The calendar now reads August and the excitement about the 2022 fantasy football season is palpable. The preseason is right around the corner which means it’s time for an NFL training camp update.
Our training camp battles to watch for both the AFC and NFC are a good starting point for staying up-to-date on crucial news. It’s also important to keep an eye on those 2022 fantasy football deep sleepers this summer.
Here are the fantasy-relevant training camp update notes for fantasy football fans to be aware of this week.
Ezekiel Elliott to be Focus
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones came out this week insisting that Ezekiel Elliott would be the focal point of the team’s run game in 2022. He added there was “room for [Tony] Pollard” but clearly he wants this coaching staff to get his money’s worth out of Elliott. We could see heavy usage from him this season now that he’s fully healthy.
Travis Etienne Turning Heads
According to John Shipley of Sports Illustrated, the young back has been the offensive star for the Jaguars thus far and is living up to his billing. After missing his rookie campaign with a foot injury, Etienne looks primed to explode this season. If we keep hearing reports like this his ADP is going to skyrocket. If these reports are accurate he’s probably worth paying up for. Etienne was also a topic on the latest FullTime Fantasy Podcast with our own Jody Smith and reigning FantasyPro’s No. 1 draft ranker Billy Muzio.
Tyler Allgeier Could Win Starting Gig
According to The Athletic’s Josh Kendall, Tyler Allgeier has a strong chance of winning the starting running back job in Atlanta. He just has to show in camp what he showed in college. If this is true it significantly increases his value and hurts Cordarrelle Patterson’s value. More importantly, dynasty owners need to take notice because his long-term value looks solid.
J.K. Dobbins Not Practicing
Coming off a torn ACL last preseason, Dobbins has been asking to get on the practice field. However, the Ravens aren’t willing to take that risk just yet. The hope is that Baltimore is just being overly cautious with their potential young star. The fact that he wants to practice is a good sign that he’ll be ready to go in Week 1. For now, Gus Edwards continues to look like a solid late-round investment.
Editor’s Note: John Harbaugh indicated that Gus Edwards is already questionable for Week 1 and appears to be behind Dobbins in rehab. That’s better news for Dobbins, who indicated he feels great. The club also signed Corey Clement, so the prudent thing to do here might be to simply avoid this backfield altogether.
Isaiah McKenzie Winning Slot Receiver Role
With Jamison Crowder sidelined with soreness, Isaiah McKenzie has gotten a chance to start in the slot at camp. According to the Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia, he’s been a “standout” every day at camp. It appears Gabriel Davis is locked in as the WR2 and McKenzie has a shot to steal Crowder’s job and replace Cole Beasley in the Bills’ passing attack. A role we’ve seen has a ton of value for fantasy owners.
Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold Splitting First-Team Reps
This is unreasonably dumb to me because there is nothing that can convince me Baker won’t be the starter in Carolina Week 1. However, I do have to acknowledge that this is allegedly an open competition and fantasy owners need to consider the possibility that Darnold could win the job when drafting any players in the Panthers’ offense.
John Metchie III Expected to Miss 2022 After Leukemia Diagnosis
In sad news, Texans’ rookie wideout John Metchie is expected to miss the entire season after being diagnosed with leukemia. The good news is that it is treatable and he does plan to resume his NFL career once he recovers. There is even an outside he plays this year. More importantly, however, is that he gets healthy first. Our thoughts are with Metchie.
Raiders to Deploy Committee Backfield?
Early buzz out of Vegas is that the new regime will look to use a full-blown committee out of the backfield. Josh McDaniels who came over from New England is likely to deploy the same fantasy nightmare at running back that he did with the Pats. This is terrible news for Josh Jacobs’ fantasy value. Between this news and the team already declining his option for next season, the writing is on the wall for him to be a bust this year.
Editor’s Note: If the first preseason game is an indicator, Jacobs still has a firm grasp of lead-back duties. Jacobs got a ton of touches in that game versus the Jags. Ameer Abdullah also managed to score. We’ll keep an eye on this but might boost Jacobs a spot or two.
Allen Robinson Wows
The Rams coaches haven’t stopped gushing about Allen Robinson since camp started. There have been nothing but overly positive reviews. His downfall appears to have been vastly overstated and the team believes he is in line for a massive bounce-back season. I expect his ADP to continue to climb this summer. Those glory days of Robinson’s ADP being in the 40s are long gone.
Miami’s Passing Attack Clicking
All reports out of Miami have been positive in regards to the Dolphins’ new and anticipated to be improved passing attack. This was highlighted by a 65-yard touchdown catch by Tyreek Hill that traveled about 55 yards through the air on a rope and hit him in stride. QB Tua Tagovailoa has looked good while Hill and Jaylen Waddle have looked uncoverable. There is a chance a lot of players in the Dolphins’ offense outperform their ADP if camp translates into regular-season games.
Mac Jones Has Shown “Dramatic” Improvement
According to head coach Bill Belichick, second-year quarterback Mac Jones has improved significantly from last season. This is fantastic news for the entire Patriots’ offense, especially the receiving options. Jones is still little more than an afterthought in single QB leagues, but his receiving options could be gaining relevancy.
Michael Thomas Back on the Field
According to ESPN’s Mike Triplett, Michael Thomas is looking more like his old self. He has “looked fluid and had no noticeable braces or wrapping” around his left ankle which has cost nearly two seasons of his career. I wouldn’t expect Thomas to ever be what he once was with Drew Brees, which was a record-setting WR1 overall. Nevertheless, if he is close to his former self he could be an absolute steal for fantasy owners.
Wan’Dale Robinson Standing Out at Giants Camp
According to Peter King, the rookie wideout has been the “star” of training camp for the Giants. He has been used multiple places on the field but has primarily lined up in the slot. Robinson has a shot to lock down the starting slot role and could have a major fantasy impact as a rookie this season. Targets are up for grabs in New York and he could earn a lot of them this preseason.
Kenneth Gainwell Running With Starters
Gainwell was getting the initial first-team reps out of the backfield in Philadelphia. He was also lining up out wide and being moved around the formation while Miles Sanders was running with the second team. This does not mean it’s time to panic on Sanders, assuming you weren’t already panicked, but it is something to monitor throughout camp as Gainwell’s stock could rise and Sanders’s stock could fall.
49ers Commit to Trey Lance as Their Starter
Kyle Shannahan made it clear who his starter was when he said the 49ers were Trey Lance’s team. Jimmy Garoppolo is not only expected to be traded or cut, but he will likely never practice with the team again. If anyone had any doubts about who the Week 1 starter in San Francisco would be they can put them to bed now. Lance is the starter for the 49ers.
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