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13 Late-Round Draft Steals (2023 Fantasy Football)

13 Late-Round Draft Steals (2023 Fantasy Football)

Maximizing your return on investment is the whole draft strategy behind taking high-upside players in the later rounds. Regardless of what kind of league you play in, it’s important to go into each draft with several sleeper targets at every position so you can ensure you wind up with a few of your guys once it’s all said and done. Hitting on a couple of those can dramatically increase your title chances, but who should fantasy managers target? Our featured pundits have hand-picked several athletes who boast league-winning potential. Read on below to see which sleeper candidates are worth your attention in the final rounds!

For additional fantasy football draft advice, check out our complete article on Mid-Round RB & WR Draft Targets ahead of the 2023 season.

Draft Wizard

Fantasy Football Draft Advice: Late-Round Steals

Which one RB outside the top 55 in half-PPR RB ADP do you plan to target in all drafts as a late-round steal and why?

Kareem Hunt (RB – FA)

“Kareem Hunt is currently being drafted at RB57 and 168 overall. Hunt’s pass-catching skillset offers value in all formats as it will help him earn touches. He will sign somewhere soon and be quickly vaulted inside of the top 50 RBs. Unfortunate injuries could open up an opportunity for him as well as he could sign quickly after Dalvin Cook does. Hunt isn’t just a pass-catcher. At 5’11 and 216 lbs, he offers a three-down skillset and experience as a starter. The Giants behind Barkley, the Broncos if Javonte is not ready, or Dallas behind Tony Pollard. Miami if they do not sign Cook. A lot of great options. Get Hunt before it is too late.”
David Heilman (Sports Gambling Podcast Network)

DeWayne McBride (RB – MIN)

“If another 7th-round NFL Draft pick was to be this year’s Isiah Pacheco, that guy is DeWayne McBride. With Dalvin Cook gone, the rookie finds himself in a running back room behind Alexander Mattison and Ty Chandler (who had zero touches until a meaningless Week 17 game last season). McBride had a nose for the end zone at UAB (13 & 19 over his final two seasons), so he could at least fill that role as the number two running back for the Vikings. Don’t forget how everyone just knew Clyde Edwards-Helaire would be the lead back for the Chiefs last year. Remind me how that worked out for CEH and Pacheco!”
Bart Wheeler (Hail to Fantasy Football)

Deuce Vaughn (RB – DAL)

“RB rookie Deuce Vaughn of the Dallas Cowboys is currently ranked as RB69 in half-PPR RB ADP. He has a chance to make a fantasy impact if three key events happen this season. 1. Dallas does not resign Ezekiel Elliott or another veteran RB in the offseason. 2. He beats out Ronald Jones and Malik Davis for the RB2 role on the Dallas Cowboys offense, which should happen. 3. Starting RB Tony Pollard becomes injured. Pollard was injured during last season, so they may bring in Vaughn as a change of pace back. He’s a late-round steal if all 3 of these scenarios happen this season, which are possible.”
Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire)

Samaje Perine (RB – DEN)

“Samaje Perine was terrific last year when filling in and even a complimentary back to Joe Mixon. Now in Denver, Perine will have a role! Javonte Williams seems to be on the right side in his recovery, but there is no way he can step right back in as a bell cow back to start the year. Perine should see 15 or so touches minimum early in the season and will remain involved in what should be a much improved Broncos Offense.”
Ken Zalis (FantasyPros)

Jerome Ford (RB – CLE)

“Jerome Ford is the clear backup to Nick Chubb and a worthwhile late-round handcuff. The Browns running game has proven to be very effective, regardless of who is carrying the ball, so I expect with a Chubb injury, Ford becomes an every-week starter. That’s the kind of upside I’m looking for late in drafts.”
Ben Wasley (The Fantasy First Down)

Jerome Ford is a player I’ve been trying to get many shares of late in my drafts. The Browns let go of Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson, who have produced as backups over their time in Cleveland. Ford could find himself taking over the Hunt role in the offense and have, at times, standalone value in fantasy with his ability in the passing game and his 4.46 speed. If something happens to Nick Chubb, Ford showed in college the ability to handle a heavy workload in both rushing and receiving. Ford is an exciting late-round running back to grab.”
Steven Pintado (The Fantasy Coaches)

Gus Edwards (RB – BAL)

“It’s not every day you can draft an RB as good as Gus Edwards with a clear-cut No.2 role on his team’s offense. He has been uber-efficient ever since entering the NFL, with a career 5.1 yards per carry. He owns the second-highest yards per carry since 2018 (5.1). Last season alone, the Gus Bus posted the league’s 7th-highest rushing yards after contact per attempt (3.5). He’s a completely forgotten handcuff to J.K. Dobbins, who has been plagued by injuries over the last two seasons.”
Andrew Erickson (FantasyPros)

Fantasy Football Draft Kit

Which one WR outside the top 60 in half-PPR WR ADP do you plan to target in all drafts as a late-round steal and why?

Isaiah Hodgins (WR – NYG)

“Isaiah Hodgins became Daniel Jones‘ top target last season. Hodgins had 8 receptions, 85 yards, and a touchdown in the Giants’ playoff win. He could end up being the top target outside of Waller this season, and he is going at pick 195 in 1QB, later in Superflex formats. At 6’3″, Hodgins offers a red zone target that the other wide receivers don’t. Put him on the bench; if it doesn’t work out, you can move on at little cost. But, draft him now so you are not having to use FAAB after Week 1 on him.”
David Heilman (Sports Gambling Podcast Network)

Jonathan Mingo (WR – CAR)

“After trading D.J. Moore and picks to get the number one overall draft pick this offseason, the Panthers got to work in free agency. But I don’t think a nearly 33-year-old Adam Thielen and often injured DJ Chark is going to keep Jonathan Mingo off the field for long. The rookie out of Ole Miss is likely the best red zone target this team has, and the new coaching staff drafted him to pair with Bryce Young. If you’re looking for upside in the late rounds of your draft, he’s one of my favorite rookie wide receivers who could play significant snaps by October.”
Bart Wheeler (Hail to Fantasy Football)

John Metchie III (WR – HOU)

“Wide receiver John Metchie III is currently a WR outside the top 60 and ranked as the 80th WR. He spent his rookie season in Houston fighting cancer, and now he’s been all but forgotten in fantasy rankings. He is a great talent, and I will always fight for someone who has beat cancer (leukemia). There is not a lot of competition in Houston for targets, and if he can develop great chemistry with QB C.J. Stroud, I believe John Metchie III could be the steal of the draft.”
Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire)

Diontae Johnson (WR – PIT)

“Diontae Johnson’s ADP is criminally low. Coming off a 147-target, 86-catch season, Johnson is almost ignored in drafts. The Steelers offense should improve, and Johnson will not fail to score a TD in 2023. A 100-catch season is not out of the question. Yes, they are run first, but they were last year as well. Year-two QB Pickett showed some flashes and had eyes for Johnson. A perfect WR3.”
Ken Zalis (FantasyPros)

DJ Chark (WR – CAR)

“DJ Chark is the clear WR1 in Carolina. With Adam Thielen looking almost washed and Jonathan Mingo fighting even to earn the WR3 role, Chark will get all the volume he can handle. While the offense will likely lean on its running backs at times, the Panthers will likely be losing more often than not and need to air it out to chase games. Chark is the guy they’ll be going to over and over. If you don’t trust me, trust the $5 million guaranteed contract for 2023.”
Ben Wasley (The Fantasy First Down)

Nico Collins (WR – HOU)

“Nico Collins owns an ADP right around the WR60 threshold. But that price is ridiculously cheap, considering his main competitors for targets include Dalton Schultz, John Metchie, Robert Woods, Tank Dell and Noah Brown. Collins led the 2022 Texans in air yards share and in target rate per route run (23%). He also finished 20th in expected yards per route run (1.94). With a quarterback upgrade coming in the form of C.J. Stroud, you need to be all over the Texans No. 1 discounted big-bodied wide receiver.”
Andrew Erickson (FantasyPros)

Rashid Shaheed (WR – NO)

“Rashid Shaheed is a player that could make some noise in 2023, and you’ll have to ability to draft late. In four of the season’s final six games, Shaheed produced 50-plus yards and was WR 38 over that span. He’ll likely come in as the third receiver, but Shaheed could be very involved. The availability of Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara could lead Shaheed to see more targets. The upgrade to Derek Carr should help open up the passing offense that was lacking last season. Shaheed could be a tremendous last-round pick to grab and see what happens.”
Steven Pintado (The Fantasy Coaches)

For additional fantasy football draft advice, check out our complete article on Mid-Round RB & WR Draft Targets ahead of the 2023 season.

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