How to Approach Late Rounds (2022 Fantasy Football)

Building a championship roster is done throughout the draft at every turn. While the fantasy football draft isn’t the only ingredient to hoisting the first-place hardware at the end of the season, it’s still essential to be dialed in. Whether placing your bets on breakouts or expecting repeat stellar production with premium picks, there are various approaches to take with your drafts. In this series, I’ll describe how I attack each fantasy football draft stage. From capitalizing on early picks, mining value in the middle rounds or today’s topic, attacking the later rounds and aiming for upside.

Dart throws: Upside. upside. upside.

Over the last two seasons, 19 players have been drafted outside the top 100 players and have cracked the top 24 running backs, wide receivers or the top 12 tight ends in fantasy points per game. Some have been related to increased opportunity related to injuries, while others have been supreme talents emerging at the top of the depth chart pile. The idea is real and remains the same when selecting players late in the draft. Shoot for the moon. This means drafting “one injury away” types that could see massive upticks in their roles should the dice roll their way. Other target players include talented rookies who aren’t getting the same steam as the well-known names.

Some players that fit these criteria are James Cook, Rhamondre Stevenson, Skyy Moore, Isaiah Spiller, Khalil Herbert and Tyrion Davis-Price, just to name a few.

Target tertiary options on good offenses

The fantasy football industry is sharp in targeting teams that will light up the scoreboard all season long, but sometimes we miss on the players that will play prominent roles in the red zone and the offense overall. Be prepared to explore this range of outcomes in your drafts, especially if you’re playing in many leagues. This gives you outs for your fantasy portfolio overall. We know we’ll hit on some popular sleepers and late-round picks while we whiff on others. Embrace the variance in these later rounds.

Below are the top 12 teams in points per game and red-zone scoring attempts per game in 2021.

Points per game

  1. Dallas
  2. Tampa Bay
  3. buffalo
  4. Kansas City
  5. LA Chargers
  6. LA Rams
  7. New England
  8. indianapolis
  9. Cincinnati
  10. Arizona
  11. Green Bay
  12. philadelphia

Red-zone scoring attempts per game

  1. buffalo
  2. LA Chargers
  3. LA Rams
  4. Kansas City
  5. Green Bay
  6. Tampa Bay
  7. indianapolis
  8. Dallas
  9. Arizona
  10. Las Vegas
  11. New England
  12. Tennessee

When exploring the range of outcomes with these top offenses, here are some ADP values ​​to consider when looking outside the top 100 players: (ADP per UnderdogFantasy)

Rondale Moore (119th overall) > Zach Ertz (109th overall)

Jamison Crowder (129th overall) > Dawson Knox (102nd overall)

Jalen Tolbert (143rd overall) > Michael Gallup (115th overall)

Robert Tonyan (140th overall) > Allen Lazard (91st overall)

Alec Pierce (157th overall) / Paris Campbell (196th overall) > Nyheim Hines (138th overall)

Skyy Moore (89th overall) > JuJu Smith-Schuster (57th overall)

Russell Gage (83rd overall) > Chris Godwin (55th overall)

Austin Hooper (200th overall) > Robert Woods (106th overall)

Never draft a D/ST or Kicker unless required by league settings

This sounds like common sense at this point with fantasy football draft approaches, but we still see fantasy managers commit this cardinal sin every year. Stream both positions. There’s little reason to draft either unless required. Instead, take two more training camp fliers with your final two picks. If neither hit, you invest pennies with both, so sending them to the waiver wire is easy. If injuries mount before Week 1 and new opportunities present themselves or camp battles conclude surprisingly with a dark horse winner, you just hit the lottery.

Chase efficiency darlings

Efficiency is a wonderful fantasy elixir. Breathe it in. Drink it up. The thesis is efficient players that capitalize on their opportunities (with the assumption of semi-rational coaching) will continue to earn more looks on offenses. This can also be applied to aging veterans that the consensus is ready to toss in an early grave.

Below are some players that might surprise you with their finishes in yards per route run last year among their various position groups that are drafted outside the top 100 players. With each position, the cutoff for minimum targets was 20, which yielded an interesting mix of youth and veterans (per PFF, rank in parenthesis). If yards per route run isn’t your cup of tea, the process is easily applicable to your efficiency metric of choice.

*ADP referenced by Underdog Fantasy*

Running Back

JD McKissic (fifth, 182nd overall)

Kenyan Drake (sixth, 212th overall)

Rhamondre Stevenson (eighth, 117th overall)

Kenneth Gainwell (14th, 158th overall)

Wide Receivers

Kadarius Toney (14th, ADP 94th overall)

Kendrick Bourne (17th, ADP 192nd overall)

Julio Jones (28th, ADP 194th overall)

Jarvis Landry (33rd, ADP 125th overall)

tight ends

Albert Okwuegbunam (fifth, 146th overall)

Dan Arnold (tenth, 216th overall)

David Njoku (11th, 157th overall)

Using the same logic, some rushers posted eye-popping numbers in yards after contact per attempt (minimum 50 carries, per PFF) to consider with your final selections, especially in deeper leagues.

Craig Reynolds (third, ADP N/A)

Samaje Perine (fourth, 215th)

Ke’Shawn Vaughn (sixth, 215th)

D’Ernest Johnson (tenth, 212th)

Derrick Gore (17th, 215th)

Gobble up post-hype sleepers

Every season the hope and promise of emerging players get hot and heavy. The continued ascension of young players is something we analyze yearly; sometimes it pans out, and other times it doesn’t. When the hype meter turns to tilt in season, the fantasy football consensus will bury many of these players in the following year. The NFL landscape changes each season, and we can’t become married to our bias because a player we loved busted. If the process was sound in evaluating the player from the jump and the talent is real, it’s possible we were a year early on the forecasted breakout.

Below are players that were drafted inside the top 130 selections in fantasy drafts that have seen their ADPs plummet from the previous season. Each player is worth considering adding to your player pool with the post-hype discount we get to enjoy in 2022.

Chase Edmonds 2021 ADP 60th overall vs. 2022 ADP 100th overall

Brandon Aiyuk 2021 ADP 53rd overall vs. 2022 ADP 94th overall

Chase Claypool 2021 ADP 61st overall vs. 2022 ADP 107th overall

Jonnu Smith 2021 ADP 130th overall vs. 2022 ADP 215th overall

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If you want to dive deeper into fantasy footballbe sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

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