NFL

5 Late-Round QBs to Target: Richardson, Wilson Have Big Fantasy Upside

Brandon Gdula
Brandon Gdula•@gdula13
5 Late-Round QBs to Target: Richardson, Wilson Have Big Fantasy Upside

Everybody loves a good fantasy football value.

And while they're not always easy to find, one place where we can really look for home runs is at quarterback.

We need only one (in most leagues), and that means that maybe 12 or 15 QBs are rostered for most of the season on a rotating basis.

Now, there's a lot of appeal now in the elite quarterbacks because they can combine rushing totals with elevated passing stats, so simply waiting on quarterbacks isn't as viable of a strategy as it has been in recent seasons when pocket-passers headline the top of the fantasy ranks.

But if you miss out on the Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts and other top-flight fantasy quarterbacks, consider these names in your upcoming fantasy football drafts.

All five have an average draft position (ADP) of QB15 or later, via FantasyPros. That should leave them available toward the later stages of your fantasy drafts.

Late-Round Quarterbacks to Target for 2023

Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts planted their flag in a potential franchise passer when they selected Anthony Richardson with the fourth overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

The former Florida Gator is 6'4" and 244 pounds, and he ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. That earned him a 99 athleticism score by the NextGenStats model.

Additionally, his burst score of 135.4 places him in the 99th percentile, via PlayerProfiler.

The point here: he can move, and he has size.

That makes him a very appealing fantasy football quarterback. Oh, and he'll play in a controlled environment at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Richardson is the QB15 in FanDuel's best ball fantasy football formats and has a consensus average draft position (ADP) of QB16, per FantasyPros.

That places him outside the top-tier of fantasy quarterbacks by draft position, yet he has the upside to play his way into a top-12 season.

Both numberFire and ESPN project Richardson for at least 110 carries and to finish inside the top five in carries among QBs.

Since 2000, QBs finishing fifth or better in rushes among the position have an average fantasy rank of 10.2, and 67.2% of them finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback with 48.3% of them finishing as a top-8 fantasy quarterback.

Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos

Based on underlying data, Russell Wilson underperformed in 2022. Well, I guess, based on any measure, Wilson underperformed in 2022.

But my touchdown regression model flagged Wilson as a name to watch for in 2023, and his ADP is now just QB18.

Wilson is projected by numberFire and ESPN for top-12 rushing volume at the position, and while that's not top-5 or anything, those carries can add up quickly.

Passers in the top-12 in rushing volume since 2000 finish, on average, as the QB13.2.

Even if we narrow that list to QBs 7th through 12th in carries, they have an average finish of 15.4.

With big things in store from a revamped Denver Broncos coaching staff, a strong receiving corps, some rushing ability, and some expected scoring regression, Wilson is an obvious candidate to overperform his draft capital.

Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers

It's not often you want to be targeting QBs with a higher interception count (nine) than touchdown tally (seven) from a season ago, yet there are reasons to like Kenny Pickett.

The Pittsburgh Steelers' second-year signal-caller has an ADP of only QB20, and he's a touchdown regression candidate himself.

Additionally (and hold your shock here), he can run!

Last season, Pickett, in games in which he played at least half of the Steelers' snaps, averaged 4.0 carries and 19.0 rushing yards per game.

That made him one of eight quarterbacks to rush at least 4.0 times per game over eight or more contests, and that would put him on a 17-game pace of 68.0 carries.

Chemistry with George Pickens as well as Diontae Johnson and Pat Freiermuth gives Pickett enough paths to upside to consider him when missing out on the elite crop of fantasy passers.

Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints

You generally want a semblance of upside from your fantasy quarterbacks even if you aren't investing much fantasy draft capital into them. That's why almost everyone on this list has rushing potential.

Derek Carr hasn't had too much of that in recent seasons while with the Las Vegas Raiders.

He's now under center for the New Orleans Saints, which gives him a combination of indoor games, a good receiving corps, and a pretty easy schedule for 2023.

But in looking at expected touchdown numbers, Carr is due for some positive regression. Big time.

Carr has totaled -17.7 touchdowns over expected since entering the league in 2014 based on my regression model, and that includes -21.4 TDs versus expectation over the past five seasons alone.

If you're targeting a true pocket passer, you can also prioritize Jared Goff (QB17), but with a chance for better touchdown numbers and an ADP of just QB22, Carr should be a viable late-round option for those who missed out on higher-upside options.

Sam Howell, Washington Commanders

I know I'm talking a lot about rushing volume, but the reason for it is that it matters for fantasy football.

While you aren't often going to get a guaranteed, high-volume rushing quarterback for virtually no investment...we might have a chance to do it with Sam Howell.

Howell is both listed as the QB3 on the Washington Commanders' depth chart and the highest listed QB on the depth chart. Because he's the only one listed.

He could lose out to Jacoby Brissett, but he is presumably the starter entering 2023.

In one start last season, Howell played 63 snaps and ran 5 times for 35 yards and a touchdown.

He also recorded two rushing scores in a preseason game: a goal-line sneak after this gem.

Not bad for someone drafted as the QB30.


The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.