2018 NFL Draft: Fantasy football recap of Rounds 2-3

2018 NFL Draft: Fantasy football recap of Rounds 2-3

Fantasy Football Rookie Analysis

2018 NFL Draft: Fantasy football recap of Rounds 2-3


In the event you missed our Round 1 recap, be sure to check it out. Day 2 brings the second and third rounds, along with plenty of fantasy-worthy names to know for the upcoming draft season.

Round 2

(Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports)

3) RB Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns

Cleveland added Carlos Hyde this offseason on a three-year deal, which is easily voidable after 2018. He will share backfield chores with Chubb and third-down back Duke Johnson. Just how the rookie fits in in 2018 is a little murky. The best guess is he’ll spell to Hyde and will — provided he earns it — see a few series per game. Cleveland could swap Hyde for Chubb in 2019 and get younger legs in the backfield.

Chubb (5-foot-11, 227 pounds) lacks breakaway speed (4.52 40 time) and isn’t particularly elusive. He has not been tested much in the passing game and shouldn’t threaten for time on third downs. The bright side is he is efficient and tough, showing improvement in 2017 after suffering a catastrophic knee injury in 2015. While he looked special before the setback, at least Chubb’s health is no longer an issue.

He’s an RB4 or handcuff to Hyde this year. Beyond 2018, Chubb could emerge as a strong RB2 if Cleveland can get the offense on the right track.

(Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports)

6) RB Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It was readily apparent to anyone looking that Tampa Bay needed a running back, so this pick is of no surprise. Jones joins Jacquizz Rodgers and Peyton Barber. The trio will hash it out in the summer months. It’s likely Jones’ job to lose entering the season.

He is electric in the open field and plays way faster than he timed at the combine (4.65) when he pulled up lame in his 40-yard dash. The Bucs have a quality offensive line and enough weapons to keep the attention off of the rookie. Regardless of whether he wins the starting nod, Jones will be used creatively by Dirk Koetter, particularly in space.

Watch how this one plays out through the offseason. Jones has potential to be a regular fantasy contributor in 2018 and has more worth in PPR formats.

(Tommy Gilligan, USA TODAY Sports)

8) WR Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos

The SMU product has great hands and is known for making acrobatic grabs look routine. This pick has more fantasy utility for the future, although Sutton’s size (6-foot-3, 218 pounds) allows him to be a threat near the end zone even as a rookie. Knowing when to play him could be a headache-inducing effort.

Both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders have massive cap hits next year, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Thomas is shown the door in favor of Sutton. For now, Sutton is a fringe fantasy consideration in 2018 and has a boatload of upside for the future.

(Joe Camporeale, USA TODAY Sports)

10) TE Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins

The offense could use more receiving help after parting ways with tight end Julius Thomas. Gesicki is an athletic freak of nature and is far more of a receiving weapon than a blocking option. He’ll work his way onto the field during obvious passing situations in 2018 and shouldn’t be counted on as a full-time guy for Miami or fantasy owners.

Gesicki has a brilliant future for fantasy purposes and could play a role like Evan Engram did for New York last year, only in a year or two.

(Jason Getz, USA TODAY Sports)

11) RB Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions

The Auburn product joins a crowded Lions backfield. The Detroit running backs could be thinned out sooner than later with a possible release or trade of Ameer Abdullah. The future doesn’t include Abdullah and LeGarrette Blount beyond 2018; Theo Riddick is no more than a third-down weapon.

Johnson has an decent shot at being the between-the-20s guy in his rookie year. Watch how this one plays out over the coming months before heavily investing, and there really isn’t much incentive to invest more than an RB4 spot in him even if Johnson wins the starting job. Detroit just doesn’t run the ball enough, and Johnson isn’t overly explosive for making the most of limited work.

(Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)

12) WR Dante Pettis, San Francisco 49ers

This pick doesn’t make a great deal of sense on face value, so be sure to check back as more details emerge surrounding Pettis’ expected utilization. He’s a slot receiver through and through, but last year rookie Trent Taylor played well from the slot and appeared to be a bright spot for this offense.

Perhaps this was done with special teams play in mind, but trading up in the second round for a return man is a little unorthodox. Kyle Shanahan loves explosive guys down the seam (Taylor Gabriel, for example). At any rate, Pettis’ rookie involvement is not expected to be overwhelming with Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin firmly entrenched in the passing game.

(C. Morgan Engel, USA TODAY Sports)

15) WR Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals

Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen gets a weapon to grow with on the field, and Kirk lands in a wonderful spot for learning from a surefire Hall of Famer in Larry Fitzgerald.

The Texas A&M standout was highly effective from all over the field and could contribute immediately for the Cards. He was a quick study for the Aggies and consistently produced. In the desert, he could deal with a quarterback carousel as a rookie and has to get up to speed with all that comes into play as an NFL receiver.

Kirk will be a popular fantasy pick among draftniks, and Kirk has the most value in PPR formats. In the long-range view, he has low-end WR1 or awesome WR2 upside. For now, treat him as a No. 4 or 5 in single-year setups.

(John Rieger, USA TODAY Sports)

17) TE Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

The Super Bowl champs have a fine tight end Zach Ertz but needed to replace free-agent defector Trey Burton. Goedert was extremely productive at South Dakota State and is a great replacement due to his athleticism.

Philly really cannot get out of Ertz’s contract until 2020 without losing $10.54 million in dead space, but he’ll be only 29 at that point anyway. Goedert will have a few flashy moments as a rookie and be maddening to play in fantasy. Leave him on the wire during single-year drafts, but he has TE1 potential for full-retention keeper leagues.

(Jasen Vinlove, USA TODAY Sports)

19) WR Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears

Adding a wide receiver was a glaring need for the Bears, and they found a good one in Miller. Over the past two seasons at Memphis, he scored 32 receiving TDs and was remarkably steady.

Chicago lost Cameron Meredith as a restricted free agent, adding Taylor Gabriel and Allen Robinson along the way. The depth is scant, and Kevin White cannot stay healthy for a second. Robinson is coming off of a serious knee injury and signed what basically amounts to a three-year deal with a one-year option.

Miller could find his way on the field in a meaningful way as a rookie. Counting on it is asking a bit much, though, in fantasy drafts. His long-view worth is outstanding. Miller is merely a wild gamble in single-year drafts.

(Stephen Lew, USA TODAY Sports)

27) RB Derrius Guice, Washington Redskins

Washington landed a first-round talent who comes with character concerns. The backfield may appear crowded in D.C. at a glance, but the reality is Rob Kelley is just a dude. Chris Thompson is exclusively a third-down guy, and Samaje Perine failed to capitalize on an opportunity in 2017. Guice is better than both Perine and Kelley, without any question.

It will be surprising if Guice isn’t the main man entering Week 1. If not, it probably won’t take long before he takes over. Fantasy owners have a risk-reward RB3 consideration, but beware he may get overdrafted and has little to offer as a receiver. In the long run, Guice could develop into one of the most dangerous backs in the NFL.

(Rob Ferguson, USA TODAY Sports)

28) WR James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers

The trade of Martavis Bryant opened the door for a receiver selection earlier than many may have expected. Washington is a field-stretching threat who can play all over the place.

It is difficult to envision his role being substantial enough to matter in fantasy circles this season. Washington may not make much of an impact for the next few seasons and largely can be ignored in most league formats. His best utility may wind up being as a value play in DFS action for the next year.

(Stephen Lew, USA TODAY Sports)

29) WR D.J. Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars

Chark has speed to burn and can leave corners in his dust. The Jaguars have several young receivers vying to make a name for themselves. The former LSU Tiger has to weave his way through a maze of Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, Jaydon Mickens, Jaelen Strong, Rashad Greene, Donte Moncrief and Marqise Lee to earn his share of the targets in a run-first offense.

There will be a handful of huge plays to Chark’s credit in 2018. Figuring out when these will happen is going to drive gamers nuts. In the long haul, there is plenty to like here.

Round 3

(Scott Olmos, USA TODAY Sports)

7) RB Royce Freeman, Denver Broncos

A big-bodied back at 6-foot, 229 pounds, Freeman will compete for the starting chores right out of the gate after C.J. Anderson was axed earlier in the spring.

Highly productive in three of his four years at Oregon, Freeman demonstrated a nose for the end zone with 60 touchdowns in his career. His “down year” came during the Ducks’ 4-8 2016 campaign, and Freeman still scored 10 offensive TDs. Devontae Booker has underwhelmed, and De’Angelo Henderson remains untested. Freeman has an opportunity to be a quality RB2 as a rookie behind an improving offensive line and an upgraded quarterback situation.

(Jasen Vinlove, USA TODAY Sports)

12) QB Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers

Rudolph is the heir apparent to Ben Roethlisberger — whenever that day comes to pass. Rudolph isn’t as mobile as Big Ben, and his arm strength is less impressive. The rook is more accurate, though. The deep ball is as pretty as they come, and now he’ll be reunited with James Washington to give the Steelers a dynamic vertical threat for years to come. The Oklahoma State passer has no value in 2018 drafts but could be a low-end starter in time.

(Joe Camporeale, USA TODAY Sports)

17) WR Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys

Without Dez Bryant and likely Jason Witten, Gallup could be thrust into the starting lineup immediately and play a major role in the passing game. Standing 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, he is thickly built for a receiver and plays quicker than fast (4.51-second 40). Gallup is still learning the ropes and has tremendous upside over the next few years. It could come with some growing pains in ’18. Draft him as a WR4 or flex consideration if he has a strong offseason.

(Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY Sports)

22) TE Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

After drafting Hayden Hurst in Round 1, the Ravens came back with Andrews in the third. Hurst is a more complete player. Andrews is a glorified wide receiver in a tight end’s body. He is more capable out wide than as an inline option. This selection has the future over the present in mind and will help the Ravens transition into a spread system with Lamar Jackson in 2019 or ’20. The immediate fantasy returns should be basically non-existent for Andrews.

(Glenn Andrews, USA TODAY Sports)

27) WR Tre’Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints

From a physical standpoint, Smith has enough size (6-foot-2, 203 pounds) and speed (4.49-second 40) to challenge all over the field. He has long arms for his size (33 3/8 inches) but doesn’t always play up to his wingspan in terms of creating a radius for catchable balls. Smith will have time to be slowly worked in behind Cameron Meredith, Ted Ginn and Michael Thomas. This selection was with the future in mind.


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