation stays in the know all summer long.
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SAME OLE RAIDERS
All that was missing from Raiders practice today was a young John Madden making “boom” & “pow” noises and Kenny Stabler avoiding the scrum to not dirty his uniform. The Raiders were involved with now fewer than three brawls during their Thursday session today. The aggressors ranged from the defensive line to the backup RB’s and the entire special teams grouping. While Jack Del Rio and his staff preaches aggression, this is probably not what they meant.
This Raiders team and especially the defense is going to be a lot of fun to watch this season. They have the talent and makeup to make a push to the playoffs and could advance far if things break right. For the first time in a long time this Raiders defense and special teams should be on your radar as a sleeper DST this season.
This is just a mess. If you have read my Coaching Systems Breakdown, you know that the starting RB for Marc Trestman’s offense is a bonafide every week starting RB in fantasy football. The problem right now is that we have no real idea who that starting RB is going to be. Justin Forsett is coming back from a broken arm suffered in November of last year and is being held back a bit thus far in camp.
The Ravens have three fourth round picks in the rotation including the 2014 edition, Loranzo Taliaferro, 2015 edition Buck Allen and this year’s edition Kenneth Dixon. It’s clear that Taliaferro is best suited as a short yardage runner at this point as is Buck Allen. They are likely battling each other for a roster spot.
Then there is former Cleveland Browns third round pick Terrance West who is running like a man possessed this summer here with the Ravens. The twitterverse exploded today with news that West is making a push to be the Ravens starting RB. Let me be clear here when I say that those stories are exaggerated. Sure, it is possible for West to be the lead dog in Baltimore and he does fit the cut back system very well. But this is still Justin Forsett’s job to lose at this point. Forsett is being held back in order to preserve his almost 31 year old body here this summer. West is likely competing for the backup job which is still significant for fantasy purposes and deserves our attention. But I completed a draft about a half hour ago and wound up taking Forsett as my RB2 and then handcuffing him with Kenneth Dixon instead of West. Needless to say, I will be monitoring this situation going forward.
UP AND DOWN SUMMER
Bengals rookie WR Tyler Boyd has had a very up and down start to his first NFL training camp. Boyd is in a great spot for fantasy purposes as the only viable receiver opposite A.J. Green and thus could be seeing plenty of single coverage in nickel situations. The first few practices brought forth a couple acrobatic grabs from Boyd including another sideline catch, broken tackle and long run while on the first team offense.
But today was a different story. Boyd had a couple key drops including one when he was wide open for what would have been a long TD reception from the arm of A.J. McCarron. There is no doubting the skill level and size that Boyd brings to the table and thus he deserves to be a late mid round pick in fantasy leagues. With veterans like Brandon LaFell and Brandon Tate on the roster, Boyd will have to show the coaching staff and QB Andy Dalton that he can make the tough catches as well as the easier ones.
SITTING OUT TODAY
Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys – Rest
Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys – Rest
Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys – Rest
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears – Hamstring
Brandin Cooks, WR, Saints – Hamstring
Matt Forte, RB, Jets – Hamstring
Jay Ajayi, RB, Dolphins – Knee
Kendall Wright, WR, Titans – Hamstring
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys – Hamstring
Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings - Hamstring