NFL Draft News & Analysis

Fantasy Football: Winners and losers after Rounds 2 and 3 of the 2024 NFL Draft

2T4A9F8 Winston Salem, United States. 28th Oct, 2023. October 28, 2023: Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Keon Coleman (4) breaks for a touchdown against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in the ACC football match up at Allegacy Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC. (Scott Kinser/CSM/Sipa USA) (Credit Image: © Scott Kinser/Cal Sport Media/Sipa USA) Credit: Sipa US/Alamy Live News

Great landing spots for wide receivers: Both the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Chargers have elite quarterbacks and a need at wide receiver. They didn’t pick wide receivers in Round 1, but immediately added receivers to start Round 2 with Keon Coleman and Ladd McConkey

Top rookie running backs will be backups: The four running backs selected in the first three rounds landed on teams who already have running backs who graded well last season. None of the top teams who needed a running back the most haven’t picked one yet.

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With Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft in the books, we saw the fantasy football stock of several players improve or decline. Some rookies landed in better spots for production, some veterans face a lot more competition and some others are grateful their team picked a player at a different position.

Winner: WR Keon Coleman, Buffalo Bills

Coleman was selected with the first pick in the second round and could be the Bills' best outside wide receiver.

  • He is a bigger wide receiver who is very athletic for his size, which helped him score 18 touchdowns over the last two seasons despite beind held to under 800 receiving yards each season.
  • The Bills lost four of their five top wide receivers from last season and only brought in Curtis Samuel and Mack Hollins,
  • Buffalo has plenty of players who can make plays in the middle of the field, including wide receiver Khalil Shakir and tight end Dalton Kincaid, but Coleman should be the Bills top outside wide receiver this season.
  • The Bills were the best landing spot for any wide receiver in the draft given their loss of players, including Stefon Diggs, and having an elite quarterback in Josh Allen.
  • Coleman should be drafted ahead of some of the wide receivers picked in the first round in both redraft and dynasty leagues thanks to the landing spot.
  • Similarly, Ladd McConkey joining the Los Angeles Chargers, who lost Keenan Allen and Mike Williams is a great opportunity at Pick 34.

Winner: HB Zamir White, Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders spent the 44th overall pick on guard Jackson Powers-Johnson and didn’t take a running back

  • White was already a winner of free agency after the team didn’t re-sign Josh Jacobs and only added Alexander Mattison on a cheap one-year deal.
  • This made Las Vegas one of the top landing spots for one of the best running backs. The Raiders could still add one on Day 3, but that won’t be as threatening to White.
  • Instead, the Raiders spent their first pick of Day 2 on Powers-Johnson, who has the best run-blocking strength according to our offensive line superlatives.
  • Powers-Johnson had the second-best run-blocking grade over the last two seasons among Power-Five interior linemen at 91.7.
  • The Raiders already have a number of good run blockers on the offensive line, including Kolton Miller, Andre James and Thayer Munford Jr. Adding Powers-Johnson could make this one of the best run-blocking lines in the league.

Winner: QB Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys were the one team with a clear need at running back, but they opted not to take one with any of their three Day 2 picks.

  • Every team that lost a major running back in free agency also brought in a running back that had a lot of recent starting experience, except for the Cowboys.
  • Their only addition was Royce Freeman, who started eight games in 2018 but has only started one game since then while playing for four different teams.
  • This leaves Rico Dowdle penciled in as the starting running back despite having no career starts and less than 100 career rushing attempts.
  • There are talks that the Cowboys will bring back Ezekiel Elliott despite his career 2,065 carries. He averaged 3.8 yards per carry in his final season with Dallas and 3.5 yards per carry last season with the New England Patriots.
  • The Cowboys already passed a little bit more than league average last season after being a run-heavy team in 2022.
  • The Cowboys are bound to add a running back on Day 3 of the draft, but that might not stop them from passing on over two-thirds of their pass attempts like they were doing to start 2020 when Prescott was averaging 27.9 fantasy points per game.
  • The Cowboys have the most glaring need at running back, but the Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Chargers and New York Giants are three teams who could have drafted a running back on Day 2 that could potentially have won a starting job.

Loser: RB Kyren Williams and Blake Corum, Los Angeles Rams

The Rams selected Blake Corum with a third-round pick.

  • Williams finished second last season in fantasy points per game by a running back at 21.3. That was three points per game higher than every other running back not named Christian McCaffrey.
  • Part of his success was volume, as he was on the field for 77% of more of his team's offensive snaps in all but three games he played. In more than half of his games, he ran the ball at least 20 times.
  • The other reason he was simply an excellent player. His 90.6 rushing grade was tied with McCaffrey for second-best among all running backs.
  • Prior to this pick, an argument could have been made for Williams to be the second running back off the board in fantasy drafts, but the potential threat of Corum taking a few of those carries per game will lower his draft stock.
  • The Rams have tended to have one clear workhorse running back in Sean McVay’s time. The chances remain pretty high that player will be Williams all season unless he gets injured, but the odds of Williams getting benched despite his good play went up with this pick.
  • It’s certainly possible Corum doesn’t cut into Williams’ playing time at all.
  • Tutu Atwell played only 10 offensive snaps as a rookie in 2021 while both Cam Akers and Van Jefferson played under 300 snaps each as rookies in 2020 and Darrell Henderson under 100 in 2019. All four were Day 2 draft picks by the Rams.
  • The two running backs were born within three months of each other, so this is not a situation where an older running back will start for a year or two before the younger running back can take over like in some other situations.

Loser: RB Chuba Hubbard, Carolina Panthers

The Panthers were the first team to pick a running back with the Jonathon Brooks addition at No. 46 overall.

  • Hubbard took over the Panthers backfield from Miles Sanders last season and scored the 16th-most fantasy points over the second half of last season.
  • The Panthers made plenty of changes on the offensive line and on defense throughout free agency but didn’t touch the backfield until the draft.
  • Brooks was the top running back on our big board, top back on consensus board and top running back picked.
  • Second-round running backs have been no sure thing, as Zach Charbonnet didn’t contribute much for fantasy managers last season, and neither did Breece Hall or James Cook in their rookie seasons.
  • Hubbard could still have some fantasy value this season, but the odds of him being a fantasy starter any given week are a lot lower with Brooks in the backfield.

Loser: RB Trey Benson, Arizona Cardinals

Benson was the 66th overall pick in the draft by Arizona.

  • Benson was the second running back off the board, but he probably won’t see as many opportunities as some other running backs picked after him.
  • James Conner was among the best running backs last season. His 89.8 PFF rushing grade was fourth-best among the 36 running backs with at least 150 carries.
  • He avoided 0.29 tackles per game, which was the best among those running backs.
  • Conner averaged 4.2 yards per carry or better in all but one of his games last season. The one exception was a game where he caught five passes for 67 yards and a touchdown to make up for his only sub-par rushing game.
  • Conner is also getting old for a running back. He turns 29 years old in a week, and he’s one of 10 running backs on NFL rosters with 1,100 career carries or more.
  • Benson might only serve as a change of pace back or injury insurance as a rookie but could be the team’s top running back by 2025 if Conner’s play takes a step back.

Loser: WR Adonai Mitchell, Indianapolis Colts

Mitchell was picked 52nd overall as the 11th wide receiver off the board, but he was expected to be picked higher.

  • He ranked 22nd on our big board as the fourth-best wide receiver and consensus big boards also had him as a first-round talent.
  • He was a frequent mock draft target of the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs, both teams that didn’t have much depth at wide receiver but have elite quarterbacks.
  • Instead, he joins the Colts, who have one of the most run-heavy quarterbacks in Anthony Richardson along with a run-heavy offense in general with Jonathan Taylor.
  • Roughly half of the wide receivers picked ahead of him have a chance to be the top wide receiver on the depth chart by the end of this season. That won’t happen anytime soon in Indianapolis, as the Colts had just signed Michael Pittman Jr. to a three-year, $68 million contract just two weeks ago.
  • Indianapolis also has Josh Downs who had a 74.9 receiving grade over the first eight weeks of his rookie season, which ranked 23rd overall and second among rookies. Injuries derailed his season, but he finally returned to form by the last two weeks of the season.
  • Mitchell at least has a chance to be an every-down starter in his rookie season, but it will be harder for him to find a high volume of targets as it would in other offenses.
  • Similarly, Troy Franklin was a borderline first-round prospect based on our big board and a high second-round option on consensus big boards, but he wasn’t selected at all in the first three rounds.
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