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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL TRAINING CAMP WRAPUP: DERRICK HENRY MAKING PUSH BEHIND INJURED DeMARCO MURRAY

-A hamstring injury at the start of training camp has created an interesting and developing situation in the Tennessee Titans backfield.  With starter DeMarco Murray being hobbled by the hammy the last few days, backup and former Alabama Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry has been lighting it up in practice according to reporters who cover the team.  Already there have been rumblings that the Titans want to get Henry more involved this season and of course that would come at the expense of some of Murray's numbers.  Last season Murray had a monster comeback season in rushing for 1,287 yards and 9 touchdowns, while also catching 53 balls for another 377 yards and 3 scores.  Still Murray is now 29 and has a long history of injuries going back to his Dallas Cowboys days.  Meanwhile Henry averaged 4.5 per carry on his 490 rushing yards as a rookie and he picked up 5 rushing scores as well.  Henry has clearly shown he deserves more time and there was a report a few days ago that the team can envision him doubling those 490 yards.  Again that would come at the expense of Murray and so this is something that needs to be watched closely in terms of 2017 fantasy football.  At the very least, if you draft Murray you need to reach a bit and back him up with Henry to be safe.

-The Cincinnati Bengals are listed Jeremy Hill at the top of the running back depth chart, with Gio Bernard number two, and rookie Joe Mixon third leading up to the team's preseason opener.  By now we know the depth chart means nothing and Mixon still has an excellent chance to be the primary runner when the season gets underway.  In fact Mixon is the only back among the three I would suggest targeting in drafts.

-Speaking of rookie backs, it is quite obvious that Dalvin Cook will be the primary runner and starter for the Minnesota Vikings beginning in Week 1.  With veteran Latavius Murray being injured to this point, Cook has impressed in workouts.  He has particular upside in PPR leagues as Cook is a terrific receiver who can be a RB 2 right away in that format.

-Jamaal Charles will not sit up for the Denver Broncos' preseason opener but this is not such a newsworthy item given his veteran status and coming back from a washed-out 2016 campaign in recovering from a second ACL surgery.  Charles still should be looked at as a backup in PPR leagues due to his receiving ability but he can be ignored in standard setups.  

-Still no word on when Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck will return from his offseason shoulder surgery.  Luck is rumored to be missing at least Week 1, with the outside chance he could begin on PUP if things continue to go slowly with his recovery.  

-Kareem Hunt was a popular fantasy football sleeper the minute he was drafting by the Kansas City Chiefs as head coach Andy Reid is renowned for his ability to get the most out of his backs.  Spencer Ware was pretty brutal once September was through last season and so Hunt should be right there with Cook in terms of rookie backs who need to be on all of your sleeper lists.  


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