It was a thrilling Day 2 at the 2014 NFL Draft with ten receivers going off the board in Rounds 2 and 3 and the big name running backs ending up in very disparate circumstances. In addition, two difference-making tight ends found their new homes. Here’s a quick look at the fantasy implications from Friday.
1. No two teams are trending in opposite directions faster than Philadelphia and the New York Giants.
The Eagles lead the NFL in cutting edge thinking, so it was no surprise to see them select Jordan Matthews, a player who might be every bit as good as Sammy Watkins. Jon Moore anticipated this move in a way by contrasting the Giants’ Odell Beckham pick with Chip Kelly’s philosophy. Philadelphia followed that up by selecting Kelly’s former Oregon star Josh Huff. While the depth of this class has largely obscured Huff’s potential, his most enthusiastic comps include Torrey Smith and James Jones.
2. You No Longer Need to Reach to Draft the RotoViz Reach Bundle
Earlier this offseason, I suggested the receivers ranked 7-11 might end up being better prospects than the trendy names. On Friday, many big bodied receivers fell into plus locations. Red zone machine Davante Adams lands with Aaron Rodgers. Phenom Index star Cody Latimer replaces Eric Decker. RotoViz Cheat Code prospect Donte Moncrief, could be Andrew Luck’s go-to guy for years.1 Even Allen Robinson’s landing spot could be better than it seems. Jon Moore’s top prospect will compete with Marqise Lee – and his very impressive games dominated resume – to be the No. 1 for Jacksonville.
3. Josh McCown should be owned in all dynasty leagues and could be a sleeper option in redraft.
According to Pro Football Focus, Josh McCown was more accurate than Peyton Manning last season. Earlier this week, Max Mulitz argued for Jay Cutler in 2014 but pointed out that McCown was even more efficient when targeting each of the Big 3 in Chicago. While I argued against the Mike Evans pick in my Round 1 Draft Grades, I’ll note my mistake and completely reverse that stance in light of their plan to also add Austin Seferian-Jenkins in Round 2.2 The Bucs then selected Charles Sims, who is easily the top receiving threat among the high profile backs and a potential DeMarco Murray clone. Tampa has created what could be a fantasy utopia for Josh McCown in 2014.
4. The Paul Richardson pick wasn’t a reach, but Seattle isn’t a great place for his fantasy value.
In looking at the candidates to be the next Keenan Allen, I made the case for Richardson as simply a better player than more heralded prospects like Tavon Austin and Odell Beckham. Now that Richardson is in Seattle, he should quickly replace Golden Tate. Of course, the big issue for Richardson will be Seattle’s offense.
Wilson to Golden Tate, 2012-2013
Over the last two seasons, Russell Wilson averaged a sterling 10.3 AYA when throwing to Golden Tate, but Tate finished as WR42 and WR30. (You can use the AYA App to look at the splits for all quarterbacks and wide receivers.)
5. The Jets may agree with James Todd on Geno Smith.
Or they may not, but they’ve done an excellent job of building around Smith this offseason. In my study looking at the combination of final year college numbers with rookie year passing results, I found Geno Smith remains perched on the precipice between promising prospect and instant bust. If Smith is going to be the guy, Jace Amaro will factor heavily into his success. Amaro was the No. 3 tight end in our staff composite rankings, and his long term outlook is very bright.
6. Perhaps the small school Agility Stars aren’t under the radar after all.
In the Combine’s aftermath, I identified Jerick McKinnon and Dri Archer as undervalued Agility Score stars. Minnesota and Pittsburgh evidently agreed with me. McKinnon’s comps include Shane Vereen, and he’s a pretty good candidate to earn receiving snaps right away. Unfortunately, that suggests Adrian Peterson should not be a Top 5 pick in 2014 either.
7. Jeremy Hill is a better prospect than Carlos Hyde.
Or at least the Bengals thought so, perhaps because Hill owns a better profile in almost every area. Regardless, we now know Hill makes a better fantasy prospect. The 49ers selection of Hyde creates a fantasy quagmire, instantly reducing the dynasty value of Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, and Marcus Lattimore, not to mention Hyde himself. We were always down on Lattimore here at RotoViz, but this situation illustrates a scenario in which you might delay gratification in the wrong way. Lattimore and Zac Stacy went in the same area of 2013 rookie drafts. Stacy owners have already received one solid RB2 season, and Zero RB proponents will have already flipped him – luckily as it turns out, considering the Tre Mason pick.
8. Bishop Sankey will be the top runner in rookie drafts.
I’m not sure whether to be excited to see the Titans agree with us on Sankey3 or disappointed that his ADP will now skyrocket. According to my Agility Score study, Sankey’s comps include players like Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy, and Ray Rice. He finished No. 1 in the RotoViz running back projection system and was the top back in our staff composite rankings. Despite all of that, he was the sixth back off the board in early rookie mocks, making him arguably the single best value in rookie drafts. As leagues like the Fleaflicker RotoViz Dynasty League start drafting in earnest, that will no longer be the case. This may seem counterintuitive, but I wish Sankey had ended up buried on the depth chart.