Winning in fantasy football takes a great deal of luck, but one of the best ways to create your own good fortune is through savvy late-round drafting.
Ask anyone who stuck with David Johnson (RB, Cardinals) last season. The second-year pro, who wasn’t on most fantasy owners’ radar last August as a rookie, was a monster in December. He’s going to be a first-round pick in your league this year.
Finding such hidden gems means keeping tabs on the waiver wire once the season is in progress as well as gambling on a few sleepers on draft day. If you’re looking for suggestions, here are a few for you to consider. I’ve sorted them into three categories.
Many players will have the core of the team in place through seven rounds, so this group covers players in Rounds 8-11.
Josh Gordon (WR, Browns) and Tyler Lockett (WR, Seahawks) have the highest upside on this tier. Gordon was a stud before off-the-field issues limited him to five games since 2013, and Lockett could become a WR2 by season’s end.
Duke Johnson Jr. (RB, Browns) is in a carry split, but his value as a receiver makes him useful for a team likely to often abandon the running game.
Those waiting until this point for a TE or QB could do worse than Zach Ertz (TE, Eagles) and Derek Carr (QB, Raiders), both of whom are capable of finishing in the top five at their positions.
In Rounds 12-14, owners are just filling out their bench. This is the perfect time to gamble.
Laquon Treadwell (WR, Vikings) and Corey Coleman (WR, Browns) are two of the best rookie options at the position.
Keep an eye on Tevin Coleman (RB, Falcons), who was to be in the mix for Atlanta’s carries before injury allowed teammate Devonta Freeman to become a fantasy superstar in 2015. If Freeman misses time or stumbles, Coleman may shine.
Marcus Mariota (QB, Titans) and Jared Cook (TE, Packers) are good value picks.
Most of the following players will go undrafted, but those who enjoy a little risk could use their final pick on one of them.
Jerick McKinnon (RB, Vikings) will be the beneficiary if 31-year-old Adrian Peterson begins to decline.
While Tom Brady (QB, Patriots) is only suspended for the first four games, fill-in Jimmy Garoppolo should be a solid play in his absense.
Also viable options at this point are Chris Johnson (RB, Cardinals), Breshad Perriman (WR, Ravens) and Charles Clay (TE, Bills).