In Underdog’s Best Ball Mania (BBM) III tournament, 239 different non-quarterbacks were drafted in Round 18 (the last round) of drafts in the final two weeks of drafting. Of those 239, just 15 recorded enough average pick points (65) to be among the top 100 flex players in 2022. Obviously, it’s rare for last-round picks to make a meaningful difference in best ball, but if we can highlight which players even have a slightly above-average chance of doing so, it will give us an edge against a field of over 600,000 contestants.
Depending on the stacks you’re building out or the roster construction you’re filling out, any of these players could be viable options. None of these are sexy picks by any means (they’re 18th-round picks for a reason), but it’s about identifying dart throws that at least have a chance at hitting the board even if it’s not a bullseye.
Below is a list of several running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends that I’m considering drafting with my final draft pick as they all currently have Round 18 ADPs on Underdog. Additionally, I have provided a brief description of his value proposition based on preseason usage, trends, and news. I’ll be updating this list for the last couple of weeks of the preseason as ADPs shift and player news emerges.
- Snake Draft Pick Strategy: Early | Middle | Late
- Draft Targets for Every Round: Early | Middle | Late
- Fitz’s Draft Primers: QB | RB | WR | TE
- 2023 Fantasy Football Draft Kit
Fantasy Football Draft Dart Throws
The RB2 position in Cincinnati is as valuable as any given how they used Samaje Perine last year — even in games that Joe Mixon played last year, Perine had a 33.1% snap share (66.8% on 3rd down) and ran a route on 30% of dropbacks. Chris Evans appears to have the edge in this battle between him and Chase Brown (Trayveon Williams remains out with an ankle injury, setting him back).
This might be the least sexy of the unsexy picks, but Buffalo needs an RB2 behind James Cook. Damien Harris continues to battle an ankle injury and Murray was the only non-Cook running back to play at least one snap with the starters in their second preseason game.
The Arizona Cardinals are not going to be a high-powered offense this year, but volume is king in fantasy football. Keaontay Ingram and James Conner (who has never played a full season) are the only two running backs to have played a snap with the starters in the preseason. Arizona could be a sleeper team to sign a veteran free agent given Marlon Mack recently tore his Achilles, but until then Ingram remains firmly in the mix as Arizona’s RB2.
Everyone is enamored with the Smol RB sensation as Deuce Vaughn continues to impress in the preseason. However, Vaughn hasn’t entered either preseason game until the second half as Rico Dowdle and Malik Davis have split the starter role while Tony Pollard is rested. As of last week, The Athletic projected Dallas to cut Davis and keep Dowdle and Vaughn over him so I’ll take my shots at the Cowboys’ RB2 on Dowdle.
Joshua Kelley has started both preseason games over Isaiah Spiller and has received the majority of the snaps and carries with the starting lineup (actual starters were rested) in those games. Los Angeles is going to be in the red zone a lot this year, so if some of the 47 red zone rushes (which are typically not consistent year-over-year) go to Spiller and he can fall into the end zone, then he’ll offer some great value.
Even when the 49ers traded for Christian McCaffrey last season, San Francisco rarely gave him a full workload (he was given more than 15 carries in just four of 11 regular season games). This fits Kyle Shanahan’s RBBC tendency, and Jordan Mason could be the next beneficiary as the team’s RB3 behind McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell. Mason currently seems to have a slight edge over Tyrion Davis-Price, but the gap is not so big that I’m exclusively taking Mason in the final round and would be mixing both of them into my final-round player pool.
In the first preseason game, Kyren Williams was rested with the other starters. In the second preseason game, Williams dressed but played just one special teams snap and did not play the rest of the game. Cam Akers being drafted in the single-digit rounds suggests there’s some certainty about this backfield, but I think that’s far from true. Last year Akers was benched several times for a combination of Darrell Henderson, Ronnie Rivers, and Williams. There’s really no great reason for a 12-round gap in ADP between these two.
The RB2 role in Tampa Bay may not be super valuable given the projected success (or lack thereof) for the Buccaneers, but it’s a chance to get touches nonetheless. Sean Tucker appears to have secured his spot as the team’s RB2 after being signed as an undrafted free agent as he has been splitting first-team reps with Rachaad White.
Over the weekend, the New England Patriots traded Pierre Strong to the Cleveland Browns. The Browns were reportedly looking for running back depth, which makes sense given Jerome Ford (the presumptive RB2 entering the preseason) has continued to battle a hamstring injury and remains in doubt for Week 1. I’ve been on the Ford train all offseason, but if Strong wiggles his way into the RB2 role then he’s a smash in Round 18. Another name to monitor in this RB2 battle is Demetric Felton, but he seems closer to being on the roster bubble.
This is a complete fade of Jameson Williams, who faces a 6-week suspension to start the season and has struggled mightily this preseason while dealing with a hamstring injury that currently has him sidelined. Even before that, Josh Reynolds was reportedly getting a significant share of the first-team reps. He’s one of my favorite last-round targets right now.
This is truly a swing-for-the-fences pick as you’re drafting a wide receiver attached to a quarterback with as wide of a range of outcomes as any in the league this year. But, Josh Downs (one of my favorite pre-draft prospects) appears to have solidified his role as Indianapolis’ primary slot receiver. He played (primarily out of the slot) with the starters in the Colts’ second preseason game while his primary competition, Isaiah McKenzie played well into the third quarter.
8/25 update: Josh Downs appears to have locked down the WR3 role in Indianapolis. He’s another favorite target of mine, especially to build out Anthony Richardson stacks.
In the final rounds of drafts, I want to attach myself to players on high-powered offenses in ambiguous situations, and that fits Deonte Harty to a T. The Bills didn’t bring in any new wide receiver competition this offseason (though they did draft Dalton Kincaid) and Harty has usurped both Trent Sherfield and Khalil Shakir as Buffalo’s WR3 and primary slot receiver.
Deonte Harty is the Bills WR3.
A starter in three WR sets.
Ran a route on 50% of dropbacks.
— Andrew Erickson™ (@AndrewErickson_) August 20, 2023
The WR4 in Los Angeles is potentially more valuable than the WR3 on a lot of teams. Should one of Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, or Quentin Johnston go down, Palmer should slot right in and would be catching passes from Justin Herbert. There’s also a chance, given Johnston’s preseason struggles, that Palmer could split time with him early on as Palmer has been rested for the preseason games with the other starters while Johnston continues to get some reps.
Similar to Palmer, rookie Andrei Iosivas holds a lot of contingent value should one of Cincinnati’s top three wide receiver options go down. Cincinnati runs one of the highest rates of 11 personnel, so I wouldn’t expect them to change their philosophy even if the players change. He’s also been pretty impressive in limited preseason work thus far and played all but one snap with the starters in Week 2 of the preseason.
Ever since Sean McVay started coaching the Rams they have been one of the most frequent users of 11 personnel, and that shouldn’t change. The Rams also to project as one of the pass-heavier teams given who they’re starting on defense and not being able to hold opposing teams. In any case, both Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell, who are competing for the Rams’ WR3 spot, were rested with the other starters in their second preseason game, indicating they’ve each solidified a spot on the roster. I give the edge of being the WR3 to Nacua as the Rams’ more recent draft indulgence (and the fact that Atwell hasn’t shown much in his first two years). But, similar to the 49ers backfield, I have no issue mixing either of these guys into my final-round player pool.
I continue to be a Trey McBride stan, despite Zach Ertz (a 33-year-old tight end coming off of a mid-November ACL/MCL tear) returning to practice. Arizona figures to be passing the ball a ton, and the Cardinals’ offensive coordinator Drew Petzing has already mentioned McBride as a part of the Cardinals’ game plans. More encouraging is that Arizona used multiple tight ends on 11 out of 24 plays in their second preseason game.
For the second-straight preseason game, Adam Trautman played ahead of Greg Dulcich. This is probably one of the biggest signals that I don’t think should be ignored. Not only is Trautman playing ahead of Dulcich, but Sean Payton also brought Trautman over specifically from New Orleans, where he coached him for his first two seasons. Read the tea leaves.
Cade Otton returns to his role as a starter for the second year with Cameron Brate now out of the picture, so his 58.2% routes run rate from last year should go up. Sure, the downgrade from Tom Brady to Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask is huge, but with that you’re getting a massive ADP discount. With no other established receiving threats behind Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, Otton should have ample opportunities to earn his fair share of targets.
Currently, Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are the only two Dolphins pass catchers being drafted in the first 17 rounds of Underdog drafts and they both have a round one and round two ADP, respectively. Meanwhile, Durham Smythe played on every snap and ran a route on every dropback with the starters in Miami’s second preseason game. Mike Gesicki, who is no longer with the team, leaves behind eight end-zone targets from last year — Smythe could be one of the most undervalued red-zone threats.
Last updated: 8/30
More Players to Target & Avoid
- Pat Fitzmaurice: (Targets | Avoids) (Premium)
- Andrew Erickson: (Targets | Avoids) (Premium)
- Derek Brown: (Targets | Avoids) (Premium)
- Fantasy Football Sleepers for Every Team (Premium)
- How to Identify Fantasy Football Busts (Premium)
- Erickson’s Guide to Drafting Players on Good Offenses
- Fantasy Football Draft Values for Every Round
- Predicting First-Round Bust Candidates
- DBro’s Wide Receiver Lottery Tickets
- Erickson’s Running Back Lottery Tickets
- Hoppen’s 4 Players Who Could Become First-Round Picks Next Year
- Players to Target in Each Round (v2 | v3)
- Players to Avoid in Each Round
- Late-Round Draft Targets
- Late-Round QB Targets in Superflex Leagues | More QB Sleepers
- Late-Round RB Targets | More RB Sleepers | July RB Targets
- Late-Round WR Targets
- Late-Round TE Targets
- Deep Dart Throw Draft Targets
- WRs to Target in the RB Dead Zone (v2)| RBs to Avoid in the RB Dead Zone | RBs to Target in RB Dead Zone
- Identifying the Next WR1s | Identifying the Next RB1s
- 2022 Duds That Will Become 2023 Studs
- 4 Kickers To Target at the End of Drafts
- Making the Case for RB1
- Post-Hype Sleepers