While it’s important to stay focused throughout your fantasy football draft, mining upside late is a great way to put your team over the top on its way to a championship. I’m looking for potential tier jumpers at the wide receiver position. Here are players you should consider drafting late as lottery tickets at the wide receiver position.
- More Fantasy Football Advice
- Snake Draft Pick Strategy: Early | Middle | Late
- Expert Consensus Fantasy Football Draft Rankings
- Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator
Wide Receivers with Upside to Draft With Your Final Pick
Here are wide receivers to target late in fantasy football drafts that carry upside into 2023.
Rashid Shaheed quietly had one of the most impressive rookie seasons of 2023. While his 488 receiving yards and two scores won’t perk up many eyebrows, I love Shaheed in 2023 in all formats. After earning at least a 60% route per dropback rate last year, Shaheed was an impact player with three top 36 wide receiver weeks over his final seven games. In 2022, Shaheed ranked fourth in yards per route run and 22nd in PFF receiving grade (minimum 30 targets per PFF). Those numbers jump off the page. If Michael Thomas can’t make it back on the field at this point in his career, Shaheed could finish second on the Saints in targets in 2023.
While consensus is ready to toss in the bag on Chase Claypool, I’m not. So quickly, everyone forgets that Claypool is an uber-athlete. His 90th percentile or higher speed and burst scores can create big plays at the drop of a hat. His rookie season marks of a 25.2% target per route run rate (15th-best) and 0.5 fantasy points per route run (14th-best) were the early signs of big time talent. Has his value dropped further after a down 2022 season? Yep. That’s exactly why his ADP has dipped to the basement where it resides. Claypool showed promise of fulfilling his rookie season promise in three games with the Bears, in which he played at least 63% of the snaps. In that small three-game sample, he saw a 22.1% target share, a 50% end zone target share, 1.77 yards per route run, and a 28% target per route run rate. Claypool is one of the best WR5 upside darts to toss this year.
I don’t normally have a heavy infatuation with a wide receiver drafted in the fifth round of the NFL Draft, but I do for Puka Nacua. I won’t apologize for falling head over heels for a wide receiver that you can easily draft with your final pick in best ball drafts and redraft that ranked second and sixth in yards per route run over the last two years (minimum 50 targets per PFF). Nacua has highlight reel body control and strong mitts. Last year he ranked 17th in contested catch rate (minimum ten contested targets per PFF). Nacua has a fairly easy path to playing time this season, with only Ben Skowronek and Tutu Atwell ahead of him to start camp. Nacua could get some Robert Woods-esque handoffs this year after amassing 357 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns at BYU. Nacua is a smash pick.
Sean Payton traded up in the second round of the NFL Draft to take the talented rookie from Oklahoma. Mims closes his collegiate career with a 94th percentile yards per reception and 96th percentile breakout age. Mims can work underneath and take the top off defenses with his 4.38 speed. He can also play above the rim with exceptional leaping ability and body control. Mims could be fighting for playing time with Tim Patrick from the outset, but it’s possible he hops him on the depth chart and becomes a full-time starter immediately with a strong camp and preseason. Mims is a fantastic WR5 draft pick to stash on your bench. He could be a stretch-run hero and difference-maker in the fantasy playoffs if this offense bounces back from last year’s pitiful showing.
Isaiah Hodgins is a priority pick in the later rounds of drafts. Once New York made him a full-time player, he crushed. In Weeks 13-17, he logged four top-24 wide receiver outings in five games. Yes, he also got lucky with touchdowns, as he scored in each of those four games, but those were also a result of Daniel Jones‘ trust in the red zone with Hodgins (five red zone targets in those four games). When looking at Hodgins’ deeper metrics, his production was also related to his underrated talent. Hodgins’ ranked first last year in route win rate and win rate against man coverage. If Hodgins can pick up where he left off last year, he’ll be a screaming value in 2023.