The draft is late and either you have a very strong team and can take some fliers or you realized the team has not materialized the way you hoped and you need to start picking up some high ceiling players to help out. Here are players I find myself (and will continue to find myself) grabbing late in drafts.
Quarterback: Carson Wentz, Indianapolis Colts
(FantasyPros ECR: QB27)
He’s an injury risk and he got hurt…again. The Colts also start the season with five consecutive 10-win teams from last year, which has not been happened since 1992. Carson is ALSO coming off a terrible year, so there are a few headwinds (hence the QB27 ranking). But he has one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, he has a favorable schedule to compile passing yards, and an above average schedule for touchdowns (all based on 2020 data). He is hungry to prove last year was a fluke, and I think as a late-round backup you could strike gold here.
Running Back: Melvin Gordon, Denver Broncos
(FantasyPros ECR: RB31)
The drafting of rookie Javonte Williams might eat into his playing time, but I feel like these situations typically have the rookie RB start late into the season, barring injury. So I imagine you will get plenty from Melvin Gordon in the meantime. There are questions on the offensive line (particularly center and the right side) but their schedule to run the ball is quite favorable in terms of both rushing yards and rushing TDs, based on 2020 data. Gordon also finished as a top 15 RB last year.
Melvin Gordon is the only player in the NFL with 9+ TDs in each of the last 5 seasons— Michael F. Florio (@MichaelFFlorio) August 19, 2021
Wide Receiver: Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins
(FantasyPros ECR: WR49)
I’m not crazy about Tua this season, and there is some competition with Will Fuller and DeVante Parker, but Waddle could settle in nicely as a slot receiver. It also just so happens that those type of passes is where Miami’s schedule is favorable this year. I think there is potential for MASSIVE upside here if he’s implemented into their gameplan, given the talent he has showcased.
Tight End: Adam Trautman, New Orleans Saints
(FantasyPros ECR: TE20)
I’ve been pretty outspoken about him previously—he’s stepping into the TE1 role for New Orleans, he caught 15 of his 16 targets last season, and he has the potential to return strong value. There are not only a lot of targets out there but some red zone pieces of which he saw very little last year providing 3-4x upside from his 2020 stats.
D/ST: Cleveland Browns
(FantasyPros ECR: D/ST14)
The Defensive Line—which was already solid—added Jadeveon Clowney, the top draft picks at linebacker are looking electric (especially Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah), and the secondary (where they struggled last season) has a healthy John Johnson III added to the mix. This could easily be a top 5 D/ST this year.
Kicker: Daniel Carlson, Las Vegas Raiders
(FantasyPros ECR: K14)
Carlson was a top 5 kicker last year, converting 33 out of 35 field goal attempts and hitting 45 extra points. It was a career year. Carlson lacks consistency year to year, but the Raiders have released most other kickers, showing their confidence in Carlson again this season. It’s not unheard of for Carlson to need a few seasons of coaching and consistency with a team to get his leg behind him. Kickers especially come and go, and I imagine you are drafting one late. In this instance you could take one at the very end of your draft, and get top 5 upside.