We all know the heroes of the first round; Bell, Zeke, Gurley are consensus top 3 with a swath of young RBs falling after them across ADP rankings everywhere. For this article, we look at the players who are going in the second round according to FantasyFootballCalculator’s 12 team, Redraft, PPR ADP rankings, and what their pros and cons are at their draft spot. I must say, there’s some mind-boggling players still available at the start of the second round that are values where they are.
2.01 – Odell Beckham Jr.: A+ Value
Pro: You’re getting OBJ at the turn! The last two years this guy was a top 6 pick. Unfortunately for him, injuries and a terrible Giants team has led him to drop. Nonetheless, he still is a young, elite WR who can be uber dangerous over the middle on slant routes. The Giants made improvements to their O-line and added a young back that could be a workhorse which means OBJ can have more time to be free and less eyes on him as he runs wild all over defenses.
Con: Exactly that, there are many mouths to feed on the Giants. Surely Beckham Jr. is the centerpiece, but Barkley may take over as Eli’s play continues to decline and the ability to move the ball offensively comes on the ground and not in the air. He’s still competing with Engram and Sterling Shepard who are of lesser talent and ability but can still perform well and be targets for Manning and OBJ gets the double team from defenders. Also, injuries, he has a history and we never really know if Odell will get a full 16 game season.
2.02 – Julio Jones: A+ Value
Pro: He is a freak of a human specimen. Arguably one of the most dominate receivers with big play ability. He’s used to being the defensive focal point and still producing numbers. Last season he eclipsed 80 receptions for over 1,400 yards and saw the highest volume of targets on from Matty Ice. Things won’t change much with only added benefit coming in the way of young rookie Calvin Ridley,who will warrant defensive attention and give Jones the chance to dominate.
Con: His redzone production has decreased over the last 3 years. 8-6-3 has been the descending order of TDs that he’s caught. We’re not quite sure why; maybe it’s a harder coverage that defensives put on him when they get inside the 20, maybe it’s pressure? Inside the 10-yard mark, Jones received over 30% of targets in 2017. His catch rate? 36%. Something has to change otherwise owners will be praying for more 1,000 yard seasons and high volume of catches. But, if that marriage of redzone efficiency with total overall play can happen, you’re getting a value at 2.02 when he should be a 1.04/5 player.
2.03 – Devonta Freeman: B+ Value
Pro: 2015 and 2016 were the years of Freeman. He was in the conversation as top 6 pick worthy and on par with DJ, Bell, and Zeke. He has dual threat ability that can change games. In both seasons he eclipsed 1,000 yards with 11 TD JUST ON THE GROUND. Through the air he saw even better usage averaging roughly 8 yards per catch. He can do it all and Ryan knows this and trusts him. They had an offensive coordinator change that may have affected him in 2017 but he had another off-season to work with him and got paid, I expect big things from him this year.
Con: 2017 was a down year for Freeman. With less than 200 rushing attempts and less than 40 catches, his numbers weren’t great and only scored owners about 160 points. The reason? You could point to Sarkisian running the offense and not using Freeman right, and you can point to the injury. It came out after the season that he played most of it with a knee injury hampering him. He’s had time to address and correct that issue but how much does he improve? Does Sark come to his sense and realize he has a swiss army knife in the backfield that he should use? There’s a lot of questions and I find Julio and Devonta in a situation I see in the Giants, too many mouths to feed.
2.04 – Michael Thomas: A+ Value
Pro: He is the number one WR in arguably the most high-powered offense in the league. In his two seasons he’s caught more than 90 passes and beat 1,000 yards each time meaning his value in a full point PPR league is extreme, not to mention he did one of those seasons while considered the number 2 behind Cooks. His numbers should remain consistent especially with the saints losing Ingram for the start of the season. Brees will continue to lean on him even with the arrival of Cameron Meredith who I don’t see making much of an impact to Thomas’s stats.
Con: There really isn’t one. Teams can plan for him defensively, but this is a pick that I think you can’t go wrong with.
2.05 – Keenan Allen: B Value
Pro: He’s athletic and skilled with his routes, he can create a mismatch mostly anywhere and is coming off a 102-1,393-6 season so he has momentum going into the new season. He is a dream in PPR and has the added benefit of eating into the share of targets that would have been for Hunter Henry. Rivers doesn’t seem to age and continues his consistent play and combo that with Melvin Gordon keeping defensives honest, he has the perfect storm of a situation to see another 100 catch season.
Con: He’s an injury risk in the worst way, I’m sure he cost a lot of fantasy player some games in 2016 when he was only available for 6 catches before going down for the year. It was great to see him return in full but with Keenan, injuries always have to be in mind any time he goes down hard. He also has guaranteed match-ups with some of the top rated CBs in the league when he sees the Rams, Cardinals, and Broncos, meaning if he has even the slightest injury hampering him, those games could be a wash. Drafting him at 2.05 may be drafting him at his ceiling.
2.06 – Christian McCaffery: B- Value
Pro: As a rookie he had over 1,000 combined yards and 7 TDs. He was one of Carolina’s most consistent pass catchers with 80 catches. Those numbers and usage figure to go up in year 2. He has the speed and agility to be lethal out of the backfield which could be needed with the departure of guard Andrew Norwell.
Con: The panthers brought in CJ Anderson, who isn’t a slouch and just had the unfortunate luck of being behind a shoddy Broncos offensive line. He will certainly compete and take away carries from CMC especially in those “bruising” situations as he’s more of the power runner while CMC is the shifty receiving back. Also, Carolina brought in DJ Moore during the draft, a great, young receiver who will warrant targets from Newton thereby lessening the share for CMC. I think 2.06 is a reach on him, round 3 is where I have my target point on CMC, had they not signed Anderson, this may be a good spot to get great value on him.
2.07 – Devante Adams: B+ Value
Pro: He is now the top WR for arguably the best QB in the league. Green Bay relies on throwing the ball to move their offense and Adams will benefit from more targets because of that. Over the past 2 years as the number 2 behind Jordy Nelson, he still broke 70 catches AND double-digit touchdowns. I expect those numbers will rise as he assumes the role of Rodgers favorite target for every phase of the offense, not just the redzone. He’ll hit 90 catches and 10 touchdowns this year, quote me on it.
Con: He’s the number 1 receiver in an offense that can’t run the ball effectively meaning defenses know to focus their coverage packages on him. Rodgers obviously still has the ability to find Adams wherever the coverage is on him but it comes down to Adams’ ability to make the catch with the pressure of getting number 1 WR coverage. I also feel that this pick may be overpaying for him if you’re in a league with people who aren’t fantasy freaks but if you’re in a league WITH fantasy freaks, this could end up being a value grab towards the back of the second.
2.08 – AJ Green: A- Value
Pro: THIS SCREAMS VALUE. He has been a consistent 1,000 yard receiver (apart from when he went down with injury) even when the Bengals offense has been bad. He’s also done this, consistently, with under 80 catches. He’s seen over 100 targets in every single one of his seasons of play and I don’t think that will decrease. Green is a monster and has thrived regardless of what the Bengals have done elsewhere on their offense. They made improvements to their offensive line which we hope gives Dalton more time to throw. We expect a breakout sophomore year from Mixon who will warrant defensive attention, and all this spells great games for Aj Green.
Con: His catch percentage is low, 52% in the 2017 season. It certainly could be because he’s always blanketed in coverage, or that Dalton isn’t making the throws but it’s concerning when in a PPR league, you want those catches, you need them. He’s also reaching age 30 and while we’re seeing players play longer, we still don’t know when their cliffs are coming. He’s still a value here but where’s the cliff?
2.09 – Jerick McKinnon: C+ Value
Pro: He is elusive and can both run hard and catch out of the backfield. While he’s never been a feature back never eclipsing 600 rushing yards on a season, he has shown great hands and ability to be a receiver out of the backfield; from 2016 to 2017 he almost doubled his total receiving yards on only 8 more catches. I think he’s dangerous especially because he’s in Kyle Shanahan’s system; he’s improved shift RBs throughout his career (see Devonta Freeman BEFORE Sarkisian got there) and I believe that Shanahan and Jimmy G can turn McKinnon into a lethal, dual threat weapon.
Con: He’s never been a feature back with feature back workload. Some might say that’s not an issue but it still changes how his body will gather wear-and-tear throughout the year. Also, Matt Brieda showed a lot of promise for SanFran and some thought he may even assume the lead back role when Hyde left, if he shows growth and McKinnon doesn’t get off to the start that he’s getting paid to, Brieda will eat into his playing time. I think McKinnon is a reach at 2.09 when there’s still guys like Jordan Howard, at this spot you’re praying he gets 1k/1k like David Johnson so lustfully wants for himself.
2.10 – LeSean McCoy C+/B-
Pro: Oh how the mighty have fallen. McCoy used to be an early first rounder because of his ability to make cuts, find holes in the defense, and burst through. As well, his ability to be a receiving back is one that’s in the upper echelon of the league. Last year on a Bills squad that couldn’t figure it out he still garnered over 1,000 yards on the ground with almost 60 catches, he was their primary weapon and still will be giving him significant RB1 value.
Con: He’s going to be 30 and we all know how that goes for RBs. Not to mention, he does have an injury history. So, you’re taking a 30 year old, workhorse RB with a injury history, on a team that has terrible starting QBs in McCarron and Peterman (Oh please do not let Peterson start) AND they lost key starters on their offensive line? That’s a risky risky riskyyyy move. If they had top flight WRs I’d say this could work but they don’t really have that because Kelvin Benjamin can’t stay healthy. McCoy is their focal point, everyone knows that, and every defense playing them knows their QB is awful and their line is also now in the lower tier of the league due to injuries/retirements. I’d feel comfortable drafting McCoy in the end of the third/fourth round.
2.11 – Rob Gronkowski: A Value
Pro: No one has ever said Gronk is an easy matchup, defenses cannot handle him. When healthy, he’s guaranteed 1,000 yards in the air and he’s guaranteed to be Brady’s favorite redzone target, he even holds the current record for TDs in a season for tight ends. Last year he saw great production resulting in a 69-1,084-8 stat line with a 65% catch rate, those are pretty good stats for a guy who only played 14 games. You combine that with the Patriot’s genius when it comes to scheming against defenses and the fact that the GOAT is still quarterbacking at a high level and Gronk essentially becomes the game changer every week because there is such a wide gap between him and other TEs. The pats start off hot against 2 of what could be the leagues top defenses in Sacksonville and the Texans but then their schedule simmers down and gives Gronk the ability to play against weaker opponents.
Con: He hasn’t played a full season since his sophomore year. I think we all know that drafting Gronk means you’re playing on borrowed time and expecting to get up in the standings early in the season before he does miss time, it’s practically certain it will happen at this point. He’s also bounced around the thought of retirement which scares me because he’s always been a carefree guy and does that mean he will be carefree about his performance on the field this year?
2.12 – Mike Evans: B+ Value
Pro: He’s never had less than a 1,000 yard season which means Tampa loves to find him deep and often. He’s a big body wideout who gets physical and I love his play style, I think he in the upper echelon for receivers both from an impact and fantasy perspective. I think Tampa’s schedule will warrant them being in shootouts often and only maximizes the likelihood that Evans sees targets, he’s never seen below 120 targets in a season and that spells out mucho upside for him to perform often for his owners.
Con: Jameis isn’t reliable as a QB and is starting the season suspended. While he still is Winston’s favorite target, the QB can and does effect WRs so this must be a concern with owners both while Fitz makes the start and when Jameis comes back. While Evans does see a plethora of targets, his catch percentage is low, finishing last year with a 52% rating. Combine that with an even worse catch percentage when inside the 20 mark, 18.7%, and his hands or the positioning of the ball are worrisome, the only saving grace here is that he sees such a large amount of targets. Additionally, with that catch rate inside the 20 comes worries about the TDs and last year he had 5, the year before that 12, the year before that 3, the year before that 12, do you see the pattern that I do? He’s a roller coaster in the redzone so if you’re buying in 2018 you’re buying that the roller coaster will continue and he will have an up year for TDs.
***We know ADP changes frequently, when this article was created this was the order of ADP for the second round at that time according to Fantasy Football Calculator’s 12 team, PPR ADP ranking.