What We Saw: Rounds 2 & 3 of the NFL Draft

Tee Higgins, WR, Bengals

 

Player Profile

Higgins is a big-time contested-catch receiver, probably better than any other prospect in this class. He needs some work at route running and doesn’t have elite speed either. The Bengals snagged Higgins with the first pick in the second round to pair with new rookie quarterback Joe Burrow.

Fantasy Outlook

As the depth chart stands Higgins is the three/four wide receiver for the Bengals but there are a lot of mouths to feed in that offense. He is behind A.J. Green (when healthy), Tyler Boyd, and will compete with John Ross (when healthy) and Auden Tate for snaps behind them. He seems like he is going to be a volatile option for fantasy owners in year one and is nothing but a late-round flier in redraft formats. He should be left for early/mid rounds in a rookie-only draft.

Effect On New Team

Without a lot of proven production at tight end, this contested-catch specialist will give Burrow a big option in the red zone. He also makes sense as a potential replacement for A.J. Green after this season. He likely won’t command a big target share but may snag red zone opportunity from some of the Bengals’ other weapons.

 

-Kevin Taylor

 

Michael Pittman, WR, Colts

 

Player Profile

Michael Pittman Jr. has the makings of being a pivotal target for the Colts and whoever their long-term QB might be. It’s no surprise he went as early as he did too; second selection in Round 2. He’s coming off a 101-catch senior year at USC and had an impressive pre-draft showing. At 6’4”, 223 lbs, Pittman should be considered the perfect complement to T.Y. Hilton.

Fantasy Outlook

Pittman should slide right in as WR2, and given the makeup of the receivers room in Indianapolis, he has a great dynasty outlook. I’d be willing to spend decent draft capital on him because of his potential. From a 2020 fantasy standpoint, he can be a productive rookie.

Effect On New Team

The more weapons the better for veteran Philip Rivers, who won’t be with the Colts for many years anyhow. I would bank on Pittman having an immediate impact for the Colts this season. Hilton has trouble staying healthy, and the current depth behind him isn’t notable. Circling back to the team’s QB situation, Jacob Eason was drafted on Day 3, so the future in Indy could just be Eason to Pittman for years to come.

 

-Matt Cava

 

Laviska Shenault, WR, Jaguars

 

Player Profile

Laviska Shenault is a vastly talented receiver with experience at every position last year at Colorado. He represents an intriguing mix of speed, agility, and top-notch hands and he has the potential to find success in a number of roles in the pros. His biggest red flag is a common one: injuries. The list includes a torn labrum, turf toe, and a torn abdominal muscle. If he can stay healthy, he could be an excellent value.

Fantasy Outlook

Assuming he’s healthy, Laviska Shenault should slide in as an immediate starter for Jacksonville opposite DJ Chark. The released Marqise Lee, and so there is a hole waiting to be filled. Wide receiver is still a slow transition, so Shenault is merely a late-round flier with potential upside if he figures things out quickly. I emphasize “late-round flyer” here

Effect On New Team

Shenault should help upgrade the offense, and this should help everyone involved. There is plenty of space for the few viable weapons here to eat. We simply want the offense to stay on the field longer. Gardner Minshew seems a small bump up, DJ Chark stays the same, and Leonard Fournette probably sees a couple of extra scoring opportunities throughout the season.

 

-Mike Miklius

 

K.J. Hamler, WR, Broncos

 

Player Profile

Denver double-dipped on WR as many speculated they would, selecting Penn State’s K.J. Hamler on Day 2. He has electric speed, and will contribute out of the slot for the Broncos. He’ll also find himself as a pivotal special teams player.

Fantasy Outlook

I would temper first-year expectations for Hamler, as there are plenty of mouths to feed in the Denver offense. Drew Lock will have to share the wealth, which hinders Hamler’s production early on. That’s not to say he won’t have success with the Broncos, but time will truly tell. He’s a worthy dynasty grab, but not early on by any means.

Effect On New Team

Hamler forms a WR trio with fellow rookie Jerry Jeudy and third-year Courtland Sutton. That’s quite the group for Lock to work with, but as mentioned for his fantasy outlook, the Denver offense is busy and it could take some time for Hamler to truly contribute.

 

-Matt Cava

 

Chase Claypool, WR, Steelers

 

Player Profile

Chase Claypool is a physical freak. 6’4” 238 pounds all while being able to run a 4.42 40-yard dash. This is tantalizing for any team as this kind of athlete is extremely unique. Claypool relies heavily on this physical advantage as he is not the most polished route runner and has some questionable ball skills (7 drops in 2019). He has shown some improvement over his years at Notre Dame and was extremely productive in his last season (66 catches, 1037 yards, 13 TD’s).

Fantasy Outlook

Like any fantasy rookie, it is hard to place Claypool’s value. With JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson, it is possible that he ends up as a 3rd option, or he might possibly even transition into tight end given his size. The real question is whether Ben Roethlisberger will be able to produce at an elite level. Tommy John surgery for an aging QB is terrifying. Given Claypool’s current listing as a WR and the question marks surrounding this team, he is likely a late-round flier or waiver add to keep an eye on.

Effect on New Team
While Chase Claypool’s fantasy value may be low for 2020, his effect on this team could be large. His skill set is much different that both JuJu and Johnson who both rely more on precise route running and catch point ability than they do their athleticism. If Claypool kicks into tight end he could create legitimate nightmare matchup scenarios for opposing defenses.

 

-Stephen Dudas

 

Van Jefferson, WR, Rams

 

Player Profile

Van Jefferson was a pretty necessary grab for the Rams on Day 2, recouping offensive production lost from parting ways with Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks. Son of former WR and current Jets WR coach Shawn Jefferson, Van is an impressive route runner who’s been known to create advantages against defenders.

Fantasy Outlook

Consider Jefferson as a mid-round dynasty selection, especially given his age; he’ll be 24 at the start of the 2020 season. Hard to really say just how productive he will be his rookie year, but he is pro-ready and could be productive as the season progresses.

Effect on New Team

It’s fair to temper year-one expectations for Jefferson, as the receivers ahead of him – Robert Woods & Cooper Kupp – should see way more of the target share. Long term though, he should be a nice piece in what should be a pass-heavy offense.

 

-Matt Cava

 

Denzel Mims, WR, Jets

 

Player Profile

Denzel Mims has the prototypical number one wide receiver build (6’3” 207lbs) and athleticism. He posted an impressive 4.37 40 yard dash at the combine and shot up virtual twitter draft boards around the country. Mims had an incredible sophomore campaign that originally put him on the NFL radar, but 2018 was less than stellar with 11 drops. 2019 saw his production spike yet again, but there are lingering issues about his drops and route running. Mims is a project at the next level, but his high level of production at Baylor is encouraging.

Fantasy Outlook

The Jets are a team with many holes. Since drafting Sam Darnold they have not been able to field a competitive, well-rounded team. After losing Robby Anderson to free agency many pundits speculated they would be looking at WR with the 11th pick. Despite all the top WR still being on the board, the Jets elected to go with an offensive tackle, another pressing need. This likely means Mims was high on the board and that they felt confident they could grab him at 59. Mims instantly becomes the top receiving option on this team, which gives him significant upside for fantasy owners. There is also a chance that this team continues to be stuck in mediocrity which would plummet Mims’ overall value.

Effect on New Team

As I mentioned above, Mims likely has to step on the field as the top option for Sam Darnold day one. This should be good for his target share, but relying on a rookie to produce at such an important position right away is risky for the Jets. If he were to quickly reach his potential, Darnold will have a weapon much better than any he has had in his career.

 

-Stephen Dudas

Erik Smith

Head of QB List. Writer at numberFire and Pitcher List. Ohio University graduate. Now lives in Asheville, NC, right off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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