The 2017 NFL rookie class turned some heads in their first campaign, with the likes of Alvin Kamara and Leonard Fournette, among others, making fantasy owners happy come season’s end.
But with a year under their belt, plenty of other players are set to build upon the foundation they laid last season and step into bigger roles. For some that means getting a little more responsibility in the offense, for others that means becoming the focal point of the offense.
Regardless of the situation, there’s sure to be many sophomores in 2018 that could prove to be lucrative fantasy options.
That said, lets take a look at seven potential second-year breakout candidates.
Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Kansas City Chiefs. Trading away Alex Smith was about as clear an indication as could be that the Chiefs are committed to Mahomes as their signal-caller of the future. The 22-year-old has an absolute cannon, but also uses his feet well. He didn’t get much of an opportunity in his rookie season, but that’s all set to change in 2018. There likely will be some growing pains, but that shouldn’t deter anyone from the upside that he’ll bring running the Kansas City offense.
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears. Save for Deshaun Watson, there may not be a quarterback more apt to make a big jump in Year 2. He had plenty of opportunities to acclimate himself into the NFL as a rookie with minimal expectations, which should prove to be crucial in his overall development. The Bears are building the offense around him and are expecting huge things, especially with weapons like rookie wideout Anthony Miller and free-agent signing Allen Robinson now in the fold.
Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans. Davis made his skill apparent in the postseason last campaign, scoring in both of the Titans’ playoff games. And judging by reports from Titans camp, he and quarterback Marcus Mariota are getting their timing and chemistry down pretty well. As such, he’s certainly set to cement himself as a key part of the Tennessee offense, meaning he should be worthy of fantasy owners’ attention.
Corey Clement, RB, Philadelphia Eagles. If you didn’t know Clement throughout most of last year, he made his presence felt in the Super Bowl with a clutch touchdown grab. LeGarrette Blount now is out of the picture, and Philly coach Doug Pederson showed in 2017 he wasn’t afraid to use the 23-year-old on the goal line. So with Blount no longer handling the power back duties, expect to see Clement used in situations where a touchdown is imminent.
Trent Taylor, WR, San Francisco 49ers. Although Taylor logged 430 yards receiving last season, a good chunk came in the final games with Jimmy Garoppolo under center. With the quarterback now locked into a long-term contract, Taylor is worthy of some breakout consideration, as the two clearly had a good rapport that only will improve.
Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers. A stellar receiver in college, Williams impressed at times in his rookie season. But he’s now in a position to become a much bigger part of the offense and has been shredding in training camp. Plus, it never hurts to be running routes for a quarterback that will throw for yards upon yards in Philip Rivers.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings. Cook gave fantasy owners a peek into what he is capable of before sustaining a torn ACL in Week 4, which ended his season. He likely, and understandably, will fall in many drafts given the nature of his injury, but make no mistake, he’s the real deal. He’s explosive out of the backfield and a valuable receiving option, so he offers no shortage of assets valuable to owners.
Thumbnail photo via Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports Images.