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Ask the Experts

Which training camp battle are you most interested in?

Etienne, Edmonds and Eno

ASK THE EXPERTS appears weekly from training camp through the Super Bowl with answers to a new question being posted Thursday morning. How the guest experts responded when we asked them: Which training camp battle are you most interested in?

SAM HENDRICKS

The Jacksonville running back situation. Travis Etienne is coming off a lost rookie season due to a Lisfranc injury. James Robinson is recovering from a torn Achilles and an Urban Meyer disaster season. Whomever wins the training camp battle will be a steal if the Jags can bounce back with Trevor Lawrence and new head coach Doug Pederson.

Hendricks is the author of Fantasy Football Guidebook, Fantasy Football Tips and Fantasy Football Basics, all available at ExtraPointPress.com, at all major bookstores, and at Amazon and BN.com. He is a 30-year fantasy football veteran who participated in the National Fantasy Football Championship (NFFC) and finished 7th and 16th overall in the 2008 and 2009 Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC). He won the Fantasy Index Open in 2013 and 2018.

DAVID DOREY

Keeping a sharp on the Seattle backfield where Rashaad Penny is almost certain to start the season as the No. 1 but they also drafted Kenneth Walker as the second running back selected this year. While Penny (finally) managed several big games at the end of 2021, he faced the worst defenses in every case and has a lengthy history of injury and underperformance. Seattle wants to run the ball more and gets a far lighter rushing schedule. It could be a mess potentially, or Penny may stay healthy for the first time ever. Or maybe Walker translates being a beast at Michigan State and winning the Doak Walker Award as the top college running back into a surprisingly good career.

Dorey co-founded The Huddle.com in 1997. He's ranked every player and projected every game for the last 23 years and is the author of Fantasy Football: The Next Level. David has appeared on numerous radio, television, newspaper and magazines over the last two decades.

PAUL CHARCHIAN

If Houston’s rookie running back Dameon Pierce can win the starting job, he’s got RB2 upside. He’s a big-bodied bruiser who could (should?) get goal-line carries, even in a timeshare. Unlike a lot of beefier runners, Pierce has nimble footwork and soft hands, making him a potential three-down threat. He’ll need to overcome veterans Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead, which seems attainable.

Charchian is the CEO at GuillotineLeagues.com. Guillotine Leagues are a new way to play in which the lowest-scoring team each week gets chopped from the league, and all the players go to the waiver wire. Charchian was inducted into the Fantasy Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.

JASON WOOD

Training camp is a wildly exciting time because we're flooded with incremental data after months of steady-state expectations. While there are training camp situations worth following for all 32 teams, the situation with the most fantasy intrigue has to be the Dolphins running back room. New head coach and play-caller Mike McDaniel is expected to bring the 49ers Shanahan offense to Miami, with an emphasis on effective running, allowing quarterback Tua Tagovailoa an opportunity to hit his stellar receivers downfield. Right now, most assume Chase Edmonds will be the starter, but his ADP suggests fears of a full-blown committee. The 49ers didn't use a committee, they prefer giving one tailback a heavy workload. It's just that they can plug and play the starter easily. If we get clarity on Edmonds as the clear No. 1, his ADP will skyrocket justifiably. On the other hand, we can't discount Sony Michel or Raheem Mostert, particularly if they open eyes during camp. I can confidently say there's value in the Dolphins' running backs right now.

Wood is Senior Editor at Footballguys.com and has been with the company since its start in 2000. For more than 20 years, Footballguys has provided rankings, projections, and analysis to help fantasy managers dominate their leagues.

IAN ALLAN

I am very interested in the backup running back situation in Arizona, given James Conner’s history of injuries and the team’s tendency to feature one back. They drafted Keaontay Ingram, and they signed Darrel Williams to a modest contract. But I’m thinking Eno Benjamin, despite hardly playing in his first two seasons, will beat out those guys. I’ve seen a couple of stories go by in which Benjamin was identified as a player who looks vastly improved. Kliff Kingsbury was gushing about him in June. Separately, there was a player or assistant coach talking about how Benjamin looks like a new guy. I will be very interested to see how these lesser running backs look in the preseason games.

Allan co-founded Fantasy Football Index in 1987. He and fellow journalism student Bruce Taylor launched the first newsstand fantasy football magazine as a class project at the University of Washington. For more than three decades, Allan has written and edited most of the content published in the magazines, newsletters and at www.fantasyindex.com. An exhaustive researcher, he may be the only person in the country who has watched at least some of every preseason football game played since the early 1990s. Allan is a member of the FSTA Fantasy Sports Hall of Fame and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame.

MIKE NAZAREK

I have Clyde Edwards-Helaire in a dynasty league, so I will be watching his battle with Ronald Jones in Kansas City this summer closely. Should be interesting to see if Jones ever lives up to his potential.

Nazarek is the CEO of Fantasy Football Mastermind Inc, celebrating 25 years online! His company offers a preseason draft guide, customizable cheat sheets, a multi-use fantasy drafting program including auction values, weekly in-season newsletters, injury reports and free NFL news (updated daily) at its web site, www.ffmastermind.com. He has been playing fantasy football since 1988 and is a four-peat champion of the SI.com Experts Fantasy League, a nationally published writer in several fantasy magazines and a former columnist for SI.com. He's also won nearly $30K in recent seasons of the FFPC High Stakes Main Event. Nazarek can be reached via email at miken@ffmastermind.com.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI

I don't know that it's technically a position battle, but I want to see who the priority wide receiver is in Denver. Russell Wilson is a kingmaker, and he's stepping into an offense loaded with interesting skill talent. I am also curious to see how the wideout pecking order plays out in Green Bay, now that Davante Adams has departed.

Pianowski has been with Yahoo Sports since 2008, covering a variety of sports. On the rare occasions when the computer is turned off, he enjoys word games, poker, music, film, game theory, and a variety of condiments. He lives in suburban Detroit. Pianowski was inducted into the FSWA Hall of Fame in 2021.

SCOTT SACHS

The receivers in Kansas City are an interesting group. Tyreek Hill was dispatched to Miami, so how will the ball be distributed to newcomers Smith-Schuster and MVS, underperforming incumbent Mecole Hardman, and promising rookie Skyy Moore? Is Kelce going to have to catch 100+ balls again? How about the running backs? Any of them going to separate from the pack as pass catchers, especially on 3rd down? More questions than answers right now.

With 2 perfect seasons and multiple league championships to his credit, Sachs runs Perfect Season Fantasy Football, featuring LIVE Talk & Text Advice. He is a 3-time Winner of the Fantasy Index Experts Auction League, as well as a previous Winner of the Fantasy Index Experts Poll.

JUSTIN ELEFF

This may be less a battle and more a demolition derby, but the Packers' pass-catching corps is wide open, and there figure to be lots of touchdowns to go around. Does Allen Lazard have another level in him? Is Christian Watson remotely ready for the NFL after his top-end athleticism translated into precious little college production (in a lower division to boot)? (Very much related: is Watson even the best rookie receiver on the roster?) Is the dusty corpse of Sammy Watkins really all this team will add, or might we see a trade for the likes of Tyler Lockett or Corey Davis? How long till Robert Tonyan is healthy again? Or might Aaron Jones lead the Pack in all major receiving categories? Etc., etc.

Eleff hosts the Fantasy Index Podcast, available in the iTunes Store now. He has worked for Fantasy Index off and on all century.

ANDY RICHARDSON

Two of the best wide receivers in the game, Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams, were traded. That leaves those teams with a lot of candidates vying to be their future Hall of Fame quarterback's new No. 1. I can say I think it will be Lazard and JuJu, but let's see. Maybe Sammy Watkins can surprise in Green Bay, or a holdover or rookie steps up in Kansas City. It will be tricky given that Rodgers and Mahomes will likely put in cameo appearances at most in the exhibition games. Hopefully the beat reporting is helpful in showing us where the value in these receiving corps will lie. Final thought, based on a recent report we apparently need to keep a close eye on the starting running back situation in New England, too.

Richardson has been a contributing writer and editor to the Fantasy Football Index magazine and www.fantasyindex.com since 2002. His responsibilities include team defense and IDP projections and various site features, and he has run the magazine's annual experts draft and auction leagues since their inception. He previews all the NFL games on Saturdays and writes a wrap-up column on Mondays during the NFL season.

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