Training Camp Notes: Aug. 4

Training Camp Notes: Aug. 4

This article is part of our Training Camp Notes series.

On the eve of the first preseason game, news continues to pour in. Most is still in regards to injury, though with over a week of practice now in the books, some hype is beginning to build and depth charts clarified.

  • There was some good news regarding both Kirk Cousins and Matthew Stafford Wednesday. Stafford handled a full workload at the team's first  padded practice, playing through a thumb contusion. He originally suffered the injury Monday after hitting his hand off a teammate's helmet.  Stafford is currently the 10th quarterback off the board in NFFC ADP and his health doesn't appear to be a reason to shy away at that cost. Meanwhile, Cousins is nearing a return to practice after being placed on the reserve/COVID list Saturday. If he does return Thursday, that likely means he didn't test positive but instead was just a close contact of Kellen Mond.
  • A trio of big names missed practice, highlighted by Julio Jones, Deshaun Watson, and Will Fuller. Jones has an undisclosed injury. Though it remains early in camp, given his recent injury history, there has to be at some least concern. Speaking of injury history, Fuller has been sidelined for a week by a foot injury. Already slated to miss the first game of the season due to suspension, Fuller's also extensive past history of injury amplifies his absence. Watson missed his second consecutive practice with a foot issue, only furthering his uncertain status due to a pending league investigation and unresolved trade demand.
  • D'Andre Swift caused the panic of the day when he exited practice early Wednesday. Reports emerged that he had been handling a lighter workload in recent practices, which could indicate he has been dealing with an injury. This may be more a concerning development than most injury notes at this time in training camp, particularly with Jamaal Williams lurking as an offseason addition.
  • In contrast, there was some good news regarding Kenny Golladay's hamstring injury. While he was held out of practice Wednesday to undergo additional testing, there's optimism that the injury isn't serious. The wideout signed with the Giants this offseason and is presumed to lead a wide receiver corps that also includes Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and Kadarius Toney.
  • Darren Waller has emerged as the second tight end off the board across most – if not all —fantasy platforms. However, he's now missed back-to-back days of practice with an undisclosed injury. There's no major reason for concern yet, but given his status as a first and second-round pick, any knock is worth paying attention to.
  • Tre'Quan Smith also missed practice Wednesday after leaving practice Tuesday. The nature of the injury hasn't been disclosed, though the Saints' wide receiver corps would be seriously shorthanded if Smith is forced to miss extensive time.
  • Jalen Guyton also remains out after an abbreviated practice Tuesday. His injury is regarded as minor, but the team has been guarded in terms of any details. Guyton's fantasy stock seems to be trending down early in camp, as reports emerged on Tuesday that he had been outplayed by Josh Palmer and Tyron Johnson – who is battling a foot injury – early in camp.
  • A.J. Green has a new home in Arizona, but he can't seem to run from nagging injuries that plagued his final few seasons in Cincinnati. He's dealing with an undisclosed injury, though coach Kliff Kingsbury doesn't expect him to be sidelined long. Even if he returns in short order, Green may not command his usual number of targets due to the presence of DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore and Christian Kirk.
  • D'Wayne Eskridge is expected to ramp up his conditioning in the next few days. If he's able to take the practice field for the first time shortly thereafter, he should be able to compete for the third receiver role behind Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.
  • Tutu Atwell beat Eskridge to the field, as he was activated the reserve/COVID list Wednesday. He figures to work behind DeSean Jackson in a field-stretching role, though that could grow as the season wears on.
  • Second-year wideout KJ Hamler returned from COVID protocols after missing just one practice. That very brief absence shouldn't affect his ability to earn the number three receiver role among the Broncos' receiving corps.
  • Tyrell Williams suffered a dislocated pinky Tuesday, but is still practicing. He noted that he didn't feel any additional pain from the injury, so his status shouldn't be affected by the time game action matters. Though Detroit is projected to be among the least explosive offenses in the league, Williams could have the chance to emerge out an ambiguous wide receiver corps.
  • Odell Beckham is nearing a full return to practice, as he is expected to be cleared for team drills next week. Assuming this occurs as planned, it would signify Beckham's full return to the field. Even so, his fit in the offense is uncertain due to its run-heavy nature and the presence of Jarvis Landry.

Although injury news dominated the wire, there was also some information regarding role and strong performances that emerged Wednesday.

  • Albert Wilson has gotten a lot of run in the early portions of camp with Fuller, DeVante Parker and Preston Williams all missing practice at various points. He's reportedly impressed and was lauded as an "explosive playmaker" by Armando Salguero.
  • DeeJay Dallas has entered the conversation as the team's third-down back. He's a strong receiver out of the backfield, though his skills as a blocker are less well-regarded. He'll need to overtake Travis Homer for the role, who has established himself as a serviceable and consistent backup for the team.
  • The Vikings hope to get Irv Smith more involved in the red zone this season. As a part-time player n 2020, he earned 12 targets inside the red zone. With Kyle Rudolph since departed, it's possible there's more to this report than just preseason fluff.
  • N'Keal Harry reported to camp both trimmer and more explosive. Apparently, that's translated to a strong start to training camp. He reportedly caught all six of his targets Wednesday and also put together a promising effort the previous day in practice.
  • Damien Williams has impressed as a receiver out of the backfield early in camp. With Tarik Cohen still sidelined while recovering from a torn ACL, Williams could certainly fill a receiving back role in Chicago. Upon Cohen's return, Williams could cut into David Montgomery's volume a bit, even if Montgomery remains the primary back.
  • Speaking of receiving back, Chris Evans could fill that role in Cincinnati. He was described as a bright spot for the team, while others like Joe Burrow were panned for their performance in the offense Wednesday. The team has also used a second back in tandem with Joe Mixon, with Giovanni Bernard filling the role previously.
  • Philip Rivers noted he may be willing to make a return to the NFL after retiring following the 2020 season. This report doesn't seem like a coincidence, given that the Colts – the team that Rivers played for last season – could be in the market for a quarterback.
  • Speaking of the Colts, Sam Ehlinger has been serving as the second-string quarterback behind Jacob Eason in the absence of Carson Wentz (foot).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dan Marcus
Dan started covering fantasy sports in 2015, joining Rotowire in 2018. In addition to Rotowire, Dan has written for Baseball HQ and Rotoballer.
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