Anyone who has followed this series of articles in the past knows that, while your leaguemates will be obsessing over draft capital and “first-round talent”, we will be quietly combing through the entire draft looking for that thrift store T-shirt that ends up being your favorite. The elitists who only buy first-round name brands probably didn’t take the time to look too deeply with us in previous years while we identified second-round gems like JuJu Smith-Schuster , Joe Mixon , and Nick Chubb . And once again, we’re here to help you capitalize on the critical fantasy mistake of late round snobbery.

The thing about these later rounds is there’s usually a reason or two that these players ended up on the discount rack. It’s our job to look at not only the pros for these players but also the cons to identify whether or not the reason they slipped past the first round is something that will also prevent them from fantasy success. Here we will discuss the second-round while analysis of the subsequent rounds will come in the weeks to follow. Included analysis will cover rookies from each round of the draft, rookies to avoid, ones to track on the waiver wire, and my favorite fantasy pick from that particular round.

Second-Round Rookies to Draft

Parris Campbell  – WR, IND

Currently going in the 12th round at pick 154, Campbell holds the honor of having the highest ADP of any second-round rookie we are recommending, meaning he should be the top target from this article for your squad. Others will be reaching three or four rounds earlier for question marks in DK Metcalf and Mecole Hardman while we will happily wait and take arguably the safest rookie wide receiver of the draft in Parris Campbell . We’ll talk more on Metcalf and Hardman later.  

Among this year’s crop of wideouts, Campbell had the fastest 40-yard time, the fastest 20-yard shuttle, the third best broad jump, and the fifth best vertical which translates to the kind of speed and explosiveness that Colts OC Nick Sirianni suggests opposing teams will not be able to replicate in practice or prepare for.

Some may point to the presence of TY Hilton and Devin Funchess as problematic for Campbell, but according to Warren Sharp at Sharp Football, the Colts last year ran 70-percent of their plays with three-WR sets which was third only to the Rams (77-percent) and the Bengals (71-percent). Andrew Luck shook the cobwebs off pretty quickly in his return from missing a full season, completing the second most passes behind only Big Ben and the second most touchdowns behind Patrick Mahomes . We expect Campbell to be mixing it up with TY Hilton at the slot and flanker with Devin Funchess at split end and, if even a guy like Chester Rogers (who is reportedly in jeopardy of not making the roster) can catch 53 balls in this offense last season, we’re excited to see what Campbell can do.

Deebo Samuel – WR, SF

Another second-round player we love, who is currently going off the board about a round after Campbell, is Deebo Samuel out of South Carolina. Rarely do I consider film analysis nearly as heavily as statistics or metrics, but when you watch Deebo Samuel’s tape from college, the one thing that jumps out to you is that hehas absolutely zero interest in going down easy or going out of bounds. He thrives in close quarters traffic and in run after the catch situations, which is a language that 49ers wide receivers coach Wes Welker speaks fluently. Samuel’s extra efforts were enough for the 49ers to make him the third overall wide receiver off the board at pick 36 after Marquise Brown and N’Keal Harry.

Contrary to popular belief, Wes Welker himself did not run a great 3 cone drill in his initial testing when entering the league – he ran a 7.06 which is fairly similar to the 7.03 Deebo ran in his worst area of testing. Even average WRs typically post a sub-7.0 score. As we know, Welker was able to improve his agility and quickness to elite levels early in his career and, per 49ers beat writer Matt Maiocco, that’s exactly what Wes Welker has been working on with Deebo Samuel.

Per Maoicco, their discussions have been focused on bringing Samuel’s weight down a bit to work on agility in order to earn him a role in the slot. With Goodwin likely locked in as the field stretching flanker and Dante Pettis likely to beat out Jordan Mathews and Jalen Hurd for outside duties, Deebo Samuel could become the leading candidate at slot where his talents could make him a favorite of Jimmy Garoppolo .

A.J. Brown – WR, TEN

A lot of people in the fantasy community were high on AJ Brown before the draft and a lot of those folks were disappointed with his landing spot. Rightfully so though, given the questions about Marcus Mariota and the team’s willingness to throw. However, now that he’s landed where he has, let’s take a step back and look at things from a different perspective. Here are the college stats on a per game basis from two players who played on the same team, at the same time, over three years.  





Player A




Player B




Player A was drafted by a team who threw for 293 completions and 2,975 yards last season whose leading WR was Corey Davis . Player B was drafted by a team who threw for 280 completions and 3,093 yards last season whose leading WR was Tyler Lockett . Player A out produced player B in college and the passing volume of those offenses were fairly similar; yet Player B, DK Metcalf, is being drafted EIGHT rounds earlier in the ninth when you can just take a flyer on AJ Brown instead with one of your last picks as he’s currently going in the 17th round at pick 205. I mean, in real life, with NFL talent scouts’ jobs on the line, AJ Brown was drafted with the 51st pick and then 13 picks and four wide receivers later, DK Metcalf was drafted. Of course, no one is arguing that Mariota is as good as Russell Wilson but having a better QB doesn’t always mean one rookie player will be better than another. In fact, as Blake Bortles taught us, being a better real life QB doesn’t always mean creating the better environment for fantasy football production. If Brown doesn’t beat out Tajae Sharpe and/or Adam Humphries for playing time across from Corey Davis then you can just drop him for the hot new pickup with no love lost as opposed to DK Metcalf who you committed a fairly early pick to.


Second-Round Rookies to Avoid

Miles Sanders – RB, PHI

Drafted out of Penn State by the Philadelphia Eagles with pick number 53, Miles Sanders was the only runningback taken in the second round of this year’s draft. Because he came up through the college ranks behind All-World running back Saquon Barkley , he really only had one year to show what he could offer as a feature back in 2018. We will admit that he did capitalize on that to a certain degree producing both 5.8 yards per rush and 5.8 yards per reception for 1,413 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns. Unfortunately, you would have liked to see him deliver more than the 24 catches at 5.8 yards percatch out of the backfield after replacing Barkley who had averaged 11.7 yards a catch on 54 catches in the same offense the year prior.

The big problem with this part of his game specifically is that Matt Nagy and the Bears moved on from Jordan Howard , not because he’s not a good runner, but because he’s a one dimensionally good runner that doesn’t catch the ball out of the backfield. And the Eagles were the ones who raised their hand and said they would pay a sixth-round pick to add him to a committee that didn’t produce either an RB that had over 120 carries or an RB who caught more than 28 balls last season. With Howard in town for at least this year eating up carries and Sanders’ documented struggles with pass protection while not putting up prolific receiving numbers during his time at Penn State, his redraft ADP in the mid-sixth round is just a bit too rich. Couple that with the fact that he’s missed almost all on field work so far with a hamstring injury and we consider him more of a dynasty/keeper asset than someone you need to reach for in the sixth in redraft this season.

Mecole Hardman – WR KC

Everyone knows at this point that Hardman’s rookie season value is likely tied to potential disciplinary action to Tyreek Hill . Hardman has upper percentile speed running a 4.33 at the combine and many have pegged him as a potential replacement for Hill as he plays out his contract this year, making him a valuable dynasty add. If we knew for sure that Tyreek wasn’t going to play this year through fantasy playoffs then Hardman would likely deliver on his 8th round ADP as the third option after Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins . However, as the fourth option behind Hill, Kelce, and Watkins on a team that ran a fullback in Anthony Sherman on 17-percent of offensive plays last year (who they just resigned to a one year deal) I am having a hard time justifying taking Hardman with one of my first ten picks.

The fact that we even need to delve into this issue is a bit depressing but here goes – a quick recap on what we know about the Tyreek Hill situation. It was determined in the investigation that the broken arm his son suffered was consistent with a fall and could not be proven to be child abuse. Hill and Crystal Epinal admitted to both administering corporal punishment with hands and with a belt at various times which is not a crime in Missouri unless it has been deemed to have gone to the point of injury. The child had bruises at the time of the incident but, as they could not determine who personally caused them, neither party could be charged with a crime. At this point the criminal investigation is over and Tyreek is working to gain custody back of his son.

Bottom line analysis is this: the Kareem Hunt situation coupled with Tyreek’s own past created the perfect storm for public outrage here, but the flip side is that there isn’t anything concrete for the league to stand on. With a video, Kareem Hunt got eight games and with admission of guilt for similar child abuse, Adrian Peterson technically got six games. If it turns out that the league decides to suspend Tyreek for a year or the Chiefs cut him, Hardman will be worth the eighth round ADP (and his ADP will probably shoot up closer to the fourth, fifth, or sixth round where Sammy Watkins is going). In the event that Tyreek isn’t suspended at all or is only suspended for six, eight, or 10 games, where you essentially get a watered down Hardman for your fantasy playoffs, Hardman is not worth an eighth-rounder which is why we currently have him as a player to avoid.

D.K. Metcalf – WR, SEA

I don’t need to tell you that D.K. Metcalf is as polarizing of a player as there is when it comes to the fantasy community. This series is about getting away from the pre-draft hype trains and the draft day disappointments and cutting to the one important thing to us – fantasy value. From that standpoint, using a ninth-round fantasy pick on a rookie who was drafted based solely on his raw athleticism and not actual production is simply too big of a risk. In those rounds you are still building your core and the last thing you need is to draft a guy with a limited route tree due to poor agility and issues with hand placement. There’s no doubt that D.K. Metcalf will break long touchdowns with his speed and athleticism at some point but you want the guys who offer some semblance of consistency as well which we feel will come from Tyler Lockett and possibly David Moore in that offense. The rookie boom-or-bust deep ball threat can often times turn into one of the worst assets to have. There’s nothing worse than a guy you can’t start but you also can’t drop while he eats up a bench spot. Or worse, he scores a 70-yard TD on your bench then puts up a goose egg in your lineup. You should look elsewhere around pick 100 or so where Metcalf is going and, as we suggested earlier, there are guys with just as much upside going later.

Andy Isabella – WR, ARI

The write up for Isabella here is short and sweet because we love what he offers talent-wise but he won’t be truly unlocked until Larry Fitzgerald finally retires and vacates the slot. Isabella has blazing speed, matching Parris Campbell at the top of the class in the 40, but he’s 5’9”, 188 pounds and he’s not a threat to play split end, which is the easiest current path to snaps on the Cardinals with Larry Fitz and Christian Kirk likely dominating time at flanker and slot. In all likelihood, Chad Williams (6’1”) or Hakeem Butler (6’6”) will be used as the X receiver with their foot tethered to the line along with the two incumbent receivers leaving Isabella relegated to specially designed packages and four WR sets. He’s another player that looks like a good pick in dynasty or keeper leagues but is unlikely to deliver consistent value in redraft for this season.


Second-Round Waivers to Watch

JJ Arcega-Whiteside - WR, PHI

Arcega-Whiteside is currently going off the board in the 18th round, meaning you won’t need to draft him in most of your leagues. His late ADP makes sense because the return of DeSean Jackson to the Eagles means that Nelson Agholor moves back to the slot where he is most comfortable while Alshon Jeffrey plays the X. Throw in Ertz and it really doesn’t leave much in the form of targets for the fourth wide receiver. The intrigue that puts him on our watch list is that he has the size and talent to be a threat in this league and he’s the next man up on the outside behind two guys who have missed a combined 27 games over the last four years. If anyone were to miss time, especially Alshon Jeffrey, JJ would be an interesting pick up to see what he can do.

Irv Smith Jr. – TE, MIN

We are not advising you to draft either rookie tight end from the second round; but, unlike primary blocking tight end Drew Sample who the Bengals drafted at 52, Irv Smith profiles as the type of TE who could have early fantasy success. In this case the reason he slid to the second round could oddly be a good thing in terms of finding an elusive rookie fantasy asset at tight end. If you look at Evan Engram ’s rookie year, he didn’t play a full snap share, playing 777 snaps to Rhett Ellison ’s 538, but Engram played the snaps you want in the fantasy world as a “move” tight end while Ellison handled the heavy lifting. Irv Smith Jr. caught almost as many passes (44) in his senior year in an Alabama offense that competes heavily for touches as Sample did (46) in his four-year career at Washington. Smith averaged 16.1 yards a catch in his last year, so you know he has the chops to get downfield. Unfortunately for those who invested in Irv Smith Jr. in dynasty leagues, the Vikings, amid months of trade rumors, turned around and recently locked Kyle Rudolph up to a four-year extension. The recent Rudolph signing should bounce Smith’s current 16th to 17th round ADP out of most fantasy drafts and onto waivers – where we will be watching and waiting for either an injury to Rudolph or Smith Jr. to possibly emerge on his own as the third target behind Thielen and Diggs.


Second-Round Stud

Deebo Samuel – WR, SF

In reviewing the players in the second round there is one guy with the combination of talent, landing spot, and ADP that we think offers the best value and the potential to be a game changer for your fantasy team and that’s Deebo Samuel. Jordan Mathews has already washed out in multiple locations, including the WR needy New England Patriots, and Marquise Goodwin , a track star who plays football (and is still trying to be a track star based on his comments about the 2020 summer Olympics), might not realistically offer the level of competition that some people expect. When the season comes around it could easily be Dante Pettis , George Kittle , and Deebo Samuel battling it out for the lions share of the touches in 2019 – especially with Jalen Hurd still recovering from off season surgery. While players like Parris Campbell and DK Metcalf are clearly behind TY Hilton and Tyler Lockett , respectively, for touches with quarterbacks both players have played with for years, Deebo Samuel has a chance to endear himself to a young promising QB who hasn’t had much time to play with anyone. That is what makes him the high ceiling guy that could come from the depths of the fantasy draft to take your team to the next level.