Training camp will begin next week for several NFL teams, so player news should really pick up as the season nears. We will have up-to-the-minute news and analysis every day, but on Fridays for the remainder of the summer, there will be a weekly roundup highlighting the key blurbs so you don’t miss anything.
Temper 2019 expectations for TEN WR A.J. Brown?
Jim Wyatt of the team’s official website wrote of the rookie second-rounder: “while I like Brown a lot myself, I must admit I’m tempering my expectations for him right of the gate.” Basically, Wyatt believes the Titans have a lot of weapons with Corey Davis, Adam Humphries, and Delanie Walker potentially all ahead of him for targets on a run-first offense, so he might not make a significant statistical impact. That said, we love Brown’s game, and first-year stars have merged in recent years based on talent allowing them to leap up the depth chart—including Odell Beckham Jr. (2014), Michael Thomas (2016), and JuJu Smith-Schuster (2017).
BUF RB Devin Singletary receives first-team reps.
According to Nate Mendelson of the team’s official website, all three of LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, and Singletary handled first-team reps at OTAs, and the competition is expected to “heat up” during camp. Buffalo drafted Singletary to be their running back of the future, but even in an open competition, we would be surprised if he started over the veteran duo. The most likely scenario for FLEX value as a rookie (besides injury) would probably be a McCoy trade.
JuJu Smith-Schuster talks up PIT WR James Washington.
As a guest on The Adam Schefter Podcast, JuJu was asked who could step up at receiver this year, and he said Washington will “sneak up on everybody” and has been “amazing” in summer workouts. The 2018 second-round pick was viewed as a potential difference-maker last season, but caught just 16-of-38 targets for 217 yards and one touchdown. However, Washington had 64+ yards in two of his final three games, and more comfortability/confidence should give him a chance to live up to expectations in Year 2.
Colts believe they can help IND WR Devin Funchess breakout.
Andrew Walker of the team’s official website compared Funchess to Eric Ebron’s first season in Indy, writing, “the thought is that Frank Reich and Nick Sirianni’s offense can help Funchess reach even never heights in 2019.” Of course, Ebron caught a career-high 13 touchdowns last year, and Funchess—who just turned 25 in the spring—has untapped potential (Reich called him “a big man who is really athletic” with “good body control”). The Michigan product has double-digit touchdown upside catching passes from Andrew Luck.
LAR RB Todd Gurley isn’t concerned about his knee.
In an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Gurley responded to Gil Brandt telling him people from the outside are doubting him by saying he has “nothing to prove” and made it seem as if not much has changed from previous years in terms of his preparation for the season. We’ll see how the Rams manage him in July/August, but Gurley could be a home-run value if he continues going in the second or third round of fantasy drafts.
DAL WR Randall Cobb to be “amazing” in Cowboys offense?
David Helman of the team’s official website highlighted Cobb’s all-around ability, and the veteran reportedly “has a good relationship with Dak [Prescott],” which isn’t a surprise considering their games seem to fit each other perfectly. Cobb has averaged just a 61/619/4 line in four seasons since his breakout 2014 campaign, but a change of scenery could be good for him, and he’s being severely undervalued as the WR76 in 0.5-PPR leagues.
LAC RB Melvin Gordon gives an ultimatum.
ESPN reported a shocker yesterday, as Gordon has apparently informed the Chargers he will holdout from training camp and demand a trade if he doesn’t receive a new contract. The star running back is entering the final season of his rookie deal, so he’s making an aggressive move now to avoid potentially playing out 2019 on a one-year deal and then maybe even 2020 on the franchise tag, which would put his health in jeopardy without long-term security. Gordon is unlikely to end up in a better fantasy situation than he has in Los Angeles, so this is a huge storyline that will hopefully be resolved soon.
Doug Pederson points out the production of PHI RB Jordan Howard
Appearing on NFL Network’s NFL Total Access, Pederson accurately called Howard “one of the top running backs” in terms of production, as he’s compiled 3,370 yards on 778 carries (4.3 YPC) so far in his career, including a career-high nine touchdowns in 2018. Still just 24, Howard has a real shot at holding off second-rounder Miles Sanders as the lead runner for the entire season if he has a strong camp, and at worst, he should have an early-down role as Philadelphia’s preferred short-yardage back. We’ll see how things play out in camp.
Jimmy Garoppolo says SF WR Dante Pettis is “something else.”
In an interview with Sporting News, Garoppolo described how the second-year wideout has a “very long and gangly” body type but can still get out of breaks, which makes his job easier. Jimmy G added about his potential No. 1 receiver: “he’s a tremendous talent and keeps working, grinding to make big things happen.” The San Francisco passing attack will likely run through George Kittle once again, but Pettis has serious breakout potential as the main perimeter target in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. He’s probably being undervalued outside the top 30 at the position.