Training Camp 2-A-Days Colts and Rams
NFL teams primarily use two-a-days to get in shape for the upcoming season. We continue our 16 Two-A-Day previews updating on training camp, roster battles and Dynasty relevance.
The Indianapolis Colts are coming off a disappointing 4-12 season. They fired head coach Chuck Pagano and replaced him with Frank Reich after Josh McDaniels pulled his screw job on the Colts. The biggest concern for the Colts is the health of franchise quarterback Andrew Luck, who suffered a shoulder injury and missed the entire 2017 season. Indianapolis failed to make the postseason for the third consecutive year and finished with their first losing season since 2011.
1.06 – Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
2.04 – Darius Leonard, LB, South Carolina St.
2.05 – Braden Smith, G, Auburn
2.20 – Kemko Turay, DE, Rutgers
2.32 – Tyquan Lewis, DE, Ohio State
4.04 – Nyheim Hines, RB, North Carolina State
5.22 – Daurice Fountain, WR, Iowa
5.32 – Jordan Wilkins, RB, Mississippi State
6.11 – Deon Cain, WR, Clemson
7.03 – Matthew Adams, LB, Houston
7.17 – Zaire Franklin, LB, Syracuse
Andrew Luck – Luck is poised to return after missing the all of the 2017 season due to should surgery. Luck has looked ok this preseason, but we have yet to see him let it fly downfield. He will likely have some rust to knock off once the lights come on for real this season. I do feel he gets back to what we are used to and that he still has top 10 QB potential. I comfortably add him back into my starting lineup.
Jacoby Brissett – Brissett did a fine job last year considering the circumstances. He was a late training camp addition into a new offense with a poor offensive line. Brissett remains insurance for Luck. Offseason rumors had the Seahawks offering a 2nd round pick to acquire the backup QB. The Colts clearly declined the offer. Brissett is a great add in a Superflex or 2QB league especially if you are the Andrew Luck owner. If Luck stumbles this season and misses time, Brissett may hold some 1QB league value.
Marlon Mack – Marlon Mack had an up and down rookie season. He failed to take carries away from Frank Gore, even though at times he appeared to be the better back. He has been injured in preseason and when he returns looks to be in a full fledge RBBC situation. Mack should be owned in all leagues; however, he is a RB that I prefer is owned by my opponents and not on my roster.
Robert Turbin – Turbin will start the season serving a 4-game suspension for PED use. Upon his return, Turbin likely has a role in this Colts’ committee. Turbin is the Colts back I would target. His cost is extremely low, and he will have goal-line relevance when he comes back.
Nyheim Hines – The 4th round selection of the Colts appeared to have an inside track to complement Mack in this backfield. When given the opportunity Hines showed a propensity to fumble the football. Fumbles are not good, for a rookie they are catastrophic. Hines will have a role in this mess of a Colts backfield and should start the season on your Dynasty bench.
Jordan Wilkins – Taken a round after Hines, Wilkins has shown in camp the ability to be an effective RB. He has good pass catching abilities that may see him on the field lined up in a slot role. Wilkins has emerged as the rookie to town in Indy. He should also start this season on your Dynasty bench.
Christian Michael – Michael is becoming the fantasy zombie running back. I have lost track of how many times he has come back from the dead to surface on an NFL roster. Forever hyped as the next guy that just needs his shot, he is now a simply a guy in a very crowded Colts backfield. Micheal may hold some value but all of it is within the first 4 weeks of this season. Once Turbin returns I am certain Michael is released, if not sooner than that.
TY Hilton – Hilton is the clear #1 WR in Indy. He must be thrilled at the sight of Andrew Luck back under center. The numbers don’t lie, and there is no doubt that TY Hilton is a different receiver with Andrew Luck than without. Hilton broke out in 2014 and finished as WR12, the following season Luck missed 9 games and TY dropped to WR22. Luck returned for a full season on 2016 and TY finished as WR5. Does anyone else see a pattern here? Last season TY Hilton recorded his lowest catches and receiving yards totals since his rookie season, and the lowest number of TD’s in his career. TY finished as WR27. With Andrew Luck back, TY has top 12 WR potential once again.
Ryan Grant/Chester Rodgers -One of these fine gentlemen will emerge as the #2 option in Indianapolis this season, the later likely is #3. Both should be rostered and at this point, I prefer Grant over Rodgers. Reality is they both offer WR4 type upside so limit your expectations at this time.
Daurice Fountain / Deon Cain – Fountain and Cain were both drafted in this year’s NFL draft. Fountain went in the 5th and Cain in the 6th. Cain was looking good early on in camp until he tore his ACL ending his season before it could get started. Fountain looks to be struggling in camp and is a taxi squad stash at best at this point. If you drafted Cain, slide him into your IR spot if you have one.
Eric Ebron – Ebron signed this offseason as a free agent after 4 seasons in Detroit. He has expressed his admiration for Luck and has been talked up by his head coach. He should be a physical force in the RedZone. If Ebron can overcome drops that have haunted him in the past, he has the potential for a top 15 TE season.
Jack Doyle – Doyle was one of the only models of consistency in Indy last year. He led the team with 80 catches, besting his previous career high of 59, and turned them into 690 yards with four touchdowns. Doyle has never been a big-play threat, but he does offer sure hands and a chain-moving element over the middle. I am interested in seeing how Doyle and Ebron coexist for the Colts this season. If Luck is healthy I believe he can keep both of them in the top 15 TE conversation.
Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams ended a 12-year playoff drought in 2017, winning 11 games and the NFC West. The offense was led by second-year quarterback Jared Goff and running back Todd Gurley, and the defense was led by defensive player of the year Aaron Donald. In the offseason, the Rams upgraded further, and look poised to make a deep playoff run after adding Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, and Ndamukong Suh and boosting their offense with a trade for wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
3.25 – Joseph Noteboom, OT, TCU
4.11 – Brian Allen, C, Michigan State
4.35 – John Franklin, DE, Stephen F. Austin
5.10 – Micah Kiser, LB, Virginia
6.02 – John Kelly, RB Tennessee
6.18 – Jamil Denby, T, Maine
6.21 – Sebastian Joseph, DT, Rutgers
6.31 – Trevon Young, LB, Louisville
7.13 – Travin Howard, LB, TCU
7.26 – Justin Lawler, DE, Sothern Methodist
Jared Goff – Jared Goff completed his sophomore season as QB12. Goff was 296/477 3804 yards and 28 TDs. He was one of five QBs in the top 12 to throw for less than 4000 yards in 2017. He slid into the top 12 on the strength of his 28 TD passes which tied for 5th most last season. Goff will once again flirt with top 12 QB numbers. I would suggest he will need to elevate those passing yards to stay there.
Sean Mannion – Mannion enters his 4th season in a Rams uniform this season. Mannion holds no fantasy value regardless of format. If Goff is injured I would still look elsewhere for a QB.
Todd Gurley – Gurley was the #1 player in fantasy last season. He was exceptional in his new offense. I would expect that Gurley continues his strong play and finishes within the top 5 overall scoring. Gurley is my #2 overall Dynasty PPR ranked player.
Malcolm Brown – Brown holds little to no fantasy value. His only shot is an injury to Gurley, and with recently drafted John Kelly around, Brown may need an injury to him as well.
John Kelly – Kelly, the 6th round selection has totaled 46/197/3/4.3 this preseason and has added six catches. Kelly appears locked in as Todd Gurley’s primary backup and would be an instant RB2 with room to grow if Gurley were to go down with an injury.
Cooper Kupp – Cooper Kupp was a pleasant surprise for the fantasy world and the Los Angeles Rams in 2017. Kupp, selected in the 3rd round finished the season with 62 catches, 869 yards, and 5 TD. He finished as WR25. Kupp should take a step forward in this offense in his second season. He is likely a WR2 this season and should be rostered in all formats. Hopefully, that TD total will rise a little in 2018.
Robert Woods – Woods is another example of what getting out of Buffalo can do for a guy’s career. Woods recorded a career high in yards with 781 and tied his career high in TD with 5. Had he not been injured and missed 4 games he would have easily set career highs in catches as well. Woods was on a WR1 pace prior to his injury last season. I don’t think that is an area he will hang out in. With Kupp, Cooks, and Gurley as additional options in the Rams passing attack, I feel Woods is a mid to low WR2.
Brandon Cooks – Brandon Cooks joins his third team in three seasons. He comes to LA to offer the Rams an upgrade on the recently departed Sammy Watkins. Cooks recorded his third straight 1000-yard season last year in New England and finished as WR15. The previous two seasons he finished as WR10 & WR13 as a member of the New Orleans Saints. Will Cooks get enough targets in this offense to be in the WR1 conversation again in 2018 in the question? Regardless Cooks is a WR that you should look to own on your Dynasty roster. At age 24, Cooks will be locked into your starting line-up for years.
Josh Reynolds – Reynolds saw an increase in action when Robert Woods went down with injury last season but couldn’t get anything going. Reynolds appears to have the most upside of the backup receivers in Los Angeles, but unless one of the starters were to get hurt his fantasy upside will be very limited even in deeper dynasty formats.
Tyler Higbee/ Gerald Everett – Higbee finished last season as TE35, and Everett finished TE43. Neither one of these TE took hold of the starting role in 2017. I would expect that to continue into 2018. If I have to own a TE on the Rams, it’s going to be Higbee as I feel he has the higher upside.