Fantasy Football Late Round Draft Picks Redraft Strategy
We’re going to wrap up this 4 part segment with what is, in my opinion, the funnest part of the draft. First we locked down a first round stud. Then we bolstered our core in the second and third with some safe, medium floor, high ceiling players. After that we took some shots on high upside potential league winners in the mid rounds. Now we have our starters all set (except for QB and possibly tight end) so it’s time to load up on late round lottery tickets.
We are the music makers and we are the streamers of streams
While the other goons in your league are taking defenses and kickers or crushing Busch Lights while they autograft, we’ll be sipping a tall, cold glass of fantasy dominance. There are Odell Beckhams and Alvin Kamaras to be had in the last rounds of your draft and the only way to get them is to shoot your shot. Rather than clog up your bench with handcuffs or low ceiling guys that “you aren’t sure if you can drop or not”, we are going to grab as many potential breakouts as we can here. If they don’t get playing time or they suck? No problem – we’ll hit waivers and move on to the next big thing.
*again, this is based off a 12 man, half point PPR, QB, 3 WR, 2 RB, TE, Flex league*
The very first thing we need to do is address a couple players whose ADPs might not be reflective of the current landscape. I feel these guys need to be drafted right away if they didn’t go in the first 7 rounds that we covered. After that I’m going to give you the rest of the WRs, RBs, QBs, and TEs I’m targeting late.
Nelson Agholor PHI – ADP 100
Carson Wentz is currently going off the board as QB6-7 in most leagues. The Eagles obviously won the super bowl last year and their offense was 3rd in points per game only behind the Saints and Patriots. Despite only starting 10 games, Agholor had nearly identical stats to Alshon Jeffrey and led the team with 19 red zone targets. As of right now, former steroid user and oft injured Jeffrey is already slated to miss the first couple games of the year making Agholor the 2nd option in the passing game behind Zack Ertz. So why are 3rd options in worse passing games like Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods going earlier still? For me, I’m taking Agholor as high as the 7th or 8th at this point but he’s a must draft in the 9th or beyond.
Keelan Cole JAX – ADP 157
By now everyone knows that Marqise Lee is done for the season but it seems fantasy gamers are misallocating their resources into guys like Donte Moncrief, Dede Westbrook, and DJ Chark. Last year the most targeted Jaguars were Marqise Lee (96) and Keelan Cole (83) followed by Allen Hurns (56). This year all offseason Lee and Cole ran with the 1s and were first on the depth chart. And we also saw 3 games to end the season last year when Marqise Lee was out – most players were rested for week 17 but here are Keelan Cole’s weeks 15 and 16 from last year.
Why people are opting for one of the other options over Cole is beyond me. Like Agholor, I’m grabbing Cole as soon as I can once my starting lineup is set.
Kenny Golladay DET – ADP 130
Let’s keep this train rolling with some other late round wide receivers to target if Agholor and Cole are gone. First, let’s address what is obviously holding people back here: Kenny Golladay is the 3rd wide receiver and may see the third most targets on the team behind Marvin Jones and Golden Tate. That’s pretty much it for downside. Last year the team that ran the most 11 personnel formations (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WRs) was the LA Rams at 80%. Cooks, Kupp, and Woods are all drafted by now. Second most? The Lions at 74%. And that’s even with Golladay missing 5 games with a hamstring injury. With Eric Ebron gone, the Lions are left with Luke Willson at TE so we can expect a heavy dosage of 11 personnel this season – if not 4 WR sets. To make things even sweeter, there were reports this offseason of Jones and Golladay being used in 2 wide sets hinting that perhaps Tate would be spending more time in the slot with the bigger Jones and Golladay on the field in goal line packages. I mean, Tate himself did say that Kenny Golladay “makes freakish catches’ and “can be dominant in this league”.
Anthony Miller CHI – ADP 150
The Bears are being touted as having a completely revised passing game considering they have a new pass happy coach and Allen Robinson (free agent), Taylor Gabriel (free agent), Trey. Burton (free agent tight end), and Anthony Miller (rookie) are all new to the team. The assumption coming in to camp was that Allen Robinson would be locked in at the WR1 slot and Trey Burton would have some sort of role as the move tight end with Adam Shaheen handling blocking duties. That left what was supposed to be an interesting camp competition between Taylor Gabriel, Kevin White, and Anthony Miller for the second WR spot until Anthony Miller blew everyone away with his camp performance. A quick google search will reveal the type of praise heaped on him by both people close to team (HC Nagy, OC Helfroch) and third parties (former GM Phil Savage). The most telling sign to this point is that coach Nagy decided to rest what he views as his most important pieces against the Chiefs which included Trubisky, Howard, Cohen, Robinson, and Anthony Miller but did not include Taylor Gabriel (even though he’s battling an injury) or Kevin White. Looks like Miller will be lining up alongside Allen Robinson against the Packers week 1 and, with his contested catch ability, I’m all aboard this hype train. If Matt Nagy could make the Chiefs a top 7 passing offense in 2017, he should certainly be able to ramp up this Bears team.
Just wanted to spell Tyreke Hill incorrectly one more time so Reddit could freak out again
Chris Godwin TB – ADP 182
The fact that this ADP is still so low given the news so far just baffles me. And though we have used FantasyPros ADP to this point, I believe FantasyFootballCalculator.com may have the better data for Godwin currently showing him at 152 (which is still late if you ask me). Many people are surprised to learn that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were 4th in the league last year in passing yards. It’s only preseason so it can’t carry too much weight but it’s interesting to note they are 1st in passing yards per game in these exhibition games as well with 315 yards per game. Mike Evans is going off the board in the 2nd as expected but we aren’t seeing the next Bucs WR go until the 13-16th rounds. Which is odd because all reports indicate that Godwin has earned the starting role in 2 WR sets next to Evans and that DeSean Jackson is looking to play the slot and even return punts to try to keep him involved in the offense. With everything indicating Godwin is the WR2 on this team and him scoring touchdowns in each of the preseason games that matter, Godwin really should be going as high as the 9th or 10th and Jackson probably doesn’t need to be rostered at all.
Additional Deeper WR Targets
This part of the draft is why I emphasized taking RBs early. You look around and Marlon Mack, Jamaal Williams, and Isaiah Crowell have already gone (if not, get them). The starting RBs are few and far in between or else the red flags are glaring. Everyone knows that an RB comes out of nowhere to be a top 12-24 RB each year but they aren’t typically someone you draft- they usually emerge due to injury and are picked up off waivers. And we aren’t drafting Chase Edmunds just to hope David Johnson gets hurt so let’s look at what’s left for upside or standalone fantasy value.
Chris Carson SEA – ADP 101
If coach speak were pamphlets about our lord and savior then Pete Carrol would be the guy in the parking lot after every game wearing a sandwich board. Just hanging there trying to hand out his info when no one even wants it and you’re really not sure if you can believe it either. But in this case there’s more than just reports from Carrol himself that suggest Carson was head and shoulders better than the other guys at camp. Brady Henderson from ESPN reported that Carson was firmly locked in as the starting RB even before Rashad Penny broke his finger and had to have surgery. Carson had a couple decent games last year and proved he could contribute a little in the passing game so he’s worth a shot at a point in the draft when there are very few people listed on the depth chart as RB1.
Peyton Barber TB – ADP 114
Here’s another situation where we are reminded that not every rookie RB drafted will be the starter right away or even ever be good for that matter. This pick isn’t necessarily on the merits of Barber himself but more on the unusually bad news about rookie Ronald Jones. Typically everything coming out of camp is sunshine and rainbows but we have Pete Prisco of CBS telling us he “doesn’t get the playbook” and runningbacks coach Tim Spencer saying that he’s “not surprised USC didn’t throw him the ball a ton in college”. Add in that head coach Dirk Koetter says that Barber is “looking like a starter” and that’s enough quotes for me to take a flyer on Barber. I mean, the Bucs did draft Jeremy McNichols in the 5th last year and cut him before the season even started so they clearly have shown that they aren’t afraid of ditching a sunken cost. Of course, Jones isn’t likely to be cut but if he’s a liability in pass blocking and doesn’t offer much elsewhere he may ride the pine until he can be trusted.
James White NE – ADP 131
As we discussed in our 2nd and 3rd round article, the New England Patriots have vacated a lot of targets without replacing them. Cooks, Amendola, and Dion Lewis are all gone and they already cut recent signing Jordan Matthews and Eric Decker. Julian Edelman is suspended four games so, if you drafted Mark Ingram or Edelman as your flex, you might want to consider James White as someone to plug in as a potential target hog as you anxiously await their return. Off the top of your head you might guess that Dion Lewis outsnapped the rest of the backfield by a decent margin but Lewis actually played 35% of the snaps with White playing a close 33% and Burkhead playing 17%. With week 1 already in doubt for rookie Sony Michel, there aren’t many RBs you could realistically plug and play anymore. Despite not being the featured back in any year while also missing time, White has had 56, 60, and 40 catches the last 3 seasons and he may have his biggest opportunity yet this year.
Additional deeper RB targets
So our advice from the very start was to put off QB until the later part of the draft which would make this the most important part of this article. Unless it’s a 2 QB league, it really is in your best interest to wait until you have loaded up sufficiently at other positions. Based on mock drafts, QBs are going later than ever this year and the difference from QB 6 to QB 12 usually isn’t a massive chasm so there are steals to be had later.
Matt Stafford DET – ADP 103
This is the quarterback I’m highest on though I’m sometimes not ready to take a QB yet by round 8-9 where you are likely to get him. We are talking about a guy who has a 5,000 yard 40 TD season on his resume and, over the last 3 years, has averaged 4,345 yards, 28 TDs, and a passer rating of 96.5. I mean, what more could you want? Not to mention they just beefed up the offensive line as we discussed in the Kerryon Johnson section and new coach Matt Patricia is having Jim Bob Cooter integrate the QB friendly Erhardt Perkins system into the offense (while still keeping a lot of the plays they had success on last year). With arguably the best/deepest receiving core in the league, it boggles my mind that people are passing on Stafford to draft small sample size younger QBs like Jimmy Garoppolo or Deshaun Watson.
Matt Ryan ATL – ADP 111
Speaking of mind boggling, has there ever been a QB fall so hard in the fantasy rankings just one year removed from being league MVP and making it to the super bowl? The Falcons weren’t even bad last year going 10-6 and making the playoffs again. I know the 2016 season was a bit of an anomaly with how historically well they did but I expect a correction this season after a 64.5% red zone TD conversion rate in 2016 dropped below 50% in 2017. They used their first round pick on the polished Calvin Ridley and they gave Julio Jones an extension so they are clearly committed to the passing game which will hopefully translate to a bounce back year for Matty Ice. The beautiful thing is he’s going off the board as the 14th QB drafted so you could literally wait until every team has a QB and then draft Ryan who’s upside is league MVP. And you could also play it safe by drafting one of the guys below as well to hedge your bets.
Alex Smith ADP – 134
This is one of my favorites because Alex Smith finally gets a chance to show what he can do. He’s been known as a “game manager” which is true when you are in a run first offense that has won 10, 12, and 11 games the last 3 years. But what people don’t realize is that, when Smith needs to, he can dial it up. And when he dials it up he cranks it to 11 and tears the knob off. Here are his splits last year based on score differential.
See that trailing stat? 15 TDs, 2 picks, 71 completion percentage, ~120 passer rating. Animal. We saw it first hand when he threw for 368 yards, 4 TDs, no picks to beat the Pats or 366 yards, 4 TDs, no picks in a 38-31 loss to the Jets. People dog him for throwing for 155 yards against the Chargers but who cares when you win the game by 14? Why would you want him to just start throwing the ball around? This year however he will be on the Redskins who’s running game was just dealt a crushing blow with the loss of Derrius Guice. Kirk Cousins put together his stats while putting the team on his back and playing from behind and I honestly think Alex Smith is going to do quite a bit of the same this year. Will the team be as good as his Chiefs teams? No probably not. But we want him to throw so this year we are going to get to see it. And if he sucks just drop him for someone else – we are talking about QB 18.
In previous years the Alex Smithysizer was set to around 6
Other later round QBs going after QB12
I wanted to include a quick list of tight ends I’m targeting late if you didn’t have a chance to grab a tight in the mid rounds as I suggested in my last article. There are still plenty of high upside guys left late. A common strategy of mine if I don’t grab a top 10 QB or tight end is to wait until late and grab two. Someone should hopefully emerge within the first couple weeks and then you have an all important bench spot available. I would especially recommend that approach with a tight end like Eifert where we are unsure where he will be health wise but the upside is there.
- George Kittle SF – TE12
- Tyler Eifert CIN – TE14
- OJ Howard TB – TE15
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins JAX – TE18
- Austin Hooper ATL – TE23
- Jared Cook OAK – TE26
Thanks again for taking the time to read this four part series and good luck in your draft this year! Oh yeah, and draft a defense and a kicker with your last two picks if you have to. Who cares – streaming is the way to go.