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Rapid Reaction: Second Round Opportunity Outlook

 

Glad to be back again to sift through the opportunity each player drafted tonight will likely see. We will have a lot more fantasy breakdowns Friday than Saturday, so diving right on in.

The first round breakdown is available here.

Deebo Samuel

36th overall, San Francisco 49ers

Here’s how I viewed the opportunity as 2018 ended:

2018 WRs

  • Dante Pettis – Signed through 2021
  • Marquise Goodwin – Signed through 2021
  • Pierre Garcon – Signed through 2021

These two explosive players (Pettis and Goodwin) are locked into large roles going forward. Garcon has passed usefulness and the rest of the roster is replacement level or worse. The opening here is at slot receiver and that full role is available for the taking.

Fantasy Opportunity Grade: B

Free Agency Activity

San Francisco signed Jordan Matthews to a one year $1.8M deal.

Updated Opportunity

Current WR Depth Chart:

  • Dante Pettis
  • Marquise Goodwin
  • Deebo Samuel
  • Jordan Matthews
  • Richie James
  • Pierre Garcon

This is a nice win for Samuel, both in terms of his destination and in draft capital. He will be a movable chess piece that can be deployed either inside or outside, and what’s more, he is likely entering a meritocracy where snaps and targets are fully available to be earned without a true alpha in place. Goodwin is best deployed as a deep threat and Pettis is still developing with real ceiling, but Samuel is best endowed with the tools to claim an alpha role if one is available. The fact that free agency passed without a big name WR coming in and that he received a top-40 investment bodes incredibly well for his opportunity from Day 1, with the only question being if he can unseat Pettis at the top of the hierarchy.

Opportunity Grade: A-

Irv Smith

50th overall, Minnesota Vikings

Here’s how I viewed the opportunity as 2018 ended:

2018 TEs

  • Kyle Rudolph – Signed through 2019

Rudolph is a complete player and I think he will be re-signed after his contract expires. However, they have little to speak of behind him and are likely to throw a middle or late round dart at a player to develop for the future. The secondary tight end role is immediately available for the taking.

Fantasy Opportunity Grade: C+

Free Agency Activity

None

Updated Opportunity

Current TE Depth Chart:

  • Kyle Rudolph
  • Irv Smith
  • David Morgan
  • Tyler Conklin

If you were hoping for a potential immediate impact spot for Smith, this isn’t it. The demise of Rudolph has been incorrectly prognosticated for years and there’s at least one more year before any of those predictions can come true. Smith does have the skill set and now draft capital investment to grow into the top spot in Minnesota, but don’t expect much in his rookie campaign.

Opportunity Grade: C+

A.J. Brown

51st overall, Tennessee Titans

Here’s how I viewed the opportunity as 2018 ended:

2018 WRs

  • Corey Davis – Signed through 2020 with 2021 team option.
  • Taywan Taylor – Signed through 2020
  • Tajae SharpeSigned through 2019

Given Davis’ inconsistency and slow-moving ascension to the alpha role, combined with Taylor and Sharpe’s predominant ineffectiveness, there is room for either a new alpha to move Davis to a secondary/1B role, a new number two option, or both. We have to assume they expected more from the position and will be bringing in new options.

Fantasy Opportunity Grade: B+

Free Agency Activity

Tennessee signed Adam Humphries to a four year $36M deal. He can be cut any time after 2020 for minimal cap penalty.

Updated Opportunity

Current WR Depth Chart:

  • Corey Davis
  • Adam Humphries
  • A.J. Brown
  • Taywan Taylor
  • Tajae Sharpe

This has not been a friendly spot for WRs in the Marcus Mariota era, albeit with a group of players who have simply not realized the ability level that was hoped for by many. Brown has a real opportunity to take over an alpha role in the receiving corps with a lack of resistance from the remainder of thir WR corps, but it is a massive question what sort of volume that would entail if it came to fruition. He is unlikely to see much slot work given the financial commitment to Humphries, so he will need to be a hit from the outside. I do believe he will surpass Davis in short order but his actual floor and ceiling still remain very much in flux. The range of outcomes here is full spectrum.

Opportunity Grade: B-

Drew Sample

52nd overall, Cincinnati Bengals

Here’s how I viewed the opportunity as 2018 ended:

2018 TEs

  • Tyler Eifert – UFA
  • C.J. Uzomah – UFA
  • Tyler Kroft – UFA

Eifert is the only player with true ability of this group and his injury history likely sees him elsewhere in 2019. Uzomah amd Kroft are replacement level players and should only be brought back as depth. They are in dire need of an upgrade here.

Fantasy Opportunity Grade: A+

Free Agency Activity

  • Re-signed Uzomah to a three year $18.3M deal. Can be cut any time after 2019 with minimal cap penalty
  • Re- signed Eifert to a one year $4M deal

Updated Opportunity

Current TE Depth Chart:

  • Tyler Eifert
  • C.J. Uzomah
  • Drew Sample

Sample is a blocking TE with somewhat limited receiving ability and brings a poor production profile with him. He’s not especially athletic and is a player highly likely to be more valuable in a real life sense than a fantasy football sense. He should block while either Uzomah or Eifert run the majority of the routes.

Opportunity Grade: C

Miles Sanders

53rd Overall, Philadelphia Eagles

Here’s how I viewed the opportunity as 2018 ended:

2018 RBs

  • Jay Ajayi – UFA
  • Josh Adams – Signed through 2019 then RFA
  • Darren Sproles – UFA
  • Corey Clement – Signed through 2019 then RFA

This backfield is a mess and in dire need of a settling presence at the position. Whether that is Ajayi returning or a newcomer remains to be seen, but 2018 has been ugly. Replacement-level Clement failed at his shot and they were forced to use sub-replacement-level talent Wendell Smallwood as the passing back at times with Sproles missing time. Adams was given a shot as well but has proven to be pedestrian over a larger sample size and isn’t a viable solution as a backfield leader. This is one of the best possible spots for a highly drafted rookie running back.

Fantasy Opportunity Grade: A-

Free Agency Activity

Philadelphia traded for Jordan Howard who is signed for one more year at $2M.

Updated Opportunity

Current RB Depth Chart:

  • Jordan Howard
  • Miles Sanders
  • Josh Adams
  • Corey Clement

While Sanders lands as by far the most capable player in the RB room in Philly, the RB room in Philly is deployed as a committee. Howard will not be fully benched for Sanders but Sanders should claim lead back duties by the end of 2019 at the latest. This would be far more exciting for 2019 if the Howard trade hadn’t happened. Sanders is unlikely to ever claim a bellcow role, but should have RB2 to flex viability for years. He should be able to perform similarly to 2018 rookie Kerryon Johnson.

Updated Grade: B-

Mecole Hardman

56th overall, Kansas City Chiefs

Here’s how I viewed the opportunity as 2018 ended:

2018 WRs

  • Tyreek Hill – Signed through 2019
  • Sammy WatkinsSigned through 2020. Can be cut next offseason with moderate cap penalty
  • Chris Conley – UFA

Hill should be a lock to be re-signed by the team. After him, there is plenty of opportunity available. However, with the presence of Kelce, the second and third WRs are no better than third in the overall pecking order. Even with this being the case, the truly and fully elite nature of the offense leaves some weekly fantasy upside up for grabs.

Fantasy Opportunity Grade: B-

Free Agency Activity

None

Updated Opportunity

Current WR Depth Chart

  • Tyreek Hill – suspended
  • Sammy Watkins
  • Demarcus Robinson
  • Mecole Hardman

Clearly the Tyreek Hill situation created a vacuum that they wanted filled by a WR with long speed and suddenness and Hardman fits that bill. He will get as much as he can handle and I don’t need to say what is possible being tied to Mahomes. He won’t immediately see the volume Hill did, but he can get there.

Opportunity Grade: A+

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside

57th overall, Philadelphia Eagles

Here’s how I viewed the opportunity as 2018 ended:

2018 WRs

  • Alshon Jeffery – Signed through 2021
  • Golden Tate – UFA
  • Nelson Agholor – Signed through 2019

This was a frustrating year for the wide receivers. Jeffery missed time early and has been uneven since returning. The assimilation of Tate has been rough and Agholor is showing to be more of a byproduct of Carson Wentz’ elite play in 2017 than a good option on his own merits. There is opportunity available here, up to the alpha role in a 1A/1B capacity.

Fantasy Opportunity Grade: B+

Free Agency Activity

Philadelphia signed DeSean Jackson to a three-year $27.9M deal. He can be cut after 2020 with minimal cap penalty.

Updated Opportunity

Current WR Depth Chart:

  • Alshon Jeffery
  • Desean Jackson
  • J.J. Arcega-Whiteside
  • Nelson Agholor

This is a sound spot for Arcega-Whiteside (JJAW) as he gets ample draft capital and is tied to an elite QB in Wentz. It likely takes a year to truly grasp a large role with Jeffery and Jackson getting long in the tooth, but not quite done yet. He will likely be battling Dallas Goedert for snaps in 2019 an is unlikely for an immediate impact barring an injury, but is set up well for the future.

Opportunity Grade: B+

Parris Campbell

59th overall, Indianapolis Colts

Here’s how I viewed the opportunity as 2018 ended:

WR

  • T.Y. Hilton – Signed through 2020. Can be cut without penalty after 2019
  • Deon Cain – Signed through 2021
  • Ryan Grant – UFA
  • Chester Rogers – RFA

Hilton is the only known commodity for the 2019 season. By all accounts, they love what they got from Cain before his untimely injury. He should be a part of the positional group but isn’t certain to have a meaningful game-day role. Grant and Rogers are replacement-level veterans and could be upgraded at any time.

Fantasy Opportunity Grade: A

Free Agency Activity

Indianapolis signed Devin Funchess to a one-year $10M deal

Updated Opportunity

Current WR Depth Chart:

  • T.Y. Hilton
  • Devin Funchess
  • Parris Campbell
  • Deon Cain

This was one of the most coveted landing spots for a WR with the in-house competition after Hilton lacking and being tied to the elite Andrew Luck. Campbell should vie with Cain to be the third receiver at the onset of the year, but both should emerge ahead of Funchess by 2020. Campbell has the draft capital edge on Cain and should emerge as the No. 2 option with fantasy viability by the end of 2019. His true ceiling is likely capped as long as T.Y. Hilton is present.

Opportunity Grade: B+

Andy Isabella

61st Overall, Arizona Cardinals

Here’s how I viewed the opportunity as 2018 ended:

WR

  • Christian Kirk – Signed through 2021
  • Larry Fitzgerald – UFA
  • Chad Williams – Signed through 2020
  • Trent Sherfield – Signed through 2020 then RFA

The opportunity available fully hinges on whether Fitzgerald decides to return. Kirk is locked in to a role going forward, Williams is talented but had an injury plagued season and Sherfield flashed late in 2018. If Fitzgerald leaves, a real role is up for grabs.

Fantasy Opportunity Grade: C

Free Agency Activity

Arizona re-signed Larry Fitzgerald to a one-year $11M deal

Updated Opportunity

Current WR Depth Chart:

  • Larry Fitzgerald
  • Christian Kirk
  • Andy Isabella
  • Chad Williams
  • Trent Sherfield

The return of Fitzgerald for another season limits the opportunity for everyone else in 2019, but his presence is a temporary one. Kirk showed flashes in 2018 as a rookie but not to the level of future alpha, leaving that door open for Isabella down the line. He comes in along with Kyler Murray and they will have the ability to grow together. Isabella is raw and has a very wide range of outcomes, but garnering second-round draft capital will bring him a real opportunity and his ceiling is sky high.

Opportunity Grade: B+

D.K. Metcalf

62nd overall, Seattle Seahawks

Here’s how I viewed the opportunity as 2018 ended:

WR

  • Doug Baldwin – Signed through 2020
  • Tyler Lockett – Signed through 2021
  • David Moore – RFA

Baldwin mostly lost 2018 to nagging injuries. Lockett took a step forward, but was completely TD reliant, but that worked out due to other-worldly efficiency from Russell Wilson. Moore was a surprise contributor but they have a real need for an alpha WR on the perimeter, and it would be a great spot to land considering the QB situation.

Fantasy Opportunity Grade: B

Free Agency Activity

None

Updated Opportunity

Current WR Depth Chart

  • Doug Baldwin (reports of career in serious jeopardy)
  • Tyler Lockett
  • D.K. Metcalf
  • David Moore

Any time a player receives a second-round investment and lands with an elite QB, it’s a very good thing, but this one brings gobs more ceiling than some of the others. Around the same time of the pick, reports came out that Baldwin may be forced to retire. If he does, the opportunity becomes immense. Metcalf brings a massive body with freakish athletic ability to get under the next-level deep ball Russell Wilson throws. The route tree criticism is accurate, but the question is how much of a problem it actually is. Elite traits are something that defenses have to scheme to stop and Metcalf has an elite combination of size and speed. The sky is completely the limit here.

Opportunity Grade: A+

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