In this wild NFL offseason, without a preseason, fantasy football owners are tasked with paying closer attention to training camp than usual. Rookies tend to have the most to gain from positional duels, but this offseason makes it even more difficult for first-time players to leave their mark.
Some of these “battles” aren’t what we’re used to considering but more of a fantasy football role definition that will be explored in a similar fashion.
Fantasy football quarterbacks
Cam Newton vs. Jarrett Stidham, New England Patriots
If Newton is healthy, there really is no competition here. That said, this the Patriots and injuries we’re talking about. New England took a gamble on Superman being ready to return to his game-saving ways, but what we’ve seen of late should have even the most ardent Cam supporters feeling uneasy. Newton at least passed a physical, which really doesn’t mean as much as it seems when coupled with the “prove it” contract he signed. Stidham has shown the public almost nothing to evaluate as a pro, but be sure Bill Belichick focused like a laser on what the second-year passer is capable of doing in practices last year. The young quarterback is dealing with a strain hip and is week to week.
Projected outcome: Newton starts as long as he remains healthy and is a fantasy matchup play.
Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
This one also isn’t much of a battle but more so a situation of circumstances that will appear to be a competition. In an offseason without OTAs and preseason action, the early-season outlook isn’t great for Tua — all coming off of an injury as a rookie quarterback. Fitzpatrick is likely the pick to open the year, especially if Brian Flores believes his roster is capable of being competitive in a division that looks possibly winnable for the first time in nearly two decades.
Projected outcome: Fitzpatrick starts until the wheels fall off. He has limited DFS appeal.
Alex Smith vs. Dwayne Haskins, Washington Football Team
While there may not be much fantasy value in and of itself for either of these guys, the winner makes a significant impact on the rest of the offense. Smith, coming back from a horrific leg fracture that cost him all of 2019, is extremely cerebral and has the experience necessary to navigate this tumultuous season. Haskins has promise but remains raw and is destined to struggle with an inferior cast and a limited runway to learn yet another new offense.
Projected outcome: Provided Smith can take a hit and is still the same guy as he was prior to the injury, there should be little challenge for him to earn the starting job. He’s a matchup play in DFS and perhaps an intriguing best-ball flier.
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Tyrod Taylor vs. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
No offseason activities prior to training camp, in addition to zero preseason games, means a rookie quarterback isn’t going to see the field anytime soon. The Chargers are a talented team in an open division and are almost guaranteed to turn to the veteran Taylor. Head coach Anthony Lynn hasn’t been shy about it, either. Herbert has a bright future and an elevated chance of developing into a strong fantasy option, but it’s going to be put on hold for at least several games, if not a full year.
Projected outcome: Taylor starts as long as he remains healthy and has miniscule value.
Mitchell Trubisky vs. Nick Foles, Chicago Bears
While most fantasy footballers will concede this one doesn’t really matter, there are ramifications to the receiving corps and backfield directly tied to the winner of this competition. In earnest, there’s little reason to expect Trubisky will make enough strides to keep Foles firmly on the bench. Regardless of the Week 1 starter, look at for that guy to be watching over his shoulder. Foles has been markedly better coming off of the bench in his career, and durability has been a significant issue when given the chance to start. The draft investment into Trubisky likely results in the team giving him every chance to start entering Week 1.
Projected outcome: Trubisky eventually ceding way to Foles. Neither has tangible worth.
Quarterback injury news
- Stidham is dealing with a sore hip and may be limited for several weeks, according to NFL.com’s Kevin Patra.