It's easy to draft the star players in the NFL on your Fantasy roster. You know who they are, we talk about them all the time and most of them have standout projections. But if you've played this game long enough, you know that late-round picks and waiver-wire gems win your leagues. So let's try to find those guys now.
What I've done here is taken the NFC Average Draft Position data from June 1 to July 17 with the intention of finding the last player or two on each team who has the chance to be Fantasy relevant this season. For the most part, we're looking at players being selected after pick No. 150 overall, or later than Round 12 in most leagues.
Most of these players will prove to be irrelevant. But what if we find the next Geno Smith, Rachaad White, Garrett Wilson, Christian Watson or Evan Engram, among others? All of those players had an ADP after No. 150 overall in 2022 or weren't drafted and turned into standout Fantasy options.
Who's next? Let's take a look, with a player or two from every AFC team being selected in this range or later. If you want to find out the deep sleepers to target from the NFC,.
His ADP is just in front of our threshold at 149.4, but no other Bills player who you want to draft comes close. When I first thought about this column, the player for Buffalo who came to mind was Damien Harris, but his ADP is 117.8. Kincaid might not emerge as a starting Fantasy option given the track record of rookie tight ends, but he has the chance to make an impact this season since the Bills should use him as a big slot receiver. After Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis, Kincaid could be third on the team in targets, and you're placing a bet on one of Josh Allen's weapons, which isn't a bad idea. If you wait on tight end on Draft Day, Kincaid is a great one to target at his current price.
At the time of publication, the Dolphins backfield features three main options in rookie De'Von Achane, Mostert and Wilson. Achane's ADP is 122.1, but Mostert (159.8) and Wilson (166.4) are basically afterthoughts. If Miami doesn't add another running back then I'd much prefer to wait for Mostert or Wilson on Draft Day, with Wilson the preferred target. While all three will share touches, I think it's more likely that Mostert or Wilson lead the Dolphins in carries ahead of Achane. In 2022, Wilson was acquired from San Francisco, and he performed well in eight games with 96 total touches for 486 total yards and four touchdowns. He scored at least 10 PPR points five times. Mostert, over that same span, had 98 total touches, 544 total yards and three touchdowns. Both can be successful, but I'll give the slight nod to Wilson since he's at an even lower price.
I thought Allen Lazard's ADP might be in this range, but Fantasy managers are already drafting him in the right spot at 125.6. For this exercise, let's go with Abanikanda, the rookie running back from Pittsburgh, who the Jets selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft and has a shocking ADP at 225.2. With Breece Hall coming back from last year's torn ACL, Abanikanda will compete with Zonovan Knight and Michael Carter to be No. 2 on the depth chart. Abanikanda should have the highest ceiling of that trio, and hopefully he's the next man up if Hall misses any time or is slow in his rehab. In 2022 at Pitt, Abanikanda had 239 carries for 1,431 yards and 20 touchdowns and 12 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown. He could emerge as a weekly starter in all Fantasy leagues if Hall is out, and I plan to draft him well ahead of his current ADP.
As you can see, basically the entire Patriots offense is listed here aside from Rhamondre Stevenson and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Barring injury, those are likely the only Patriots who will be drafted in the first 12 rounds in a one-quarterback league, but you should definitely keep an eye on Gesicki (ADP of 177.9), Strong (221.2), Thornton (233.2), Montgomery (256.1) and Parker (260.7). One of Strong or Montgomery should emerge as the No. 2 running back for the Patriots behind Stevenson, and I hope it's Strong. But either one should have the chance to work in the passing game as a complement to Stevenson. And while Smith-Schuster should lead the Patriots in targets, we should see Thornton or Parker remain a viable threat in the passing game. I'd like to see Thornton get more work. He had four games with at least five targets in 2022, and he scored at least 15 PPR points in two of them. Parker also had just four games with at least five targets last year, and he scored at least 20 PPR points in two of them. Gesicki is a good fallback option at tight end, and hopefully, new offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien will make him a featured part of the offense.
We know the Colts will likely lean heavily on the ground game with Jonathan Taylor and Anthony Richardson. But in the passing game, aside from Michael Pittman, Pierce (ADP of 180.5) and Downs (225.9) should make plays, especially if Richardson proves to be a better passer than expected in his rookie campaign. While Pierce has more upside if he hits, I love taking a flier on Downs with one of my last picks. He should play in the slot, which is something the rookie did at North Carolina, and that should provide some easy targets for Richardson. Downs could be a cheap source of receptions in deep PPR leagues.
Bigsby's ADP is just in front of the threshold for this exercise at 147.2, but none of the other Jaguars worth drafting qualify since five players (Travis Etienne, Calvin Ridley, Trevor Lawrence, Christian Kirk and Evan Engram) are all being selected in the first 92 overall picks. And Zay Jones is at 132.8. I like Bigsby as a sleeper since he should be the No. 2 running back in Jacksonville behind Etienne. He'll have to prove he's better than Snoop Conner (243.9) and D'Ernest Johnson (278.3), who could obviously be steals if either gets that job, but I'm counting on Bigsby. He should be a complement to Etienne and could steal goal-line chances for the Jaguars. If Bigsby is second on the depth chart then he's definitely a great buy at this price.
In full disclosure, the impetus of this story was the Texans receiving corps, with Dell in mind. I was shocked when I saw his ADP at 266.3. The same goes for Metchie (201.1) and even Woods (242.2), and this receiving corps is wide open. I like Nico Collins the best of the bunch, but Metchie and Dell will hopefully make plays for C.J. Stroud. And early reports indicate Stroud is fond of Dell. But whether it's Dell, Metchie or Woods, all three of these guys are worth a flier. Collins is unproven as the No. 1 option, and one of these three could emerge as a receiver with 100-plus targets. There's an easy path to success, especially if Stroud is productive in his rookie campaign.
I expect Tannehill's ADP to rise from 222.5, but it likely won't put him in the first 12 rounds in one-quarterback leagues. He might not even crack Round 10 in Superflex and two-quarterback leagues. The addition of DeAndre Hopkins this week gives Tannehill a legit No. 1 receiver, and it should make it clear that the Titans aren't rebuilding and turning the team over to Will Levis any time soon. The last time Tannehill had a No. 1 receiver was A.J. Brown from 2019-21, and Tannehill had two seasons averaging at least 22.3 Fantasy points per game. He has the potential to return to that level of play, and he could be a nice surprise in all leagues. Sharpe is another Tennessee player to consider in this range with his ADP at 157.8, but he would need Derrick Henry to get hurt to have any Fantasy value. Still, Sharpe could be a lottery ticket this year.
Since Joe Mixon restructured his contract to stay in Cincinnati the upside for Brown is clearly limited, but he's still a lottery ticket at his ADP of 165.6. And if Mixon were to miss any time then Brown could be a starter in all leagues. While Mixon has his flaws, he was still the No. 7 running back last year at 17.1 PPR points per game. And Smith gets the chance to potentially be a low-end starter in deeper leagues. Last year, Hayden Hurst averaged 8.1 PPR points per game for the Bengals, and Smith has more upside as the new starter in Cincinnati. He's a good No. 2 tight end to stash at his ADP of 176.2.
Ford has a big opportunity in front of him if the Browns don't add another running back to replace Kareem Hunt. Hopefully, the Browns leave Ford as the handcuff to Nick Chubb, and Ford could be a steal on Draft Day with an ADP of 178.3. With Hunt no longer in Cleveland, there are a lot of vacated touches in the Browns backfield. The non-Nick Chubb carries over the past three seasons are 136, 190 and 240, and Ford has been impressive this offseason. The Athletic reported that Ford is "headed for a much larger role" with Hunt gone. I plan to have Ford on a lot of my Fantasy rosters if he remains the No. 2 running back for the Browns heading into Week 1.
The Ravens have two backups to target in Edwards and Likely who could be lottery tickets. Start with Edwards, who has an ADP of 203.0. He'll once again be the backup to J.K. Dobbins, and if Dobbins goes down then Edwards could be a starter in the majority of leagues. He'll be two years removed from the torn ACL he suffered prior to the 2021 campaign, and that should hopefully help him return to form. But keep in mind that Edwards has averaged at least 5.0 yards per carry in every season of his career, and this Ravens offense should be among the best in the NFL at running the ball. As for Likely (ADP of 198.7), on any other team, he could be a No. 1 Fantasy tight end. Unfortunately, he's behind Mark Andrews, but Likely is likely the only tight end worth handcuffing given the upside. Last year, Likely had five games with at least five targets, and he averaged 12.8 PPR points over that span.
Last year, the Steelers had Najee Harris and Warren on the field together eight times, and that's something we could see more of in 2023, according to offseason reports. And Warren is also a lottery ticket if anything happens to Harris, which is why you should invest in Warren at his ADP of 164.3. Warren played in 16 games last season and had 77 carries for 379 yards and one touchdown and 28 receptions for 214 yards. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry, which is a yard better than what Harris has averaged in his two-year career. Warren is a fantastic late-round pick in all formats. He could turn into a surprise flex option if he plays over 30 percent of the snaps again this season. And he could be a starter in all leagues if something were to happen to Harris.
Greg Dulcich was the guy I hoped to be in this range, but his ADP is too high at 136.6. The Denver players you should be taking a flier on are Mims (ADP of 215.1) or Patrick (243.9), and I would expect Patrick to be the No. 3 receiver behind Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. Remember, going into last season, Patrick was a sneaky sleeper, but he suffered a torn ACL in early August and never got to play with Russell Wilson. Mims could end up making more splash plays, but Patrick could emerge as a reliable Fantasy option in deeper leagues. And if something were to happen to Jeudy or Sutton then either Patrick or Mims could become valuable in all formats.
The Chargers have a lot of mouths to feed with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Quentin Johnston, Austin Ekeler and Everett, but Kellen Moore's offense might be able to support them all with Justin Herbert. And Everett is a free tight end to target with his ADP at 167.9. He did well last season in his first year with the Chargers at 8.7 PPR points per game, but this offense should do better with an improved offensive coordinator. And Moore was able to get plenty of production from Dalton Schultz during their time in Dallas. I'm not sure you want to draft Everett as your only tight end, but he has enough upside to stash on your bench if you have enough roster space. And if you're looking for the backup to Ekeler, Joshua Kelley (ADP of 242.9) and Isaiah Spiller (297.8) are both late-round picks.
It's easy to write off Edwards-Helaire because it seems like the Chiefs have by not picking up his fifth-year option. That makes sense for Kansas City's roster. But that doesn't mean Edwards-Helaire can't help the Chiefs and Fantasy managers this season, and he's free on Draft Day with an ADP of 197.2. Even though Isiah Pacheco should be the starter to open the season, his physical rushing style could get him in trouble. And while Jerick McKinnon is second on the depth chart, he's more of a receiving threat than a rusher. Edwards-Helaire could emerge as the best running back in Kansas City, and he's not a bad upside play to stash on your bench. Remember, last season he averaged 18.3 PPR points per game in the first four games of the season. Also, two other Chiefs to consider here are Rashee Rice (ADP of 176.0) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (204.3), and both could be significant factors in the passing game.
You know the deal by now that Josh Jacobs could hold out because of his contract. And while that seems unlikely during the season, any missed time would allow White the chance for more playing time. He barely played as a rookie in 2022 with just 17 carries for 70 yards in 14 games, but things could change in his sophomore campaign. He's an easy lottery ticket to draft at his ADP of 226.9, and he could also get a big role if Jacobs were to get hurt. And two other Raiders to look at with late-round picks are Michael Mayer (ADP of 190.4) and Hunter Renfrow (216.3). Both should be big factors in the passing game behind Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers and could be useful for Fantasy managers, even with Jimmy Garoppolo under center.