We begin this series identifying a couple of late round flier “archetypes” that seem to spring up every year when scouring mock drafts, average draft position (ADP), and early rankings. Last year, we struck gold with a number of late round WR fliers including Adam Thielen, Robert Woods, and Will Fuller. Before we look at 2018’s WRs flier candidates, let’s get on the same page of what we mean by “late-round flier“.
A late round flier is simply a pick used at the end of your draft with the ultimate goal of finding a player with major upside at minimal cost. In 10-12 team redraft leagues, we are talking about players taken in Rounds 13-15 that fill the last available spot on your bench. We’ll be looking at a number of WRs that are the 2nd or 3rd options on their team.
Note: We must remind ourselves that buying a lottery ticket in fantasy football is not an exact science as much as …. well, buying a lottery ticket. There is a bit of randomness involved alongside the puzzle pieces of injury, opportunity, and offensive schemes in football. In other words, these are simply suggestions which have the possibility of striking fantasy gold.
Check out some of Andy, Mike, and Jason’s favorite late round WR sleepers in the Ultimate Draft Kit.
The Underpriced Target Vacuum
Even the most conservative of passing offenses in 2017 (Chicago and Miami) threw the ball nearly 475 times during the season. In other words, there are still targets to go around if you miss out on the team’s WR1. Any player who hits over 100 targets is a rosterable player in terms of fantasy production. In last year’s WR article, we struck gold in this category with Adam Thielen and Robert Woods, both likely league-winners for many owners. Jermaine Kearse & Robby Andersen also saw over 100 targets each at a basement-level price.
The Freak Athlete
This person has teased you for years with their measurables to the point where you still try to convince your friends that this is “the year”. WRs with elite 40-times or college production can often not always translate to the pros especially when it comes to becoming a route-running technician. For some, it takes years to develop and this provides ample opportunity to try and strike gold with a late-round flier. This might be the most boom-or-bust flier archetype among the positions. Will Fuller was THE WR2 from Weeks 4-8 averaging 17.7 standard fantasy points per game as the Texans rode the arm of rookie Deshaun Watson. Although Fuller’s injury likely scared people off from drafting him, he was the type of shot-in-the-dark pick or FA-pickup that likely gave your team some boom in the 1st half of the fantasy season.
The Forgotten Teammate
When a team offers an “alpha-dog” type weapon at WR, it’s easy to forget that there are other options in the passing game. In fantasy, these players are not the most exciting to own as their week-to-week totals can be frustrating. However, there is still ample upside built into these “forgotten teammates” as players can get injured as well as yards and TDs can be spread around. Kenny Stills was easily 3rd in the pecking order among teammates Jarvis Landry and Devante Parker. All Stills did finish 26th among WRs and have some humongous games during the midseason. In 2015, Doug Baldwin was taken in the 13th round on average before finishing as a top 10 WR. Don’t overlook these guys.
The Grey Beard Baller
I get it… especially after the NFL Draft, we want to embrace the latest hotness and revel in the glory that can be with future stardom. However, there are some card-carrying AARP members of the NFL that still have something to say. Old-timers at the WR position can look like crumbling, slow-footed pass catchers but that doesn’t always mean they are exempt from being fantasy relevant. Take the discount that comes with these “senior specials”.