Fantasy Football Expert Analysis After 2021 NFL Draft Day 2

Michelle Bruton@@michelle_nflFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2021

Fantasy Football Expert Analysis After 2021 NFL Draft Day 2

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    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    The second and third rounds of the 2021 NFL draft are in the books, and the weather around the U.S. is beginning to warm up.

    What do those two things have in common? Well, once this year's rookie class has been established, fantasy football managers' minds immediately turn to their upcoming drafts this summer. 

    There were plenty of intriguing skill players selected in Rounds 2 and 3 of this year's draft. We saw two (!) teams trade up for running backs, plenty of dynamic pass-catchers and even a third-round rookie quarterback who could potentially start Day 1. 

    Which Day 2 players are the best bets in dynasty leagues? Which ones might contribute as rookies from Day 1? And which ones could even evolve into future keepers?

    We'll break down the players drafted on Friday on whom fantasy football managers should keep a close eye through this summer’s training camps and into their mock drafts. 

Amari Rodgers, WR, Green Bay Packers (No. 85 Overall)

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    Brian Blanco/Associated Press

    The Green Bay Packers finally got the wide receiver they've needed for two years running and possibly got their very own replacement A. Rodgers. (OK, enough of that joke.) 

    And even though there are a lot of mouths to feed in Green Bay, you can almost guarantee that a shifty speedster can make an immediate impact in the slot...and on your roster. 

    Amari Rodgers measured at just over 5'9" at his pro day, but the Packers have plenty of outside threats who can stretch the field. What they've really missed is the Randall Cobb role. 

    With the caveat that no college offense is as complex as the big leagues, if you'd like an idea of how productive Rodgers could be in Green Bay’s system, consider this, per Clemson's Twitter account: "Since Dabo Swinney arrived as WR Coach in 2003, Clemson receivers have played 750 NFL games. None of them caught 6+ passes in seven straight games at Clemson. The first to do it? Amari Rodgers."

    Rodgers is a great option in deep leagues with 12 or more managers.

Javonte Williams, RB, Denver Broncos (No. 35 Overall)

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    Ben McKeown/Associated Press

    The Denver Broncos traded up five spots to select North Carolina running back Javonte Williams Friday at No. 35 overall, so you can wager that they're hoping he can hit the ground running this season...literally. 

    Now, trading up for a running back in 2021 is a bold move. But the Broncos are a bold team. And fantasy managers can feel good about Williams' potential this season, especially since the team moved on from Phillip Lindsay this offseason. (And while it wasn't explicitly stated, Lindsay seemed to have an interesting reaction to the move.)

    Not only does the team's draft strategy belie their investment in Williams, but also anyone can see the opening for him exists on the roster. 

    Williams is a great plug-and-play option if you're looking for a rookie who could potentially make an impact right away.

Elijah Moore, WR, New York Jets (No. 34 Overall)

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    Wade Payne/Associated Press

    Don't let the fact that Ole Miss wideout Elijah Moore slipped into Round 2 (by only two spots, it must be stated) make you second-guess what a slam-dunk fantasy option he'll be in any format this season.

    Fantasy managers will be particularly interested in Moore's ability to rack up yards after the catch. He had 1,193 receiving yards his junior year with 149.1 receiving yards per game, thanks in large part to Lane Kiffin's offensive system. 

    Moore also had 16 touchdown passes in three seasons with the Rebels. 

    As the Jets continue to build around Zach Wilson, expect Moore to be a versatile weapon all over the field. "I play receiver," he said, per ESPN's Rich Cimini. "Wherever you need me, I'm gonna get the job done. People are going to say slot, people are going to say wideout. Call me what you want, I'm gonna get the job done."

    Of all the players on this list, Elijah Moore may be the best eventual keeper. Therefore, if you want him in your league's draft, you're going to have to draft strategically.

Davis Mills, QB, Stanford (No. 67 Overall)

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    Amanda Loman/Associated Press

    It's rare that we think about third-round rookie quarterbacks for fantasy football purposes, but former Stanford Cardinal Davis Mills finds himself in a unique situation after hearing his name called by the Houston Texans at No. 67 overall Friday night. 

    It is obvious that the situation with Deshaun Watson, and therefore his spot on the active roster, remains up in the air for the Texans ahead of the 2021 season. So Mills may have a rare opportunity to start right away even as a third-round rookie. 

    Mills was a mid-round prospect, but with no picks in the first or second rounds, the Texans had to make their move in Round 3. 

    Mills' sample size at Stanford was relatively small, with 3,468 yards, 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 14 games, for a completion percentage of 65.5. 

    "Davis Mills has average athleticism overall with regards to agility in and out of the pocket. He does a good job with subtle movements inside the pocket," wrote Drae Harris of The Draft Network. "He is more accurate in the short to intermediate area than he is with his deep ball—although he shows moments of good touch on his deep passes."

Trey Sermon, RB, San Francisco 49ers (No. 88 Overall)

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Something must have been in the water Friday, as yet another team traded up to select a running back. 

    But when that team is coached by Kyle Shanahan, fantasy managers can rest assured that the team will find a way to make that running back as productive as possible, if not turn him into an outright star. 

    It was the first time the 49ers drafted a running back since Joe Williams in Round 4 in 2017, and Sermon becomes the highest-drafted rusher in Shanahan's tenure. 

    At Ohio State, Sermon led the Buckeyes in rushing yards as a senior, with 870, and set a single-game school record with his 331 yards against Northwestern. 

    But all fantasy managers really need to know is this: In four years, Shanahan's offense has featured a different leading rusher each season. Sermon may well be the next.