Football is finally back in the air. There is still quite a bit of time before meaningful action is played, but training camp will have to do for now: The community is excused for getting overly excited about ballers rocking hot visors, incomplete passes and everyone except Leonard Fournette being in the best shape of their life.
Of course, constant scrutinizing of every single training camp tidbit naturally leads to some overreaction in the fantasy football world. Some information is incredibly helpful, notably: injury updates, depth charts and projected workloads. Other more subjective takeaways like camp stars, fun highlights and big-time preseason performances are less actionable.
What follows is one key early training camp takeaway from all 32 teams. I combed a number of resources in order to determine each team’s most-actionable takeaway; special thanks to the 32 Beat Writers Twitter account, The Athletic NFL, ESPN’s training camp coverage and NBC Sports Edge’s news team.
JUMP TO A TEAM:
Marquise Brown (ankle, hamstring) has been activated off the NFI list (Pro Football Talk)
Coach Kliff Kingsbury said from the beginning that Brown wasn’t expected to be out long and his presence on the NFI list was precautionary. Kyler Murray will have his projected early-season No. 1 WR back at practice once he returns to the facility upon recovery from Covid. Unfortunately, Brown’s criminal speeding charges add another wrinkle to his 2022 projection.
Clear top-three emerging at wide receiver with Drake London, Bryan Edwards and Olamide Zaccheaus (Kevin Knight)
This news breaks my heart as a lifelong Auden Tate super fan, but alas. Edwards briefly missed some practice time with an arm/shoulder injury, but he’s already back in action and appears to have an early edge on Tate. Of course, quarterback performance remains a massive question mark, and Kyle Pitts is one of the league’s very few tight ends with a realistic chance to lead their offense in targets.
J.K. Dobbins is further along in his recovery than Gus Edwards (Jamison Hensley)
“Dobbins is expected to be back by the start of the regular season, but it's uncertain whether he will be at full strength at that point. Edwards is farther behind Dobbins in his recovery and could miss a chunk of the season.”
The absence of both would likely lead to a committee of sorts between Mike Davis, Justice Hill and Tyler Badie, although the real winner might just be Lamar Jackson and a potentially more pass-happy offense.
Isaiah McKenzie takes an early lead as the starting slot receiver (Sal Capaccio)
Head coach Sean McDermott noted that the biggest adjustment for McKenzie is “potentially stepping into a full-time role” and accordingly having teams game-planning for him. Fantasy managers will worry about the latter issue later if McKenzie does in fact seize the full-time slot job, a role that yielded Cole Beasley triple-digit targets in each of the last three seasons. However, Jamison Crowder (general soreness) has been in and (mostly) out of practice to start camp, so McKenzie’s most-notable competition still has time to make a push if healthy enough to do so.
This is a wide-open quarterback competition between Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold (Field Yates)
If Baker doesn’t start Week 1 against the Browns we riot.
Velus Jones Jr. has a clear path to the offense’s No. 2 WR job (Courtney Cronin)
Jones is presently competing with Byron Pringle for the No. 2 spot behind locked-in target hog Darnell Mooney. As Cronin notes: “Jones may be a 25-year-old rookie, but his blazing 4.3 speed and ability to line up across the formation has him in line for a significant target share as a WR2.” This sort of speed is why the Bears spent a Day 2 pick on Jones in the first place; contrary to popular belief it remains within the realm of possibility that the elderly rookie seizes a fantasy-friendly workload inside of this wide-open offense.