Most managers will head into 2022 fantasy football drafts looking to nab top-tier playmakers at the most important positions, notably wide receiver and running back. While there's nothing wrong with that, savvy drafters will identify potential breakout candidates they can target in the later rounds order to prioritize their roster's overall talent. If any of these late-round steals pan out, it can have league-changing implications.
Best Late Round Fantasy Football Picks
For the purpose of this exercise, we'll take defenses and kickers off the board. Those are two positions you should be drafting at the end of your drafts, in the final two rounds. Most fantasy leagues average 15 rounds and we'll identify our best late round picks in Rounds 10-13, or picks 109-156. This assumes a 12-team, full PPR format.
Late Round Fantasy Sleepers
5. Jarvis Landry, WR (ADP 148)
It may come as a surprise, but Jarvis Landry is still being slept on when it comes to fantasy football drafts. His ADP of 148 shows him coming off the board in Round 13, which is a steal for a playmaker with potential to finish the year as New Orleans' top wideout. The only two playmakers ahead of Landry on the Saints' depth chart come with a variety of questions. How will Michael Thomas hold up after more than a year away from the sport with injury? How long will Chris Olave need to get into the flow of an NFL offense? Those question marks could lead to a heavy dose of Landry early on in the season. Landry finished as just WR52 a year ago, but averaged 11.1 PPR points per week (in 12 games played). That average sits closer to a DeVonta Smith (WR30) or Jakobi Meyers WR29. Getting a WR3 value in Round 13? Any draft manager would sign up for that.
4. James Cook, RB (ADP 114)
The Buffalo Bills added James Cook with the hopes he'd immediately step into the passing-back role on this offense. He's already ahead of Zack Moss on the depth chart (No. 2) and poised to keep banging away at a bigger role, and there's even speculation Moss could be off the roster before Week 1. Starter Devin Singletary led the Bills running back room in targets a year ago (50), but struggled mightily in both pass protection and efficiency. And with Moss potentially departing, that's 82 running back passing targets up for grabs. Cook projects to land in Round 10, but he's got the potential to steal the RB1 spot from Singletary before the year is done. This is a gamble worth taking, even as early as Round 10.
3. Jameis Winston, QB (ADP 171)
If you're not able to get the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson in the middle rounds, it's best to hold off on a quarterback. Here's a wacky draft strategy for you. Pick up your defense or kicker a round earlier than expected, and wait for Jameis Winston at QB in Round 15. Winston is poised to return from injury and welcomes a reputable group of weapons in his offense. Keep in mind, Winston operated at QB16 through the first five games of his season a year ago, before getting hurt. He's also only three years removed from a QB3 performance, the last fully healthy season he played with legitimate wide receivers. The trio of Landry, Olave and Thomas is much better than last year's crop of Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harris Tre'Quan Smith. Trust us. This value is too good to pass on.
2. Irv Smith Jr., TE (ADP 155)
There's a lot of reasons to like taking a gamble on Irv Smith Jr. in Round 13. Especially if you've already solidified your tight end starter to this point. Smith Jr. returns to the Vikings offense with a stronghold over the TE1 position after Tyler Conklin's departure. He's also heading into a contract year. Not only does he slide right into an offensive juggernaut with the likes of Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook, but Conklin leaves 87 targets up for grabs. Frankly, Conklin disappointed with those opportunities, hauling in just three touchdowns and catching 70.1% of his passes at 9.7 yards per reception. Smith caught 76% of his passes during his rookie campaign, and averaged 12.2 yards per reception in 2020. At that rate, 87 targets puts him on pace for 66 receptions and 806 receiving yards. That's on par with Mike Gesicki, last year's TE8, who finished with 73 receptions for 780 yards.
1. Skyy Moore, WR (ADP 134)
Even with all of his preseason hype, rookie Skyy Moore only projects as a Round 12 pick. The upside is limitless. Aside from Mecole Hardman, the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes are dealing with a completely different cast of characters at wide receiver. Tyreek Hill's departure leaves 159 targets up for grabs and it's anyone's guess who eats those up, with a particular gap open for a speedy threat. Demarcus Robinson coughed up that opportunity, turning his 41 targets into just 25 receptions and 264 yards. He also managed a dismal 62 total yards after the catch. Meanwhile, Moore ranked 16th in all of college football in that statistic. Can Skyy Moore be the next rookie sensation at wideout? Only time will tell.
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Adam Taylor McKillop is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Adam Taylor also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username atmckillop. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.