On the Clock: Round 2

Now your first round pick is done, which is a relief, right? You didn’t lose your league in the first round…. mission accomplished. Unfortunately, you’re not quite in the clear yet. The first round is easy, but the next few rounds are what can really define your team. This is also when you should be developing a strategy and possibly floating away from the rankings. If you took a big risk in the first round, you might be looking to get safe players with your next one or two picks, and vice versa. It’s also a time to think about whether or not you want to go early or late for your quarterback and tight end. Here’s how I see the second round panning out:

 

2.01: Jeremy Hill acts as a good upside pick if you played it safe the first round, and I like him paired with Matt Forte or Dez Bryant if the situation comes to you. Hill tore up the late season last year, but he’s definitely a boom or bust player as every game between weeks 9 and 16 he had either over 15 or less than 7 fantasy points. Having Giovani Bernard to take away a few touches doesn’t help the situation, but I do see Hill dominating that backfield. If AJ Green and Marvin Jones can stay healthy, the attention will hopefully be taken off of the running game a little bit and allow some more openings for Hill. I have to worry about Hill’s game-to-game consistency, especially as an emerging sophomore back, but I do like his upside.

Safety: 3/5

Upside: 4.5/5

2.02: DeMarco Murray is a quiet balance of both safety and upside this coming year. On the safe side, he’s a well-proven running back whose fantasy points per game have improved every year in his four year career, he’s in a fast-paced offense, and he’s a threat in both the running and receiving game, with over 50 receptions each of the past two years. However, he got worked hard last year with over 450 touches, and history does not favor him putting up great numbers after that kind of wear and tear. It would take a miracle to continue the trend of putting up more points every season, and last season was his first time ever playing all 16 games. He will be competing with Ryan Matthews and to an extent Darren Sproles for touches, but I don’t see that as a huge concern—especially compared to the situations of some of the other running backs in the second round. If DeMarco stays healthy, I picture a top 15 finish for him, but don’t expect a replication of last year or even a top 5 performance.

Safety: 3.5/5

Upside: 3.5/5

 

2.03: Calvin Johnson at this point in the draft could be the headache that he was last year, or he could make you look like a genius. Last year we saw him post three games with over 20 points but that was coupled with six games of under 10 points (disregarding the ones that he was injured), not exactly the reliability you want in a top wide receiver. Calvin still has a decent floor as a top receiver, as his worst season in the past four years was at 11.7 points per game, and there’s always a chance for him to redeem himself and remind us why he should be the first receiver off the board. With a high upside and a decent floor, the only thing to worry about is injuries. If those injuries are a big concern for you, think about aiming for Golden Tate to act as a WR1 if Calvin goes down, like he did last year.

Safety: 3/5

    Upside: 5/5

 

2.04: Jordy Nelson is an easily overlooked wide receiver, but his talent can’t be denied. As the top receiver on one of the league’s highest-powered offenses, Nelson is a safe pick. He did have hip surgery over the off season, so don’t be surprised if he starts the season slow. With Nelson getting 1200+ yards and 8+ touchdowns in three of his past four seasons, you know what you’ll be getting when you draft him. However, with other threats like Randall Cobb, Eddie Lacy, and the emerging Devante Adams in the offense, his upside is limited.

Safety: 4/5

Upside: 4/5

2.05: Rob Gronkowski has gone the past four seasons with no less than 11.9 points per game, giving a positional advantage to anybody who owns him. However, he’s also only had one fully healthy season in that span, and has missed a total of 15 games in that time. He’s almost a sure lock for 10+ touchdowns, and has had a healthy off season, but he’s always an injury concern.

Safety: 3.5/5

Upside: 5/5

 

2.06: Andrew Luck surprised plenty of fantasy owners last year, but I don’t see any surprises this season as his situation only got better. Adding veteran stars Andre Johnson and Frank Gore made a dynamic offense even more appealing. It’s easy to get hung up with what he did to fantasy owners in week 16 last season, but those thoughts can be overpowered when looking at the fact that he had one bad week in the first 14 games of the season. Notable stars Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning performed poorly in the fantasy playoffs last year as well. While his higher draft position may not carry his owners to championships anymore, he’ll be a solid and elite member of any fantasy team.

Safety: 5/5

Upside: 5/5

2.07: Aaron Rodgers looks like an NFC parallel to Luck this year. An elite quarterback with great options and lots of weapons, Rodgers has finished as a top two fantasy quarterback all but one season. He’s a bit older than Luck and has been injured before, but I seem him and Luck as a personal preference choice more than anything.

Safety: 5/5

Upside: 5/5

 

2.07: A.J. Green hurt a lot of fantasy owners by missing four games last year, but before that he had only missed one total game in the first three years of his career. He’s also averaged between 10 and 13 points per game every year, which made him a #4 receiver two years in a row. An offense led by Andy Dalton isn’t the most appealing, which limits Green’s upside a bit, but he could still be a great second round value this year assuming he plays all 16 games.

Safety: 4/5

Upside: 4/5

2.08: LeSean McCoy is low on my list this year, and I debated putting him even lower. After averaging over 14 points per game in three of the previous four seasons, McCoy was a letdown on many fronts last year. Yes, he still averaged 11 points per game, but that’s not quite what you want out of a consensus top-3 pick. He now moves to a slower and worse offense in Buffalo and will need to see the same high volume of touches he saw in Philadelphia to outperform his draft position. There is hope, however, as part of his downfall last year was getting only five total touchdowns and he now looks to be the center of the Buffalo offense and should get more. I think McCoy is a safe pick, but I don’t see him returning to his old self.

Safety: 3/5

Upside: 3.5/5

 

2.09: Lamar Miller has me optimistic this season, and I can see him being the center of championship teams this year. With a great breakout season last year, not much looks to be changing except hopefully getting more touches, as he got only 216 carries and 38 receptions last year. He was a consistent producer last season, and is in an emerging offense that should give him plenty of opportunities this year. Will he see the volume he needs to be a top 5 back? There hasn’t been great indication either way. However, that volume seems to be the only thing in the way of that.

Safety: 3/5

Upside: 3.5/5

 

2.10: Randall Cobb has seen improving points per games each year of his career. I’m not confident that this will keep up, as it will be hard to replicate the 12 touchdowns of last year, but I am confident that he’s a safe pick nonetheless. Behind Jordy Nelson and the rest of the crowded Packers offense, his upside is limited. I do see him as being the consistent player he was last year though.

Safety: 4/5

Upside: 3.5/5

2.11: Alshon Jeffery poses less safety but more upside that Cobb, for about the same price. While many were impressed by his 11 points per game last year, many forget that this was actually a step down from the year prior. With Brandon Marshall gone from the offense and Matt Forte looking like a lesser threat in the pass game, he could see a lot more targets than years prior. If he gets these targets, he could be a great fantasy receiver. However, we still have to worry about the offense going more towards the run game and the chemistry between Eddie Royal and Jay Cutler.

Safety: 3/5

Upside: 4/5

 

2.12: Justin Forsett could end this season as a top 5 running back, or he could fall out of the top 12. The new coaching changes could get him a lot more involvement, especially in the passing game. However, he’s also 30 years old and has had just one good fantasy football season in the career. The Ravens drafting running back Buck Allen in the fourth round doesn’t make things more comfortable either. He shows great potential, but could be quite the bust as well.

Safety: 2.5/5

Upside: 3.5/5

 

fantasyreaList Writer: Blake LaBathe

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