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NFL Draft Round 2 Takeaways

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Day 2 of the NFL Draft is in the books and for fantasy purposes, it is always the most exciting because this is where we see so many skill position players selected. Friday proved no different, as quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends came flying off the board, setting the stage for the 2023 fantasy football season.

Let’s recap the Day 2 action.

The tight end position is… deep?

I know, I know. Famous last words.

Every time we fall for the trap that the tight end position is deep in fantasy football, the bottom falls out and we are left with five or six reliable players at the position. But after seeing the landing spots from the rookie tight ends throughout the 2023 NFL Draft, there is a really good chance I fall for the trap again. After Dalton Kincaid was selected by the Buffalo Bills towards the end of Round 1, the rest of the league caught up. Nine tight ends came off the board in Rounds 2 and 3, most of which find themselves in advantageous offenses for fantasy production. 

Sam LaPorta, Detroit Lions

Going into the draft, the Lions had Brock Wright, James Mitchell and Shane Zylstra on their tight end depth chart. So Detroit traded up towards the top of the second round to select LaPorta, an athletic, versatile tight end. LaPorta ran a 4.59 40-yard dash and used that speed to force 20 missed tackles, the most among all tight ends in college football last year. He was the focal point of Iowa’s offense, lining up out wide over 20% of the time and leading the draft class in targets against man coverage. LaPorta has to show more consistency with his route running but with Jameson Williams suspended six games and on a roster where he’s clearly the top tight end, he has fantastic potential right out of the gate. If you ranked him as the rookie TE2 in re-draft behind Kincaid, I have no problems with that.

Michael Mayer, Las Vegas Raiders

It was a bit surprising to see Mayer as the third tight end selected but his landing spot is solid. Like LaPorta, Mayer was also the focal point of his team’s passing game, sporting an absurd 31% target share at Notre Dame. That obviously isn’t happening in Las Vegas, especially with Davante Adams in town, however, Mayer is arguably the best tight end in this talented class and should start right away over O.J. Howard and Austin Hooper. Mayer has strong, reliable hands, while also possessing the ability to go up and get the football in traffic, as his 17 contested catches led the tight end position in 2022. He certainly has more competition for targets than LaPorta and is in a worse offense than Kincaid but Mayer should be on the field a ton during his rookie season.

Luke Musgrave, Green Bay Packers

As expected, the Packers addressed the tight end position, not once, but twice. Not only did they draft Musgrave with the 11th selection of Round 2, Green Bay also drafted Tucker Kraft in Round 3. Musgrave has crazy athleticism but doesn’t work the middle of the field as well as LaPorta, Mayer or Kincaid, which is something this Green Bay offense desperately needs. He did a lot of his damage on vertical routes down the seam, but Musgrave and Kraft have a tremendous opportunity to finish second on the Packers in targets in year one/

Shocker in Seattle: Seahawks draft RB Zach Charbonnet

Look, I understand Seattle had zero running back depth, but we were all still shocked to see the Seahawks select Charbonnet towards the middle of the second round. This obviously impacts Kenneth Walker in both re-draft and dynasty leagues, as he goes from an unquestioned top-10 running back to a mid-range RB2 at best. Walker himself walked into a similar situation last year as Charbonnet is now, being drafted 41st overall and joining Rashaad Penny in Seattle’s backfield. Walker won a lot of fantasy titles down the stretch last year, ranking as the RB11 in fantasy from Week 9 on (14.3). He hit a lot of home runs for this offense, as 45% of his rushing yards came off explosive runs (15-plus yards), the third-highest rate in football. Walker didn’t see a huge role in the passing game at Michigan State and that carried over into the NFL. His 16% target per route run rate was the eighth-lowest mark among running backs with at least 20 targets last season. Charbonnet, meanwhile, is a very smooth pass-catching running back, hauling in 37-of-44 targets for UCLA last year. And with third-down running back Travis Homer in Chicago, Charbonnet likely plays on third downs early and often, which caps the upside of Walker. Per FTN Data, Walker played just 57 third downs during his rookie year, good for 28.4% of Seattle’s third downs. That rate ranked 45th among running backs. And with Seattle drafting Charbonnet in the second round, you can bet he’ll see plenty of carries, too. It is very possible this backfield mirrors the Denver Broncos when Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon were healthy. Sigh.

The Rest of the RBs

Tyjae Spears, Tennessee Titans

Spears is a really nice compliment to Derrick Henry and with the veteran on the final year of his contract, there is a path to Spears leading this Tennessee backfield in his sophomore season. While Henry breaks tackles with his power, Spears avoids them with his elusiveness. His elusive rating trailed only Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson this past season, while Spears also thrives in the passing game. Spears handled a large workload at Tulane, carrying the ball 231 times for 1,586 yards and 19 touchdowns. He’s also a very strong option in the passing game thanks to his strong cutting ability and dynamic skill-set. Barring a Henry trade, Spears will have to contribute quite a bit in the passing game in order to be very fantasy relevant but in 2024, he could see his value skyrocket.

Devon Achane, Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins are assembling the dream Madden offense. Achane and his 4.32 speed will fit right in with the fastest offense in the NFL and it’ll be interesting to see how much work he gets this season. Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. are on the roster but both players have had trouble staying on the field as of late. Achane is an ideal fit for this zone scheme in Miami, as nearly 60% of his carries last year came out of zone concepts. Achane should also see very few stacked boxes in this explosive Miami offense, as Mostert saw stacked boxes on just 12.1% of his carries in 2022, the fifth-lowest rate in football. 

Tank Bigsby, Jacksonville Jaguars

I really like this spot for Bigsby, who likely enters his rookie season as Jacksonville’s RB2 behind Travis Etienne. Bigsby has good size and power and while he won’t wow you with speed, his jump cut is impressive. It is legitimately possible that he handles plenty of short-yardage work for the Jaguars, as he converted almost 80% of his short-yardage carries into either touchdowns or first downs last season. Bigsby goes from a weak offense at Auburn to an ascending unit with the Jaguars. He projects as a strong Zero-RB candidate, especially if he takes some work away from Etienne.

Kendre Miller, New Orleans Saints

Given the uncertainty surrounding Alvin Kamara, this was a very intriguing selection. Like Kamara, Miller has tremendous contact balance and burst and could legitimately be the rookie RB2 in fantasy this season if Kamara misses some games. The Saints did add Jamaal Williams but they also spent strong draft capital on Miller here. 

Interesting WR Landing Spots

Jonathan Mingo, Carolina Panthers

After the wide receiver run during the first round on Thursday, Mingo became the first wideout selected on Day 2 and the fifth wideout overall. It was pretty surprising but you simply cannot deny Mingo’s athleticism. At 6’1”, 226 pounds, Mingo ran a 4.46 40-yard dash and has the opportunity to emerge as Carolina’s top wide receiver, catching passes from Bryce Young for years to come. 

Jayden Reed, Green Bay Packers

Well, it wasn’t in Round 1 but Green Bay did draft a wide receiver. Reed joins the Packers and walks into a strong opportunity to make an impact right away. He reminds me a lot of Emmanuel Sanders, possessing a strong release, good versatility and above average ball-tracking skills, while Reed can also return kicks for you if needed. 

Rashee Rice, Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs moved up to select Rice 24th overall in Round 2, which means he’ll likely see the annual Kansas City fantasy football ADP bump. Rice gives Kansas City something they don’t have on their wide receiver depth chart–size. At 6’0”, 201 pounds, Rice has the ability to go get the football thanks to his 41-inch vertical (best in the class), while his body control in mid-air is arguably the best among all wide receivers. I do, however, think he will be overvalued in fantasy drafts due to his landing spot because although he is playing alongside Patrick Mahomes, any pass-catcher that isn’t Travis Kelce on this team is likely to be very, very inconsistent for fantasy purposes.

Tank Dell, Houston Texans

As a huge fan of Dell’s, I loved this selection by the Texans. Perhaps Dell’s top trait is his change of direction speed and suddenness, especially after the catch. Once he puts his foot in the ground, you can forget about it, as Dell can be lethal in the open field. His 20 missed tackles forced were just outside the top-20 wide receivers from the 2022 collegiate campaign, while Dell also displays that elusiveness in the return game, as he was an electric punt returner for Houston. Dell is an extremely versatile player, as he played from both the slot and the perimeter during his time in Houston. The slot rate climbed during his final season, lining up on the inside just over 67% of the time, compared to a 50.4% slot rate in 2021. Despite his size, Dell can win on the outside against press coverage due to his stellar release and quickness, which he displayed all week at the Senior Bowl. I love the fit in this Bobby Slowik offense that is likely going to rely on a lot of yards after the catch considering he’s spent essentially his entire career with Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. 

Jalin Hyatt, New York Giants

 I wasn’t as high on Jalin Hyatt during the draft process but I will say, this landing spot has me more excited. Yes, Hyatt was schemed up a ton of open looks in Josh Heupel’s spread offense at Tennessee, giving him free releases for days. In fact

He had just 62 total snaps against press coverage. However, Brian Daboll, who apparently helped initiate the trade up to select Hyatt, is terrific at putting his best players in positions to succeed, so I am very confident he’ll do the same with Hyatt. 

Josh Downs, Indianapolis Colts

It was shocking to see Downs fall all the way to the middle of the third round, especially since he was my WR3 in this class. The Colts should be thrilled, though, as they add a tremendous player in Downs, who excels with terrific footwork, speed and great ball skills. Even at 5’9”, 171 pounds, Downs is arguably the best contested catch wideout in this class, sporting a contested catch rate just over 72% this past season. Between that and his great route-running on pivot routes in the red zone, Downs can quietly score plenty of touchdowns. It shouldn’t take long for him to cement himself as the WR2 in Indianapolis behind Michael Pittman Jr.

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