Who To Target With Your Last Draft Pick (2018 Fantasy Football)
There was an article that I wrote back in July that highlighted some of my favorite deep sleepers who were going outside the top-200 in fantasy drafts, so essentially undrafted in most leagues. Since that time, more than half of them are now creeping up on the top-150, leaving you with a new problem… Who should you take with the final pick in your draft?
While most analysts will tell you to snag a kicker or defense with your final pick, my suggestion would be to leave your draft without a kicker, and potentially without a defense. Why? Because if there’s an injury in the third week of preseason and your final draft pick suddenly becomes a highly sought-after commodity, you’ve struck fantasy gold. Defenses and kickers are a dime a dozen and their value can only be negatively impacted through preseason. While I understand that you need to field a defense and/or a kicker, that can be done a few days before your Week 1 matchup. Instead of drafting them, here’s the players you should look to target with your last pick. Note that I’m assuming most play in a 12-team, 16-round draft, so these players are currently being drafted outside the top-180 (would be available in the 16th round).
Jordan Wilkins (RB – IND)
It’s odd to see Wilkins still in this range, especially when Marlon Mack suffered a hamstring injury that’s likely to keep him out multiple weeks, and Robert Turbin is suspended for the first four games. It’s now down to Wilkins and Christine Michael, who has now been on four different RB-needy teams over the last three years. Wilkins is a three-down back who doesn’t do anything spectacular but reminds me of a lesser version of Matt Forte. If Andrew Luck turns this back into a top-five scoring offense, Wilkins is going to have plenty of value.
Spencer Ware (RB – KC)
A guy who was being drafted in the second-round last year is now going undrafted? While I do understand that it’s Kareem Hunt‘s starting job, can you imagine if you’d snagged Hunt with your final draft pick last year before Ware went down? Hunt would have likely been a league-winner for you. All Andy Reid does is produce RB1s in fantasy football, so snagging the clear-cut back-up to Hunt would be wise. Oh, and Ware has already shown us he can provide RB1/RB2 numbers consistently.
T.J. Yeldon (RB – JAX)
Someone needs to tell me the difference between someone like Chris Thompson and Yeldon. Seriously, did you realize Yeldon totaled 41 targets in just 10 games last year while playing as the third-string running back? That would have amounted to 66 targets over the whole season, which would have ranked 14th among running backs, right next to Jerick McKinnon. On top of that, he’s the back-up to Leonard Fournette, who has a long history of ankle issues. Yeldon may not live up to the second-round pick the Jaguars spent on him, but he flashed in spurts last year, making him worthy of a pick in 2018 drafts.
James Washington (WR – PIT)
The sooner you get this guy on your roster, the better-off you’ll be. Washington is walking right into Martavis Bryant‘s old role and will see plenty of one-on-one coverage due to Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster. He was potentially the best deep-ball tracker in the draft and his skill-set aligns perfectly with Ben Roethlisberger‘s willingness to let his receiver run under a deep-ball. The word out of Pittsburgh is that this kid just continues to impress, and that was before his two-touchdown game in the second week of the preseason.
Rod Smith (RB – DAL)
Did everyone forget who Smith was? I mean, he competed with Alfred Morris for touches when Ezekiel Elliott was suspended last year and did extremely well. He scored five touchdowns on just 74 total touches and the Cowboys felt good enough about him to let Morris walk. This is a pick you hold just in case something were to happen to Elliott, as Smith would be your league-winner. Don’t worry about Bo Scarbrough, he’s just not that good, as evidenced by him falling to the seventh-round despite playing for Alabama.
John Kelly (RB – LAR)
When looking for a potential game-changer, you want one who can catch passes out of the backfield, something Kelly does very well. He played alongside Alvin Kamara in college, with some suggesting he was the better talent. While I wasn’t one of them, Kelly is a phenomenal receiver, something the Rams would need if anything were to happen to Todd Gurley. Malcolm Brown is just a guy who doesn’t operate nearly as well as Kelly in the passing-game. Think about what Sean McVay did for Todd Gurley‘s career, yet nobody wants to draft his backup? Offense and coaching matters, guys.
Chris Godwin (WR – TB)
The Bucs have been splitting reps between Godwin, DeSean Jackson, and Adam Humphries, but something tells me that Godwin will get the starting job sooner rather than later. If you missed it, Godwin finished 26 targets over the final four weeks, turning them into 16 receptions for 295 yards and a touchdown, making him the No. 14 wide receiver during that stretch. Don’t let him fall off the radar.
John Ross (WR – CIN)
Here’s some stats for you: 196 targets, 116 receptions, 1,410 yards, and nine touchdowns. Those are Brandon LaFell‘s numbers over the last two seasons and you don’t need me to tell you he’s not the most talented wide receiver. The Bengals are now relying on Ross to fill the No. 2 wide receiver role, and he’s going to bring a different type of flavor to this offense, as defenders much respect his 4.2 speed. The best part is that he’s more than just a deep threat. He’s most definitely worth a flier in the final round and I’d say earlier than that.
Dallas Goedert (TE – PHI)
I’m usually not one for drafting rookie tight ends, but Goedert might all of a sudden need to be a factor with the way things are looking in Philadelphia. Alshon Jeffery is rumored to be a PUP list candidate, while Nelson Agholor is also banged up. It’s not as if Zach Ertz is the model of perfect health, missing four games over the last two years. As was the case with Trey Burton, he’d have fantasy value if Ertz missed time. Did you know that Burton was the No. 1 tight end in the weeks that Ertz missed in 2017?
John Brown (WR – BAL)
You better not have forgotten about Brown, who has never had issues showing his skills while on the field. He’s dealt with the sickle cell trait over the last two years, forcing him in and out of the lineup, though all reports are that he looks fantastic in Baltimore, and that he and Joe Flacco have a “clear connection.” He’s reportedly burned the cornerbacks (a good group) multiple times in every practice, while Michael Crabtree has played second fiddle. Don’t forget that Brown finished as a top-24 wide receiver back in 2015 when healthy on just 101 targets. Something tells me he might be moving up draft boards really soon.
Jeremy Hill (RB – NE)
For as much as I love Sony Michel, Hill might just turn out to be the steal of 2018 drafts. It’s hard for me to say that he’s not as talented as LeGarrette Blount, who scored 18 touchdowns in this offense two years ago. While Michel and Rex Burkhead have missed practice throughout training camp, it’s been Hill running with the first-team offense. If he lands the goal-line back role, he’s going to be a thing in fantasy football. While he wasn’t efficient in-between the 20’s in Cincinnati, he scored 29 rushing touchdowns in a three-year span. I’ll note that Hill really struggled with fumbles during his first two seasons (eight fumbles) but seemed to clean up the issue over the last two years, fumbling just once on 283 touches.
Ryan Grant (WR – IND)
How is he going undrafted as Andrew Luck‘s No. 2 target in the offense? It’s not that drafters think Andrew Luck isn’t back to being himself, because T.Y. Hilton is being drafted as a top-12 receiver. Grant is essentially the new Donte Moncrief, though Grant has played better over the last few years while in a lesser role. Over the final five weeks of the season, Grant played in a full-time capacity for the Redskins and totaled 14 receptions for 232 yards and a touchdown. With Hilton playing the field-stretcher role, Grant could flirt with 60 receptions and six touchdowns this year.