TFA is here to support you and provide NFC South training camp updates throughout the preseason, as we breakdown the NFC South training camp news for you from a fantasy perspective. We understand you are busy, and we also understand that not all news affects your favorite hobby: fantasy football. We will be here throughout the preseason to highlight fantasy-relevant news and a provide unique fantasy perspective thereon!
- Julio Jones news for the week isn’t great, but still nothing for concern. Unfortunately, Julio isn’t practicing, but apparently, he is only about 10-14 days away. While we would love to see him practicing, Julio is a veteran, and he has previously been exposed to new (old) Offense Coordinator, Dirk Koetter’s offense. Julio will not be hampered by a lack of reps in practice. Continue to monitor the situation, but I am still not concerned.
- As we mentioned last week, Calvin Ridley tweaked his hamstring in the first few days of training camp. He still has not returned to practice. The Falcons are being cautious here, and there is no reason to expect him to play in the Hall of Fame game (he didn’t). Keep watching this situation, but Ridley is still expected to be the #2 WR for the Falcons this year once healthy.
- Rookie Tackle Kaleb McGary underwent a cardiac ablation procedure Wednesday. This is his second such procedure, which is minimally invasive, but still something requiring a relatively significant recovery period. During college, this procedure cost him 6-8 weeks, so it’s reasonable to expect a similar recovery period. While McGary was a first-round draft pick, he’s unlikely to be a starter during the first half of the season.
- The Falcons played a preseason game last night, but the Hall of Fame game is played so early that next-to-no fantasy-relevant players got significant minutes. Stayed here for the NFC South Training Camp Updates for real analysis of preseason games that offer more fantasy insight.
- Coach Ron Rivera prefers to limit Christian McCaffery’s snaps but not his touches. That sounds like a good idea in theory, but until the Norv Turner finds a running back he can trust to pass block, I don’t understand how this is possible. McCaffery was on the field more than any other running back in 2018. This sounds like lip service hoping to keep McCaffery healthy, but until a viable alternative, who represents the same threat as McCaffery, this idea is preposterous. McCaffery is a stud and should be in consideration for #1 overall.
- Reports from camp mention that Curtis Samuel is becoming a great route runner. However, if you ask Matt Harmon, Curtis Samuel was already a great route runner. It honestly wouldn’t shock me if the fantasy community was ahead of the team’s perception in Samuel’s route running ability. Samuel is a spectacular value right now.
- Torrey Smith was activated. Nothing to see here, unless Moore or Samuel gets hurt.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
- As I anticipated last week, the Saints and Michael Thomas were able to quickly negotiate a long-term contract. Michael Thomas received over $100 million. Good for him. Now that this nonsense is in the rear-view mirror, go draft him!
- Javorious Allen was added to IR. In my opinion, the Saints signed Allen as Kamara insurance, but now that he is hurt, that insurance is gone. I expected New Orleans to try and sign Theo Riddick, but Denver beat them to the punch. This likely creates an opportunity for Devine Ozigbo to try and snag a roster spot. But, from a fantasy perspective, Kamara remains a locked-and-loaded top-4 pick.
- The Saints signed Rob Kelley. I highly doubt Rob will make the team, so nothing to report here.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
- Bruce “Embellishment” Arians claimed that Andre Ellington is as healthy as his rookie year. However, if you know anything about Bruce, he has a tendency to over-hype his offense. Regardless, Andre Ellington hasn’t taken a hit in over a year due to being out of football all of 2018. I still believe that Andre Ellington will be the back to own in the Bucs’ backfield, but as you’ll find out in part 4 of my ambiguous backfield series, Tampa is a backfield to avoid!
- Donovan Smith (starting LT) injured his Achilles, but Bruce Arians claimed that the Achilles injury was “minor”. While I’ve never heard of a “minor” Achilles injury, we have no reason to believe otherwise. Monitor the situation for owners of Jameis Winston and crew.
- Ronald Jones is apparently in a “good battle” with Peyton Barber. Last week, I predicted that Peyton Barber would lose the job, but I still don’t believe that Ronald Jones is worth drafting. Jones had fumbling issues in college, and demonstrated as much in practice. Instead, get Ellington for free, if you must draft from the TB backfield.
Stay tuned throughout the preseason for more NFC South Training Camp updates!