Best Ball: Late Round Fliers to Consider (Fantasy Football)
Your final round pick in Best Ball is usually stopping you from doing what you love most: sending a screenshot to your friends. I get it.
These picks mostly feel like throw-aways but there is some gold to be mined. Over the last two years, here were the best advance rates from players taken at picks 200+ on Underdog.
There are a couple of things to notice:
- Think small. These players were only drafted by a small percentage of teams. Dawson Knox ended up on just 39 % of total rosters. Geno Smith (2.5%) finished as the QB5 but barely anyone thought he was worth drafting let alone the starting QB for the Seahawks. Drew Lock truthers were ridin’ high for a while.
- Think outside the box. Be willing to get off the board to give yourself unique roster constructions and correlation.
- Think what if? Hunter Renfrow‘s top-12 season was largely due to Darren Waller going down to injury. We don’t wish or project injuries to occur but if they were to happen, who benefits the most?
On the most recent Fantasy Footballers’ DFS & Betting podcast, we discussed Best Ball strategy highlighting optimal roster construction if you want an explainer on best practices. Here are a few players currently going outside the top-200 on Underdog that I have been bullish so far.
Sam Howell– QB, WAS (204.0- ADP)
If you are taking a shot at a QB3 late with your final picks, Howell is the guy I’m currently willing to bring in the mix as a stack with Terry McLaurin or Jahan Dotson. At this price, you’re not asking him to be a top-15 QB by any means. QB20 is well within the range of outcomes with a couple of spike weeks here and there when you look at his weapons. Oh, and he also runs the ball more than you might realize. In his lone start in Week 18, he went 5/35/1 on the ground after showcasing monster numbers his final year at UNC: 828 rushing yards and 11 scores on the ground. Before we paint a picture full of roses, realize there is real fear that he gets replaced by Jacoby Brissett at some point and wastes away your final pick. But finding a starting QB with his added rushing ability this late is a rarity. Five rush attempts per game would put him above 80 on a season-long output. For reference, we’ve had 15 QBs surpass that rushing total in their 1st two years in the league with the average being 19.7 fantasy points per game. That is way too high of a projection for Howell but it’s something worth grasping for considering we’ve had at least one QB outside the top-200 ADP (QB30-ville) finish as a top-18 QB each of the last six years according to FFPC draft data.
Jerome Ford– RB, CLE (207.5- ADP)
You probably forgot Jerome Ford existed. It’s ok Cleveland did too. The Browns took the former Cincinnati Bearcat in the 5th of the 2022 draft and promptly decided to give him eight total rush attempts. Yup, there’s pretty much nothing you can deduce from his rookie season, and maybe the bigger question is what were the Browns thinking wasting things away with Kareem Hunt last year? Negative sentiments aside, behind Nick Chubb it was an absolute quagmire but one we’re willing to come back to this team in 2023 hoping for some scraps. After failing to address the position at all in the draft, Ford seems to be the only other RB on the depth chart with any semblance of early down frame and capabilities. Cleveland has operated a run-first team under Kevin Stefanski so expect volume on the ground to be fully Chubb’s but Ford is waiting in the wings.
Isaiah Likely– TE, BAL (207.6- ADP)
Likely was a hot name at one point last year in Best Ball going about two rounds higher (185th) as a rookie. He filled in admirably for Mark Andrews on a couple of occasions including monster games on the road (Week 8 @ TB & Week 18 @ CIN) that showed you he can be a viable part of this offense. However, Baltimore’s additions of Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers likely caused drafters to forget about the 2nd year TE and abandon in the final rounds. The Ravens’ offense could be given a huge facelift under new OC Todd Monken so don’t just copy and paste what you’ve seen from them in the past. Likely is a fun backdoor stack with Lamar if you’ve missed out on Mark Andrews.
Cade Otton– TE, TB (215.2- ADP)
What am I missing here? The Buccaneers selected Otton as the first pick of Day 3 (106th overall) in 2022. He had some impressive dominator numbers at Washington (92nd percentile) and he played his way to being an almost every-down TE as a rookie. He ran the 6th most routes among all TEs in 2022 and for context, it was the 2nd most routes run for a rookie TE since 2013, behind only Kyle Pitts. When you add in the valued targets he saw with the 5th most red zone targets among all TEs, Otton is being left for dead right now. The Buccaneers’ QB situation is a mess which probably is plummeting his ADP but the opportunity is there. The TE depth chart behind is a group of players you’ve probably never heard of. In the 18th round, why not grab a TE3 who should once again be among the league leaders in routes run?
Keaontay Ingram– RB, ARI (215.4- ADP)
I asked Jason the other day in the Footballers office who is the RB2 in Arizona? My curiosity was piqued by looking at the depth chart and then seeing how there is a grand canyon between James Conner‘s ADP (67) and any other RB on the roster. Ingram’s draft capital (6th round, 201st overall) is putrid and he barely saw the field in 2022. But this is the same story I painted for Eno Benjamin a couple of years ago and he eventually showed up as a startable player in redraft leagues at one point. Conner is not exactly the pinnacle of health and this team could be in a position to tank the end of the year. Ingram looks like the next man up with a bigger frame (6’0, 215) to handle a workload. Depth charts are always changing and Ingram feels like the type of last-round pick who could end up giving you some useable weeks as an RB5 for your roster.
Ronald Jones– RB, DAL (215.8- ADP)
It pains me to even write this man’s name here. Rojo’s main claim to fame is being a two-time Super Bowl champion. With another one, he joins LeGarrette Blount in the three-timer club better known as being in the right place at the right time in the NFL. Eat it Dan Marino! Jones barely played last year on the Chiefs but the depth chart on the Cowboys is so barren behind Tony Pollard that he deserves some consideration. By the time you’re reading this, Ezekiel Elliott or some other veteran could be added to the team. But for now, Jones could be the RB2 on a run-first team dictated by the duo of Brian Schottenheimer and Mike McCarthy. Jones is still somehow not yet 26 years old despite the fact he’s lived like five different NFL lives already since being taken in the 2nd round. It’s possible he gives you 60 percent of Zeke’s production from last year with 5-6 TDs on the ground as the team’s battering ram.
Durham Smythe/Elijah Higgins– TEs, MIA (215.8/215.9- ADP)
Ok, so you’re at the point of the article where you’re beginning to question my sanity. Who the heck are these guys? I should’ve just written in “Miami TEs” and ignored the names. Mike Gesicki was an afterthought in the offense last year and perhaps these two will be also. Smythe somehow secured a contract extension and is the preferred blocker for head coach Mike McDaniel. Elijah Higgins is the swing for the fences pick not only in Best Ball but also for dynasty. The wide receiver drafted from Stanford is being converted to TE which is a narrative everyone and their mama loves to speculate for in dynasty. If you are looking to add a unique Miami piece at the end of your draft to stack with Tua Tagovailoa, one of these TEs might fit the bill.