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The first round has the thrill and chills, but the second and third day of the draft can bring the developments that help pay the bills in fantasy football. What went down that you need to know about? First, let’s look at the biggest winners and losers for fantasy football
Fantasy football winners
Mike Davis, RB, ATL - The Falcons were expected to upgrade from Davis in their backfield, but didn’t take a running back in the draft, leaving him as the unquestioned starter on a team with a high-powered passing game now that Kyle Pitts has been added.
Myles Gaskin, RB, MIA - The Dolphins saw the Broncos jump ahead of them to get Javonte Williams at #35, but they might have wanted Jevon Holland more anyway based on Brian Flores ravings about him. Miami didn’t add a running back until the seventh round, Cincinnati’s Gerrid Doaks.
Javonte Williams, RB, DEN - Williams ended up in a more fantasy friendly spot than Travis Etienne and it’s not crazy to consider taking him before Etienne in rookie drafts.
Lamar Jackson, QB, BAL - The Ravens added two good contested ball catchers who are skillful route runners to upgrade the passing game, even though landing in Baltimore is about the worst possible place for the receivers fantasy value.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, DET - He didn’t go until the fourth round, but St. Brown could instantly be the most dependable receiver on the roster and the most targeted by Jared Goff, who should focus on high percentage throws.
Josh Palmer, WR, LAC - Palmer has a game similar to Mike Williams, and the Chargers likely have designs on Palmer replacing Williams when their 2017 first round pick hits free agency next year. Palmer is a downfield size/speed threat and Justin Herbert is the perfect quarterback to maximize his value.
Michael Carter, RB, NYJ - The Jets had a big need at running back, but didn’t take one until the fourth round. Carter is an excellent passing down back who can make enough hay as a runner to take over the backfield from a group that includes Tevin Coleman, Ty Johnson, and 2020 fourth-round pick Lamical Perine.
Russell Wilson, QB, SEA - The Seahawks used one of their precious few picks on D’Wayne Eskridge, who instantly improves their three wide sets and gives them better depth if Tyler Lockett or DK Metcalf miss time.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, WAS - The Football team added Dyami Brown in the third round, which gives Washington the possibility of dispatching three speed threats with a daring and aggressive quarterback like Fitzpatrick. There could be fireworks in a previously dormant pass offense.
Trey Sermon, RB, SF - Sermon landed in an established top notch running game with no competition in 2022. He's an experienced zone runner and should excel.
Fantasy football losers
Melvin Gordon, RB, DEN - Gordon was set to be the unquestioned feature back after Phillip Lindsay was allowed to leave in free agency, but the Broncos clearly wanted Javonte Williams, trading up to #35 for him. Williams will be a starter in 2022, and maybe before if he can outperform Gordon.
Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, RB, SF - This duo was seen as the 1 and 1A going into the draft, but the 49ers didn’t want to go into the season without adding better depth following injury-riddled seasons for both them. Third round pick Trey Sermon may be the best back on the roster now, and sixth round pick Elijah Mitchell could make the team and muddle the situation further.
Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, WR, GB, Robert Tonyan Jr, TE, GB - For Lazard and Tonyan, the first problem is that the Packers drafted another A. Rodgers - Amari from Clemson who should provide a vertical threat from the slot. For Adams (and the whole passing game including Lazard and Tonyan), the problem is that apparently Aaron Rodgers wants out. When Aaron Rodgers holds a grudge, he doesn’t let go.
Carson Wentz, QB, IND - The Colts saw their stud left tackle Anthony Castonzo retire this offseason, and they replaced him with… Sam Tevi? Julie’n Davenport? They could move Quenton Nelson, which would then open a hole at guard, which also wasn’t addressed. Indianapolis had multiple opportunities to upgrade the weakest link on their line but focused on the defensive line instead.
Jamison Crowder, WR, NYJ - Crowder is due ten million this year and he might not be much better than Elijah Moore, a polished slot with more speed than him that went to the Jets at #34. Don’t be surprised if he is released soon as it was in play for the whole offseason and surprised some when it didn’t happen before free agency.
What else happened around the league that you should know about? Let’s take a look at the most notable picks, position by position.
- The Bucs brought back basically the whole Super Bowl winning team, so they had the luxury of taking Kyle Trask (Florida) at #64. Trask is smart and accurate, but he doesn’t have much arm talent or athleticism
- The Vikings used #66 on Kellen Mond (Texas A&M) a developmental prospect with athleticism, size, and arm strength who is almost the opposite of Kirk Cousins
- The Texans got many draft boards #6 quarterback at #67, Davis Mills (Stanford), making it three quarterbacks they have added this offseason in a sign that they may not be expecting Deshaun Watson to be their long term answer at the position. Mills was their first pick of the draft. He’s a natural passer, and not just from the pocket, but inconsistency and a problem knee hurt his stock
- Sean Payton said Ian Book (Notre Dame) reminded him of himself earlier in the offseason, so it should be no surprise that the Saints took him at #133. He’s a gamer with a lot of competitive toughness who has a shot to figure into the quarterback mix for this team in a few years with the long term uncertainty at quarterback
- Sam Ehlinger (Texas) isn’t an ideal quarterback prospect as a passer, but he is an athletic runner and find a way field general who in some ways is the opposite of Colts 2020 fourth round pick Jacob Eason. If Carson Wentz goes down, the #218 pick could end up being the better backup quarterback.
- The Broncos swapped a fourth (114) for a sixth (219) with Atlanta to move up five picks to #35 to take Javonte Williams (North Carolina), a good sign that he will force a committee with Melvin Gordon right away and start in 2022. After a tough second half of the first round that sapped fantasy value from a few top offensive skill players, Williams draft slot, landing spot, and the accompanying trade up added enough value to put Williams in shouting distance of Travis Etienne, if not overtake him.
- The 49ers gave up two fourths to move up to #88 in the third and take Trey Sermon (Ohio State). This is a very exciting landing spot for fantasy with a long term opening at running back after this year in an offense that could take off with Trey Lance. Don’t be afraid to reach for him in rookie drafts just because they also took Elijah Mitchell (Louisiana-Lafayette) at #194. Mitchell has good straight line speed, but he isn’t as subtle or powerful as Sermon, and Sermon has similar if not better initial burst
- Michael Carter (North Carolina), the Jets pick at #107, might be their best back, but he is still likely just a committee back. His best contributions are in the passing game, but he could surprise as an early down runner with middling competition on the roster right now
- The Vikings added a speedy #3 back who can also contribute a lot on special teams at #119. Kene Nwangwu (Iowa State) will replace Mike Boone on the depth chart
- Rhamondre Stevenson (Oklahoma) is a downhill physical back with passing game chops, and he’ll renew the tradition of the Patriots always having at least three viable backs in their backfield after they took him at #120
- The Panthers were in on Chris Carson, so it should be no surprise that they took Chuba Hubbard (Oklahoma State) at #126. He could spell Christian McCaffrey more often than previous backups did
- The Eagles added an elusive speedy back who will translate in the passing in #150 pick Kenneth Gainwell (Memphis). Miles Sanders should be looking over his shoulder even though Gainwell doesn’t have the bulk to be an everydown back
- #198 pick Larry Rountree (Missouri) doesn’t excel in any area of the running back game, but he’s useful and none of the backs behind Austin Ekeler on the Chargers roster have been able to stay healthy or consistently produce
- The Browns used #211 on Demetric Felton (UCLA) who they announced as a running back even though he showed wide receiver route running skills from the slot at the Senior Bowl. He could be a Nyheim Hines type if he makes the roster
- The Jets took Elijah Moore (Ole Miss) at #34, a slot receiver whose selection may spell the end of Jamison Crowder’s time in New York. Crowder is due 10 million this year and Moore was one of the most pro ready receivers in the draft. He’ll be part of newlook wide receiver group with Corey Davis and Keelan Cole, with last year’s second round pick Denzel Mims hopefully staying healthy this year to help #2 overall pick Zach Wilson in his maiden voyage at quarterback
- The Cardinals took Rondale Moore (Purdue) at #49, giving them a versatile weapon who can be their best open field runner and keep defenses in binds when combined with Kyler Murray as a run threat. Arizona didn’t have a player like him on offense so he should add some wrinkles to the playbook, although it’s not a great fantasy spot, at least for this year
- After extending Tyler Lockett this offseason, the Seahawks got another small, speedy, skilled receiver at #56 in D’Wayne Eskridge (Western Michigan). It’s not a great fantasy spot at least in the short term, but the pick should help Russell Wilson. Eskridge should be in on three-wide sets right away
- The Rams stayed home at #57, their first in the draft, and took Tutu Atwell (Louisville), who will be the lightest wide receiver in the league at 149 pounds. The vertical pass is back in effect in Los Angeles with Matthew Stafford and Desean Jackson added this offseason and now Atwell in the draft
- The Panthers were patient and got Terrace Marshall Jrat #59 after they traded down twice in the second round. Marshall would have been a solid pick at #39, where they were originally slotted. He’s a good contested catch player with speed who will keep the three wide sets strong against the high powered offenses in the NFC South and help Sam Darnold on extended plays
- The Chargers might be looking ahead to Mike Williams hitting the free agent market next year when they took Josh Palmer (Tennessee) at #77. He has great size and game in the air like Williams and performed well against some of the top corners in this draft
- Washington added deep threat Dyami Brown (North Carolina) at #82, which gives them the ability to threaten the opposition with three speed receivers along with Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel
- The Packers finally added a receiver for Aaron Rodgers (who may or may not be on the team this year) when they gave up a fourth to move up seven spots to #85 for Amari Rodgers (Clemson) who reminds a lot of people of former Packer Randall Cobb
- The Texans helped address a hole at outside receiver at #89 when they took elite athletic Nico Collins (Michigan) who just needs to play up to his impressive pro day measureables that sporadically show up on tape
- The Browns brought back their entire wide receive group this year, but that didn’t stop them from adding Anthony Schwartz (Auburn) at #91. He is maybe the fastest receiver in the draft and will add a pure vertical element to torture defenses who already have to account for Odell Beckham and a well-oiled machine running game
- Josh Reynolds main competition outside will be #109 pick Dez Fitzpatrick (Louisville), a sure-handed receiver who can make plays downfield. Tennessee gave Carolina a fifth and seventh to move up from #126, the second time the Panthers traded down and then traded down again
- The Lions finally got a receiver on day three at #112 when they took Amon-Ra St. Brown (USC) who should be an instant starter at slot and possibly lead the receivers in receptions as a rookie
- The Bucs got a lightning fast playmaker at the end of the fourth when they took Jaelon Darden (North Texas) at #129. He’ll basically be in a redshirt year behind the Bucs deep wide receiver group, but is worth watching down the line
- The Ravens added a second wide receiver to help Lamar Jackson when they took Tylan Wallace (Oklahoma State) at #131. Wallace can win in the air and help rein in Lamar Jackson’s spotty accuracy when passing outside the numbers downfield. He and #27 pick Rashod Bateman could be big upgrade for Jackson even though we won’t value them highly in fantasy leagues
- Minnesota added Ihmir Smith-Marsette (Iowa) to a wide receiver room that doesn’t have much after Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. He has gamebreaking speed and can contribute as a return man while he develops as a receiver, which alone makes him worth the #157 pick
- The Cowboys don’t have any need at wide receiver, but that doesn’t mean that #179 pick Simi Fehoko (Stanford) was a waste. He has great speed and size, but still needs to develop route running ability, which he can do behind the best trio at the position in the league
- Watch out for Cornell Powell (Clemson), the 181st pick who landed with the Chiefs. They don’t have an entrenched #2 receiver after Sammy Watkins left in free agency and Powell might have been overshadowed at Clemson even though he’s a skilled bully when the ball is in the air
- If and when the Falcons do trade Julio Jones, track the development of pick #187 Frank Darby (Arizona State), who can be a downfield threat with good game at the catch point
- The Jaguars took one of the highest ceiling receivers outside of the first round at #209 when they got Jalen Camp (Georgia Tech). He has size and speed like so many other Georgia Tech receivers in the past and his special teams play could win him a roster spot
- Seth Williams (Auburn) has the size, speed, and game in the air to be a starting NFL wide receiver, and a good one. Inconsistency and lack of polish caused him to fall to pick #219 and the already stacked at wide receiver Denver Broncos
- The Bears haven’t moved Anthony Miller yet, but if they do, watch out for #221 Dazz Newsome (North Carolina), who has natural playmaking ability as a slot receiver and return man
- The Colts got small school stud Mike Strachan (Charleston) at pick #229, who has a high ceiling if his game can translate
- The Steelers got a Heath Miller type at #55 in Pat Freiermuth (Penn State), who some had as a fringe first round pick. He should be the team’s long term #1 at the position with his good all-around game, but he won’t be a weapon in the passing game
- The Dolphins took Hunter Long (Boston College) at #81. He’s as dependable as Mike Gesicki is athletic and should improve two tight end sets for Miami
- The Panthers added a great blocking tight end at #83 who could develop into a functional receiver. Tommy Tremble (Notre Dame) has a clear path to a long term starting job with only Dan Arnold and Ian Thomas in his way
- The Chargers must see Tre’ McKitty (Florida State) as a possible starter after they took him at #97. He has the athleticism, power, and receiving ability to be a three-down player if he hits
- Kylen Granson (SMU) landed in a good spot with the Colts when they took him at #127. He’s a pure receiving move tight end in an offense that loves to use the position in the passing game
- The Texans have spent a lot of picks at tight end in recent years, with very little to show for them. They hope Brevin Jordan (Miami-Fl) can return more for the #147 pick than recent third rounders Kahale Warring and Jordan Akins. Jordan is a receiving tight end who has speed and good ball skills that many people had rated as a third-round pick
- Jacob Harris (UCF) has as much fantasy potential as any tight end in this class that is not named Kyle Pitts. The Rams took him at #141 and announced the big wide receiver as a tight end. He has size and speed and the ability to add value on special teams while he develops at a new position
- The Eagles got the heir apparent to Jason Kelce at #37 in Landon Dickerson (Alabama), who fell a bit because of medical questions. He could start right away at guard and will at worst give a line that struggled with injuries last year much better depth this year
- The Bears moved up to #39 from #52 for #83 (and got a bump from 204 to 151 from Carolina) for their trouble to get Teven Jenkins (Oklahoma State), who many had in the first round. Jenkins could start at right tackle right away
- The Dolphins gave up a third next year to the Giants (two trade downs for Dave Gettleman!) to get Liam Eichenberg (Notre Dame) at #42, who can push to start at right tackle after the word came out before the draft that 2020 second-round pick Robert Hunt is going to move inside to guard. Eichenberg is a solid player who doesn’t project as an elite tackle, but his consistency and fundamentals give him a high floor
- The Jaguars turned the second round pick (#45) they got from Minnesota for Yannick Ngakoue into tackle Walker Little (Stanford), who could have been a first round pick if he had played in 2020 and showed he was healthy from a 2019 knee injury. He moves like an NFL tackle and could replace franchise tagged left tackle Cam Robinson in 2022
- The Bengals got Jackson Carman (Clemson) after moving down to #46, a run game mauler who may be better as a guard than at his college position of tackle.
- The 49ers got Aaron Banks (Notre Dame) after they moved down to #48, a massive guard who is strong, experienced in zone and very tough to move.
- Sam Cosmi (Texas) is a better pass than run blocker, but with a strong interior line, that should suit the Washington Football Team fine. He could start at left tackle immediately, which would be a huge hit at #51
- The Titans went back to the well to get their right after 2020 #29 pick Isaiah Wilson flamed out and didn’t make it to year two in the league. Dillon Radunz (North Dakota State) has a mean streak and good feet and Tennessee hopes the rest can be developed in the #53 pick after he helped protect Trey Lance at a lower level of competition in college
- The Packers added some versatility at #62 in Josh Myers (Ohio State) who will help the run game more than the passing game right away and can slot in at guard or center
- The Chiefs total rebuild of their offensive line this offseason continued with the selection of Creed Humphrey (Oklahoma) at #63. He can push Austin Blythe at center and play guard if Blythe holds down the job. He’s a very sound player who fits in an offense that doesn’t need road graders inside. They also got Trey Smith (Tennessee) at #226, a player some had projected in the second day who fell because of medical concerns
- #68 pick Jalen Mayfield is likely to move inside to guard for the Falcons, and greatly help Mike Davis (who surprisingly won’t be facing competition from a Top 150 pick at running back) and the Falcons running game
- The Panthers dipped into the deep tackle class and gave up a sixth to move up three spots to #70 with Brady Christensen (BYU). He’s got the movement and quickness to hang in pass protection, and projects as a possible long term left tackle
- The Vikings added another possible starter on the offensive line when they took the nasty powerful Wyatt Davis (Ohio State) at #86
- The Steelers got Kendrick Green (Illinois) at #87. They could look to him as a center and his athleticism and feet point to quality contributions on zone runs on a team looking to improve the run game
- Denver got a player at #98 that most had going in the second round. Quinn Meinerz had a great Senior Bowl to raise his stock after playing at Wisconsin-Whitewater. He will solidify the line if he develops into a starter at center
- The Bills added a man-mountain at #93. Spencer Brown (Northern Iowa) is a Jordan Mailata-esque project who could pay off if he learns how to use his massive frame and athleticism to frustrate NFL edge rushers
- The Ravens running game will benefit from #94 pick Ben Cleveland (Georgia), a mauler who they selected with a pick that was part of the package they got from Kansas City for Orlando Brown, which replaced the third round pick they gave up as part of the package they game up for Yannick Ngakoue during the season last year
- The Browns made yet another good pick at #110 when they took converted defensive lineman James Hudson (Cincinnati). He has starter upside if he learns the finer points of the tackle position
- The Seahawks got a tackle who is at his best in the passing game that many had going on the second day in Stone Forsythe (Florida). He fell to pick #208 to help the Seahawks get the most out of a draft that saw them only have four picks
- The Patriots gave up two fourth-round picks to Cincinnati to move up eight spots to #38 for Christian Barmore (Alabama), a penetrator who can disrupt plays and complement the strong vs. the run defensive tackle group. They also added length and strength on the edge when they used the #96 pick on Ronnie Perkins (Oklahoma)
- The Lions got a great hustle player and athlete with immense upside in Levi Onwuzurike (Washington) at #41. General manager Brad Holmes said they were trying to trade up for him, but it ended up that he didn’t need to. They double-dipped at the position and added Alim McNeill (NC State) in the third at #72, another gap shooter with a lot of upside This is a team that needs everything on defense, but if these picks hit, they can check defensive tackle off of the list
- The Colts didn’t take a tackle to replace Anthony Castonzo after six went in the 15 picks before #54. Dayo Odenigbo (Vanderbilt) can play end and tackle and provide pass rush from the inside. Indianapolis used their first two picks on defensive line to bolster a group that needs to gel around DeForest Buckner
- The Eagles used #73 to get freakishly athletic Milton Williams (Louisiana Tech), a defensive tackle who feed off of playing with Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave. #189 pick Marlon Tuipulotu (USC) was a lot higher on many boards and could stick as a run stuffer on the defensive line
- After trading down to #50, the Giants got a pure edge rusher in Azeez Ojulari (Georgia). He was a mid first round pick on a lot of boards and no one would have criticized Dave Gettleman if he took Ojulari at #20 after the Giants traded down from #11 in the first. He projects as their best edge rusher from day one
- The Bills went back-to-back at edge in the first and second round, and #61 pick Boogie Basham (Wake Forest), who like 2020 second-round pick AJ Epenesa might be lining up at end on rush downs, but pass rushing from inside on passing downs. The Bills added two players to get after Patrick Mahomes II in January
- The Bengals added two edge players with tremendous motor and energy at #69 and #111 in Joseph Ossai (Texas) and Cam Sample (Tulane). Sample has a similar power game to Carl Lawson, their 2017 fourth-round pick who they just lost to the Jets in free agency
- The Raiders added Malcolm Koonce (Buffalo) at #79, who has quickness, bend and good hand fighting in his rush profile. He’ll get to learn from Yannick Ngakoue and Maxx Crosby
- Quincy Roche was behind two first round picks at Miami-Florida, but the Steelers liked his energy and getoff enough to add him with the 216th pick. He will have a chance to be the #3 OLB behind T.J. Watt and 2020 third-round hit Alex Highsmith
Off Ball Linebacker
- The Browns only had to trade down from #89 to #113 to take Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah at #52. He’s an ultraathletic safety/linebacker tweener who should have a role on passing downs in his rookie, but projects as a long term starter. The overhaul of the Browns defense this offseason has been excellently executed and not very expensive in draft capital or free agent money
- The Chiefs got a very energetic player vs. the run from their neighborhood in Nick Bolton at #58 (Missouri). He projects as their middle linebacker gained some IDP dynasty value with this destination
- The Saints used the #60 on Pete Werner (Ohio State), a linebacker who can track down the ball all over the field against the run. He’ll be a home run pick if he improves in coverage and he should be in an ideal spot as a weak side linebacker in their 4-3 defense
- Former quarterback Chazz Surratt (Wake Forest) went to the Vikings at #78. He should get a chance to play at a good spot for IDP leagues as the weak side linebacker in their 4-3 defense
- The Raiders will likely turn #80 pick safety/linebacker tweener Divine Deablo (who has the best name in the draft) from Virginia Tech into a linebacker as they continue to throw draft picks and money at the position
- The last pick of day two at #105, Baron Browning (Ohio State) may make an already scary Broncos defense even scarier. He can rush the passer or drop into coverage and should get some situational snaps right away with a chance to become a long term starter at strong side linebacker with some edge rushing snaps mixed in
- The Cowboys may be looking forward to a future without Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith after they took Micah Parsons at #12 and somehow had Jabril Cox (LSU) fall to them at #115. Cox is excellent in coverage and should get on the field in subpackages sooner than later, with his development forcing a potential decision on Smith next offseason, as he’s due $9.2 million in 2022
- The Jaguars led off the second day with #33 pick Tyson Campbell (Georgia), who can be brought along slowly with last year’s #9 pick CJ Henderson and big ticket free agent signing Shaq Griffin starting outside. Campbell has a high ceiling but wasn’t a shutdown corner in college
- The Cowboys didn’t get a corner at #10, but they did get one at #44. Kelvin Joseph (Kentucky) is the kind of athlete that usually goes in the first, but he has limited experience and some bust risk
- The Chargers got Asante Samuel (Florida State) at #47, who has a perfect mentor in Chris Harris. Samuel is undersized but was one of the toughest college corners to throw at last year. He’ll help when they face Patrick Mahomes II
- The Giants paid a sixth to move up five spots to #71 to get Aaron Robinson (UCF), a corner with NFL quality tools who can play inside or outside and help the team play more man coverage, especially in the slot. Dave Gettleman said they were considering him at #50
- Washington added Benjamin St-Juste (Minnesota) at #74. He's a size/speed corner who can play bump and run coverage to mesh with a great defensive line that will often force the quarterback to get the ball out under less than ideal conditions
- The Saints gave up #98 and #105 to Denver to move up to #76 and get Paulson Adebo (Stanford), a long corner with good feet and a nose for the ball who they obviously think can push to start opposite Marshon Lattimore sooner than later
- Many had Titans #100 pick Elijah Molden (Washington) as a top 50 pick. He should be their instant starter at nickel corner. He could have been a first round pick if he had better tools
- The Lions are playing the long game, and that fits their pick at #101 Ifeatu Melifonwu (Syracuse). He has the frame, athleticism and speed that everyone wants at corner, but everything else is a work in progress
- Shaun Wade (Ohio State) might have been a first-round pick before a 2020 filled with setbacks, so of course the Ravens swooped in and used #160 to add him to a cornerback room that is already among the deepest in the league
- The Dolphins snagged Jevon Holland (Oregon) at #36. He’ll improve a secondary that is anchored by the best outside cornerback group in the league with his ability to make smart plays against the run and the pass, but be more valuable for real football than IDP fantasy football because he’s not a box safety
- The Falcons traded to #40 from #35 and still got one of the best players at their position of biggest need. Richie Grant (UCF) could be a day one starter at deep safety
- The Raiders gave the 49ers a bump from #230 to #121 so they could move up five spots to #43 and get Trevon Moehrig (TCU), a sound coverage safety, who doesn’t have elite athletic upside, but should replace Jeff Heath in short order and upgrade the pass defense
- The Jaguars got a boom/bust pick play safety Andre Cisco (Syracuse) at #65. He’s one to watch in IDP leagues as he could push Josh Jones to start if he comes all the way back from a freak ACL injury last year