Fantasy Football: Training camp injury updates, sleepers, tiers, and #AskFFT mailbag


The second-busiest draft weekend of the year is here, which means you might be in serious need of some advice. That’s OK, the Fantasy Football Today team is here for you. Jamey Eisenberg has his final round of Sleepers, Breakouts and Busts ready for you, while Dave Richard has distilled everything you need to know about each position into his Tiers 5.0 rankings and Draft Day Strategies.

But that’s not all the help we’ve got for you — we’re a generous bunch, and we’ve got something exciting coming your way next week. Our Fantasy Football Today Draft-A-Thon show next Wednesday at 6 p.m. EST on CBS Sports HQ will be one more excellent way to get up to speed and ready to dominate your draft. Plus, we’ll be live taking your questions from 8 to midnight on the FFT Twitch channel with plenty of special guests and fun prizes, all while raising money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. It’s going to be a great time, so mark your calendars and stay tuned for more announcements about that next week.

Plus, we’ve got an #AskFFT mailbag with some of your questions answered. And if you are drafting this weekend, make sure you check out these resources for your last-minute cramming, too:

Here’s what we’ve got on tap today:

  • 🚑RB injury updates
  • 🚀Jamey Eisenberg’s Sleepers, Breakouts and Busts
  • 🔢Dave Richard’s Positional Tiers and Strategies
  • 📬#AskFFT mailbag

🚑RB injury updates

With little more than two weeks left before the start of the season, we’ve got plenty of running back injuries to keep track of. Here’s the latest on three key situations heading into the weekend: 

  • David Montgomery is expected to miss 2-4 weeks, which is something like a best-case scenario. Still, we have to prepare for the possibility that Montgomery will miss multiple games, or at least might be limited early on. Tarik Cohen‘s role doesn’t really figure to change much with Montgomery out, so the question is who might take on Montgomery’s role? The Bears didn’t practice Thursday, so we didn’t gain any knowledge there, though Cordarrelle Patterson was the first player mentioned after Cohen in Kevin Fishbain’s story on the Montgomery injury at The Athletic, so he might be the primary option if you’re looking for an early fill-in; Ryan Nall represents a more traditional option than the converted wide receiver, but “it’s unlikely the team likes Nall enough to make him a No. 1 back in Ford Field on Sept. 13,” per Fishbain.
  • Sean McVay told reporters Thursday he expects Darrell Henderson back in time for the season, a good sign for his recovery from a hamstring injury. This was never considered a serious issue, but at this point, it does sound like L.A. is going to have a three-way split in the backfield for Week 1, which might make Henderson, Cam Akers and Malcolm Brown all tough to trust.
  • With D’Andre Swift still limited to just side work in camp while dealing with a leg injury, Ty Johnson has been seeing a lot of first-team work lately. Swift isn’t expected to miss Week 1, but if this issue lingers, Johnson could be a late-round flier if he’s set to split time with Kerryon Johnson

🚀Jamey’s Sleepers, Breakouts and Busts

Sleepers

What Jamey said: “I don’t think I can recall a season in recent memory where there are so many sleeper options who I like. … I’m writing about more guys in Sleepers 3.0 than ever before.”

Three notable picks: 

  • Cam Newton: “The best part about Newton is he’s being drafted as QB15, and you can select him with a late-round pick. He should deliver a big reward if healthy.”
  • Zack Moss: Devin Singletary is being drafted in Round 4 based on his ADP as RB22. Moss is being drafted in Round 10 as RB41, and that’s just silly. There’s a chance Moss is the better Fantasy running back in Buffalo from Week 1.”
  • Steven Sims: “Aside from McLaurin and Sims, Haskins doesn’t have many reliable targets. He currently has an ADP of Round 14, but I would look for him as early as Round 11.”

The rest of Jamey’s picks can be found right here.

More sleepers: WR sleepers | RB sleepers 

Breakouts

What Jamey said: “What I like to do with Breakouts 3.0, my final edition for the season, is highlight some of my favorite players who I plan to target in all leagues. I’m obviously not going to draft all of these guys — but I can try.

Calvin Ridley checks a lot of the boxes that I’m looking for in a breakout receiver.

  • Third season in the NFL.
  • High volume passing attack.
  • Talented player with a good quarterback.
  • Ready for greatness.”

Three other breakout picks: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, D.J. Chark, Hayden Hurst

Check out the rest of Jamey’s breakouts here.

More breakouts: Career-year breakouts | RB breakouts 

Busts 

Jamey’s five most controversial bust picks: 

  1. Lamar Jackson 
  2. Derrick Henry
  3. DeAndre Hopkins
  4. Aaron Rodgers
  5. Rob Gronkowski

Check out the rest of who Jamey is avoiding in 2020 here.

More busts: Dave’s “Don’t-Want-To-Draft” list  | FFT bust picks 

Fantasy Football Today in 5

By the way, our brand new podcast, Fantasy Football Today In 5 just launched. Every morning starting Aug. 31, we’ll have a bite-sized podcast ready to catch you up on the latest news. It’s perfect for waiting for your coffee to brew or while you walk the dog. Make sure you head to Spotify, Apple or anywhere else you find podcasts to subscribe to Fantasy Football Today In 5 and listen to the just-released trailer. 

🔢Dave’s Positional Tiers and Strategies

Rankings are a helpful tool for your Fantasy draft, but they can really only go so far. They can tell to prefer one quarterback over another, but they aren’t quite as much help when it comes to knowing when to pounce on one position vs. another. That’s where tiers come in. If you need a running back and you know you’ve got eight picks between your next two, you just look at the tiers and see how many of the current tier are left — if there are eight running backs and only three wide receivers, you should probably take a wide receiver with your next pick, knowing one of those running backs should be there when you pick next. 

That’s the basic framework for how to use them. Here are Dave’s tiered rankings for each position, along with his strategy for how to approach each on Draft Day. It’s like having him in the draft room with you, really.

📬#AskFFT mailbag

Your questions, answered. Send your questions to Chris.Towers@CBSInteractive.com and you may get them answered in a mailbag in this newsletter. I’ll be doing them every week, and even if your question doesn’t make it here, I just may respond to your email with an answer anyway. And we’ll be answering your questions all season long on FFT, so send us your questions on Twitter with ‘#AskFFT’.

The thing about running back is, there really are no “safe options.” OK, besides Christian McCaffrey and a few others. But even they aren’t immune from the factors that make running backs so volatile, especially injuries. Gordon has plenty of upside on his own, but it really sounds like he’ll need a Lindsay injury to have top-12 potential. Taylor obviously has hurdles in his way, too, but look at it this way: If Mack remains a big factor, you can use him until Taylor overtakes him. If and when that happens, Taylor definitely has top-12 upside, even in a crowded backfield. 

  • Fabrizio: Is there a list of players who have opted-out of the season? Couldn’t find one anywhere.

We’ve got you covered.

  • Paul: Playing in a Standard 10 team league. We have the 8th pick. Based on knowing how these guys draft we feel that our options at No. 8 and 13 could be the following: Dalvin Cook and Josh Jacobs; Derrick Henry and Jacobs; Michael Thomas and Jacobs; Cook and George Kittle; Thomas and Kittle. How would you rank these options?
  1. Thomas and Jacobs
  2. Cook and Jacobs
  3. Thomas and Kittle 
  4. Cook and Kittle
  5. Henry and Jacobs

I want an elite back in the first two rounds in nearly every draft, and I like Thomas a bit more than Cook, so it’s Thomas plus Jacobs for me — even though I’m not a huge Jacobs fan, he’s fine in the second round. 

  • Dakota: A month ago I was able to pick ANY draft slot in my 10-team home league and I reserved the 5th pick because you guys have been talking all offseason about the ‘Big 5’ at Running Back. Now that the draft is getting closer, I am hardcore tilting. If it comes down to Dalvin Cook vs. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, how can I not take CEH?

    CEH does not have contract tension looming.
    CEH has not been injured each of the last 3 seasons.
    CEH is not the only threat that opposing teams have to gameplan for.
    CEH is on the best offense in football AND has been declared the lead back by the coaching staff.

    To me, Clyde actually seems like the much safer pick. Also, since your episode earlier in the week I can’t help but want to name my team The Fresh Prince of Helaire.

You make a pretty reasonable case, but it’s worth remembering just how good Cook was last season: No. 2 in PPR and No. 3 in non-PPR last season. Cook averaged more points per game last season than Kareem Hunt did in his best season in KC, and can you really argue Edwards-Helaire has more upside than Hunt did? I like CEH plenty, but I wouldn’t take him over Michael Thomas — and I would take Thomas over Cook, too.

  • Mikel: Our league gives six points for QB-thrown TDs. Should this affect which round a QB is taken? Are elite QB considered more valuable due to the six-point TD?

It affects the order you should draft the quarterbacks in — running QBs have slightly less appeal in this format. However, the principles that underpin the “wait on QB” philosophy still apply here. It’s a deep position, so paying up probably isn’t going to give you as much of an edge. And that might be even more true in a six-point per TD league, because touchdowns are less predictable year by year. An outlier touchdown season, good or bad, will play an even bigger role in determining QB value.

  • Hriiicubs: Who has the most upside Henry Ruggs or DeAndre Swift?

Generally speaking, when you’re comparing two similar players, the running back probably has the most upside, especially when you’re talking about one with true three-down skills like Swift. Ruggs’ big-play ability probably gives him a higher weekly ceiling, but for the season, it comes down to this: I can foresee a scenario where Swift is a first-round pick next season; I can’t do the same with Ruggs. 

The Fantasy Football Today Draft Guide is here, and I promise, you’ll want to have it by your side on Draft Day. We’ve boiled down everything you need to draft in one place, with consensus expert rankings and auction values, tiers, a round-by-round walkthrough, and Draft Day strategies and rules from Jamey, Dave, Heath and Ben. It’s the next best thing to having them next to you while you draft. Head here to sign up for it, because it’s absolutely free — which seems like a good value to me. 





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