I spend all offseason researching players, situations, and teams in preparation for my drafts. I put together my mid to late round targets then pay attention in training camp and preseason games. These are a few of the players and situations I’ll pay attention to this summer to finalize the back end of my draft strategery.
Chicago Bears 2nd Yr RB Tarik Cohen
How new Head Coach Matt Nagy plans to utilize Cohen is one of the most interesting storylines I’ll follow in training camp. The previous regime seemed unwilling to use Cohen in a larger role. The reality is a 5-6 181 lb running back isn’t going to be able to handle a between the tackles pounding. PPR scoring has Cohen ranked much higher than in Standard. Trey Burton and Anthony Miller could take away looks form Cohen. In a PPR format could have sneaky middle to late round value.
Dallas Cowboys Rookie WR Michael Gallup and 5th Yr WR Allen Hurns
Replacing Dez Bryant and Jason Witten will be a major storyline entering the 2018 season in Dallas. Gallup had 21 TD in 2 years at Colorado State. This 3rd rd pick could be stepping into a sizable role out of the gate. Higher value in Dynasty formats than seasonal formats. Hurns signed to a 2-yr deal after getting released from the Jaguars. Hurns caught 10 TD in 2015, but wasn’t able to replicate that production. The 2015 campaign came as an outside receiver, while Hurns spent more time in the slot last season. Hurns should be able to play outside in Dallas and provide a bounce-back campaign in 2018. If I had to draft today in a seasonal league my choice would be Hurns over Gallup.
Indianapolis Colts RB’s 2nd YR Marlon Mack, Rookies Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins
Mack couldn’t take away the job from Frank Gore in 2017. Mack had some great runs, but also got stuffed behind the line too much. Mack did play with a torn labrum in his shoulder. Hines played some slot receiver at NC State. Hines in a PPR format could pop up for some big plays this season. Wilkins is a bigger back out of Ole Miss that is solid in pass protection. To me this is a battle of Wilkins vs. Mack for the starting job with Hines coming in as a change of pace back. Robert Turbin is out 4-games due to suspension and serves a complimentary role. This training camp battle is one I’ll keep tabs on. If I drafted today, Wilkins would be my choice.
Los Angeles Chargers 2nd Yr WR Mike Williams
Caught 11 balls in 10 games last season coming off a back injury that forced him to miss training camp. The Chargers didn’t draft Williams 7th overall to have him play behind Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin. TE Hunter Henry is out for the upcoming season with an ACL tear. Keenan Allen won’t catch 200 balls a season so someone else will be fantasy relevant in the Chargers offense. I’ll be watching to see if Mike Williams is that player that scored 11 TD in his final season at Clemson. Could fly up draft boards if healthy.
Miami Dolphins Rookie RB Kalen Ballage
As I mentioned in a previous post (Hugh Hefner Approach to RB) Ballage can be viewed as a handcuff for Kenyan Drake. After hearing Adam Gase comments thru minicamp about Ballage, my viewpoint has changed. I wasn’t planning on going up for Kenyan Drake in drafts, but I now may pass on him. Ballage is one of my main training camp track targets.
New York Jets WR’s3rd Yr Robbie Anderson, 5th Yr Quincy Enunwa, 7th Yr Terrelle Pryor, 7th Yr Jermaine Kearse.
Enunwa led the Jets in receiving yards in 2016 and Anderson in 2017. Enunwa missed 2017 due to neck injury. Anderson is a speedster that caught 7 TD last season. Pryor has made an admirable transition from QB to WR, but fell flat in Washington last season. An ankle injury was to blame, but I’m not so sure there wasn’t something else. If drafting today I’d take Anderson over the field. Enunwa would be my 2nd choice if healthy. Pryor would need a great camp to get on my radar. Kearse is a better NFL player than fantasy player.
Seattle Seahawks 4th Yr WR Tyler Lockett
Lower Body injuries have derailed Lockett’s NFL career. The player that had 11 TD in his JR and SR years at Kansas State hasn’t shown up in Seattle. Paul Richardson left in free agency for the Redskins. Brandon Marshall was brought in on a cheap deal. Lockett is a late round gamble at this stage. I own him in a dynasty league and will be paying close attention to how things go in camp. If the showing isn’t promising, Lockett may be off my roster at draft time.