NFL Draft Dynasty Takeaways: Round 2

1 month ago Jordan Schultz Comments Off on NFL Draft Dynasty Takeaways: Round 2

Football fans across the world got a much-needed break from the current state of affairs in the world this past weekend as the NFL completed its first-ever, fully virtual NFL Draft. For three straight days dynasty football degenerates like myself parked themselves in front of the television for hours on end to see where the stars of tomorrow would begin their NFL careers. Now, I’m going to go round-by-round and give you my key takeaways on the guys you will be targeting in your upcoming rookie drafts. Round 2 saw 14 skill skill-players selected in total, many of whom will be fantasy contributors for years to come.

Check out my breakdown of the other rounds here:

Round 1  |  Round 2  |  Round 3  |  Round 4  | Rounds 5 – 7 & Top UDFAs

 

2.01 [33] Tee Higgins – WR – Cincinnati Bengals

I’m a huge believer in Tee Higgins and absolutely love this landing spot. He’s going to be the beneficiary of catching passes from Joe Burrow for the foreseeable future and that is really exciting. There were rumblings of AJ Green getting traded last season, and while that didn’t come to fruition his contract is up after this upcoming season regardless. One way or another, the Bengals will likely need Higgins to step into a large role fast and you’re going to want him on your roster when they do. He was my 3rd ranked receiver in the pre-draft process based on talent alone, and now he finds himself in an extremely favorable situation to put up fantasy numbers. I’m targeting Higgins with a Mid-1st round pick. 

2.02 [34] Michael Pittman Jr. – WR – Indianapolis Colts

The Colts added a powerful 1-2 punch to their offense in the 2nd round, selecting Michael Pittman Jr. with the 34th overall selection and Jonathan Taylor (more on him later) with pick 41, injecting some much-needed youth into a retooled supporting cast to begin the Phillip Rivers era. Pittman should immediately step in as the No. 2 WR opposite T.Y Hilton and provide Rivers with an electric field-stretching target. Looking down the road, Hilton is 30 years old and enters the final season of his five-year deal, so the Colts could look to start building the passing game around Pittman Jr. as soon as next year. I’m grabbing Pittman with a mid-to-late 1st round pick in rookie drafts.  

2.03 [35] D’Andre Swift – RB – Detroit Lions

D’Andre Swift was the 1st of five running backs selected in the 2nd round on Friday and will likely start the year splitting carries with the incumbent Kerryon Johnson. However, I predict he finds himself on the right side of that committee sooner rather than later. When you watch Swift play, you can see why some were surprised to see him still on the board after round 1.

He possesses the skill-set that screams future three-down back, regularly demonstrating the decisiveness and patience needed to succeed at the next level while adding a healthy contribution in the passing game (32 catches for 297 yards in his final season at Georgia). Draft Swift confidently with an early-to-mid 1st round selection in rookie drafts, and don’t be shocked if he finds himself going off the board in the late 2nd-early 3rd round of startup drafts.

2.09 [41] Jonathan Taylor – RB – Indianapolis Colts

Jonathan Taylor was my No. 1 ranked overall rookie before the draft, and now he finds himself preparing to run behind a stout offensive line for the Colts. I could not be more excited!. Marlon Mack will be a factor this year, but the Colts investing 2nd Round draft capital into Taylor leads me to believe that Mack will not be retained after his contract expires following this season. Taylor has the rare power/speed combination that will allow him to thrive and perform at a pro-bowl level right away and will be helped out by an explosive passing game around him. The biggest knocks on Taylor are a high fumble rate in college (fixable), and the fact he had nearly 1,000 total touches in his three years at Wisconsin (it is what it is), but I’m not scared off at all. I’m confidently drafting Taylor with the 1.01 rookie pick in 1QB leagues, and with a top-2 selection in Superflex leagues. 

2.10 [42] Laviska Shenault Jr. – WR – Jacksonville Jaguars

When you look at Shenault Jr’s stats in his final season at Colorado you may be surprised to see him selected with such a high pick in the 2nd round, but don’t let the numbers fool you. He was fighting through a nagging core injury that he recently had surgery to address, and has recently been fully cleared for football. I envision the Jags moving him all over the field, using him as a swiss-army-knife weapon that can spend time playing outside, in the slot, as a pass-catching tight end, and he even took snaps as a wildcat QB in college. If he can learn the playbook and nuances of the NFL game quickly Shenault has the versatility and size to be a flex option in PPR leagues in year one. I’m looking to draft him with an early-to-mid 2nd round pick. 

2.11 [43] Cole Kmet – TE – Chicago Bears

Cole Kmet was the first TE selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, and although he was my No.1 ranked TE in the pre-draft process, I don’t see him producing much, if at all, as a rookie. Playing Tight End in the NFL has a steep learning curve on its own, coupled with the fact that the Bears just signed Jimmy Graham (which in itself isn’t saying a lot) and the fact that Kmet isn’t an elite receiving prospect like a TJ Hockenson and that is the recipe for an underwhelming fantasy option. Outside of Tight End Premium leagues, Kmet is nothing more than a draft-and-stash prospect that I would not be shocked to see on waivers at some point in shallower leagues. I’m not looking to draft Kmet anytime before the 3rd round in rookie drafts. 

2.14 [46] KJ Hamler – WR – Denver Broncos

KJ Hamler adds a nice touch to the new-and-improved Broncos attack, as his elite speed will give them a legit field stretcher that can get vertical and take the top off of defenses in a flash. I don’t think he will ever be a guy that is super dominant in PPR leagues, but his deep-threat playmaking ability can swing a week in your favor in just a few touches. Bump him up even higher in best-ball formats. I think he can be a bye week flex option in deeper leagues as a rookie and could develop into an every-week flex starter down the road. I’m targeting Hamler in the mid-to-late 2nd round of rookie drafts.

2.17 [49] Chase Claypool – WR – Pittsburgh Steelers

Chase Claypool is an absolute tank and he lands in a spot that has a demonstrated track record of developing pass catchers. They’ve made stars out of guys like Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, and JuJu Smith-Schuster and I’m excited to see how Head Coach Mike Tomlin deploys Claypool in the offensive attack. Claypool has the potential to turn into a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses, as he can lineup all over the field. One play he can be matched up on the outside using his 6’4” frame to bully cornerbacks. The next play they can line him up as a Tight End and use his speed to create headaches for opposing linebackers trying to stick with him in coverage. You may have to wait a bit to really see Claypool emerge, but when he does you’re going to want him on your roster. Claypool is one of my favorite targets near the back of the 2nd round in rookie drafts. 

2.20 [52] Cam Akers – RB – Los Angeles Rams

I believe the Rams will use Cam Akers early and often as they transition to the post-Todd Gurley era at running back. He will have to battle with Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson, another back they invested a high draft pick in last year, for touches out of the backfield but I do believe he ends up leading the team and plays a major role down the stretch. In the past, head coach Sean McVay hasn’t really used the running back-by-committee approach and has tended to favor one guy, so I don’t really see him getting stuck in a 49ers-style true RBBC. The Rams offensive line definitely isn’t the dominant force that they were during their Super Bowl run anymore, but I believe they can be good enough for Akers to challenge for a backend RB2 finish this year. Down the road, I do believe he has backend RB1 potential. I’m grabbing Akers with a mid-1st round pick in rookie drafts. 

2.21 [53] Jalen Hurts – QB – Philadelphia Eagles

In perhaps the biggest shock of the draft, the Eagles selected Jalen Hurts with their 2nd round selection. It’s not a secret that Carson Wentz has been banged up at times during his career so far, but it was still pretty surprising to see the Eagles invest such high draft capital when they should be adding pieces to try and win now. I can see the allure of Hurts fantasy upside down the road, but for now, he will be firmly planted behind Wentz on the depth chart. The optimist will say “The Eagles will try to use him as a Taysom Hill-esque player right away.” The realist will say, “Yeah, but how often did you start Hill in your fantasy lineup last season?”. I’m grabbing Hurts with a late round-3 pick in rookie drafts if I’m extremely QB needy and have room on my bench to draft-and-stash him for a few seasons. 

2.23 [55] J.K. Dobbins – RB – Baltimore Ravens

J.K. Dobbins falls into an outstanding spot for his long-term dynasty value, as he will eventually become the key cog in one of the best rushing offensive attacks in the NFL alongside Lamar Jackson. Dobbins can contribute and succeed in running behind multiple types of blocking schemes and is a legitimate threat as a pass-catcher. His profile fits the modern game to a tee, and I see him finishing as an RB1 as soon as next season. Mark Ingram will likely still get a large chunk of the carries this year, but he’s on the wrong side of 30 and his contract can be voided after this year. Draft Dobbins confidently with a top-4 pick and enjoy the ride. 

2.25 [57] Van Jefferson – WR – Los Angeles Rams

This pick shocked me a little bit, as I would have much preferred to see the Rams make a move here to strengthen their offensive line. I realize that they recently traded away Brandin Cooks but there were several receivers still on the board at this point that I prefer to Jefferson. The pros: He’s a polished route-runner, can get open against press coverage, and he knows how to use his body to go up and protect the ball on contested catches. The cons: He’s not overly explosive, he lacks elite top-end speed, and he’s not overly shifty as a runner. When you look at the depth chart it’s easy to project him stepping into a major role in the next few seasons as Robert Woods and Josh Reynolds contracts expire, but I’m not really counting on him as much more than a desperation flex play as a rookie. I’m looking at Jefferson at the start of the 3rd round of rookie drafts. 

2.27 [59] Denzel Mims – WR – New York Jets

Denzel Mims will have the chance to play big snaps right away as a rookie, as he only has to outplay Breshad Perriman and Quincy Enunwa to seize the WR2 role on this squad. Jamison Crowder is going to play a role out of the slot, but the Jets need someone to step up on the outside. Enter Denzel Mims. He has a nice combo of speed and size (6’3”) that allows him to get up the field and get up above the rim to make catches in traffic. The Jets invested heavily in their offensive line this offseason (5 free agent signings and used the No. 11 draft pick on Mekhi Becton) and should be much improved in that regard. If they can find a way to buy quarterback Sam Darnold more time to sit in and work out of a clean pocket the Jets could find themselves as one of the most improved offenses this season. Mims currently finds himself in a cluster of talented wide receivers I’m looking at with a mid-to-late 1st round pick, and there’s no chance I’m letting him make it into round 2. 

2.30 [62] AJ Dillon – RB – Green Bay Packers

The Packers made another selection that drew criticism in the 2nd round, using pick 62 to add bruising running back AJ Dillon to their backfield. If you’re rostering Aaron Jones this pick has to give you some pause. While I don’t think Dillon overtakes the lion’s share of the carries from Jones this year, I do think he does enough to become a pest for fantasy owners. He has a powerful running style that will serve him well near the goal line in what should be a good fantasy offense. I can envision him absolutely punishing would-be tacklers and closing out games in the freezing cold Green Bay weather down the stretch in December for years to come. I don’t know that he will ever do enough to be an RB1 in fantasy due to his lack of chops in the passing game, but I could see him carving out a LeGarrette Blount type career where he has flex appeal for RB needy teams. I’m happily grabbing Dillon with a late 2nd round pick.

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