It is officially August and the Hall of Fame game is tonight! Football is definitely in the air. Earlier this week I covered what I will be doing in the first round of drafts, now it is time to move onto the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Of course, if anyone that I wrote about in the first installment slips through the cracks like an Urban Meyer cover up, I would take a stab at those names first. I don’t know what’s going on in your draft! I’m not there. All I can do is go off of ADP and my rankings and tell you who I like and don’t like. Let’s run through some names in the teens through the 30’s, shall we?
Top o’ Round 2
One man’s suspension is another man’s opportunity to rake. With Mark Ingram’s four game suspension looming, it makes me uneasy to think of Alvin Kamara with more touches. Alvin Kamara without Mark Ingram is like peanut butter without jelly, macaroni without cheese, and intercourse without foreplHEEEY Jay! [Jay’s Note: I’ll allow it.] I’m expecting a bit of an uptick in the passing game which should mean business as usual for the always dependable Michael Thomas. Michael Thomas saw 149 targets from Drew Brees in 2017 which ranked 6th among all wide receivers. His 104 catches in 2017 also puts him up there with the elite pass catchers in the league. What hurt Thomas last season was going from catching 9 touchdowns in 2016 to just 5 in 2017. I’m gambling on Thomas seeing pay dirt a few more times this season than he did in the last.
Middle of Round 2
Joe Mixon didn’t have the rookie season that I wanted him to have. But, he was still able to show flashes of why Cincinnati took a chance on him. One of the battles with Mixon all season was holding off Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard for snaps. According Evan Silva, Mixon was only on the field for 50% of offensive snaps in half of the games that he played last season. With Jeremy Hill now officially out of the picture, Joe Mixon should see the majority of first and second down work to start the season and if it all goes well, there is no reason that he wouldn’t be the bell cow going forward. The Bengals also brought in Cordy Glenn and drafted Billy Price to bolster their offensive line that seemed lost in the sauce last season. If the Cincinnati Bengals offense is able to improve as a whole, which it should, Mixon should also be able to collect more than four touchdowns this season.
Late Round 2/Early 3rd Round
The mid to late 20’s in ADP frankly don’t do anything for me. When we get to #32 in ADP I see a receiver that will be on the rise as August rolls along as long as Andrew Luck is gunning it with a healthy shoulder. T.Y. Hilton is a baaaad baaaad man when Andrew Luck is on the field. Hilton had at least 82 catches in three of the four seasons between 2013 and 2016 and at least 1,000 yards in all four of them. Hilton peaked in 2016 with 91 catches and fell just 52 yards short of a 1,500 yard receiving season. I expect more of a 2016-type season from Hilton this season because he doesn’t seem to be facing any competition from other teammates as far as talent goes. When Luck isn’t peppering his tight ends, you better believe he will be trying to find Hilton down the field.
Middle of the 3rd Round
People are expecting regression from Adam Thielen this year, but I don’t see it. Yes, Kirk Cousins does love throwing the ball to tight ends and Stefon Diggs is still on the verge of having his breakout campaign but Adam Thielen can get open. His ability to find space is a big reason why he converted 91 of his 143 targets into almost 1,300 yards last season. Of course, it is a bummer he only found the end zone four times. The bottom line is the passing game should only improve with Kirk Cousins under center. The two most talented targets should see a lot of opportunities from their new quarterback and one of those two is Adam Thielen.
Late 3rd Round
Quarterbacks without a lot of experience tend to look for a safe go-to target. That target will be Travis Kelce for 2nd year man, Pat Mahomes. Travis Kelce had the highest usage rate of any of the Chief’s players in the passing game in 2017 (14% of total plays). Travis also had the most red zone targets out of anyone on the team by a mile. Albert Wilson was number two on the list and as you may know, he now plays for the Dolphins. Kelce is coming off of his career high in touchdowns (8) which doubled his previously highest total and he also has back to back 1,000 yard receiving seasons. Being able to get Kelce in the back end of the 3rd round is quite the bargain.
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