The firehose of NFL news is on, and no one can take in all of it, but for you, I'll keep trying. Projections and rankings are a constant work in progress, and there have been plenty of developments that at least make us wonder if we need to be open to change, if not force us to change our outlook on a player, situation, or team. This list is far from exhaustive but should help you get caught up on the most important developments.
Matt Breida, RB, BUF
His great gifts are showing in camp, and he may threaten to be a significant part of a previously unimpressive backfield.
Albert Wilson, WR, MIA
He’s back after an opt-out and looks like he’ll have a role in an already crowded passing game.
Recommendation: With DeVante Parker and Will Fuller V already reminding us of their injury history and Jaylen Waddle showing signs that he’s not completely over his leg injury from last year, the Dolphins wide receiver group is even more of a stay away.
Elijah Moore, WR, NYJ
He continues to steal the scene every day in training camp.
Recommendation: Once you get to the 10th round of your early draft, target Moore. No other Jets wide receiver is worth drafting at or near ADP.
Recommendation: Collins is still a long shot for fantasy relevance in typical redraft leagues, but he might have best-ball value, and his dynasty value is on the rise.
Travis Etienne, RB, JAX
Urban Meyer is hellbent on making Etienne a primary pass-catcher, and Etienne is responding well to the role in camp.
Recommendation: This could make James Robinson more viable if he’s the primary early-down ball carrier while still preserving Etienne’s upside in PPR leagues. It could be bad news for the wide receivers if this is a run-heavy offense like the ones Meyer ran in the college ranks, but the likelihood of the Jaguars being a losing team should force them to pass more than Meyer wants.
Anthony Firkser, TE, TEN
Firkser is having a great open to camp, and he might quieten the talk that the Titans need to upgrade at tight end.
Recommendation: Firkser should be on our waiver wire watch list as defenses will put him last on the list of coverage priorities.
Mecole Hardman, KC
Hardman has delivered on the faith the Chiefs have shown him, and he is firmly in the #2 receiver spot that Sammy Watkins vacated. Hardman is running short and intermediate routes with precision and playing much better so far in camp. Elsewhere Byron Pringle is ahead of Demarcus Robinson for the #3 receiver job, and Jerick McKinnon looks good enough to push Darrel Williams for the #2 running back job.
Recommendation: Keep Hardman on your target list and consider him around the 10-11th round.
Bryan Edwards, LV
Edwards is getting the chance to start outside over John Brown, and he is having another highlight-filled camp, causing Jon Gruden to gush about him and compare him to a receiver he shouldn’t be compared to.
Recommendation: Add Edwards to your waiver wire watch list.
CeeDee Lamb, WR, DAL
Seemingly every day, Lamb does something to wow onlookers at Cowboys camp. He has the look of the new alpha in Dallas.
Irv Smith Jr, TE, MIN
Smith has universally impressed onlookers in camp and appears ready for another step forward in year three. Tyler Conklin will play a larger role in the offense than Smith's fantasy teams would like, but Smith can still be a hit at ADP if he is improving at the rate that camp reports seem to suggest.
Recommendation: Whether you take an early tight end or not, keep Smith on your second half of the draft target list. Even if you have an early tight end, taking Smith eliminates one of the outs for teams that wait on the position.
Terrace Marshall Jr, WR, CAR
Marshall has been one of the most talked-about players at Panthers camp and should be the clear #3 receiver to open the season.
Recommendation: He might not be truly fantasy-relevant this year, but if Marshall is ready for prime time as a rookie, it will take the edge off of D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson’s ceilings.
Rashaad Penny, RB, SEA
After an ominous offseason cleanup knee surgery, Penny showed up to camp slimmed down, explosive, and fully over his knee issues (for now).
Recommendation: Penny is one of the cheapest backup running backs with promise if injury makes them the starter. Consider him as a last-round pick.
The players are raving about new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron’s offense, emphasizing upping the tempo and making run and pass plays look the same. How much has a lack of creativity held back Russell Wilson and Co.?
Recommendation: Wilson as the #6 quarterback off of the board is looking good, and the potential for Chris Carson, DK Metcalf, and Tyler Lockett to outperform ADP is going up. Don’t forget free-agent addition tight end Gerald Everett, who could be the #3 option in the passing game with second-round pick DWayne Eskridge still sitting with a toe injury. UDFA Penny Hart has also shined in Eskridge’s absence.
Quarterback Battle Updates
Mac Jones is showing that he can be the quarterback of the future, but Cam Newton is still the quarterback of the present, leading off most drills as the #1 quarterback. Newton followed his best day of camp with his worst, and Jones followed his worst day of camp with a better day than Newton. Jones needs to do more than merely edge Newton out to be the Week 1 starter, and that’s not happening… yet.
Recommendation: Newton should be a consideration in superflex drafts as a QB3 who could hit, but Damien Harris’s upside is capped as long as Newton is the starter. Harris is still worth considering at ADP because he’s having a great summer.
Recommendation: With Jerry Jeudy having an excellent camp and Courtland Sutton looking tentative at the open of camp, even with this still up in the air, we should have the receiver Bridgewater would benefit more (Jeudy) ahead of the receiver Lock would benefit more (Sutton).
There isn’t a clear leader right now, but Jameis Winston was the standout on the busiest passing day in camp, and he probably has to be beaten decisively by Hill to lose the job.
Recommendation: If you have to take a Saints quarterback, make it Winston. Winston winning would help Alvin Kamara too.
Many veterans on the team have given Trey Lance high compliments, and Lance has easily outshined Jimmy Garoppolo in the install period of camp. The team is already running goal-line power run plays featuring Lance, and he has also impressed with his arm. Whatever Kyle Shanahan says, this is quickly becoming Lance’s team.
Recommendation: Consider targeting Lance as your QB1 in the 10th round or so if you like waiting at the position.
Justin Fields has flashed the speed and deep arm/accuracy that should have Bears fans excited, but the hypercompetent Andy Dalton is still an upgrade from what they have had at quarterback. Dalton is still the likely Week 1 starter… but probably not the Week 18 starter.
Recommendation: Target Lance over Fields as your upside QB2 or hope of your QBBC approach in drafts.
Worry Watch List
Carson Wentz could miss the first month of the season or more with foot surgery. All-Universe guard Quenton Nelson could miss the first month of the season. Standout center Ryan Kelly has an elbow injury that will keep him out for at least a few weeks. Eric Fisher, replacing retired Colts all-time great Anthony Castonzo at left tackle, may not be ready to play until October. We could see Jacob Eason start multiple games against a tough early schedule. It’s too bad because Jonathan Taylor is having a good camp, and Michael Pittman Jr and Kylen Granson are also garnering rave reviews.
Recommendation: Don’t take Jonathan Taylor in the first round, maybe not until the late second.
Kenny Golladay tweaked a hamstring, Daniel Jones is playing poorly, and the two can’t get on the same page. Saquon Barkley is being brought along slowly. It’s news when first-round pick Kadarius Toney practices. The Giants had a whole team melee that ended in laps and pushups for everyone.
Recommendation: Don’t take any Giants at ADP.
Joe Burrow, QB, CIN
Burrow had a miserable start to the padded portion of camp. It could be nothing as he shakes off the rust following a catastrophic knee injury and surgery last year, but it could be something.
Recommendation: Be ready to move Bengals offensive pieces down in upcoming weeks if Burrow doesn’t pick it up.
Marquise Brown, WR, BAL
Brown is sidelined with a hamstring injury, which is always worrisome for speedy receivers. First-round pick Rashod Bateman has also been sidelined with general soreness. Meanwhile, Sammy Watkins is having a great camp!
Recommendation: Push Brown down to the bottom of his tier.
Dak Prescott, QB, Amari Cooper, WR, DAL
Prescott promptly pulled a muscle in his throwing shoulder at the open of camp, and Cooper started camp on the PUP after January ankle surgery. Both developments cast shadows over each player's outlook, and Prescott’s issue could affect the whole offense. At least Tyron Smith is back from neck surgery (although he has had an elbow issue), and Blake Jarwin was cleared at the open of camp.
Devonta Smith, WR, PHI
Smith suffered a sprained MCL in his knee and will miss a few weeks. Even if he can play in Week 1 (and there’s no reason to think right now that he won’t), the missed weeks of practice with Jalen Hurts in a new offense make it more difficult to picture a breakout rookie year.
Recommendation: Move Smith down towards the bottom of the priority bench wide receiver tier.
Tarik Cohen, RB, CHI
Cohen has been slow in his recovery from ACL surgery and might not be full speed to start the season.
Recommendation: Damien Williams should be the second Bears back off the board in fantasy drafts as he’s having a good camp in a receiving back role.
Curtis Samuel, WR, WAS
Samuel still hasn’t practiced with a groin injury that popped up in June. Ron Rivera says he’s not concerned, and at least Samuel has already played under offensive coordinator Scott Turner, but if we don’t see Samuel practice soon, it will be time to move him down. Adam Humphries is also having a strong camp in his reunion with Ryan Fitzpatrick, so the target tree in Washington is getting wider, which is not good for Samuel either.
Recommendation: Break ties in early drafts against Samuel for now.
There’s no long-term situation here, but the Vikings were without Kirk Cousins and two other backup quarterbacks for the first week of camp thanks to a Kellen Mond positive covid test. The league protocols keep unvaccinated players out of action longer upon exposure than vaccinated players, but there has been much movement in league vaccination rates early in camp. Hopefully, this is the only situation like this we experience this year, but it serves as a reminder that COVID still can affect player availability this year.
Recommendation: That’s Rondale Moore’s music. Put him on your late-round target list.
Deshaun Watson, QB, HOU
Watson is in camp so he doesn’t get fined. But he isn’t playing quarterback and is supposedly nursing a minor injury. He’s almost certainly not going to play for Houston this year, and it doesn’t appear anyone is eager to trade for him while his legal and league status remain open-ended.
Recommendation: Keep Houston’s offense on the all-ten-foot-pole team, but consider Watson as a QB3 in superflex leagues just in case this situation changes.
Zach Ertz, TE, PHI
Ertz probably wants to be traded, and the Eagles want to trade him, but finding another team willing to give up a decent asset and take on his 8.5 million dollar salary has been a problem. He’s in camp and is practicing. Every passing day seemingly increases the chances that he’ll stay with the Eagles this year unless the team is willing to take a late pick for him or release him.
Recommendation: Move Dallas Goedert down in tight end rankings until we see a sign that Ertz will find a new home.
Xavien Howard, CB, MIA
Howard showed for camp, but he requested a trade and isn’t happy with the contract he signed in 2019. There’s no obvious fantasy angle here other than the possibility that #1 receivers in the AFC East could see their jobs get easier.