Fantasy Football Best-Ball Late Round Targets (MFL10 and DRAFT)
If you’re not playing in dynasty formats, you’re likely feeling a bit empty with your redraft leagues still months away. And if you are playing dynasty, you’re a diehard who likely can’t get enough fantasy football in your life. Well, that’s what best-ball is for. If you’ve never played in a best-ball league, I put together an introduction for you right here.
When in a best-ball league, you know the guys in the top 10 rounds pretty dang well, as almost all of them have been producers in years past. While those rounds will certainly help carry you through to a top-three finish, it’s the late rounds that will push you over the top in order to win that top spot. Because of that, I’m putting together this list of my top late-round targets.
These players may not be great for redraft leagues, as they’ll likely be a tad inconsistent, but in best-ball, we don’t care about that. I’ve gone through my Boom, Bust, and Everything In Between research for the 2018 season and it’s highlighted a few players who are going overlooked or undervalued in best-ball formats. There are also players who are walking into more opportunity in 2019, though the public hasn’t quite reacted enough. Here’s some of the players you should be targeting after the 10th-round.
I’ve gathered the information for this study from our consensus best-ball ADP, which features the three major best-ball sites.
Jimmy Garoppolo (QB – SF) Current ADP: 122 overall (QB22)
If Mitch Trubisky had fallen outside the top 120 picks, he’d be atop this list, but he fell in at 108 overall (he’s a great value). Did you know that if you combined Garoppolo, Nick Mullens, and C.J. Beathard‘s starts last year, they would’ve finished as the QB16? It’s obvious Garoppolo is the best of the bunch and only played three games in 2018, so what gives? They don’t have a strong run-game and added a few pass-catchers to help him out. His dynasty ADP is QB13, so how is his best-ball ADP QB22?
Derek Carr (QB – OAK) Current ADP: 137 overall (QB25)
Let me start by saying I’m not a big Carr guy, but he’s a great target for best-ball formats. He’s not getting benched and he just had his wide receiver corps completely rebuilt. Even with the ugly depth chart he had last year, did you know Carr had more 25-plus point games than both Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck? He’s nowhere close to as consistent as those two, but in best-ball, we want those “boom” performances.
Andy Dalton (QB – CIN) Current ADP: 149 overall (QB27)
He probably wouldn’t have been on this list in years past, but with Zac Taylor at the helm, it’s worth considering Dalton a tremendous value in best-ball formats. Coaching can make all the difference in the world and it doesn’t hurt that he’ll have A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross, and Joe Mixon as pass-catchers. You might not believe it, but Dalton has delivered top-12 numbers in at least 36.4 percent of his games in six of the last seven seasons. Seem low? Well, there were only 20 quarterbacks who hit that mark in 2018 alone.
Marcus Mariota (QB – TEN) Current ADP: 162 overall (QB28)
He’s under the gun in a make-or-break season and has tremendous weapons to throw to. While I’m not one who believes Mariota is the answer, he can provide value as the 28th quarterback off the board. With a healthy Delanie Walker and Corey Davis, then adding A.J. Brown and Adam Humphries to the mix, Mariota should deliver a few top-10 performances, which makes for a great No. 3 quarterback on your best-ball squad.
Austin Ekeler (RB – LAC) Current ADP: 122 overall (RB45)
I don’t believe Ekeler has RB1 upside like many people did when Melvin Gordon was hurt last year. But that doesn’t mean he’s not valuable. Despite having more than eight carries just four times all season, Ekeler posted RB2 or better numbers in 42.9 percent of his games, which ranked 25th in the NFL. He doesn’t need a Gordon injury to be a contributor on your best-ball roster.
Ronald Jones (RB – TB) Current ADP: 132 overall (RB49)
With running backs, it’s all about opportunity. Not only do best-ballers not value Jones as a starter, but they have him as a very mediocre backup. There were just three teams in the NFL who failed to have at least one top-35 running back on their roster in 2018, so the odds are in Jones’ favor. With Bruce Arians coming to town, expectations should be that they have a top-24 running back on the roster, and Jones is the only one who has the ability to rise to that level.
Damien Harris (RB – NE) Current ADP: 147 overall (RB52)
Once you get outside the top 35-40 running backs, we’re talking about handcuffs. Why in the world wouldn’t Harris be atop that list? Despite having Sony Michel on the roster, the Patriots felt it necessary to draft Harris in the third-round, signifying how important their run-game will be moving forward. Michel has a chronic knee condition and was forced to miss some time last year, so if something similar should happen in 2019, Harris could be a league-winner. In fact, he may get some goal-line opportunities regardless.
Doug Martin (RB – OAK) Current ADP: 238 overall (RB74)
Remember when everyone counted Martin out last year? When he took over for Marshawn Lynch, he did a fine job, totaling at least 7.9 PPR points in 8-of-10 games, with four games that amounted to at least 12.2 PPR points. We all know the Raiders are starting Josh Jacobs, but he’s someone who has never tallied more than 120 carries in a season, so it’s possible he’s not as effective with a full workload. At worst, Martin is a handcuff who’d walk into a 15-plus touch role if something happened to Jacobs.
Elijah McGuire (RB – NYJ) Current ADP: 262 overall (RB82)
Have you heard the rumors about Adam Gase potentially shipping Le’Veon Bell out of town prior to the season? While I don’t think that happens, it’s clear that Gase/Bell have started out on the wrong foot. McGuire is the only other running back on the roster with three-down experience, as Ty Montgomery isn’t that guy. Remember when Gase traded away Jay Ajayi during the prime of his career? Even if Bell isn’t traded, I can see plenty of scenarios where McGuire gets used more than most are expecting. At his current price, there’s zero risk.
Alexander Mattison (RB – MIN) Current ADP: 292 overall (RB87)
Have we seen Dalvin Cook stay healthy during any point of his NFL career? Neither have the Vikings, which led to them selecting Mattison in the third-round of the NFL Draft. When Cook went down last year, we watched Latavius Murray average 16.8 touches per game in that stretch. Some will say Mike Boone and Roc Thomas might play a part, but if the Vikings believed that, they wouldn’t have taken Mattison in the third-round of a weak running back class. He’s the handcuff to Cook.
Tre’Quan Smith (WR – NO) Current ADP: 163 overall (WR57)
Owning Saints wide receivers in redraft can be frustrating (outside of Michael Thomas), but going back to the Brandon Colemans, Robert Meachems, Kenny Stills‘, and Devery Hendersons of years past, you’re always going to get a few massive performances out of them. That was precisely the case with Smith, who delivered a 31.7- and 26.1-point performance in 2018. He was a rookie, so his inconsistency should’ve been expected, but those are the totals that can help get you over the hump, and it’s even better when that player is being drafted in the 14th round.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR – GB) Current ADP: 167 overall (WR60)
There was a rumor that Valdes-Scantling stopped getting targeted towards the end of the year because he was listening to Mike McCarthy rather than Aaron Rodgers. We definitely want that to get cleaned up and figured out, but after the Packers failed to draft a wide receiver to replace Randall Cobb in the slot, Valdes-Scantling is the next man up and the only one who has a lot of slot experience. His ADP of WR60 is worth it to get a starting wide receiver tied to Rodgers.
Marquise Brown (WR – BAL) Current ADP: 170 overall (WR62)
You’d agree with me that Brown is the best wide receiver on the Ravens roster, right? Without looking, how many teams didn’t have a top-50 fantasy wide receiver on their roster in 2018? Two of them, that’s it. Is Lamar Jackson a great passer? No, but the thing he does well is what will benefit Brown the most… buy time. While Jackson scrambles, Brown will shake free of coverage for some big plays. He’s going to be inconsistent in redraft leagues, but I’m all over Brown in best-ball as a player who compares to DeSean Jackson.
Taylor Gabriel (WR – CHI) Current ADP: 199 overall (WR77)
I’m not sure how many missed it, but Gabriel saw 93 targets in 2018, which tied for 36th among receivers. It was his first year in the offense and first year with Mitch Trubisky as his quarterback. That’s tough on chemistry with speed wide receivers, but Gabriel delivered two 100-yard games. He only scored two touchdowns all season, which make his overall numbers look weak, but it shows room for growth in best-ball. Knowing he saw at least five targets in 11-of-16 games highlights just how much the Bears want to get him the ball.
Demarcus Robinson (WR – KC) Current ADP: 200 overall (WR78)
It’s possible to get a starting wide receiver for Patrick Mahomes at No. 200 overall? This is odd, as most Chiefs players tend to be overvalued based on last year’s numbers, but not Robinson. There were just nine wide receivers who scored more fantasy points per target than Robinson in 2018 (minimum 20 targets), highlighting the potential. Tyreek Hill ranked fourth and Sammy Watkins ranked 23rd, so maybe it’s all about opportunity with the Chiefs? I’m willing to invest the No. 200 overall pick to find out. If Hill gets suspended (expected), you won’t be able to get Robinson outside the top-120 anymore.
Devante Parker (WR – MIA) Current ADP: 208 overall (WR80)
I mentioned it above in the Marquise Brown paragraph, but it’s worth repeating. There were just two teams in the NFL who failed to have a top-50 fantasy wide receiver on their roster last year, showing how great the odds are. Parker may not have lived up to his expectations but let’s not forget who his coach was and how that coach liked to put players in the doghouse. The Dolphins extended Parker immediately once that coach left the team. Did you know that Parker posted WR3 or better numbers in 53 percent of his games prior to the 2018 season? There were just 28 receivers who hit that mark in 2018 and it’s not as if Ryan Fitzpatrick or Josh Rosen are downgrades from Ryan Tannehill and Matt Moore.
David Moore (WR – SEA) Current ADP: 233 overall (WR86)
This is a Bobby Sylvester special, as Moore is someone he’s attempting to snag in every best-ball draft. While I’m not as optimistic, his price is nowhere close to where it should be with Doug Baldwin being released. Part of the reason Moore even made it on the fantasy radar was due to Baldwin’s injuries in 2018, as it pushed Tyler Lockett into the slot, and Moore into the starting lineup. Moore will now battle with rookie D.K. Metcalf for targets from Russell Wilson, but it helps that he’s been in the system for a year and has rapport with Wilson, one of the better quarterbacks in the league. He should not be going after guys like Randall Cobb, Trey Quinn, and Cole Beasley.
Phillip Dorsett (WR – NE) Current ADP: 248 overall (WR90)
Does everyone realize that Rob Gronkowski retired, and that Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson are no longer on the team? That’s 155 targets that evaporated and it’s not as if rookie N’Keal Harry is going to walk into 100-plus targets in his first season. Even with those guys on the roster last year, Dorsett saw 42 targets and delivered WR2 or better numbers in 27.3 percent of his games, which was a better mark than Golden Tate, Dede Westbrook, Larry Fitzgerald, and Allen Robinson.
John Ross (WR – CIN) Current ADP: 258 overall (WR93)
He’s going after Rob Gronkowski, who’s retired from football. C’mon, guys. Do you remember when Robert Woods was on waiver wires while with the Bills? Well, coaching matters and Ross just inherited Zac Taylor, who has said they’ll start their offense with the Rams playbook. If Ross plays the Brandon Cooks role, it’d be very exciting. Ross saw just 17 targets over 20 yards last year, limiting his potential. Take the upside of the unknown in his new offense.
Travis Benjamin (WR – LAC) Current ADP: 297 overall (WR101)
So, the Chargers let Tyrell Williams walk in free agency, then failed to replace him in free agency or the draft. What does that tell you? They believe in Benjamin. In fact, they extended his contract through 2020, too. He’s a starting wide receiver for Philip Rivers. While Mike Williams walks into a much bigger role, it’s very likely that Benjamin gets 60-plus targets this year, which is worth much more than the 101st wide receiver, which often means undrafted.
Delanie Walker (TE – TEN) Current ADP: 139 overall (TE16)
He’s falling even further in redraft leagues right now, but Walker still presents value in best-ball leagues. Did you know that Walker produced TE1 numbers in 62.3 percent of his games from 2014-2017? Here’s the list of tight ends who hit just 55 percent in 2018: Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Eric Ebron, O.J. Howard, and Zach Ertz. That’s it. Is it a coincidence that Marcus Mariota struggled without him? If you miss out on the big-name tight ends, don’t panic.
Jimmy Graham (TE – GB) Current ADP: 141 overall (TE17)
I received a lot of hate last year for suggesting that Graham was being overdrafted, but I’m going to be on the opposite side of that debate this year. The No. 17 tight end? Everyone realizes that the way tight ends contribute in best-ball is to score touchdowns, right? Graham scored just two last year due to his lack of chemistry with Aaron Rodgers last year, but after a full year together, it’ll be much better in 2019. Rodgers will also throw more than 25 touchdowns, which was an outlier in what’s been a very predictable career. Let everyone else draft Kyle Rudolph, Chris Herndon, and T.J. Hockenson in front of him.
Jack Doyle (TE – IND) Current ADP: 152 overall (TE21)
Doyle is one of the better values in best-ball, as not many realize how big of a part of the offense he is due to the overshadowing by Eric Ebron. Doyle saw 33 targets in six games, which amounts to 5.5 targets per game with Ebron on the field. That ranked 11th among all tight ends, and when those targets are coming from Andrew Luck, they’re worth much more than the average tight end. Look for those touchdowns to even out a bit between him and Ebron in 2019.
Mark Andrews (TE – BAL) Current ADP: 176 overall (TE23)
I think there’s a possibility that Hayden Hurst is a sleeper tight end this year, but what did Andrews do to everyone to be knocked down to TE23 when he finished as the TE17 last year on just 50 targets in his rookie season? The Ravens didn’t pass much last season under Lamar Jackson, but there are some good reasons for that. He was pushed into the starting job mid-season, they needed to change the offense on the fly, and they had an elite defense. He’s now had half of a season experience, a full offseason to learn the offense, and they lost a ton of playmakers on defense. Those pass attempts are going to go up and the Ravens will lean on their big tight end in the red zone.