NFL players reported to training camp a few weeks ago, but this week is the start of real practices, which means we're finally going to start getting answers to our biggest questions from around the league. And not a second too season, as the start of Fantasy Football Draft Prep season is here. The Fantasy Football Today crew did a training camp survey Monday, focusing on the biggest position battles, which players might break out and everything else we'll be watching out for during training camp. But that doesn't even come close to answering all of the questions we've got heading into camp.
Every team has at least some questions coming out of this offseason of uncertainty. Some of these questions will be answered pretty early on; some may linger well into the season. But here are the biggest things to keep an eye on from every team in the AFC:
Cardinals: How does DeAndre Hopkins fit?
Hopkins likely won't see the same high target share in the wide-open Cardinals offense, but Arizona should throw substantially more passes than the Texans typically did. The Cardinals played plenty fast, and would have been among the league leaders in play volume if they can sustain more drives. Hopkins will help, and that could lead to plenty of targets his way even in a new offense — and will make life easier for Christian Kirk and other pass catchers, too.
Falcons: What does the backfield look like?
This is a two-parter. Part one: How does Todd Gurley look after struggling to make big plays coming off a knee injury? If he looks like the former No. 1 overall Fantasy player again, there's huge upside here. If not, or if he gets hurt, the question becomes: Who is the backup? Whoever it is would be stepping into a substantial role in a high-volume offense with plenty of touches available.
Panthers: How do the new pieces fit?
It's not just about Teddy Bridgewater or Robby Anderson, of course — it's also about new coach Joe Brady, who put together an historic offense in LSU in 2019. If that translates immediately, there's plenty to get excited about on this offense even beyond Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore. Bridgewater could be a top-12 QB, and the addition of Anderson could free Samuel up to get the ball in his hands more often with space to make plays in the short and intermediate game. This could be 2020's spike offense.
Bears: Can Nick Foles elevate this offense?
As we saw in 2018, when they get good quarterback play, this Bears offense can be awfully dangerous. Unfortunately, Mitchell Trubisky proved to be a flash in the pan, which is why Foles was brought in. If he can play even adequately, the upside of the likes of Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Tarik Cohen and David Montgomery goes up. Especially for the running backs, since he's less prone to scramble and more prone to dump it off as a result. If Foles can't run away with the job, that wouldn't be a particularly good sign.
Cowboys: What is the receiver hierarchy?
Michael Gallup's breakout season in 2019 should have led to even better things in 2020, but the addition of CeeDee Lamb in the first round of the NFL Draft creates real questions about how targets will be distributed. The good news is, there are plenty of targets left over from free-agency departures, so it's not impossible that Lamb, Gallup and Cooper all get to 100-plus targets, but who emerges as Dak Prescott's No. 2 option will determine what the ultimate ceiling is for Gallup and Lamb.
Lions: Who is the starting running back?
The addition of D'Andre Swift in the second round of the draft sure looks like a death knell for Kerryon Johnson's Fantasy relevance, which never really took off due to injuries. However, his familiarity with the offense could give him an edge in an offseason without opportunities to work out with the team before training camp, along with no training camp. If Johnson thrives in camp — and stays healthy! — this could be more of a mess than we thought.
Packers: Who can step up in the passing game?
The Packers' confusing draft — they added a quarterback in the first round and a running back with their next pick — failed to account for their biggest weakness on offense: The non-Davante Adams pass catchers. Allen Lazard is my pick to step up, and I'll target him in the mid-to-late rounds of all drafts. But it'll be interesting to see if Jace Sternberger can step into Fantasy relevance.
Rams: Who wins the running back competition?
When I asked the Fantasy Football Today team what the biggest thing they'll be watching for in camp is, three of the four mentioned this competition. It's a great opportunity in an offense that produced multiple elite seasons from Todd Gurley, but there's also possible neither of Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, or Malcolm Brown seizes the opportunity. A three-way split once the games start counting would be the worst-case scenario.
Vikings: How big of a role will Justin Jefferson have?
If the Vikings have their way, there won't be many real questions about this offense. It's going to feature a lot of Dalvin Cook, a lot of Adam Thielen, and not much else. However, if the defense takes a step back and the running game isn't quite as effective as it was in 2019, the passing game will become more relevant. Thielen is going to be the No. 1 option, but how quickly Jefferson can figure into a significant role could matter, too. We've seen this offense sustain multiple relevant receivers, and Jefferson is certainly talented enough to be the next. Whether he can step into a starting role from day one i jfjfnfjnf
Saints: What is Taysom Hill's role?
The Saints love to talk a big game about how they view Hill as a potential starter at QB, but they've made sure to have a starting-caliber backup QB in each of the last three seasons rather than give him a chance. So, is he still the skeleton key who helps unlock new looks on offense by lining up all over the field? Remember, ESPN Fantasy gave Taysom Hill TE and FLEX eligibility for 2020, rather than QB. That could make him a viable starter in last year's role — and a potential league-winner if he becomes the starting QB.
Giants: How will the passing game look?
Daniel Jones showed plenty of upside as a rookie, but he's probably never going to be good enough to support all of the passing game options here. Saquon Barkley is going to get his targets, as will Evan Engram, which leaves Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate to duke it out over what's left. If it's an even split, you're probably looking at three bench options, so keep a close eye on who seems to be standing out.
Eagles: Do they add another running back?
There have been some rumblings that the Eagles will add another back, but they've held off for now. If that continues, there will be more than enough touches here for Miles Sanders to be a potentially elite back and for Boston Scott to be a viable PPR option. There are also questions about how targets will be distributed with a revamped receiving corps, but the backs figure to be the real stars here.
49ers: What is the backfield hierarchy?
The 49ers worked out a new deal for Raheem Mostert, settling concerns following his trade request earlier in the offseason. He'll be there for training camp, and now figures to lead the backfield share ahead of Tevin Coleman, as he did during the 49ers run to the Super Bowl. If he is the lead back, Mostert should be a must-start Fantasy back, albeit one with perhaps limited upside in PPR. Still, this is a good enough running game to support back Mostert and Coleman as viable starters, though if Jerick McKinnon forces his way into the picture, it could get pretty muddy.
Seahawks: Are they really going to open it up?
With Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf catching passes from Russell Wilson, there's no question this passing game has huge upside. Will they be able to fulfill it? I still expect this to be a more run-heavy-than-average team, but if we get reports that Wilson is being given more freedom to run a more up-tempo offense occasionally, both Lockett and Metcalf could be must-start options. If not, Metcalf's ADP is probably too inflated to be worth the investment as a mid-tier No. 2 WR.
Buccaneers: Who wins the running back battle?
We're leaning toward Ronald Jones here at CBS Fantasy, especially after he spent the offseason working on his pass-catching and blocking in a way he never has before. If he is the lead back and gets some of the third-down work, Jones probably has borderline No. 1 upside. If he's blowing blocks in camp, he could also find himself glued to the bench permanently. Add in questions about how Tom Brady will fit in Bruce Arians' more aggressive offense, and this is one team we desperately wish we'd get to see in the preseason, because we may not have good answers here until Week 1.
Washington: Who wins the running back battle?
This may be a question without one answer for a long time. Washington has a crowded backfield, and unfortunately, it's not like anyone stands out. Bryce Love has plenty of talent and pedigree but is unproven, and Adrian Peterson is ancient and one-dimensional, so the most interesting name is probably rookie Antonio Gibson. Gibson has drawn comparisons to Christian McCaffrey thanks to his all-around versatility, and if he earns the starting job, he's probably the highest-upside option here.