In today’s article, Best Ball Badger will discuss what type of player you want to be picking up in the last few rounds of the draft (draft.com/bestballbadger). We’ll also highlights some players that we believe are worth a late round flyer.
The last two rounds of your Best Ball team are similar to undrafted players for NFL teams. Undrafted players come to camp ready to provide competition for entrenched players, but the odds are against them to make the team, let alone contribute in a significant way. But then every now and then, teams will find a diamond in the rough, and get a Phillip Lindsay. Lindsay signed with the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent in May 2018, impressed in training camp, and earned himself a spot on the team as the 3rd RB on the depth chart. He then proceeded to churn out an efficient season (over 1000 yards rushing at 5.4 YPC and scoring 10 TDs) on his way to finishing as RB12 despite missing the last game of the season.
In Best Ball, we are looking for Phillip Lindsays. Players who don’t come with a big name, but have the potential to either become a solid contributor (by winning a job outright or through injury) or have a few boom games to put your team over the top in those weeks.
What we don’t want in our final rounds is a player with little upside since they cannot break into the starting lineup by just scoring what they are projected to. We recently posted an article on variance (https://confidencepoolpicks.com/the-importance-of-variance/) and we want high variance players at the end of the draft.
Let’s take a look at potential impact players that will typically be available at the end of drafts. Below are players with ADP currently at 193 or above (usually available 17th and 18th round in 12 team leagues) and fit the mold of a diamond in the rough.
Marcus Mariota – Before last year’s up and down season, Mariota scored over 270 points in the two seasons prior. He can still run the ball, which is a cheat code for QBs, and should have his favorite safety net back in Delanie Walker, who only played in 1 game last year. The Titans also bolstered their receiving core with a solid WR in Adam Humphries and 2nd round draft pick AJ Brown, a physical receiver with strong hands to make contested catches. Will the Titans want to heavily emphasize the run with Henry like the end of the last season? Sure, but they’re projected to be an 8-8 team and will likely need to throw themselves back into many games this year.
Ryquell Armstead – Jacksonville spent a 5th rounder on an RB that grades out as a hard runner that is not afraid of contact. His scouting report showed that he was below average as a pass catcher, but Fournette has not been asked to catch balls in the Jags current offense. With only a lowly Alfred Blue in front of him, Armstead could easily secure the backup RB role behind oft-injured Leonard Fournette. If and when Fournette misses time, Armstead could find himself with a lot of carries.
Darwin Thompson – Yet another unheralded rookie RB (6th round) who is seemingly buried on the depth chart. Thompson is a versatile back who is a capable pass catcher. If Damien Williams goes down, the Chiefs will take a hard look at Thompson to take on a bigger role. Carlos Hyde is the backup on paper but has had a history of dropped balls. Almost every Andy Reid back has been successful when being the primary RB, but in order to be the lead RB, they have to have pass catching ability.
Tony Pollard (added 8/3) – Ezekiel Elliott’s backups are Tony Pollard, Mike Weber, or Alfred Morris. Pollard was drafted in the 4th round this year. He was extremely efficient in college and scouts mention his good size/speed and versatility, however with no particularly special attributes outside of special teams play. Weber was drafted in the 7th and graded out at a savvy RB with good elusiveness and vision but poor burst (read: no upside). Alfred Morris was signed off the street after Zeke started tooting the hold out horn. It’s going to be a crapshoot, but we would be betting on Pollard as one back that might break into your starting lineup if Zeke misses any time.
Randall Cobb – Remember when Rodgers went down with a knee injury against the Bears, was carted off the field, and made a heroic comeback in the second half of the game? Remember when he threw a 10 yard pass to Cobb who proceeded to run 65 more yards while weaving through multiple defenders to score? We weren’t reciting Packers lore from years past, that story was from 2018. Cobb had a few disappointing and injury-plagued seasons prior to being unceremoniously ejected from the Packers roster. Now, he has a fresh start with Dallas where the defensive focus will be on Zeke and the run game. Cobb is at the age where WRs are still in their prime and reports of his connection with Dak have been positive. There is hope in 2019 for a few breakout games and a resurgent Cobb.
Antonio Callaway – Hop on board the Browns hype train everyone! It’s hard to even type this, but the Browns are loaded with talent this year at every skill position. That might mean good things for Baker Mayfield, but anyone not named Odell Beckham Jr. will be fighting for targets. Jarvis Landry, who has been a volume guy his whole career, is going to suffer in points scored and should be avoided. However, we like a burner like Callaway near the end of drafts, since he only needs a few touches to have a good fantasy week. He’ll also be the 3rd or 4th option in priority as defenses will be focusing on the other players on the team.
JJ Arcega Whiteside – Nothing but touchdowns. All the news from the Eagles camp is that Whiteside is doing great work in dominating red zone drills. As a rookie, he figures to get less targets than Ertz, Jeffrey, DeSean Jackson, and maybe even Agholor and Miles Sanders. However, Philadelphia drafted Whiteside in the 2nd round as a big-bodied, contested ball catcher and his comp is Mr. Touchdown himself, Eric Decker. If you want another WR with your last pick, Whiteside is worth a shot due to his touchdown potential.
Quincy Enunwa – Most owners only remember Quincy Enunwa as constantly being injured. After a promising 2016 season, Enunwa sat out the entire 2017 season with a neck injury. In 2018, he started out the season with four games as a reliable target for Darnold until he injured his ankle in Week 6. Week 5 was a stinker (0 points) but a bit of an anomaly as the Jets were able to put up over 300 rushing yards and cruised to a victory. Healthy again this year, Enunwa is the locked and loaded starting WR playing opposite Robby Anderson. The Jets also added Jamison Crowder in the slot and backfield phenom Le’Veon Bell. If Darnold and the offense takes a step up (which we expect) and Enunwa can stay healthy, he could be a rare late round WR that contributes on a weekly basis.
Ricky Seals-Jones – There really aren’t good options at TE in the late rounds even as a flyer. But if you take one, it might as well be on a guy who can stretch the field, is getting a massive upgrade at QB, and will be on an offense that will be among the leaders in the NFL in terms of pace of play. Seals-Jones showed flashes of potential as a rookie in 2017, but then was stuck in by far the worst offense in the league last year. It is within the realm of possibility that this 3rd year TE has a bounce back year. However, he will have to fight for playing time with newly signed free agent Charles Clay.
Written on 7/23/19 by Winston Lee (Updated 8/3)