2014 Fantasy Football: Camp Updates — NFC North
Green Bay Packers
In the Packers’ first preseason game, QB Scott Tolzien was able to outperform his camp competition Matt Flynn. The two are battling for the QB2 spot on the depth chart. Aaron Rodgers did not play in the game. Rodgers’ DNP was not a result of injury or anything to be concerned about. It should be noted Flynn was given the start in Rodgers’ absence. Flynn is most recognized for a 31-44, 480 yard, six TD game against the Lions in 2011. He has since signed a lucrative contract with the Seahawks but was never able to secure the starting job. He bounced around a bit and was also unable to beat out Terrell Pryor in Oakland. He once again finds himself a backup in Green Bay.
It’s been reported that WR Randall Cobb has been miserable in camp. He has not been able to create separation and has dealt with an abundance of bad drops. Rodgers has been throwing to the younger WRs more than Cobb. He broke his leg last year in week six and missed the remainder of the season. He is currently ranked the No. 10 WR with an ADP of 23.42. Through six games last season Cobb totaled 31 receptions, 433 yards and four TDs.
The TE battle is far from over. It’s looking like polarizing rookie Colt Lyerla may not make the roster after sustaining a serious leg injury in camp. The starting job will be fought for by Andrew Quarless, Brandon Bostick and rookie Richard Rodgers. Quarless was the early favorite, however Bostick has had a recent surge and has given himself a real shot to win the job. Rodgers has also made a case for himself to be in the mix. As of now my prediction is that Bostick will win the job, nevertheless the competition is still wide open.
The always underachieving Jimmy Clausen has a slight edge over Jordan Palmer for the QB2 job in Chicago. This is only relevant because starting QB Jay Cutler has not played all 16 games in a season since 2009. Needless to say, do not expect either backup QB to be Josh McCown. The Notre Dame bust and Carson’s little brother are not exactly brimming with talent.
Despite the fact Ka’Deem Carey is listed as the RB3 on the Bears’ depth chart, he is still the more valuable handcuff. His upside is much greater than current RB2 Shaun Draughn. Carey got the bulk of the workload in the Bears’ preseason game. This may be because they already know what they have in Draughn or it could be a sign of things to come.
Martellus Bennett was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team after body slamming rookie CB Kyle Fuller in practice (this was not Bennett’s first scuffle). In their first preseason game, backup TE Zach Miller stepped up and scored two TDs. Nonetheless, Bennett is coming off a season in which he tallied 65 reception, 759 yards and five TDs. It is extremely unlikely anybody will surpass him on the depth chart.
Note: Bennett was just reinstated 8/10/14
Sophomore RB Theo Riddick had a fantastic camp, and in all likelihood won the RB3 spot in Detroit. It is yet to be seen what Riddick’s role will be, but it’s a pretty safe bet that if Bush or Bell go down, Riddick will be worth a look. He could even cut in to some of their touches. If he gets his shot, much like Joique Bell last season, Riddick could earn more playing time. He stood out more than any other Lion this summer.
All the buzz about the Lions’ WR corps this offseason is surrounding Jeremy Ross. Ross has secured a roster spot in Detroit and has been extremely impressive throughout camp. He was only expected to be a special teamer, however he may rise up the depth chart as high as WR3. If the young wide out does in fact win the job as WR3, he could be a sneaky good sleeper. From what they are saying in Detroit, Ross is a player to monitor this preseason.
The Lions’ TE battle is the most intriguing in their camp. First-round pick and freak athlete Eric Ebron has really struggled with drops in camp. He is still expected to lead the Lions’ TE corps in targets this season. Brandon Pettigrew is still very much in the mix and Joseph Fauria could be a presence in the red zone. Watch closely how this plays out during the preseason. If Ebron can manage to step up, he has TE1 potential. If not, it will be a TE by committee attack.
There is only one major camp battle in Minnesota and it’s a big one. The starting QB job is on the line. While veteran Matt Cassel currently holds the starting QB job, rookie incumbent Teddy Bridgewater will be breathing down his neck all season. Cassel outperformed Bridgewater in the Vikings’ first preseason game. It is still too soon to rule out the Louisville rookie as the week one starter. Cassel had a very strong 2010, in which he threw 27 TDs and only seven INTs. Since his breakout season, he has thrown just 27 TDs in three seasons to go along with 30 INTs. Even if Cassel is the more NFL ready QB right now, if things begin to go south (and they will), they could opt for Bridgewater’s upside and at the very least get him some valuable experience.