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#164 How To Decode The Eagles’ Messy Backfield

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It’s very difficult to find truly actionable fantasy news amid the firehose of information getting blasted out from training camps. But there is one type of reporting that is genuinely useful and that’s beat reporters charting actual usage from camp.

Eliot Shorr-Parks did just that for the Eagles running backs, charting their touches through the first ten practices:

* Miles Sanders: This is to be expected. We know Sanders is never going to be a 25 touch guy, so 60% of the touches in a crowded backfield is a realistic outcome.

* Boston Scott: Scott appears to be the most obvious value from this backfield right now as he is currently earning a nice chunk of 1st team carries and has actually outpaced Sanders in catches. He’s currently free in drafts.

* Kenneth Gainwell: The beats have previously stated that Gainwell could have the “Nyheim Hines” role in this offense, so Gainwell leading the Eagles backs in catches would support that. On the flip side, he’s only received 1.8% of the 1st team carries. 

What makes this backfield messy, though, is the presence of other competent backs in Kerryon Johnson, Jordan Howard, and Jason Huntley:

The knee jerk reaction from fantasy gamers is generally to avoid these types of situations, but the ambiguous backfields often prove to be a great source of value. When in doubt, scoop up the cheaper guys. Both Scott and Gainwell should be late round targets based on this charting. 

👕 Don’t dress for the drafter you are. Dress for the drafter you want to be. 

The new collection of draft shirts is available now in The Fantasy Life store:

📰 Fantasy News for the true sickos.

* We always have to leave the tiniest candle on for Marquez Valdes-Scantling, right? “MVS’s hands have been noticeably better so far in camp. Not just on blatantly catchable balls, but on passes he has no business catching, too. If he keeps this up, he’s the clear-cut No. 2 wideout behind Davante Adams,” said Matt Schneidman. 

* The dream scenario for Trey Sermon is that he’s used interchangeably with Raheem Mostert right out of the gate. Matt Barrows from The Athletic makes it sound like that scenario is in play: “The 49ers also have been pleasantly surprised by Sermon’s route-running and pass-catching ability, which he got to display early in his college career at Oklahoma but not as much last season at Ohio State.”

* Joe Burrow weighed in on the reports about his training camp struggles: ““It’s frustrating right now, more so just not feeling like myself. It’s just now trusting my abilities, trusting my work, trusting everything. ... When we get closer to Game 1 (of the regular season), if this is still happening, then the panic button will start off. But right now, there’s no panic button going on.”

* Speaking of bearish Bengals reports, rookie WR Ja’Marr Chase has also been struggling per The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr.: “You see flashes of (his unique skill set) early, but you also see somebody tentatively getting used to a new offense, new league and not playing football since January 2020. He has not shown as much separation as you’d hope, and the contested balls haven’t gone his way much, either."

* Michael Gehlken from The Dallas Morning News reported that Cowboys WR Michael Gallup has seen “increased work” from the slot during camp. Gallup continues to be a smash pick in drafts. 

* While “official” team depth charts are often very misleading and an intern’s assignment, Albert Wilson is listed on the first-team Dolphin’s depth chart and Joe Schad says he’s been having a great spring and summer. Will Fuller still isn’t practicing, so there’s room for a Wilson or Preston Williams-type to sneak into WR3 sets at times. 

* For more training camp blurbs, check out Rotowire’s Training Camp Notes from yesterday. You can get access to all of Rotowire’s premium content via a Rotopass sub. 

📊 Stat of the Day

Nice tweet thread here from Warren Sharp on Ryan Tannehill and the Titans offense. 

🚑 The Injury Ward 

* Lions WR Kenny Golladay still isn’t ready to practice as he recovers from a hamstring injury. It seems likely that Golladay will sit out the entire preseason. 

* Packers RB Aaron Jones is also dealing with a hamstring issue and missed Monday’s practice. AJ Dillon stock is always on the rise.

* Per Adam Schefter, Patriots TE Hunter Henry is expected to miss “a couple of weeks” due to his shoulder injury, but sources say that it is “not serious.”

* Eagles rookie WR Devonta Smith is still working back from his knee injury that he suffered on July 31st. Josh Tolentino spotted Smith doing some stretching yesterday and said it was his first time doing any type of movement in front of reporters. 

* Ugh, I think I mushed Lions rookie RB Jermar Jefferson with yesterday’s sleeper blurb. He left Monday’s practice due to a leg injury. 

💪 GAM Alert 

We spilled plenty of ink last year highlighting GAMs—grown ass men—so it’s time we start getting reps again for the start of the season:


Matthew committed podultery with Adam Schefter yesterday. Check it out


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