- San Francisco finally went back to Frank Gore and, lo and behold, it worked! He went off for 153 yards. It’s hard to see Gore not being around to see his contract through 2014. Marcus Lattimore dynasty owners might have to wait.
- Vernon Davis didn’t have a spectacular night but still caught a touchdown. It continues to boggle the mind that the 49ers don’t utilize him more in the passing game. It also doesn’t bode well for the chances of young tight ends Vance McDonald and Chris Harper to be productive under the current regime.
- Rams quarterback Sam Bradford is going to pass the ball. A lot. He had 41 attempts last night with four receivers getting eight targets or more. Now, if they could just catch them…
- On the flip side, the Rams will NOT be running the ball this year. See our report in the daily dynasty update.
- 49ers linebacker Michael Wilhoite stepped in for Patrick Willis last night and had seven tackles. With the 49ers ability to pick up linebackers and develop them into IDP studs, keep an eye on Wilhoite.
We kicked off the series looking at the potential first round of rookies drafted in dynasty leagues here. Next, we look at the next set of picks in a 12-team, PPR league.
Round 2, Pick 1 – WR-Cordarelle Patterson (MIN) – In his first NFL game, first round pick Patterson exhibited exactly what scouts were drooling over at the draft which was his play-making ability. He totaled 104 yards and had a beautiful 50-yard catch after catching the crease. Patterson is still extremely raw but talent will win out over time in dynasty leagues. The only draw back will continue to be Christian Ponder and the quarterback situation in Minnesota. Not to mention, the current NFL MVP dominates the playbook (as he should). Patterson won’t be in a position to get big numbers early in his career but he’s got the talent to do some special things.
Round 2, Pick 2 – WR-Aaron Dobson (NE) – As with fellow rookie Kenbrell Thompkins, the opportunity for Aaron Dobson is the better than any other in the league. Massive turnover has opened up the opportunity for anyone to be the starting X receiver. He’s played well and is making plays in camp but he’s also getting into shoving matches and not exactly setting the world on fire in-game action. He’ll move on from that but he may not be able to beat out Thompkins for first crack. The talent is there, and the competition is bare, so Dobson is an excellent value pick in the second. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have Tom Brady lobbing passes either.
Round 2, Pick 3 – TE-Travis Kelce (KC) – The first pick of the third round, Kelce is a physical specimen at the tight end position at 6′ 5″ and 260 pounds. He’s also a great receiver and athletic and can block. His only major downfall was character concerns. He was suspended the whole 2010 season which, in this day and age of leniency, means he majorly messed up. The hope is he’s moved on since then and seemingly has since he hasn’t had any issues since. Looking at his situation, he’s got a pass-happy coach who has committed to throwing more. Alex Smith will have the first shot of getting Kelce the ball. Smith didn’t have a problem getting Vernon Davis the ball so there is hope. He’ll have to battle Anthony Fasano and Tony Moeaki for snaps but his sheer athleticism should take care of that. Kansas City does plan to line him up in a variety of positions. Giddy up.
Round 2, Pick 4 -QB-Geno Smith (NYJ) – Drafted in the second round, Smith was drafted to inject some life into the abysmal Jets offense. Originally graded to be the first quarterback taken, Smith slid to the second after several off-field issues regarding agents and attitude. But the football skills are all there and Smith looks like the real deal. With little competition ahead of him (see: Sanchez, Mark), Smith has a golden opportunity to join E.J. Manuel as the only starting rookie quarterbacks. He did trip a little leading up to his first pre-season game but turned in a solid performance. The supporting cast is a different story. With zero legitimate targets to throw to, it’s hard to imagine Smith putting up even decent numbers his first year. The hope is he takes his rookie year to sort things out and be ready to utilize whatever new targets the Jets bring in. He’s a taxi-squad candidate at this point.
Round 2, Pick 5 -WR-Robert Woods (BUF) – Second rounder Woods is already stated to start in Buffalo. Like Spider-Man, that can be a gift and curse. Woods was the most NFL-ready coming in to the draft and has impressed so far in camp. He’s a part of the renaissance in Buffalo with rookie E.J. Manuel quarterbacking. But he’ll be tied to Manuel’s growing pains which will prohibit huge numbers from any Buffalo receiver for the foreseeable future. Not huge upside but has the chance to be a steady contributor for years to come.
Round 2, Pick 6 – WR-Keenan Allen (SD) – Unlike Robert Woods, Allen is a project. Drafted in the third round, the skill is there as he set the Cal record for receptions. The injury bug also has afforded Allen the opportunity to use those skills early on. However, Allen has had an up-and-down camp so far and everyone agrees that Allen has ways to go. Originally projected as a first round pick, he’s not immune from injuries either after missing the last couple games of his college career. The path is certainly clear for Allen to take over but it’ll remain to be seen if he can stay healthy.
Round 2, Pick 7 – RB-Marcus Lattimore (SF) – The ultimate taxi squad player in dynasty drafts this year, Lattimore was a legit first round talent before shredding both knees in college. Drafted in the 4th round, neither fantasy owners or San Francisco has any hope that he’ll contribute this year as he hopes to follow in the foot steps of fellow knee-injury victims Willis McGahee and, you guessed it, Frank Gore. He enters a delicious situation with Gore’s contract ballooning to $6.5 million in 2014 (at age 31), Kendall Hunter with just 184 carrie to his name, and LaMichael James as nothing more than a passing situation back. With San Francisco’s power running scheme, Lattimore is sure to be in the mix. Draft him and stash him.
Round 2, Pick 8 – TE-Zach Sudfeld (NE) – Another undrafted rookie for New England, Sudfeld has rapidly found himself playing with the first string unit. At 6′ 7″ and 255 pounds, he’s being compared to that other New England tight end (who’s still on the team) and could get work as the injures dictate. Jake Ballard was originally supposed to take over Aaron Hernandez’s production but that now appears to go to Sudfeld, who’s catching everything in sight. He’s a huge unknown but New England seems to trust him. Don’t be afraid to draft him in the second round and look like a genius.
Round 2, Pick 9 – RB-Johnathan Franklin (GB) – Franklin steps into an ideal situation for a pass-catching back. The Green Bay offense, and Aaron Rodgers in particular, will continue to pass the ball despite the presence of Eddie Lacy. He won’t be an every down back but if Franklin can establish himself as a passing-down back, he could be in for a bunch of catches. Of course, he’ll have to shore up his pass protection to even see the field. Assuming he can work those issues out, he’ll be an intriguing change of pace back.
Round 2, Pick 10 – WR-Stedman Bailey (STL) – While Bailey only sits at #4 on the depth chart, he’s had a good camp so far. St. Louis claims to be opening up the offense more which would mean more opportunities to spread the wealth. Of course, it remains to be seen if Sam Bradford can handle that load. If so, Bailey stands to gain in the long-term. If not, Bailey wouldn’t be worth a taxi squad spot.
Round 2, Pick 11 – QB-Tyler Bray (KC) – Signed as an undrafted free agent, Bray already has the strongest arm in Kansas City camp (which isn’t saying a whole lot). His lack of maturity was what set him back in the draft but he seems to have overcome those. Setting behind Alex Smith and Chase Daniel, Bray doesn’t have a clear shot to starters minutes but could develop into a tradable asset. He’s not a bad pick to stash on taxi squads especially with other rookie quarterbacks struggling.
Round 2, Pick 12 – WR-Kenny Stills (NO) – Drafted in the fifth round, there was not clear spot for Stills until Joe Morgan went down with an injury and smaller injuries allowed him to play with the first string. Now entrenched as the 3rd down receiver, Stills has put together a quietly good camp and could receive considerable attention from Drew Brees and co. He should man the slot between Marques Colston and Lance Moore. If Sean Payton works his magic upon his return, they’ll be plenty of targets to go around including ones to Stills.
The second edition of our look at dynasty rookie running backs gets into sleeper pick territory. These next backs were selected in the 3rd and 4th rounds of the 2013 NFL draft and offer plenty of intrigue.
- Knile Davis (KC) – Drafted 96th overall, Davis was a combine stud with a 4.3 40-time and 31 reps on the bench press (which led all running backs). But when it comes to game time, he’s being compared to Shonn Greene. He concluded his college career with 8 fumbles and a 3.4 YPC. Looking at the situation in Kansas City, there is no path to starters minutes with Jamaal Charles. Nor should there be. Unless Davis can show promise in the few opportunities he’ll get, there’s not much to go off there. The only real reason to draft Davis is as a handcuff to Jamaal Charles.
- Johnathan Franklin (GB) – The Packers traded up to the 125th pick to snag Franklin to go along with Eddie Lacy. The Packers got great value as some had Franklin as the best running back in the draft after averaging over six yards per carry at UCLA. But at the same time, it remains to be seen where Franklin will fit in the new look backfield. Lacy is the obvious first stringer and goal line back but is Franklin a change of pace? 3rd down option? If he can get a cut of Aaron Rodgers throws, he’d be worth something as soon as this year. If not, Franklin is nothing more than a Lacy handcuff at this point.
- Marcus Lattimore (SF) – After totaling almost 1,500 yards and 19 total touchdowns as a freshman, Lattimore tore his left ACL the next year and completely ripped up his knee the year after, tearing 3 -CL’s (ACL, PCL, MCL) in his right knee. Widely projected as a top pick, Lattimore fell to the 49ers who, with their abundance of picks, was able to draft Lattimore as a luxury. Dynasty fantasy football players should probably treat Lattimore the same way. He won’t contribute any this year but would be great on the taxi squad. The offense in San Francisco is ideal but there’s no clear path to being the starter. Frank Gore has at least one more year while there’s competition for carries from Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James. Treat Lattimore as a luxury instead of a necessity.
None of these backs will contribute much this year but all are worth keeping an eye on for taxi squad. If NFL teams think this highly of them, you should too. Two are in the top 35 of running backs in dynasty ranks.