Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft delivered a number of interesting picks for fantasy football purposes with 19 skill position players coming off the board. Of course, there were some surprises along the way, and some of these picks have the potential to drastically alter the fantasy football landscape. Let’s break down fantasy football impact of all of these picks.
Much like Cincinnati did last year, the Jets pair their first-round quarterback with an early second-round wideout. Elijah Moore may not have prototype size, but he’s as explosive as they come and plays with a physicality that makes him look bigger on tape. He steps into a Jets wide receiver corps that was one of the league’s thinnest units, so there’s an opportunity to get on the field right away. That’s especially true if the Jets decide to move on from Jamison Crowder. Moore’s high ceiling puts him on the redraft radar for 2021 and he’s one of the better dynasty prospects in this class.
2021 fantasy football projection: 92 targets, 58 catches, 743 yards, 4 TDs Ratcliffe’s 2021 fantasy football ranking: WR60
As far as landing spots are concerned, this one isn’t the most ideal for Javonte Williams in the short term. With Melvin Gordon still on the roster, we’re almost certainly looking at a committee in the Denver backfield to kick of Williams’ career. That said, Denver did trade up to get him, so we’re looking at a classic changing of the guard situation. While that may not crystalize in 2021, it’s only a matter of time before this is Williams’ backfield. He remains the No. 3 dynasty running back in this class and should surface as a redraft flex option in Year 1.
2021 fantasy football projection: 168 carries, 721 yards, 5 TDs, 32 targets, 25 catches, 188 yards, 1 TD Ratcliffe’s 2021 fantasy football ranking: RB36
One of the most athletic wideouts in this year’s class, Rondale Moore lands in a perfect offense for his skillset. He’ll now be paired up with Kyler Murray in Kliff Kingsbury’s up-tempo scheme. Of course, there is a bit of a crowded house in the Arizona wide receiver room. Moore’s presence almost certainly means the end of Andy Isabella’s dynasty hope. This could also be an indictment of Christian Kirk, who was not a pick of the current regime. Moore’s short-term outlook is a bit murky given the logjam, but his long-term ceiling remains very appealing.
2021 fantasy football projection: 64 targets, 42 catches, 516 yards, 3 TDs Ratcliffe’s 2021 fantasy football ranking: WR75
Most tight ends take a while to develop in the NFL, and that’s likely going to be the case with Pat Freiermuth. Keep that in mind early in his career, as his production will likely be very minimal for the Steelers. However, the Penn State product does have intriguing potential as an in-line option who has plus receiving ability and a sneaky propensity for generating yards after the catch. He’s still the No. 2 dynasty tight end in this year’s class, but there’s a significant gap between Freiermuth and Kyle Pitts.
2021 fantasy football projection: 19 targets, 13 catches, 143 yards, 2 TDs
One of the biggest surprises on Day 2, D'Wayne Eskridge lands on a Seahawks depth chart that is relatively thin beyond Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. Blazing fast and dripping with big-play upside, Eskridge fits the mold of what Seattle has been trying do on offense in terms of stretching the field. With that said, he’s very much on the old end of the spectrum for a rookie and enters the NFL very green as a route runner. He isn’t likely to surface on the redraft radar in 2021 but could be a deep dynasty option if he’s able to earn the No. 3 job.
2021 fantasy football projection: 41 targets, 26 catches, 330 yards, 3 TDs
Round 2, Pick 57 Overall — Tutu Atwell, WR, Los Angeles Rams
He may not have been a first-round pick for the Rams, but Tutu Atwell has a lot of similarities with former Rams first-rounder Tavon Austin. Slightly built, but speedy as all get out, Atwell does address a need for the Rams. Los Angeles signed the oft-injured DeSean Jackson in the offseason, so this could be a bit of an insurance policy to make sure Matthew Stafford has a downfield threat if/when Jackson gets hurt. Atwell doesn’t figure to be a factor out of the gate and isn’t the most appealing dynasty option given his lack of prototype size.
2021 fantasy football projection: 29 targets, 17 catches, 239 yards, 1 TDs
Considered a first-round talent by many, Terrace Marshall slid to the back half of the second round due to concerns over his medical red flags. But this was a good risk to take for the Panthers, as Marshall will be reunited with his former offensive coordination at LSU in Joe Brady. Carolina does have D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson in place, but there’s a path to the No. 3 job for Marshall if he’s healthy. While that may not mean a heavy workload out of the gate, Marshall’s high upside and Kenny Golladay skillset remain extremely intriguing for dynasty purposes. That’s especially true if the Panthers can successfully salvage Sam Darnold.
2021 fantasy football projection: 78 targets, 48 catches, 588 yards, 4 TDs Ratcliffe’s 2021 fantasy football ranking: WR70
Round 2, Pick 64 Overall — Kyle Trask, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
There really isn’t much to see here for fantasy purposes. Tom Brady remains locked in place as the starter in Tampa despite his advanced age. Ryan Griffin is likely to remain the No. 2 behind Brady, so this is really just a move to add depth with a quarterback you can potentially develop. Kyle Trask put up big numbers last season at Florida, but he’s very much a throwback option who has a statuesque presence in the pocket. Even if he ends up a starter at some point, his game isn’t suited to modern fantasy football due to his lack of mobility.
The Vikings had a whole lot of nothing behind Kirk Cousins on their depth chart heading into the draft, so the selection of Kellen Mond makes a lot of sense. He figures to slide right in as the backup from the gate and has some sleeper appeal to take over the starting job if the Vikings decide to move on from Cousins in 2022 or 2023. Mond continually improved over the course of his college career and he offers a very appealing skillset for fantasy purposes thanks to his plus mobility. If there’s a quarterback outside of the Big 5 who will emerge as a dynasty option, it’s Mond. That said, Mond won’t be a fantasy option in the short term.
It’s no secret the Texans are in a predicament at quarterback. Deshaun Watson’s future with the team is very much up in the air regardless of the outcome of his legal proceedings. Houston did sign TyRod Taylor, but the veteran isn’t much more than a short-term bridge. While Davis Mills was lightly used at the college level, he did get a lot of buzz as a Day 2 prospect who could emerge as a starter at the NFL level. While that doesn’t seem like a likely outcome, he did land in a potentially opportunistic situation. He’s worth monitoring in dynasty leagues, especially those with a superflex or 2QB setup.
Round 3, Pick 77 Overall — Josh Palmer, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
A deep-ball specialist, Josh Palmer really helped his stock with a good performance at the Senior Bowl. He’ll step into a Chargers depth chart that features Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. However, beyond that there’s plenty of opportunity. We saw LA use Tyron Johnson and Jalen Guyton as their downfield threats last season, but neither player really stands out. Palmer has a shot of carving out a role as the No. 3. While that’s good for football, it’ll likely mean inconsistency for fantasy purposes. Of course, getting paired up with Justin Herbert isn’t a bad thing.
2021 fantasy football projection: 41 targets, 25 catches, 350 yards, 2 TDs
Miami continues to add pass-catching weapons for Tua Tagovailoa. After grabbing Jalen Waddle in the first round, the Dolphins picked one of the top receiving tight ends in this year’s class in Long. Let’s be clear that Long won’t be competing with Mike Gesicki. He’s a very different tight end, who figures to mainly play in-line. Gesicki, on the other hand, is a classic move option. So this selection could indicate a turn to more 12-personnel for the Dolphins. However, in the short terms, there won’t be an fantasy value with Long. He’s a just a deep dynasty stash at this point.
Round 3, Pick 82 Overall — Dyami Brown, WR, Washington Football Team
Ron Rivera and company add more speed with Dyami Brown, who averaged over 20 yards per catch over the last two seasons. While he’s a bit of a one-trick pony, Brown’s ability to get downfield in a hurry adds another dynamic to the Football Team offense. With Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and Logan Thomas in place, targets will be tough to come by for Brown. However, his big-play ability makes him stash-worthy in dynasty.
Let’s not get too carried away with this pick. Tommy Tremble isn’t likely to threaten Ian Thomas’ role in the Panthers offense. It’s much more likely he was drafted for his plus ability as a blocker. Tremble is a longshot to ever surface as a viable fantasy option.
Round 3, Pick 85 Overall — Amari Rodgers, WR, Green Bay Packers
The Packers really seem to like the running back/wide receiver tweener type, as Amari Rodgers has a lot of similarities with former Green Bay draft pick Ty Montgomery. That positionless profile may be an intriguing one for football purposes in today’s NFL, but Rodgers is not the type of wide receiver we wanted to see in a Packers uniform for fantasy purposes. Of course, like Montgomery, there is a chance Rodgers plays running back at some point. That would ultimately be the best path to fantasy value. Otherwise, we’re unlikely to get much out of Rodgers in the short term.
Round 3, Pick 88 Overall — Trey Sermon, RB, San Francisco 49ers
While there’s certainly a talent gap between the top three running backs and everyone else in this year’s class, Sermon is very appealing. Better yet, he lands in the perfect offense for his skillset. Yes, there’s a bit of a crowded house with Raheem Mostert and Jeffery Wilson in place. But Mostert hasn’t been able to stay healthy, and Sermon is arguably a more talented player than Wilson. We don’t know if Sermon will have a role in the passing game, but it wouldn’t be shocking if he emerged as the 49ers top early-down option as early as this year. His fantasy arrow is pointing straight up.
2021 fantasy football projection: 126 carries, 544 yards, 4 TDs, 29 targets, 22 catches, 173 yards, 1 TD Ratcliffe’s 2021 fantasy football ranking: RB45
Houston has holes all up and down the depth chart, but one of the biggest is at wide receiver. In Nico Collins, the Texans get a big and athletic receiver, but he’s also someone who never fully actualized his potential at the college level. There’s a chance he emerges as a fantasy option over the long haul, but Collins isn’t likely to be a factor in 2021 for fantasy purposes.
You can call him a wide receiver, but Anthony Schwartz is really a track and field athlete in a football uniform. He’s the fastest wideout in this year’s class and may be the fastest player at any position. That speed is extremely appealing, but he has plenty of developing to do before we can consider Schwartz as a fantasy option. Think of him as the Browns’ version of Mecole Hardman.
Round 3, Pick 97 Overall — Tre’ McKitty, TE, Los Angeles Chargers
With Hunter Henry now in New England, the Chargers have a need at tight end. Whether Tre' McKitty will fill that need is debatable. He is capable of catching passes as a move option, but his college tape shows a player who lacks the requisite speed to separate and get open at the pro level. At best, he’s a deep dynasty stash.