If you take a look at our top 200 Fantasy Football rankings you get to see both who each expert is highest on and how we rank the players as a consensus. Two players that may stand out in the first two rounds are James Cook and Jaylen Waddle. I rank Cook at 16 overall and Waddle at 23, making both Round 2 picks. While Jamey agrees with me on Cook, Dave has Cook and Waddle back-to-back in Round 3. So here's my case for why you should feel confident drafting both in Round 2.

The case for Cook starts with what he did after Joe Brady took over as the team's offensive coordinator in 2023. In his final seven regular season games with Brady calling plays, Cook averaged 19.6 touches, 104.3 yards, and 16.4 PPR Fantasy points per game. To follow that up, Cook touched the ball 22 times in each of the Bills two playoff games. The Bills chose to establish the run in the second half of the season and dealing away Stefon Diggs in the offseason only reinforces that plan in 2024.

There were only 10 running backs who scored more total Fantasy points than Cook last season. Two of them are now on the wrong side of 30 (Raheem Mostert and Derrick Henry) and Joe Mixon is 28 years old and just changed teams. Cook, on the other hand, is just entering his prime and won't turn 25 years old until late September. A back that young, on a very good offense, with a workhorse role is the only type of back you should be considering in the first two rounds of Fantasy drafts. Well, besides Christian McCaffrey. I expect Cook to top 300 touches for the first time in his career this season and set career highs in yards, catches, and touchdowns while he's at it. He has the upside to produce first round value if everything goes right.

While the case for Cook involves looking at last year, the case for Waddle involves ignoring parts of last year, namely his partial games. The main reason Waddle took a step back is because he missed full games and partial games. In the 11 games he played at least 60% of the team's offensive snaps he produced 62 catches for 859 yards and four touchdowns on 88 targets. That's 15.6 PPR FPPG, which is actually two tenths of a point higher than Waddle scored in his breakout 2022 campaign. Considering he's only missed four games in three seasons in the NFL, I see no reason to view Waddle as an injury risk. When he's been healthy he's been a borderline WR1, which is exactly what he should be viewed as in 2024. 

What may be hidden is the upside that exists if something happens to 30-year-old Tyreek Hill. In the only game Hill missed last season, Waddle caught eight passes for 142 yards and a score on nine targets against the New York Jets. While those numbers are monstrous, they don't even tell the whole story because Tua Tagovailoa only threw 24 passes for 224 yards due to the blowout nature of the game. In other words, Waddle is a borderline WR1 who could be the WR1 if Hill misses time. That's definitely worthy of a pick at the two-three turn, which is exactly where we were drafting Waddle a year ago.

The way early drafts are going, there is a chance you may be able to draft Cook at the end of Round 2 and Waddle early in Round 3, which has the potential to be a league-winning duo in 2024. Don't hesitate to pull the trigger.