It's here! Finally!
Some have already started. A good number of them commence Wednesday. But by the end of this week, both rookies and veterans for all 32 NFL teams will be fully engaged in training camp. Vacation is over.
Many veterans don't particularly enjoy spending hours in humid conditions running through fundamentals they already know. Many fans hate training camp because it seems too much like prolonged foreplay. But preseason is worth monitoring for fantasy geeks, and even though I don't have to tell you why, I will. Depth chart orders change. Injuries happen and unknown players make enough of an impact to begin to appear on fantasy radars.
With that in mind, here's what's going on today:
- The Jaguars have cleared Maurice Jones-Drew to be in camp on time. He suffered a Lisfranc injury, which has hampered a number of running backs in the past. It's a very delicate injury in the sense that one false angle of pressure in the wrong place can basically set the recovery process right back to square one. That's why the Jags plan to ease MJD back into action slowly, and who can blame them? There's no reason to rush him back or give him some kind of absurd workload during preseason action. Frankly, if I'm coach Gus Bradley, one series per game in preseason would be my limit with MJD. Everyone knows what they're getting in him, and they're certainly going to need to rely heavily on the running game in the first four weeks of the season (vs. KC, @ OAK, @ SEA, vs. IND) until Justin Blackmon returns.
Speaking of Blackmon, the Jags announced he'll begin training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) as he recovers from groin surgery earlier in the month. Not that it really matters to his fantasy value since Blackmon will miss the first four games while serving a substance abuse suspension. Keep Blackmon where you have him on your draft boards. As of now, it's a safe guess to assume he'll be back by Week 5.
Miller also expects a big year from Mike Wallace, which would presumably put Miami's offense over the top. If all that actually came to fruition, we'd be seeing pinball score numbers from Miami's offense each week.
My take? I realize Miller has no real competition for carries, but it's hard for me to believe he's going to make such a seismic leap in his sophomore season. Miller totaled 250 yards and one touchdown on 51 carries while catching six passes for 45 yards in 2012. The former Hurricane still seems to be flying under the radar of a lot of fantasy owners. I'd feel pretty good about Miller as my RB2 and would feel downright outstanding if I had him as a backup option on any given week. This is shaping up as a classic boom or bust outcome without much middle ground. Either Miller's going to wow us all or leave his owners wishing they hadn't drafted him. Just an FYI, if you draft him early and it happens to work out, then you're probably more of a riverboat gambler than a fantasy genius.
- Recently released wideout Donald Jones is looking for a new team after the Pats cut him despite only signing him in May (exactly why the team did that before camp even opened is a mystery to everyone not named Bill Belichick). Jones is more of a possession guy than a gamebreaker, although it's encouraging that he did improve his total receptions and receiving yardage in each of his first three years with the Bills. One of Jones' stops on his employment tour is the Colts, and it'd be interesting to see how he might click with Andrew Luck after having suffered through three years of shaky QB play in Buffalo. Keep an eye on Jones - he could turn into a sneaky late sleeper in deeper leagues if he ends up in the right situation.