All we really want at the start of training camp is a lack of bad news. But we never get it.
This year, Sterling Shepard , suffering a fractured thumb in the team's first day of work. The injury will likely cost him the rest of training camp, with NFL.com speculating it could require six weeks to heal. That would put Shepard in serious doubt for Week 1, though he is officially listed as "week-to-week."
Shepard has a big opportunity to step up in 2019, after the team traded Odell Beckham to the Browns. He is the Giants' top returning receiver, with 66 catches for 872 yards in 2018, however he already faced stiff competition in the form of the newly acquired Golden Tate, who now has a real opportunity to earn Eli Manning's (or Daniel Jones', I guess) trust in the time Shepard is sidelined. You'll want to move him up your draft boards a bit; the same for Evan Engram, who is probably the team's real No. 1 option. Tate is a decent gamble in the eighth or ninth round, while Engram should be at the top of the second tier at tight end, ahead of O.J. Howard and Hunter Henry in the late-fourth/early-fifth round range.
The bigger impact comes for Shepard, who probably can't be taken until the double-digit rounds, or thereabouts. He'll be behind the competition and may not even be ready for the start of the regular season. Given that expectations weren't that high for fourth-year receiver, you definitely won't want to reach for him.
Derrius Guice will practice without limitations
A year ago, Guice was routinely being drafted in the fourth round early in training camp, but you can find him in the sixth or seventh these days. Part of that was because he missed his entire rookie season with a torn ACL, but part of it was that there were questions about his health even after nearly a full year to recover. He suffered a hamstring injury in recent weeks that put his status for the start of training camp up in the air, and given the knee injury, that sure seemed like a bad sign.
Instead, he was there on the first day of practice, working as a full participant. Guice will compete with Adrian Peterson, who had a surprisingly productive season for Washington in 2018, but Peterson wasn't even on the roster until after Guice went down last preseason. Coach Jay Gruden praised Guice's pass-catching abilities Thursday, and that is what may separate Guice from Peterson, if healthy. This could be a pretty rough offense, but if Guice ends up in line for 250-plus touches, his current ADP is going to seem like a huge mistake.
Miles Sanders is practicing as well
It's interesting to consider that Sanders is about a month and a half older than Guice, and both enter camp in pretty similar spots. Both had Fantasy players scared off drafting them due to hamstring injuries, but both are also healthy enough to practice at the start of training camp. They're also being drafted right around the same spot right now — 72nd overall for Guice, 76th for Sanders.
So, here's the question: Whose obstacles to Fantasy relevance are larger? Guice, playing in what will likely be one of the NFL's worst offenses; or Sanders, playing in an offense with a ton of competition? Guice is a better bet for 250 touches, but Sanders might do enough with whatever he gets to make up for it. It will be fascinating to see how the Eagles handle their talented rookie in a crowded backfield in camp.
Ezekiel Elliott's status is still up in the air
Because he is entering his fourth season, Elliott has Melvin Gordon in his potential holdout. It's actually not even clear if Elliott is holding out, since the Cowboys don't even officially report to training camp until Friday morning. He was not on the team's flight to Oxnard, CA, for camp, but that isn't necessarily proof he won't be there; he's got plenty of money for a private flight. . Even if Elliott isn't there from Day One, the expectation is still that he'll be there for Week 1, and that's all that really matters. Don't even think about moving him down your draft board.than
Chris Carson was able to practice
Carson underwent knee surgery this offseason and was unable to participate in spring practices, which isn't the kind of thing you can just ignore. Well, now you probably can. Unless he isn't in shape, Carson looks in line for a significant role for the Seahawks, since he's already healthy. He will have to outperform Rashaad Penny in order to lock in the No. 1 role, but considering it was his job at the end of last season, you've got to think he enters camp in the lead. Especially since he isn't physically behind Penny now.
Like with Elliott, Thomas doesn't really have much leverage here to sit out. Thomas has been negotiating on a new contract with the club, and his goal is to end up the highest-paid receiver in the NFL, and it sounds like the two sides aren't far off:
On the Michael Thomas contract talks: Sources say the #Saints have offered a deal averaging between $18-$19 million a year. Thomas would like to be the first $20 million wideout in the #NFL. A $20 mil per year average w/ the right structure/guarantees would likely get it done.— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) July 23, 2019
$2-3 million might be a lot to me, but it's not something either side is likely to let impact the season. We should see Thomas in camp before long — it just might take until the Falcons and Julio Jones finish up his contract negotiations. Unless this drags on far longer than anyone anticipates, Thomas' value shouldn't be impacted whatsoever.
What else you need to know ...
- Julian Edelman is recovering from a broken thumb — Now we know why Edelman had a cast. The fact that it happened a few weeks before training camp bodes well for his chances to be a full go by the start of the season.
- Will Fuller was a participant in practice — The expectation all along has been that Fuller (ACL) will be ready for Week 1, but it's nice to see him well ahead of that. Expect his ADP (83rd overall) to soar as he continues to prove his health.
- Kalen Ballage is taking first-team reps — He wasn't taking all, or necessarily even most, of the first-team snaps, but this one certainly came as a surprise. I'd still bet on Kenyan Drake being the starter, but it's also fair to wonder if he'll ever be the workhorse Fantasy players would like to see.
- Calvin Ridley suffered a hamstring injury — This one doesn't sound serious, but it's worth noting in the moment. Hamstrings are notoriously finicky, so hopefully he stays off the field until it's fully healed.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick is the first-team QB — This may not end up being much of a competition, as Fitzpatrick reportedly clearly outplayed Rosen in the spring, and he's got the lead now. We'll likely see Rosen at some point this season, but Fitzpatrick is a bit more interesting for Fantasy purposes, given his willingness to take risks down the field. If Rosen wins the job, it will probably take a heck of a performance. That would be good news in and of itself.
- Russell Okung is recovering from a blood clot — Okung is still hoping to be cleared soon, but he suffered a pulmonary embolism as a result of blood clots, which is why he isn't practicing yet. Scary stuff.