Late Round Targets for Underdog Best Ball Drafts

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QB Russell Wilson, ADP- 209.6 (QB32):

It is absolutely wild that Justin Fields who is not projected to start still is going ahead of Wilson, who is projected to start for the Steelers. Now I do think there is a worry that Fields comes in some goalline sets and takes away some scoring chances. Overall though, Wilson is the QB you should be taking from the Steelers.

I know it’s tough to believe, but Wilson was not nearly as bad as people think in fantasy last season. At the time he was benched after week 16, Wilson was QB 9 in total fantasy points and QB 11 in ppg (among QBs with at least 8 games). He’s going to an offense that could have a major playmaker in George Pickens, and a host of other good weapons, has revamped their offensive line, and hired Arthur Smith as their offensive coordinator.

Some want to point to Smith as a potential negative for Wilson, but it looks like it could be a major positive. He completely rejuvenated Ryan Tannehill‘s career in 2019 and 2020. In Tannehill’s 26 starts over that two-year period, he produced 13 games of 20 or more fantasy points, including 10 of 25+ points.

This situation is still far from clear. But unless Fields somehow wins this job, Wilson is going to return value here. And if the new team, and Arthur Smith’s presence rejuvitalizes his career, we could be talking about the QB steal of fantasy drafts.

 

QB Gardner Minshew, ADP- 213.9, (QB33):

There is some talk here that this could be an open QB battle between Minshew and Aidan O’Connell, but most expect Minshew to win the job. He has more experience, and was selected by this new staff and given a decent contract. He also is more likely to maximize their investments in players like Davante Adams, Brock Bowers, and Jakobi Meyers.

It’s the latter point that I think ultimately gets Minshew the starting job, and why he’s intriguing to target in Best Ball late. Minshew has a pretty impressive weapon trio, so if you are looking for a 3rd stack you can take one of those guys and get the QB for free essentially.

If he ends up starting all year, Minshew will likely be somewhere in the QB 20-25 range, so you are getting some solid value here.

 

RB Tank Bigsby, ADP- 202.5, (RB62):

The Jaguars offense was on the cusp of being a top 10 unit last season and could break through to be truly elite this year. Though Travis Etienne is the clear lead back, Bigsby doesn’t face a lot of competition to be his backup.

With the coachspeak of wanting to lighten Etienne’s workload, Bigsby could find himself with the chance to produce usable fantasy games without an injury. And if Etienne ever goes down, then Bigsby would become a massive value as the bell-cow back on a potential elite offense.

 

RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, ADP- 206.2, (RB63):

As of now the Chiefs have not re-signed Jerrick McKinnon, or brought in any other veteran backs, making it seem like Edwards-Helaire is the clear backup in every way to Pacheco. The only other back with NFL experience is Keaontay Ingram, and it’s not been pretty.

Not only does CEH offer tremendous handcuff value if Pacheco misses any time, but as the clear backup, he will likely have some stand-alone value as well. In addition, the Chiefs offense had to settle for a lot of field goals last season, but all-around this team looks better, which could filter down for more TD opportunities.

 

RB Evan Hull, ADP-215.5 (RB67) and RB Trey Sermon, ADP- 216 (RB88)

So right now there is clear uncertainty with the Colts backfield behind Jonathan Taylor. This means that the handcuff back to potentially one of the best rushing attacks in the league is basically free. The issue is you just have to guess the right one.

Hull probably has a bit more stand-alone value as he could get some passing down work, and maybe give you some usable weeks even if Taylor doesn’t miss time. Sermon probably would take more of the workload if Taylor was out, but it’s unclear what that workload split would be.

 

WR Devontez Walker, ADP 203.6, (WR 85)-

The Ravens passing offense will be low volume in attempts, and lower in yards, but Lamar Jackson has had a good TD% throughout his career. Mark Andrews and Zay Flowers are obviously the top targets you want, but after that, we are looking at Rashod Bateman and Isaiah Likely. Both have decent value, but it is worth looking at some Walker late in drafts.

Though he is a bit more raw than some other rookies from this class, he is a big play guy, with some size. He could be a deep-threat option for Jackson, and though the volume won’t be there the spike weeks will. He’s not my favorite WR to target after ADP 200, but he’s in the mix.

 

WR Tyler Boyd, ADP 205.9, (WR86):

Boyd has been one of the better WR3’s in the league the past couple of years in the Bengals offense headlined by two top outside receivers. He now follows former Bengals OC Brian Callahan to Tennessee, as Callahan takes over the head coaching duties. Boyd remains in a similar situation with the Titans as they have top outside receivers in Ridley and Hopkins, but he is a near lock to outperform this ADP.

The Titans are expected to be a much more passing-friendly team this season, especially with Derrick Henry now gone. Boyd could see a similar volume as he did in Cincinnati, where he finished as the WR 29th, 31st, and 48th from 2021-2023. Yet he’s being drafted currently as WR 86? Even with some team and QB uncertainty, this is just way too low.

 

WR Darius Slayton, ADP 208.8, (WR88):

Every year the Giants draft someone in the first couple of rounds to replace Darius Slayton as their top WR and every year he simply outplays them. Now that streak is likely to end this year with Malik Nabers in the first round, but the point remains that Slayton has had at least 46 catches and 724 yards in 4 of his 5 seasons, with some of the worst QB play over that time frame.

Last year Slayton didn’t really do much until the final 8 games, but in that stretch, he had 4 games of 14.7-18.6 points. With Saquon Barkley gone, and Darren Waller likely retiring, that should open up more targets, even if Nabers does take on a massive target share. Though the QB play is still suspect, a healthy Daniel Jones or Drew Lock, is likely an upgrade over what Slayton had to work with last season.

 

WR Odell Beckham Jr., ADP 211.2, (WR90):

There seems to be a narrative that Beckham is just washed up, and completely irrelevant, but that’s not really the truth. He finished 2nd on the Ravens in both targets and yards, and that is with him missing 3 games. He wasn’t helped by the fact that the Ravens were one of the lowest volume passing attacks, and even with a higher yards per attempt still only finished 21st in passing yards.

While Beckham now goes to a team with two clear elite wide receivers ahead of him in Hill and Waddle, there isn’t a real threat at TE like there was in Baltimore. The Dolphins are likely to throw the ball 70-100 times more than the Ravens did a year ago, so Beckham’s target projection might not change much.

In addition, Mike McDaniel is known as one of the best coaches at working with receivers to get the most out of their abilities. It would not be shocking to see McDaniel have a real plan to utilize Beckham this year. If for some reason Hill or Waddle miss anytime, Beckham becomes a massive value given the role he would inherit.

 

WR Rondale Moore, ADP 213.5, (WR92):

Moore has struggled to be a consistent offensive weapon in his career so far, but he now gets a nice offensive boost heading to the Falcons, where he should be the slot receiver in their offense.

Not only does he get a nice QB upgrade in Kirk Cousins, who has consistently supported multiple pass catchers in fantasy, but OC Zac Robinson comes from the Sean McVay Tree. They are some of the best coaches are utilizing a players skill set, and motion. Two things that could benefit Moore. Moore could see even more run usage this year, and more screens, as guys like London, Pitts, and Mooney clear out down the field.

I wouldn’t expect major spike weeks from him, but he should have more 10-15 point-type games than most of the receivers taken in the last couple of rounds.

 

WR A.T. Perry, ADP 214.4, (WR97):

The Saints passing offense last season ranked T-9th in attempts, 7th in Completion %, and 11th in yards and TD%. This is a passing game that most view as anemic, but it was basically top 10 in the categories that we care about for fantasy, and they got an upgrade in offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak.

A.T. Perry looks to be the clear 3rd receiver this season, with Michael Thomas no longer on the roster. As a rookie last year, Perry didn’t see the field until Week 8, and wasn’t heavily involved until game 10. He had just 18 targets, but managed 12 catches for 246 yards and 4 TDs. Now that yards per catch and TD rate aren’t sustainable, but it did show there was some big play ability.

While he will remain well behind Olave and Shaheed, there can be enough room in this offense for him to have some spike weeks and other usable fantasy weeks as the clear 3rd WR.

 

TE Ja’Tavion Sanders, ADP 209 (TE28):

Typically 4th round rookie TEs aren’t exactly fantasy targets, but Sanders isn’t your typical 4th round rookie. He had a much higher pre-draft consensus, and he faces very little competition on the Panthers. He’s an athletically gifted receiving TE who can outperform this ADP pretty easily if he gets the starting job. The upside is a bit limited, but as a TE3 option he’s well in play.

 

TE Jelani Woods, ADP 211.3, (TE 30):

After a lost season due to injury, Woods is a bit of a forgotten man this year in Best Ball. He is still likely the Colts starting TE if he can stay healthy. Though the offense will likely be lower volume in passing opportunities, this does figure to be a top-scoring offense, and Woods could be major RZ weapon. He showed a lot of promise during his rookie year with awful QB play. If Richardson comes back and plays well, you could get a nice spike week TE3 in the final rounds of drafts.

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