NFC Training Camp Battles to Watch for Fantasy
The NFC position battles are more in number, but there are still some AFC contests that are worth noting, particularly for fantasy purposes. These are the situations I’m monitoring going into training camps…
Foreman has had a tough go of it since entering the NFL two years ago. He tore his achilles his over halfway into his rookie year in 2017 and never fully regained enough prior form to challenge Lamar Miller in 2018. It looks like 2019 could be his year though, as Foreman has reported to team workouts in great condition, and he looks primed to push Miller for the lead role in the Houston backfield. Foreman is the bigger, yet more dynamic back, and Miller, who’s in the last year of his contract, has been a “jag” for the majority of his three years in Houston. The Texans have added a couple backs this year, but draft pick Karan Higdon is smallish and a poor pass-catcher and UDFA Damarea Crockett is a development project. Foreman is a high upside value add in all formats. Miller is a middling mid-round pickup, even if he keeps his job.
This battle is for the no.2 WR option in Pittsburgh behind Juju Smith-Schuster, in the wake of Antonio Brown‘s departure. Rogers is the Steelers veteran, having been on the team for 3 seasons, but he’s coming off an ACL tear a tear ago. James Washington looked like he would be the logical next step after Brown left – he was a big play phenom in college, but then the Steelers went and added Donte Moncrief, who is a bigger target than Washington and can come down with big plays too. Moncrief has the clearest path to fantasy relevancy, purely as a red zone target, but I like Washington the most in this mix. His profile is not dissimilar from Brown’s, and he’s been working diligently on leaning down from the 225 lbs he peaked at as a rookie and improving his speed. In all truth, each of these guys could maintain fantasy value throughout the season, as Brown’s shoes are enormous ones to to fill.
The lone QB battle of the bunch, it’s admittedly uninspiring. You would think Rosen would get the nod in what should be an evaluation year, but new coach Brian Flores has stated that he’s going to have to earn it, and I don’t really trust anyone having to earn a starting job over Ryan Fitzpatrick to begin a season. I mean, sure, he’ll fail you later in the season when it really matters, but Fitzmagic will inspire just enough confidence to depend on him for a stretch. And if he puts up a few 400 yard games like he did in Tampa last year, that might be well worth it. Word out of OTAs is that Fitzpatrick is already outperforming Rosen, though the sophomore is holding his own. From what I’ve seen from Rosen so far, he doesn’t exactly thrive under pressure, so I’m not bullish on him winning the job outright. If Fitzpatrick leaves any doubt though, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dolphins just go ahead and see what they have in Rosen.
This seems like a no-brainer to many, as Hyde has bounced around no less than four times over the last 12 months, and he’s 28 years old. What we can’t forget is that Williams is only a year younger, and he was a backup in Miami, to middling backs, for four seasons prior to his breakout in Kansas City last season. What Williams does have over Hyde is a pass-catching element, and that will go a long way as a Chief. Also, in a what have you done for me lately league, Williams has undoubtedly done a lot for Kansas City, bolstering them throughout the playoffs. All I’m saying is that Hyde had more yards in 2018(604 to 416), and he had one fewer TD(5 to 6). Williams is a more intriguing prospect for sure, he was a regular Garbage Grab candidate during his time in Miami, but he kind of stumbled into the lead role last year due to Kareem Hunt‘s stupidity and Spencer Ware‘s poor health. Hyde could easily bite into short-yardage carries and more, if he’s productive. The Chiefs did add an rookie RB in the 6th round, Darwin Thompson, but they view him as a change of pace back. I doubt he’ll threaten for major touches, but a change of pace back on an Andy Reid led team is always worth taking a look at in fantasy. Williams remains the first option in fantasy and otherwise for the time being, but I don’t think his hold on the backfield is as strong as some indicate.