Wed Aug 3rd 2022
Week Two Training Camp Report
Two weeks into training camp, we saw our first live-action during the Hall of Fame game between Jacksonville and Las Vegas. By this time next week, we'll not only have the third week of training camp reports, but every team will also have played a preseason game. That means by next week, we won't have to rely on beat reporters' eyes. We can trust our own eyes after watching preseason games.
I can't wait to watch every play of every preseason game this weekend, something I do every preseason. Until then, I still rely on stories from beat reporters and interviews with coaches and players and try to decipher fact from fiction. In this article, I'll write about some of the players hyped up in training camp this week and let you know whether I believe the hype or not.
- Jones and the entire Giants offense have been applauded by reporters. It's hard to know if it's just beat writers excited to see anything other than what they've seen under the previous two coaching staff or if the offense under the new coaching staff is making a difference. Last week I wrote about Wan'Dale Robinson's training camp buzz. Jones, Kenny Golladay, and Kadarius Toney have also received a steady drumbeat of praise this week. I'm buying the hype for the Giants and Jones. I already wrote about how I traded a 2023 first-round pick for Daniel Jones in a superflex league at the end of last season, so I may be wishing for the best. Still, I believe the Giants will turn things around this year, and Jones will benefit greatly. The Giants have drafted well over the last two years, built a better offensive line and defense, and will improve immensely with their new coaching staff and management. Jones will become an every-week starter in superflex leagues this season and earn a long-term contract with the team after his successful season.
James Robinson and Travis Etienne
- It's hard to believe, but Robinson is not on the PUP list and is reportedly ready to start the season healthy. Coaches and beat writers have indicated he'll be the starting running back for the Jaguars. This season will be the biggest experiment on Achilles injury recoveries, as Robinson, Cam Akers, Marlon Mack, and D'Oonta Foreman get the opportunity to prove running backs can recover from this previously career-ending injury. I find it hard to believe that Robinson will return as the starter ahead of Travis Etienne, who has far more draft capital and collegiate production. Etienne is recovering from his Lisfranc injury, the second-worst injury for a running back. He, too, has received praise from coaches and beat writers during training camp. I'm far more confident that Etienne has recovered fully from his injury than I am Robinson, but I'm not optimistic that he will relegate Robinson to a true backup. Training camp reports cause me to believe they will both be involved in the offense and hurt each others fantasy production. In the case of the Jaguars' running backs, I want to wait for more preseason games to see how Robinson and Etienne look in live game action before deciding whether to raise or lower their dynasty value.
- I think J.J. Zachariason was the first analyst I heard talk about the sleeper value of Pacheco. Now all the beat writers at camp are hyping him up too. To be honest, Pacheco was entirely off my radar and not even in my rookie rankings because he was a seventh-round pick and had an unproductive college career at Rutgers. With first and second-round picks ahead of him on the depth chart (Clyde Edwards-Hilaire and Ronald Jones) and the Chiefs re-signing playoff standout Jerrick McKinnon late in the offseason, I doubt that Pacheco will see time with the Chiefs this season or beyond. He's the type of player people like to take a chance on to have the joy of finding the gem on the waiver wire. I get wanting to take that chance and have that joy, but I'm not buying in on the Pacheco hype. In my leagues, other managers are not, either. Even though the hype is building, I've yet to see him added to a roster other than in deep leagues, where he was drafted in the final round of rookie drafts. It's a fun story to report on, but I think that's all there is to see here.
- It's no surprise that Moore is scoring touchdowns and making big play after big play in training camp. He's already done it in the NFL, breaking out for 18, 24, and 29 fantasy point games in his injury-plagued rookie season. If he stays healthy and his second-year quarterback, Zach Wilson, can improve, Moore will see his dynasty value soar this season. The only thing holding Moore's value back is the presence of this year's first-round draft pick, Garrett Wilson. It's going to take half the season to know which of the two is the WR-1 versus the WR-2 or if they can rise in dynasty value like Tee Higgins and Ja'Maar Chase did last year. I currently have Moore ranked 19th and Garrett 17th in my wide receiver rankings. They will battle it out from there this season. I wish they had a Joe Burrow-like quarterback to elevate their value into the top twelve, where Higgins and Chase are ranked for me (9th and 1st, respectively), but I don't believe Wilson can unlock their dynasty value to that degree. Still, both are solid WR-2s, even with their mediocre quarterback play. The only thing to discover this season is who should be ranked ahead of the other.
- This week, Collins has been effective in the red zone and beat man-on-man coverage on the reg. Davis Mills has also developed this offseason and will get all the off-season reps now that he's the unchallenged starter this season. Collins played in week one as a rookie, and Mills started in week two. Both had modest starts to the season but got the necessary reps to make a giant leap in week two. The Texans did not add free agents able to challenge Collins for playtime, and, sadly, John Metchie, the receiver they drafted in the second round, was ruled out for the season as he battles Leukemia this season. Collins is the clear WR-2 behind Brandin Cooks and has every chance to break out in his second season with Mills and the Texans. I only have Collins in one league, but I will look to trade for him in others. He was very unproductive in college at Michigan, but he was a five-star recruit, so I like taking bets on players with that kind of pedigree.
- Dulin is the player I picked up the most this preseason based on the training camp hype he received. He was one of the players I carried at the back end of my rosters at the end of last season but dropped him from most after rookie drafts and leading up to training camps after the Colts added Alec Pierce in the NFL draft. The Colts upgraded at quarterback this offseason by adding Matt Ryan. They've yet to re-sign T.Y. Hilton, leaving the WR-2 and WR-3 positions wide open with a better quarterback distributing the ball. Parris Campbell and Alec Pierce have the second-round draft capital compared to being a UDFA, so the Colts have every reason to try to make Campbell and Pierce work, but Dulin is athletic enough to beat them and has already played more snaps than Campbell since he joined the team. He's earned the praise of the coaching staff the last two weeks and could quickly become a starting wide receiver in the three-receiver sets and would capitalize greatly if Campbell gets hurt for the fourth season in a row or if Pierce is not yet NFL ready. Dulin is my most added player this week, and I'll hold onto him until I see preseason games and have to make roster cuts.
- In his first training after being drafted in the fifth round, Phillips is already getting reps in the slot with the first team. This is a welcomed surprise for dynasty managers who drafted Phillips late in rookie drafts hoping he would become the next Wes Welker or Julian Edelman. It's too easy to compare him to other white, smaller build, crafty slot receivers, but that's precisely who Phillips is. I was late to the game with Phillips and did not have him in my rookie rankings until April after I heard a few scouts declaring how great they thought he could be in a specific role. Lance Zierlein projected him as a sixth or seventh-round talent, but the Titans selected him in the fifth round. They reached to get him because they have a specific role in mind for him, and he's already living up to their hopes in training camp. The Titans have entirely revamped their passing game with possibly four new starters in Treylon Burks, Robert Woods, Austin Hooper, and now Kyle Phillips if he can earn a role ahead of Nick Westbrook-Ikhine. I picked Phillips off the waiver wire in one league this week and won him in a rookie auction draft for just $16. If he landed with a more pass-heavy team, I would have had him much higher than 41st in my rookie rankings, but Tennessee did step up to draft him before other teams could, so they must have plans to use him even in their run-first offense.
- Osborn has played well in training camps and solidified his role as the WR-3 for the Vikings, who just hired a more offensively minded head coach who spreads the ball around. Osborn is more intriguing from a dynasty perspective because he'll grow into a WR-2 role behind Justin Jefferson as Adam Thielen ages and becomes more likely to get injured. Osborn is one of the players I've tried hardest to trade for this offseason, but I've not been able to buy him. I thought dynasty managers may not be as hopeful for his long-term value as I had become, but I was proven wrong. Other managers value Osborn as much or more than I do, and these training camp reports have caused his dynasty stock to rise even higher. I wanted to buy Osborn before there was hype, hoping some managers were unaware that his value would increase as the season nears its start, but now his price is above what I'd be willing to pay. I still wish I had him on a roster, but I will no longer pay for him at his new price.
- Trautman has been targeted often, deep downfield, and in the red zone during the Saints' training camp. It's no surprise to me, as I've held onto Trautman on the back of my rosters in many leagues, just waiting for him to develop as a dynasty manager ought to do with tight ends. It's his third year, and he's ready for the breakout that Saints reporters are writing about. The Saints signed Chris Herndon this week, but that does not concern me at all. Trautman is the starting tight end for the Saints and will get 75-80% of the snaps. He received 71% of the snaps last year, but his impact was limited because of the terrible quarterback play after Jameis Winston was injured. Taysom Hill was Sean Peyton's toy, and the new coaching staff knew better than to let Hill play more than a specialty role on the offense. Contrary to what some analysts and dynasty managers believe, I think Hill poses no threat to Trautman's playing time. Winston historically targets his tight ends often. If Winston avoids injury this year, I am certain Trautman will get 80-100 targets, 50% more than he did last season. This is Trautman's breakout season.
- Dulcich returned to practice after dealing with a mild hamstring injury. Even though he's yet to fully participate in practice, he's received buzz this week as a player coaches say will be used in the red zone and in roles they intended for Tim Patrick, who was lost for the season with an ACL injury last week. Dulcich was my second-ranked tight end in this class and the 25th-ranked rookie in the class. I was higher on Dulcich than most analysts and managers who seemed to think Albert Okwuegbunam would hold Dulcich back. I don't think so, which is why I have Dulcich on three of my nine dynasty teams. I think Dulcich can play a unique role in the Denver offense this season and replace Okwuegbunam as the starter by the end of the season. Like most rookie tight ends, dynasty managers will have to wait on Dulcich, but he will be worth the wait for those who are patient with him.
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