5 fantasy takeaways from Day 2
Jeff Ratcliffe breaks down the five biggest fantasy takeaways from Day 2 of the 2016 NFL draft.
5 fantasy takeaways from Day 2
Three rounds are in the books, and so far it’s proven to be the year of the defensive tackle. Through the first 98 picks of this year’s Annual Selection Meeting, 14 defensive tackles have come off the board. That’s just two fewer than running back, wide receiver, and tight end combined.
Despite the general lack of skill position picks, there were a few Day 2 selections who will impact the fantasy landscape. Here are the five biggest fantasy takeaways from Rounds 2 and 3.
1. DeMarco Murray loses.
Just one day after I wrote Murray up as a winner, the Titans went and selected Derrick Henry with the 14th pick in the second round. All of that talk of Murray potentially being a 300-carry guy in 2016, well, we can forget about it. As of this morning, Murray sat 11th among running backs in ADP. That number is going to plummet immediately.
Henry checks in at a massive 6-3, 247 pounds, yet still managed to run 4.54 in the combine 40-yard dash. This rare combination of size and speed helped him lead all draft-eligible RBs with 28 runs of 15-plus yards, but it should be noted that he did rack up 396 carries.
The major concern with Henry is his one-dimensional running style. He displayed a lack of lateral agility with a position-low 7.2 three-cone drill at the combine. He also struggled in pass protection and had just 15 catches over the last two seasons. Henry’s fantasy profile is a rich man’s LaGarrette Blount.
Can we completely write off Murray? I don’t think so, as the Titans are likely to run the ball a ton in Mike Mularky’s exotic smashmouth offense. So there will be plenty of carries to go around. However, any hope of Murray returning to RB1 status has gone down the tubes.
2. The Dolphins added offensive weapons.
One day after landing Laremy Tunsil at a huge value, Miami added two skill position players in the third round with the selections of Kenyan Drake and Leonte Carroo.
Drake isn’t a typical running back. He’s more of a situational player who stuggled to run between the tackles, but did excel with the ball in space (37 missed tackles caused on 108 touches). He’s a good receiver who finished second in yards per route run among running back. Drake has good speed (4.45), but he isn’t built like a running back. In fact, our team compared him to Ty Montgomery.
His addition gives Ryan Tannehill another offensive weapon, but more importantly, the Dolphins didn’t add a running back to compete with Jay Ajayi, as some had speculated in the lead up to the draft. Ajayi’s fantasy value wins. He remains on the RB2 radar, albeit, at the far back end of it.
Carroo is a PFF favorite, and one of the most productive receivers in this year’s class. He averaged the second-most yards per route run (4.11) and had 808 yards and 10 scores on 39 catches in 2015. Carroo doesn’t have the big play upside of DeVante Parker, but he is an upgrade on Kenny Stills. There are a lot of mouths to feed in Miami, so Carroo’s immediate fantasy impact may not be felt. That said, his skill set projects out well over the long term. Carroo is a priority dynasty stash to grab in rookie drafts.
3. Houston takes another wideout.
One day after they landed speedster Will Fuller, the Texans grabbed converted quarterback Braxton Miller in the third round. Still raw, but oozing with upside, Miller caught 26-of-38 targets, and forced 16 missed tackles on 68 touches in 2015. Despite just 28 receptions, he posted three catches of 45 yards or more.
While some scratched their heads at the pick, it makes a lot of sense when you consider that Miller ran almost exclusively out of the slot (293-of-373 snaps) last season. Cecil Shorts was the Texans primary slot receiver last season. While he certainly had a serviceable career, Shorts graded out negatively and had the second-worst catch rate among slot receivers last season.
Miller gives the Texans another dynamic player to draw attention away from DeAndre Hopkins. Of course, it’s going to take some time with Miller, but the Texans have now added two fast and athletic receivers to go along with a new quarterback and running back. Speaking of that quarterback, Brock Osweiler’s fantasy stock is also on the rise.
4. The Seahawks drafted this year’s David Johnson.
Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but there are a lot of similarities between Johnson and C.J. Prosise, whom Seattle grabbed at the tail end of the third round. He has good size (6-0, 220) and speed (4.46 40 at the combine), and he comes from a receiving background. Despite only playing one season at running back, Prosise managed big numbers in 2015 (1,340 total yards and 12 scores on 182 touches). Much like Braxton Miller, Prosise is very green, but has big upside.
This selection can be viewed in two ways: 1) Prosise is a compliment to Thomas Rawls who will get most of his work in passing situations, or 2) The injury to Rawls is worse than the general fantasy consensus realizes. Of course, the latter is purely speculation. However, reading the tea leaves a bit, the Seahawks have yet to put a timetable on Rawls’ return. That’s somewhat concerning, especially when the only other running backs on the depth chart are Christine Michael and Cameron Marshall.
Rawls could certainly be on the field in Week 1, but it’s too early to bank on that happening. I’m not sure this moves the needle much in dynasty leagues, but the Prosise pick certainly bumps Rawls down a peg in re-draft leagues. This is a story we need to keep a close eye on throughout the offseason.
5. The Bengals and Giants drafted solid complimentary receivers.
Both teams had a hole to fill opposite their stars, and they took steps to fill those holes with the Giants grabbing Sterling Shepard and the Bengals selecting Tyler Boyd. Both players step into favorable situations and figure to be immediate contributors.
Shepard topped our grading this season and was among the most impressive performers at the Senior Bowl. He’s a strong route runner who lined up in the slot on 71 percent of routes in 2015. Sheppard racked up 85 catches for 1266 yards and 11 scores in 2015, posting the second-highest yards per route run (3.17) out of the slot. While he lacks size (5-10, 195), Sheppard is a shifty and fast (4.48 40 time) receiver who has the ability to track the ball downfield. He caught all 10 catchable deep balls last season, scored on four of those receptions.
With Victor Cruz looking less and less likely to return from the series of injuries that started with a torn patellar tendon in 2014, Shepard could step right in to the slot role and give Eli Manning a viable No. 2 receiver to compliment Odell Beckham Jr.
In many ways, Boyd is a similar player who actually comps to Cruz. Prolific at collegiate level (3,361 yards on 254 catches), Boyd ran 54 percent of his routes on the outside and 38 percent in the slot. More impressively, he had at least one catch out of 13 different types of routes in 2015. His big play ability is limited, with just 10 yards per catch with a long of 51-yards and 4.58 speed. However, he’s a steady target for Andy Dalton, and a much-needed upgrade on Mario Alford. Boyd isn’t likely to ever be an elite fantasy asset, but he does offer the potential for long-term PPR value.
Jeff Ratcliffe | Director of Fantasy
Jeff Ratcliffe is the Director of Fantasy at Pro Football Focus. He produces all of our projections and is 2016's second-most-accurate ranker in the fantasy industry. Jeff also is the host of our show on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio and is one of the main hosts of our Fantasy Slant podcast.