Editor’s Note: Make sure you’re ready for your dynasty league rookie draft by checking out our 2018 Rookie Draft Guide, our current Dynasty Rookie Rankings and our convenient Rookie Draft Cheat Sheet. There are simply no better resources out there for dynasty fantasy football draft preparation. Make sure you also check out our 2018 Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings: Consensus First Round to get all caught up.
Let’s face it. Making a first round rookie pick isn’t all that hard. There are some elite level prospects each and every year and pretty much everyone knows their histories and backstories. Novice dynasty owners spend all their time worrying about their first round picks while the more successful dynasty owners do their homework, view every rookie selection they have as critical and make sure they give themselves the best possible chance to hit on a late round gem. The second and third rounds will undoubtedly give us some busts but also have some promise. This year, the quarterback run will likely start in the middle or end of round two and the second round should also provide us with some solid receiver prospects. Make sure you click on each of these players and read their initial rookie profiles to be fully informed about them before using your rookie selections.
Let’s dig in!
2.01 = Michael Gallup, WR DAL
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In most every early draft I’ve seen, the top thirteen players taken have been Saquon Barkley, Derrius Guice, Nick Chubb, Rashaad Penny, DJ Moore, Sony Michel, Ronald Jones II, Courtland Sutton, Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, Royce Freeman, Kerryon Johnson and Gallup, in some order. For us, Gallup comes in as our final player in that top group and he’s certainly one to target. For years, dynasty owners and fans of the Cowboys have been nearly begging the team to find some type of legitimate option opposite Dez Bryant…then they cut Bryant and have likely lost Jason Witten, leaving an even bigger void. There really wasn’t a destination better for a receiver than Dallas and most expected them to take a shot at Moore, Ridley or Sutton in round one instead of taking a linebacker. Instead, they settled for Gallup in round three (who they must clearly like to ignore the position earlier) and he’s a nice consolation prize. Gallup was in our top 15 in our pre-draft rankings and this draft spot only helps. There are some concerns here including the fact he’s still a bit raw, doesn’t have elite top-end speed and was a bit average in terms of his pre-draft athletic testing. Still, the Cowboys have said he’s going to be a starter on day one, opposite Allen Hurns. If he can develop quickly and master the offense, he’s a strong, physical receiver who could produce faster than any other receiver from this class, including Moore. In short, he’ll have every chance to succeed in Dallas.
2.02 = James Washington, WR PIT
Yes, I know Sammie Coates and Markus Wheaton didn’t work out. Even with those warts, the Steelers have traditionally been among the best at evaluating and developing wide receiver talent. Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Martavis Bryant, Mike Wallace and a whole host of others have found a ton of success with the Steelers through the years. Washington is a really tough player to evaluate as he seems built more like a running back than a receiver but still churns out monster numbers and highlight reel plays. He’ll step right in and become Pittsburgh’s deep threat after the Steelers banished Bryant to Oakland. Washington is an explosive player and this location is a bit of a double edged sword. He’s going to be the fourth option in the offense behind Brown, Smith-Schuster and Le’Veon Bell to start and that’s going to limit his early career opportunities. However, he has a chance to grow and learn without being thrown into the fire and we all know things change quickly in the NFL. Owners who are patient with Washington should be rewarded eventually as the Steelers know how to cultivate and take advantage of offensive talent – while clearly a step down from some others in this class, Washington should be no different.
2.03 = Anthony Miller, WR CHI
Miller is one of my favorite players in this draft and this seems like a perfect time to pounce on him in a rookie draft. A former walk-on at Memphis, he developed into one of the most feared receivers in college football last year. There are questions about his level of competition and Chicago also hasn’t exactly been “NFC Pittsburgh” in terms of developing receiving talent. However, the depth chart for the Bears isn’t great outside of Allen Robinson and Miller should benefit from early opportunities. He’ll need Mitchell Trubisky to develop quickly for dynasty owners to be rewarded but much like those who take Washington, patience should be rewarded with him.
2.04 = Josh Rosen, QB ARI
The inevitable quarterback run starts for us here with Rosen. You’re likely going to see Baker Mayfield taken ahead of him in many drafts based on his upside but Rosen has beaten him out slightly in our initial rookie rankings. There are some maturity issues and questions about just how much football means to him but he landed in a great spot. Rosen should have a chance to start early this season and has the talent and mental ability to handle it, possibly more than other quarterback in this class. With a solid supporting cast on offense, he won’t be asked to carry a team and should eventually grow into a QB2 or bettter in dynasty leagues.
2.05 = Baker Mayfield, QB CLE
Mayfield is a boom or bust pick in Cleveland. However, he gives them more hope than Tim Couch, Ty Detmer, Doug Pederson, Spergon Wynn, Kelly Holcomb, Jeff Garcia, Luke McCown, Charlie Frye, Trent Dilfer, Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, Ken Dorsey, Bruce Gradkowski, Colt McCoy, Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace, Brandon Weeden, Thad Lewis, Jason Campbell, Brian Hoyer, Johnny Manziel, Connor Shaw, Josh McCown, Austin Davis, Robert Griffin III, Cody Kessler or DeShone Kizer have. Yep, that’s the list of failed starting quarterbacks for the Browns since 1999. It’s really quite amazing and reinforces just how important it is to have a legitimate quarterback in the NFL. There is obvious historical risk here and Mayfield is a bit of a wild card. However, there’s no denying his talent and he’ll be given every chance to get better possibly behind Tyrod Tayor to start his career. At this point in the draft, it’s worth a shot.
2.06 = Mike Gesicki, TE MIA
Our first tight end shows up here in the form of Gesicki. The Dolphins found out the version of Julius Thomas they got last year should have actually been better off working at Orange Julius instead of catching passes, so they were clearly in the market for an upgrade this season. Gesicki is athletically gifted and simply better than any of the other tight ends on the Miami roster at the moment. It historically takes tight ends a while to develop and Gesicki shouldn’t be counted on early in dynasty leagues. Still, he has TE1 potential and this is just about the right area to draft a player with that kind of upside, even with the position being a little watered down.
2.07 = Dante Pettis, WR SF
Admittedly, I’m a huge Pettis fan as I live in the State of Washington and regularly attend Husky games. I even own Jake Locker’s Dad’s old University of Washington tailgating motorhome, so you can say I’m just a tad bias. I’ll temper my Pettis love a little with what I also know is the reality that he’s not a complete receiver, though. Pettis is a slot candidate and dynamic return man (he set the FBS record for punt return touchdowns with nine) and should give a nice boost to the 49ers offense. He doesn’t offer enough physically to likely play on the outside but he’s dynamic in space and I have a feeling Kyle Shanahan will really like his ability to run crisp routes from the slot. Pettis has a ways to go and could simply end up as a punt returner but I think he’ll be a little more and I’m willing to bet a 1978 Itasca keg wagon on it.
2.08 = Lamar Jackson, QB BAL
If you want a boom or bust prospect for your dynasty team, here’s your quarterback in 2018. The former Heisman trophy winner has athletic traits we haven’t seen since the likes of Michael Vick and the numbers he posted in college are absolutely insane. The knock on Jackson is obvious – many feel he’s more athlete than quarterback and simply don’t believe he can handle playing the position full time. Running quarterbacks like Jackson have a tendency to get hurt as well and that’s a major concern for dynasty owners who take the plunge here. Still, there’s more Deshaun Watson than Terrelle Pryor in this kid and he’s a worthy target at the end of round two. Inevitably, you’re either going to have a legitimate QB1 or a total washout on your hands here.
2.09 = DJ Chark, WR JAX
If you like a size and speed combination, here’s your guy. At 6’3″ and 200 pounds, Chark ran the fastest 40-yard dash time of any wide receiver at the combine with a ridiculous 4.34. The Jaguars are rumored to have been trying to trade up in the second round to grab Chark but didn’t have to in the end as he fell to them at #61. Jacksonville is re-tooling their receiving corps and Chark looks to be a big part of that project. The Jags had a lot of success with another LSU rookie last year in the form of Leonard Fournette and certainly hope they’ve struck some cajun-style lightning twice here. However, owners who take Chark will have to be patient as there will be a lot of initial competition for targets with the likes of Marqise Lee, Donte Moncrief, Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook on the roster.
2.10 = Kalen Ballage, RB MIA
If you were to put all the running backs in a room standing in T-shirts and shorts and ask a person who knew nothing about their production to pick out the best athlete of the group, my money is them picking Ballage. Unfortunately, as one of our DLF Team said the other day, “He looks like Tarzan and plays like Jane.” That’s a pretty accurate statement when it comes to Ballage. Athletically, he checks all the boxes. Unfortunately, his play never matched at Arizona State and he was never really able to escape being part of a committee. He had some great moments but was really inconsistent. In fact, he posted a respectable 29 total touchdowns in his career but eight of those came in one game. He’ll join the aging Frank Gore and a very underrated Kenyan Drake (more on that later this week) in the Dolphins backfield. Ballage is a great target for Drake lovers (the player, not the rapper) just for protection. However, if you believe Ballage is going to just jump in and steal the job from Drake right away, history has shown you’re going to be disappointed. With all that being said, late second round picks are all about upside and finding sleepers – Ballage fits the bill and he could end up being a late bloomer.
2.11 = Tre’Quan Smith, WR NO
Smith flew a little under the radar in draft circles but he’s a really complete receiver. With Michael Thomas, Cameron Meredith and Ted Ginn already in tow, it’s hard to see immediate production coming, though. Smith will have a great chance to beat out Brandon Coleman, however. He has plus athleticism and scored 13 touchdowns last season, showing real talent in the process. The Saints have a knack for getting playmakers on the field and Smith should get his chances – that’s worth a pick in the late second or early third round of drafts for sure. Who knows just what Cameron Meredith will be after that gruesome injury and the last time I checked, Ted Ginn is still Ted Ginn anyway.
2.12 = Sam Darnold, QB NYJ
The final pick in round two according to our rankings is the quarterback most expected to go first in the NFL Draft this year. Darnold has all the talent in the world but his production at USC dipped a little last year, likely costing him the honor of being the NFL’s top pick. Still, Darnold is the biggest investment the Jets have made at the position since they drafted Mark Sanchez and he’ll be given every chance to succeed. My bet is he beats out Josh McCown to start in week one. That may or may not be a good thing in the end, but Darnold has a calm demeanor and looks to be mature enough to handle the New York spotlight. If the Jets can ever add consistently good weapons on offense to surround him, Darnold could be a starter in dynasty leagues at some point soon.