One of the best and most comprehensive features we do every year is our Footballguys Training Camp Updates. Every week in August, our Bob Henry and his team of Footballguys Staffers cover every player that matters from every NFL team. It's incredible and frankly, probably worth the price of the Footballguys Insider PRO subscription just by itself. Each edition is almost 40 pages long.
While I encourage you to read every word of every week, I also understand Life Happens. And one of the more valuable services Footballguys can add is saving you time. For this article, I had the idea of taking the comprehensive Training Camp Update and distilling it down into 80 proof shots of the "Need To Know" material. Some teams will have more news than others. Because that's how it works in real life. Much of it will be from the Camp Updates, some of it will be my takes but all of it will hopefully be useful to you. And make sure to jump on our Insider PRO subscription to continue seeing this type of stuff all year long. And if this feature is helpful to you, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
Let's get to it.
QB Carson Palmer took the field in the team’s second preseason game against the Raiders, completing 4-of-8 passing for 39 yards and a touchdown. So far so good.
As if he wasn't good enough, RB David Johnson has been adding to his game by improving his pass-protection. He's reportedly been spending hours watching film on the league’s top pass-rushers.
WR Larry Fitzgerald continues to get the veteran treatment and will see minimal preseason action. Coach Bruce Arians said WR Jaron Brown is the teams #2 WR. Which may be more a statement on John Brown who finally returned to practice on Tuesday, August 15 after missing most of camp with a sore quadriceps. Fingers are crossed for John Brown.
Jermaine Gresham continues to be a solid TE for NFL but towards the bottom of our fantasy TE rankings.
QB Matt Ryan's been solid in camp. He's making some big plays but also giving up several interceptions to a surging defense.
RB Devonta Freeman displayed concussion-like symptoms at practice on Sunday. On Monday, head coach Dan Quinn announced Freeman is in the concussion protocol and ruled him out for this weekend's preseason game against the Steelers. Quinn added that he's not sure Freeman will be out for the rest of the preseason, per ESPN.com.
The Falcons are showing caution with WR Julio Jones’ return from his foot surgery, but the receiver has demonstrated athletic ability and intensity with his limit practice sessions.
During the past two weeks, TE Austin Hooper has earned strong marks for his work ethic, leadership, and study from Matt Ryan and Dan Quinn and the coach says the tight end position is a focal point of the offense.
Quarterback Joe Flacco won’t play in preseason games but should return to preseason practices and be ready to start Week 1. Ryan Mallett has been working with the first team but has struggled. And that's being kind. But the fact the team hasn't made a move for another player seems telling they do believe Flacco will be ready.
The team wants to run more this season with Senior Offensive Assistant / TE Coach Greg Roman helping to make the run game successful. RB Terrance West has lost 12 pounds, worked on his pass blocking and route running, wants 30 carries per game, and has told fantasy owners to draft him confidently. But Danny Woodhead should still figure in prominently as a passing down back. West and Woodhead should handle most of the work, but keep an eye on Javorius Allen too.
WR Breshad Perriman is once again missing significant camp time with an injury (hamstring). Meanwhile, Jeremy Maclin is getting comfortable and in the offense. Although he's missing important chemistry building time with Joe Flacco.
The tight ends are still a mess, but Ben Watson looks to be the best pass-catching option, despite his advanced age and recovery from an Achilles injury.
The trade of Sammy Watkins to the Rams leaves QB Tyrod Taylor without his best receiving weapon.
Losing Watkins feels like it puts more weight on RB LeSean McCoy's shoulders. Jonathan Williams has emerged as the clear handcuff to McCoy.
Recent WR pickups Jordan Matthews and Anquan Boldin played primarily out of the slot last year, so will be interesting to see how quickly they pick up the new offense and whether they can win on the outside. Matthews has a chip fracture in his sternum and is being called “week to week.”
Watkins' absence also puts some more pressure on TE Charles Clay. He started and played seventeen snaps against the Vikings, but was not targeted. His knee remains a concern, but the team hopes it can manage the issue by giving him enough rest between games.
Quarterback Cam Newton is progressing towards recovery. According to Adam Schefter, Newton is expected to play at some point in the preseason.
RB Christian McCaffrey saw extensive work in the first game and looked very good. McCaffery showed speed and poise and versatility and said he felt great. We'll continue to monitor how he'll work in with Jonathan Stewart. The team wants to get McCaffery work and they know what they have in Stewart so preseason work might not be indicative of how they plan to use the two.
Despite having a relatively quiet camp, Kelvin Benjamin silenced his doubters with a spectacular over-the-shoulder leaping catch for a touchdown in Wednesday’s game. “I’m feeling good again,” Benjamin said. “I am ready to get Cam (Newton) back out there so we can rebuild that chemistry." Though Devin Funchess only caught one four-yard pass against the Texans, he continues to look good in practice.
TE Greg Olsen is still really good. Cam Newton’s first throw in team drills in nearly two weeks fittingly went to Olsen.
K Graham Gano’s 50-yard miss went off of an upright, and rookie Harrison Butker hit a 51-yarder versus the Texans, but Gano was viewed as the clear leader going into the preseason opener and might not be in trouble.
Stay tuned for a QB controversy brewing: Mike Glennon threw a pick-6 and struggled in the preseason opener, while Mitch Trubisky dazzled with his arm and legs against backups.
RB Jordan Howard saw just a handful of snaps in the game, but backups Tarik Cohen and Benny Cunningham both averaged nearly 6 yards per carry.
WRs Kevin White and Cameron Meridith were quiet in their preseason game. But the first team offense picked things back up in practice over the weekend and Glennon connected with White and Meredith repeatedly. WR Markus Wheaton broke his finger in practice on Sunday, further setting him back and opening up more opportunity for a player like Kendall Wright.
There hasn't been any clear separation in the tight end group, but Zach Miller should be the favorite to open the season as the primary receiving option.
Quarterback Andy Dalton has been Andy Dalton. He completed his first four passes against the Buccaneers in their preseason game but ruined the drive with an interception in the end zone.
RB Joe Mixon continues to impress with “wow” plays on a daily basis. He made three guys miss on a slick catch and run against Tampa. He pegs the "eye test" and simply looks a cut above. Outwardly, the team and press continue to talk up Jeremy Hill but Mixon looks like he has the on field skills to be a future star. Hill continues to hang on to the starter label and also played well in the preseason opener. Hill could make this a messy RBBC if he stays healthy and continues to play well.
WR A.J. Green played the first series of the preseason opener and made a big catch. He’s healthy and primed for a big season.
TE Tyler Eifert is healthy and started the preseason opener. Backup C.J. Uzomah suffered a severely sprained ankle last week and could be out for the remainder of the preseason.
QB Brock Osweiler continues to flounder and DeShone Kizer continues to make a case to be the starter.
RB Duke Johnson is being employed in a variety of ways that should increase his touches substantially this year. Receivers coach Al Saunders likened Johnson to Marshall Faulk because of his versatility.
Neither WR Kenny Britt nor Corey Coleman is establishing himself as the true number one receiver at this time. Both have flashed nice plays.
TE David Njoku is back in practice after missing a few sessions and the preseason game with a minor back injury.
QB Dak Prescott didn’t play in the preseason tilt versus the Rams but had another strong week of practice.
RB Ezekiel Elliott was suspended for six games and has appealed. Veteran Darren McFadden got all the first team snaps against the Rams and flourished; he ran for 28 yards on six carries (4.7 per rush) and caught an 8-yard pass. Alfred Morris looked much worse, although he wasn’t playing with the starters. On the surface, it would appear it's all McFadden but we're still hearing rumbles of a committee. Stay tuned.
WR Dez Bryant didn’t play against the Rams, but he’s had plenty of time in practice to increase his chemistry with Dak Prescott.
Converted basketball player-turned-tight end Rico Gathers has impressed the coaches and may see an expanded role at the expense of 3-WR sets
There’s still little clarity on the starting quarterback battle between Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. Siemian started the first game of the preseason, while Lynch has been tapped to start game two.
RB C.J. Anderson has enjoyed a solid camp, and he looked great in his first live game action since last year’s meniscus tear. It’s unclear when Jamaal Charles will make his preseason debut, but he continues to ramp up participation in camp.
WR Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders remain entrenched atop the depth chart. Bennie Fowler is currently penciled in as WR3, but he’s being pushed by Cody Latimer.
TE Virgil Green is atop the first depth chart released by the Broncos, but we could see some involvement from other tight ends in the Broncos passing attack as well. A.J. Derby has been solid, and the team is hoping to see more out of Jeff Heuerman.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has looked and very good the first team offense has looked sharp.
RB Ameer Abdullah is fully recovered from last year’s foot injury and he looks incredibly explosive and could be in line for a big year.
Rookie wide receiver Kenny Golladay has emerged as a camp star as he’s consistently made difficult catches, and he scored twice in the Lions first preseason game.
TE Eric Ebron is getting close to making a return and should be ready to go when the season starts.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is still really good. Rodgers has been putting in serious camp work, but he’s unlikely to play much in the preseason.
RB Jamaal Williams keeps building his case as a 1B to starter Ty Montgomery, showing well as a runner and in pass protection; he’s worlds ahead of fellow rookie Aaron Jones.
The crowded receiving corps is taking (some) shape, with Trevor Davis and rookies DeAngelo Yancey and Michael Clark showing well all the way into preseason action.
TEs Martellus Bennett, Lance Kendricks, and Richard Rodgers have all been targeted heavily in red-zone drills. They’ve had success, too, winning one-on-one battles left and right.
QB Tom Savage is playing well enough to open the season as the starter.Deshaun Watson impressed in his preseason debut. If Savage slips up at all early in the season, Watson is ready to take over.
RB Lamar Miller is probably being over-drafted because D’Onta Foreman looks good enough to force his way into a committee. The Texans also don’t think Miller can be at his best touching the ball 15-20 times per game.
WR Braxton Miller has a minor injury but is clearly running as the #2 receiver while Will Fuller is out.
The offense should continue favoring the tight ends, as Houston uses a base 2-TE formation on the majority of snaps. C.J. Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin will be on the field at the same time. Griffin has been heavily involved in the passing game throughout camp, which helps the Texans but hurts Fiedorowicz’s fantasy upside.
Andrew Luck remains without a definitive time table for return, but he has resumed throwing. Colts GM Chris Ballard said Luck's strength levels “are probably better than they were at any point last season.” Owner Jim Irsay added Luck's progression "could not be better", but cautioned he might "hypothetically" miss a game or two." At the moment, it appears Luck will avoid the PUP list to open the season.
RB Frank Gore sat out the preseason opener with a minor ankle injury, but he was back for an intense practice Tuesday which indicates the Colts are just managing the 34-year old’s preseason reps. Robert Turbin ran with the first team on Sunday but failed to impress against the Lions. He appears to be the preferred handcuff for Gore, especially with rookie Marlon Mack nursing a shoulder injury.
WR Donte Moncrief returned to practice Wednesday, alleviating concerns about his sprained AC joint. Chester Rogers failed to separate in the battle for Indy's third receiver job, but former first round pick Phillip Dorsett remains behind in the competition due to a hamstring injury.
TE Jack Doyle continues to deliver. He saw two targets in just 11 snaps Sunday. A Colts beat writer wondered if TE Erik Swoope can bring a Rob Gronkowski-like element to the offense this year. However, Swoope opted for arthroscopic surgery, leaving him week-to-week.
Quarterback Blake Bortles’ interception worries continued as he threw a pair during Sunday’s practice and was given the day off following those picks. The staff says it's just for rest.
RB Leonard Fournette looked dominant against the Patriots. Unfortunately, he missed the following two practices with a foot injury, and will reportedly sit out the next preseason game. Head coach Doug Marrone admitted Fournette has been dealing with this injury for some time now. “We’re going to be real cautious with that,” Marrone said. “If it puts anything in jeopardy for a longer deal, because we’ll get him back, then I probably would hold him.” Watch closely.
Beat writer Mike Kaye called WR Allen Robinson “the best player on the field,” which should surprise no one. Marqise Lee was overtaking Allen Hurns on the depth chart until he suffered a high ankle sprain running a route in 7-on-7 drills. His injury usually takes four to six weeks to recover.
The tight end position has little fantasy value at the moment. The receivers are going to see a disproportionate target share while the tight ends focus on blocking. For what it’s worth, Mychal Rivera is atop the depth chart.
QB Alex Smith remains atop the depth chart, while Patrick Mahomes has been bumped up to work with the second unit for the time being. Signs point to the Chiefs looking to incorporate the deep ball more often this year.
RB Spencer Ware remains the lead guy in the Chiefs backfield, but rookie Kareem Hunt has seen a solid camp. Ware received all the work with the starting unit in the preseason tilt against the 49ers.
WR Tyreek Hill continues to fan the hype flames. He's been one of the brightest stars at Chiefs camp. Chris Conley is locked in as WR2, but there’s a ton of jockeying for position on the rest of the depth chart.
TE Travis Kelce has returned to practice after being held out due to knee swelling. “It feels great. It feels 100 percent,” he said upon his return.
QB Philip Rivers looked locked and loaded as he marched the Chargers down the field for a touchdown in his only drive against the Seahawks. The backup gig should be settled in camp, but Kellen Clemens is penciled in as QB2 for now.
RB Melvin Gordon has looked solid in camp, and he’s the unquestioned workhorse in the Chargers backfield. The backup job appears to be Branden Oliver’s to lose, as he seems fully recovered from last year’s injury.
Rivers has a bounty of weapons at his disposal, with WRs Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams leading the way. Travis Benjamin looked explosive in the preseason opener, while Mike Williams has resumed running at camp.
While TE Hunter Henry looks to be ready to take the proverbial leap in year two, Antonio Gates continues to hold Father Time at bay. We’ll wait for more signs as the preseason continues, but we can expect both to be involved in the Chargers passing attack.
QB Jared Goff played the first two drives against the Dallas Cowboys and completed 3-of-4 passes for 34 yards. It wasn’t a particularly memorable performance, but for context Goff took the field without three of his top five receivers.
Those hoping for signs of improvement for RB Todd Gurley were left wanting as he struggled in limited snaps against the Cowboys. He only gained two yards on four carries, to go along with a 10-yard reception.
The team made waves trading for WR Sammy Watkins. How quickly he can acclimate with Goff and the new offense remains to be seen.
We didn't see much from the TEs. Rookie Gerald Everett was targeted three times and caught two receptions for 12 yards, neither of which came from Goff.
All of the focus in Miami this week was upon newly signed starting quarterback Jay Cutler. The consensus on Cutler’s practice debut was that he was “eye-opening good” for a guy who had been preparing for a broadcasting career just a few days earlier.
RB Jay Ajayi has been cleared to return and is out of the concussion protocol. If Ajayi were to miss more time, Damien Williams becomes the top fantasy target, but Kenyan Drake will probably also be heavily involved.
WR DeVante Parker barely played in the preseason opener but expects to see plenty of time in Week Two to create chemistry with Cutler. Parker was the recipient of Cutler’s first touchdown pass in practice and is the type of big-bodied outside receiver who Cutler has helped put up big fantasy numbers in the past.
TE Julius Thomas has been invisible in camp. He is slow and has inconsistent hands. On paper, a Thomas reunion with Adam Gase sounded great. But there’s little evidence to date that the relationship is likely to spur a career renaissance.
The offensive line has some work to do to protect QB Sam Bradford. Against the Bills, there was a point in the game when Bradford was sacked on back-to-back passing attempts forcing the Vikings to punt
RB Dalvin Cook is the focus and the team is going to lean on him in both the run and pass game. Latavius Murray did not play in the team’s first preseason game but there was finally some positives for him as participated in individual drills during his first practice back from ankle surgery.
WR Stefon Diggs and Sam Bradford continue to work well together and there is some real potential for Diggs to be a sleeper fantasy wide receiver this season.
Even with the lack of opportunity in the preseason game, TE Kyle Rudolph has looked great in practice and has a noticeable connection with Sam Bradford which is even more noticeable in goal line situation.
Quarterback Tom Brady is still really good. Backup Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t wowing consistently, and he’s even been actively bad at times, though he remains a serviceable No. 2.
The running back crew remains crowded and the roles unclear – apart from James White, who remains the passing-downs leader. Mike Gillislee needs to return to action quickly if he’s going to establish himself in this muddy backfield.
WR Brandin Cooks’ explosiveness and dynamism are carrying over nicely from New Orleans, and his role is already threatening Julian Edelman’s share of the receptions.
There’s (finally) nothing wrong with TE Rob Gronkowski in training camp, and thus far he’s giving 31 defensive coordinators nightmares.
Quarterback Drew Brees is still really good. He'll continue to be the center of this offense.
RBs Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson were listed as co-starters at running back on the first depth chart, but Ingram has been outstanding in all phases of the game thus far. Rookie Alvin Kamara saw work in the game this week and showed patience and burst. It's a muddled backfield for fantasy purposes but an embarrassment of riches for the Saints.
WR Michael Thomas will likely lead the team this season in targets. He's consistently made plays in practice sessions. He sat out the first preseason game. The initial depth chart surprisingly listed Ted Ginn, Jr. as the other starter, with Willie Snead behind him. Although Snead will see lots of work.
TE Coby Fleener hasn't done a lot. Josh Hill was resigned by the Saints and is competing with Fleener for the lead tight end role.
QBs Geno Smith and Josh Johnson have competed hard for the backup quarterback role, but Smith has the edge following the preseason opener versus the Steelers.
Left tackle Ereck Flowers continues to struggle, raising concerns about the integrity of the Giants line.
RB Paul Perkins has been unconvincing in his attempt to lock down the workhorse role, although the offensive line has done him no favors.
WR Sterling Shepard returned from a two-week absence (ankle sprain) and is practicing with no restrictions.
Kickers Mike Nugent and Aldrick Rosas are in a dead heat for the placekicking job.
ESPN’s Rich Cimini thinks the team may see enough from QB Christian Hackenberg to supplant Josh McCown early in the regular season.
The receivers here are not going to be something the Jets or anyone else can rely on, but if someone were to emerge from this group, it looks like Robby Anderson. He could be someone who produces a consistent if unspectacular amount of yards each week and people will forget he exists because the Jets look awful offensively.
The Jets are likely to provide some spark in the backfield, but injuries to Bilal Powell and Matt Forte are a concern. We suspect that Powell ends up getting more carries. He's younger and less fragile than Forte appears to be at this stage in his career and is a versatile option from the backfield.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been a disappointment in his career, but he has come into camp knowing he's on his last shot. So it's not a surprise he looks good. All indications are this is going to last, and he could be a very sneaky one to watch when he returns from his suspension.
Quarterback Derek Carr is fully recovered from the season-ending leg injury he suffered in Week 16 last season. He didn't play in the first game but all signs point positive.
With RB Marshawn Lynch sitting out the opening game, DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard split reps. Washington played the entire first and third drives, while Richard played the second and fourth drives. Both understandably struggled to find running room as the Raiders second-string line was facing most of the Cardinals starters.
WR Amari Cooper has been nursing a minor leg injury for about a week, practicing just once and sitting out the preseason opener. Michael Crabtree also sat out against the Cardinals. Cordarrelle Patterson hasn’t been able to displace incumbent #3, Seth Roberts.
The tight ends have been the stars of training camp, with veteran free agent Jared Cook hooking up regularly with Carr. Lee Smith, Clive Walford, and Gabe Holmes have looked very good, as well.
QB Carson Wentz was a perfect 4-for-4 for 56 yards and a touchdown against the Packers, but three of those completions were to Jordan Matthews. Matthews caught the Eagles first three passes against the Packers and then was traded to the Bills for cornerback Ron Darby.
RB LeGarrette Blount got the first team reps in the preseason opener but was unimpressive (nine yards on four carries)
WR Nelson Agholor has completely rehabilitated his reputation, earning the starting slot role and making Matthews expendable
TE Zach Ertz has been the best player in camp and should be Wentz’ top target regardless of game script. Without Matthews, Ertz should see even more work.
QB Ben Roethlisberger isn’t likely to play very much in the preseason, given the team’s backup quarterback competition, Roethlisberger’s health becomes even more important.
There is still no sign of RB LeVeon Bell, but the team has given no indication that they expect his holdout to extend into the regular season.
WR Martavis Bryant is on his way to full reinstatement, having been granted the ability to participate in preseason activities and games. He looks to be in outstanding shape. Justin Hunter was dazzling the first couple weeks of camp, and JuJu Smith-Schuster left the game with a concussion. Hunter may be a regular season asset.
Tight end is a weakness for Pittsburgh. The presumed #1 Jesse James and #2 Xavier Grimble both played against the Giants. Grimble caught an 11-yard touchdown, but a penalty nullified it. For the most part, this group lacks playmaking ability compared to the rest of the offense.
QB Brian Hoyer has looked solid in camp, and he appears to be acclimating himself well to the Kyle Shanahan offense. Matt Barkley and C.J. Beathard have both shown flashes, and we’ll have to wait and see who snags the backup job.
RB Carlos Hyde is locked in at the top of the depth chart. Matt Breida continues to impress in camp, but Joe Williams played with a lot of pep in his step in the first preseason game.
WRs Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin are the unquestioned WR1 and WR2, but things are a little murky after that. WR3 Jeremy Kerley is being pushed by names such as Aldrick Robinson and Trent Taylor.
TE Vance McDonald received a vote of confidence from Shanahan this week, but the tight end depth chart remains far from settled.
Quarterback Russell Wilson looks to be 100 percent back from last season’s injury.
Is it RB Thomas Rawls or Eddie Lacy? Or both? And that last part is the concern. A running back by committee or “hot hand” approach might work fine for the Seahawks, but it’d be a nightmare for Fantasy GMs. That’s even before throwing C.J. Prosise and Alex Collins in the mix. Again, that third preseason game should tell the tale but even then, trust could be a commodity hard to come by early on.
WR Paul Richardson laid out for a big catch Sunday night and left with a shoulder injury. The team thought he might miss time but he was back a couple of days later. He's a value as there's plenty of production to be had behind Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham.
TE Jimmy Graham is the starter and is having a great camp. According to ESPN’s Sheil Kapadia, he has lost twenty pounds and feels “almost a hundred times better.”
QB Jameis Winston has been efficient and he’s hitting on deep passes.
WR DeSean Jackson has earned a lot of tight-window, high-traffic targets. Jackson and QB Jameis Winston have developed an early rapport during the first two weeks of camp. Chris Godwin learned the offense fast and he’s making consistent and acrobatic plays.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers remains the lead back while Doug Martin serves his three-game suspension. Jenna Laine says Martin and Rodgers have been splitting first-team reps while Charles Sims is the third-down back. QB Jameis Winston believes RB Doug Martin is still “the guy.”
Look for TEs O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate to split time this year. Howard has the advantage as the blocker, but Brate still has Winston’s trust as a receiver reading the field.
QB Marcus Mariota is showing that he is fully recovered from his surgery. He used his feet regularly and was able to bounce right back up after a sack.
RB DeMarco Murray returned to practice this week. “He looked good,” Coach Mike Mularkey said. “He actually did more than I was expecting. I’m the one that pulled him out of the team period because of the number of reps he had up to that point. I was pleased with the way he looked.” Derrick Henry is close behind. He's continuing to show why he is the future at the running back position for the Titans.
Of all the wide receivers, Eric Decker seems to have the strongest rapport with Mariota at this time. WR Corey Davis is slowly coming back from his hamstring injury and does not look likely to play this week.
TE Jonnu Smith is proving to be a quick study and could be the number two tight end heading into the regular season.
QB Kirk Cousins got off to an inauspicious start in the preseason opener versus Baltimore; he completed 1-of-2 passes, and both of his drives went three-and-out. It’s Week 1 of the preseason.
The demise of RB Robert Kelley has been greatly exaggerated, particularly given Samaje Perine’s struggles including a bad fumble and botched reception against the Ravens.
WR Terrelle Pryor has benefitted from injuries to Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson; Pryor has been Cousins’ primary target throughout the preseason.
TE Jordan Reed continues to miss time but has new orthotics and expects to return to practice next week. This injury and the remarkable admission that Jordan’s been dealing with a broken foot has our Dr. Jene Bramel’s “spidey-sense” going off.
And that's that for this week. Let me know if you found this type of thing useful by shooting an email to email@example.com. And keep up with me on Twitter by clicking the follow button below.