Late Round Dart Throws: Who to Target at the End of Your Draft
The tail end of a fantasy draft is an intriguing place to be. Emotions abound. Perhaps it was a slow draft you started back in July that finally limps to the close weeks before kickoff. Or it was a classic scheduled online draft where you were fighting internet access and the comments and questions from that one guy you went to college with a decade ago. Or maybe you went old school, and it was a hosted in-person draft that just kind of ended with somewhat drunk drafters and people realizing they had to work in the morning. Either way, if it is your first or your 101st draft, you know it is incredibly easy to lose focus the longer the draft progresses. Although it seems that the picks earlier hold more value – we are looking at starting QBs here and future Hall of Famers – I would also like to argue that the picks at the end of the draft also hold tremendous value.
On average most home league fantasy drafts are fifteen rounds, and you are looking at starting nine positions – 1 QB, 2 WR, 2 RB, 1 TE, 1 Flex, 1 Defense, and 1 Kicker (ugh). That leaves you six bench spots. In this article, I am looking at the position players you should be looking at in the last few rounds of these fifteen-round spots in your home leagues. Last season there were some fantastic late-round dart throws that proved fruitful for fantasy owners. If you targeted Mike Williams in the tenth round or Zack Ertz and Hunter Henry in the fourteenth round, you saw a great return on your money, not to mention if you threw a dart at Amon-Rah St. Brown. Here are some players to target with your last picks in your 2022 fantasy drafts.
The floor is out the window when looking at who to target in the late rounds. You are looking at high-ceiling potential players, whether this is because of position or the team, talent, or situation. For example, you might consider drafting a much-talked-about rookie with potential but no experience to back it up. Another option might be a WR3 or RB3 on a high-scoring offense when some players have the propensity for injury.
Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields has been in the shadow of another second-year QB heading into 2022, and he might turn out to be the poor man’s Trey Lance. Whereas Lance is currently being drafted in the ninth round as the 13th QB of the board, you can wait until the middle of the 13th round to snag Fields. Fields started ten games last season, and he had a rough year. Only throwing for 1870 yards and seven TDs, he finished as QB31. But there were some glimmers of hope to take into 2022, the brightest being his rushing potential. We always say that rushing QBs are the cheat code of fantasy football, and getting one as a late-round dart throw in your draft could be huge if he hits. Pairing Fields with an earlier drafted, more traditional QB, like a Tom Brady or a Kirk Cousins, you will stress less if Fields does not pan out. Last season, Fields rushed for 420 yards in his twelve games – the 5th most rushing yards among QBs. This put him on a close to 600-yard 17-game pace. We saw the jump that Jalen Hurts made last season, and there is a strong possibility that Fields could make a similar jump.
Super Bowl participating QB Matt Ryan is another potential late-round target this season. According to fantasyfootballcalculator.com, currently, he is being drafted as the QB18 in the twelfth round. For some reason, Ryan has a stink on him, one that you could take advantage of for a potentially good pay-off. He finished as QB20 in 2021 and had an F consistency ranking from the Ballers but did manage three weeks in the top twelve. Now in Indianapolis, where he actually has pass catchers to throw to and an offensive line to give him time to do so, there is a possibility for us to see a reinvigorated Matt Ryan. Last year he threw for almost 4000 yards behind a PFF 31st-ranked pass blocking line and connected for 20 TDs. He is worth a late-round pick to see if he can return to former glory, especially if you believe in Pitty City.
Darrel Williams is one of the new RBs backing up James Connor in Arizona in 2022, and he is coming off a solid end to the 2021 season. In two of his last three games in Kansas City, he carried for 55 yards or more, and in Week 17, Williams also got into the endzone twice. A solid pass-catching back, he also had 55 targets last year that he converted to 47 receptions, over 450 yards, and two TDs. Anything past the RB1 in Arizona is murky, with rumors out of camp saying Eno Benjamin might be the guy, but the veteran Williams stands a strong chance. With a chance for TD regression from Connor and Williams’ pass-catching prowess, he is the definition of a solid dart throw. Right now, he is being drafted in the middle of the twelfth round as RB57.
The Washington Commanders drafted RB Brian Robinson in the third round of the NFL draft, hoping to spell Antonio Gibson in the future. Gibson has proved to be less than unreliable as a three-down back, and the Commanders want to spread the ball around. Robinson is a hulk of a man who is as solid as solid can be who rushed for over 1000 yards his final year at Alabama, scored fourteen TDs, and had zero fumbles. Robinson knows how to take care of the ball and will no doubt capitalize on the opportunity if it is given to him. His ceiling only goes up when you consider Gibson’s propensity for injury. You can get Robinson in the mid-thirteenth round, where he is currently going as RB61.
Rookies are the name of the game when you are looking at late-round WR dart throw. Skyy Moore is someone to look at here, although he is steadily rising up draft boards due to a successful camp and what looks to be a connection with Patrick Mahomes. In a WR room that looks completely different than 2021, Moore could easily become a favorite target for the pass-heavy Mahomes. He is battling with Mecole Hardman, MVS, and Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster. Ju-Ju clearly has the best chance to be the number one here, but everything past that is somewhat educated conjecture. Moore had over 1200 receiving yards, ten TDs during his final college season, and an impressive 512 yards after the catch. Some people theorize that speedster Moore (in the 90th percentile for his 40-time) might be looking to fill that Tyreek Hill role. I know Hill is one of a kind, but if Moore can get open the way Hill could, at least some of the time, his legs can do the rest. He is currently being drafted in the late tenth round as WR49.
Tolbert is another rookie drafted into a good situation made even better by an injury to another pass catcher. According to fantasyfootballcalculater.com, Tolbert is currently the WR76, being drafted in the 15th round, and he might have slid right into the WR2 spot over in Dallas. As fantasy owners anxiously await the CeeDee Lamb big breakout year, WR James Washington was injured in camp and will be out 6-10 weeks. Open door, meet Jalen Tolbert. With a QB who threw for almost 4500 yards in 2021, you know the ball will be in the air in Dallas and expecting some defensive regression; Prescott should also have more TDs.
Here is (somewhat) a veteran to target – Arizona Cardinals Rondale Moore. People had high hopes for Moore last season, and he could not seem to deliver even though we saw flashes of his talent. This is a situational dart throw – we know DeAndre Hopkins is suspended for six games to start the season, and although the Cardinals traded for Hollywood Brown, they will need more than him, aging AJ Green and Zach Ertz to get through the first third of the season. If Moore can step up, the opportunity is there. Kyler loves to throw the deep ball – he had 71 deep ball passes (over twenty yards) – last season, and he was the best at it in the NFL. He had the highest PFF rating for deep ball passes in 2021, now if Moore can just be on the other end of them.
Andy, Mike, and Jason have made their love of Cole Kmet clear, but if you are playing against owners who also enjoy the Fantasy Footballers podcast, Kmet will be drafted by the time you come to the end of your draft. But do not fear; if you choose to wait late on TE, there are some options to take a chance on. Denver Bronco Albert Okwuegbunam has been getting some buzz, and currently being drafted at the end of the 14th round, he is an excellent option for a late-round TE. With Russell Wilson now in Denver and presumably permitted to cook thoroughly, every pass catcher in the mile-high city will be looking to grab a plate. It makes it difficult to put your pin in who will be the true WR1 – are we Team Jeudy or Team Sutton – but you know that some will always go to that reliable TE. Albert O. was targeted in a subpar Denver offense last season, he had 33 receptions off 40 targets, and with Russell under center now, that number is sure to increase. Bake in the fact that Fireball Jones is out with an ACL tear; Albert could be a solid late TE option.