Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers: Training camp is in full swing, and we’ve even seen some players in some version of NFL game action. Here’s the latest, with news reports provided by our partners at Rotoballer.com.
Chris Carson, Running Back, Seattle Seahawks: Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson has been the team’s clear lead back in training camp and is getting first-team repetitions. “He reminds me a lot of Fred Taylor. That’s a good comparison for him,” linebacker K.J. Wright said. “Fred Taylor was just all cut up and kind of stickily built. He’s just straight-ahead, man, and he can make you miss in the open field too. He’ll be fun to watch.” As long as he stays healthy, Carson could lead the team in touches this year, despite the fact Seattle drafted Rashaad Penny in the first round. Carson’s fantasy stock is slowly rising, but he must produce to hold off Penny and others.
David Njoku, Tight End, Browns: David Njoku turned in a huge preseason game against the New York Giants on Thursday. The second-year tight end caught two passes for 46 yards and two touchdowns to help lead his team to a 20-10 victory. Njoku’s first touchdown came on a 36-yard strike from Tyrod Taylor where he absolutely burned his defender to get open down the right side of the field. He later tacked on a 10-yard score from the hand of Baker Mayfield. There had been some camp reports that Njoku was struggling with drops but Thursday’s performance should help erase memories of those issues. There is plenty of competition for targets in Cleveland but Njoku could be a fantasy TE1 this season if everything breaks right.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts, Quarterback: Andrew Luck completed six of his nine passes for 64 yards in the team’s first preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday. In his return to NFL action, Luck played two series and looked sharp in head coach Frank Reich’s quick-passing scheme. Although he will have to wait for another time to throw a touchdown pass, fantasy owners should be excited that Luck’s inactive streak is finally over. The Colts passer should get plenty more opportunities to test his surgically-repaired shoulder before Week 1 and his fantasy stock should keep rising so long as he doesn’t encounter any setbacks.
Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams, Wide Receiver: Cooper Kupp was unstoppable in the team’s joint practice with the Ravens on Tuesday and has been the go-to guy for quarterback Jared Goff in 11-on-11 drills. Kupp was a matchup problem for Baltimore and remains in line for a lot of targets in this offense. He and Goff have something special going in terms of chemistry. Kupp had a brilliant rookie season and was often Goff’s safety blanket in the red zone. Even with the addition of Brandin Cooks, Kupp should be a solid WR3 with plenty of upside in an improving offense.
D.J. Moore, Wide Receiver, Panthers: Carolina Panthers rookie wide receiver D.J. Moore gave a preview of the ability that made the Panthers draft him in the first round. He started out slowly in the first half with only a single catch for six yards, but in the second half he was able to showcase his talent, ending the game with 75 yards on four receptions. Moore’s ability was highlighted on two particular plays; The first one was a 32-yard pass from Taylor Heinicke, catching the ball and then fighting his way out of a tackle.
Dede Westbrook, Wide Receiver, Jaguars: Dede Westbrook was targeted a team-high five times in Thursday’s preseason loss to the New Orleans Saints. Westbrook ended the night with three catches for 32 yards. With Keelan Cole missing the game with a foot injury, it’s hard to know exactly what to read into the breakdown of playing time from Jacksonville’s receivers but Westbrook didn’t hurt his stock with his performance. After being listed as a backup on the team’s initial depth chart, it will be worth watching what lineup he practices this week.
George Kittle, Tight End, 49ers: George Kittle (shoulder) avoided any structural damage with his shoulder injury, but head coach Kyle Shanahan said that Kittle will miss the rest of the preseason. Kittle should be fine for Week 1, but he’ll be missing valuable game repetitions with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Marlon Mack, Running Back, Colts: Marlon Mack (hamstring) suffered a hamstring injury in the team’s first preseason game on Thursday. The Colts are running with a committee approach in the backfield this year, and Mack will have to share touches with impressive rookies Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins, not to mention Robert Turbin when he returns from his suspension. An injury doesn’t help his standing in this committee approach.
Josh Gordon, Wide Receiver, Browns: Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey said there is no updated timetable for when wide receiver Josh Gordon will report to the team. The longer Gordon is away, the more he’ll fall in fantasy drafts and the bigger risk he is to fantasy owners. When on the field and not distracted off of it, Gordon has WR1 upside, but the risk is huge. The longer he’s away from camp, the more Antonio Callaway and Rashard Higgins will see expanded repetitions with the starting offense, too.
Martavis Bryant, Wide Receiver, Raiders: Martavis Bryant, who was called out recently by head coach Jon Gruden, has mostly been locked to the second unit in training camp and hasn’t had many repetitions in 11-on-11 drills. However, he made the most of his reps in Wednesday’s practice and showed urgency by catching two long touchdowns. It’s looking right now like Bryant is third on the depth chart behind Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson. He’s mostly been inconsistent in his career and has off-field issues as well. Bryant should be more of a deep option for the Raiders this year, but his inconsistency will make it tough for fantasy owners to invest much in him.