Training Camp Notes – Sunday, August 24th
August 24, 2014 | Jeff
The biggest news in fantasy land on Saturday evening came from Denver, as Wes Welker left the Broncos/Texans game with yet another concussion, while new teammate Emmanuel Sanders was going off in his first appearance with the Broncos. Welker sustained two concussions last season, so this latest injury is incredibly worrisome. The range of outcomes here could be anywhere from missing one or two weeks to retirement for Peyton Manning’s slot receiver, so we will certainly keep a close eye on news out of Denver.
In the mean time, Sanders (who caught five passes for 128 yards and two scores on Saturday) could be sliding into the slot position potentially opened up in Welker’s absence. Sanders has experience working both from the slot (70% of his targets in 2012 were in the slot*) and outside (84% of his targets in 2013 were on the outside*), so he could help chip in for the Broncos and fantasy owners. Also keep an eye on rookie Cody Latimer who could see an increase in opportunity here and feel free to ignore Andre Caldwell as usual.
Go the some salt, because you will need at least a few grains for this update. It was against the dreadful Dallas Cowboys defense, but Knowshon Moreno looked solid in his first Miami preseason action. Moreno ran for 64 yards on 10 carries, as he worked in with the first team behind Lamar Miller. The offensive line in Miami is still a bit of a concern, but new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor’s offense is equal parts mysterious and exciting from a fantasy perspective, so I wouldn’t mind snagging Moreno for the upcoming season. According to FFCalculator.com, Moreno’s ADP sits in the 10th round, which is more than fair for a back who could contribute. I was firmly on the Lamar Miller train early in camp, but it appears that Knowshon’s knee troubles are in the rear view mirror. Both backs should be useful this season, although I still value Miller a bit more.
Mark Ingram looked sharp once again on Saturday, handling eight carries for 46 yards. Ingram looks poised to handle the early down carries and goal line work in New Orleans, so he should be firmly planted in your queue when your draft reaches the later stages. I have blabbed enough about Ingram this offseason (check it out HERE and HERE), but he is a fantastic fantasy draft value right now.
Twitter was buzzing on Saturday as St. Louis stud Zac Stacy did not start the game and watched Benny Cunningham handle the first team reps. ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner reported after the game that Jeff Fisher said, “We just gave him (Cunningham) a chance to run behind the first offensive line. We know what Zac can do.” No major concerns here for Stacy, as he should be back in the saddle as the St. Louis starter once Week 1 rolls around and Cunningham will serve as his backup. This does emphasize that offseason hype magnet Tre Mason is still staring at the starting gig through binoculars, so leave him out of your 2014 plans.
For the kicker fans out there, we actually have a big development that impacts our favorite fantasy position of neglect. Matt Prater of the Denver Broncos has been suspended for four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, according to the Denver Post, and apparently booze was the culprit:
“The violation was alcohol-related. Prater has been in the league’s alcohol program since soon after he was charged with driving under the influence Aug. 12, 2011.”
You can safely take Prater out of your draft queue and blurt out a nice chuckle when he gets drafted in upcoming drafts. It sounds like rookie Mitch Ewald will fill in while Prater is out, but I would wait until Week 5 when Prater returns to consider picking him up of waivers rather than guess who Denver will use to kick their nine extra points per game.
As those who watch HBO’s Hard Knocks know, Julio Jones is back at full strength and looking like his beastly self once again. On Saturday night, he caught two passes for 63 yards including a 52 yard touchdown. We have our buddy Julio ranked #4 at the wide receiver position and you can safely add him to your roster with confidence at the 1st/2nd round turn. The Atlanta passing game is going to bounce back in a major way and you’re going to want a piece of that Dirty Bird action.
St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford left Saturday’s game with a knee injury, but early reports sound like the Rams have dodged yet another major injury to their signal caller. Bradford will have an MRI on Sunday to be certain, so let’s keep our fingers crossed for a healthy return. Any hope of a fantasy revival for Kenny Britt or Tavon Austin would be toast if backup Shaun Hill takes control of the offense, so this will be a situation to monitor as the preseason wraps up.
* slot target data courtesy of ProFootballFocus.