8 Late-Round Players to Target in Best Ball Before the 2023 NFL Draft (A Roundtable)
Taking advantage of early off-season ADP, particularly before the NFL Draft can be beneficial in best ball formats. There isn’t too much movement in the early rounds with the exception of rookies, however, when we get to double-digit territory, players' draft value can shift - sometimes dramatically - once rookie squads are determined.
Additional Best Ball Resources: Never Too Early Rankings | Rookies to Target in Best Ball | Superflex Best Ball Bargain Quarterbacks | Best Ball Zero-RB Targets | How to Approach 3-Team Leagues | 4for4 Staff Superflex Best Ball Draft & Roundtable Discussion | Post Hype-Sleepers | Player Profiles
As a staff, the writers at 4for4 got together for another roundtable to give out their favorite later-round targets at this point in the season.
Rondale Moore, WR, Cardinals (Superflex ADP: 155.6, WR69)
Brandon Niles: If we're talking deep sleepers here, does anyone remember Rondale Moore? Available in the 13th round as the WR69 off the board on Underdog, Moore is the forgotten man in the Arizona receiving corps. However, the playmaking former Boilermaker was the WR49 in fantasy points per game for the eight games he played in a year ago, and is now entering his third season. Slotted third on the depth chart right now, he has the ability to rise quickly in drafts after DeAndre Hopkins is traded, as expected. Moore has been inconsistent throughout his first two seasons, but in his eight games last year, he had three with double-digit targets. He also put together a gem of a game against the Vikings in Week 8, catching seven of his eight targets for 92 yards and his lone touchdown on the season.
Moore has been drafted with lofty expectations over the past two seasons, but drafters seem to have forgotten about him this year. We don't really know what new Offensive Coordinator Drew Petzing will do with the Arizona offense, but Jarvis Landry led the Browns in targets for two of his three years in Cleveland and Adam Thielen came to power while he was an assistant in Minnesota. Those two are similar, stylistically, to Moore, although Moore has significantly more playmaking ability in his profile. While Kyler Murray's status is in question and DeAndre Hopkins is still in Arizona, grab Moore late in drafts. His ADP will rise after Hopkins gets shipped off and the Cardinals draft defense in the first round. At his current cost, Moore is all upside and no risk.
Chigoziem Okonkwo, TE, Titans (Superflex ADP: 142.9 TE14)
TJ Hernandez: When considering how ADPs might move following the NFL Draft, the main focus is usually on how early-round rookies can shake up a team’s depth chart but there will also be movement after a team fails to act. In this case, if the Tennessee Titans don’t address their need for more pass-catchers, second-year tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo could become a trendy breakout candidate and might even move into the TE1 ranks in ADP.
Going into 2023, 45.6% of the Titans’ targets from last season are up for grabs, the fourth-highest rate for any team. Last year’s first-round wide receiver, Treylon Burks, flashed his NFL-level skillset but still needs some development as a route-runner. Beyond Burks, the Titans don’t have a clear number two, leaving the door wide open for a player such as Okonkwo.
In Okonkwo’s rookie season, he had the third-highest PFF receiving grade among tight ends (minimum 40 targets) and led all tight ends in yards per route run, an indicator that he could belong among the elite names at his position. Whether stocking up on multiple tight ends in the later rounds of your best ball draft or pairing him with an elite player at the position, Okonkwo is a late-round tight end to grab now in case Tennessee waits until late in the Draft to select a pass-catcher and Okonkwo’s ADP climbs throughout the summer.
Isaiah Hodgins, WR, Giants (Superflex ADP: 199.0, WR75)
John Paulsen: The Giants found something in Hodgins, whom they claimed off the Bills roster in the middle of the season. From Week 13 through the Divisional Round–a seven-game span–Hodgins caught 34-of-44 targets for 358 yards (51.1 per game), and five touchdowns. The Giants re-signed the exclusive rights free agent to a one-year deal, and haven’t made any other major moves to upgrade the position, unless you count the acquisitions of Parris Campbell and Jamison Crowder.
Hodgins plays mostly outside, so he is a good bet to play major snaps given the glut of slot receivers on the roster. Even if the Giants draft another outside receiver, Hodgins could play ahead of Darius Slayton and continue to see starter snaps. As a 17th-round pick at Underdog, he’s a good bet to outproduce that ADP.
Cade Otton, TE, Buccaneers (Superflex ADP: 228, TE32)
Jennifer Eakins: The Bucs struggled at times on offense last season, but one bright spot was rookie TE Cade Otton. When targeted six or more times, the 24-year-old averaged 7.8 half-PPR points per game and that was with Cameron Brate in the mix to muddy up the volume. Otton was fifth among all TEs in red zone targets (16) and ended 2022 as Tom Brady’s TE target leader with 4.1 per contest, however, Brate is no longer in Tampa Bay and Otton has no competition for his QB’s TE love.
Let’s just assume Baker Mayfield gets the starting job as his only competition is the very green Kyle Trask. Mayfield’s affinity for tossing to TEs goes back to his college days in Oklahoma with Mark Andrews. In Cleveland, Mayfield peppered the position with fantasy TE2 numbers in three of his four years and subsequently produced at least one fantasy TE2 in 2018, 2020, and 2021 in David Njoku and Austin Hooper. Last year with Mayfield under center for the Rams from Weeks 14-18, Tyler Higbee was the TE8 in half-PPR points per game with 9.3, seeing six balls per game as TE7 in that category.
Right now Otton is the 32nd TE off Underdog draft boards which doesn’t line up with his ceiling or floor in this Tampa Bay offense. His current competition at the TE position is Ko Kieft, David Wells, and Dominique Dafney. If the Bucs don’t add another body to the TE room in the NFL Draft which seems likely, fantasy managers will catch on to Otton’s incredible value, so grab the sophomore now at the dirt cheap price of a 19th-round selection.
Tyler Scott, WR, FA Rookie (Superflex ADP: 236.7, WR101)
Justin Edwards: Incoming rookie Tyler Scott ran a sort of disappointing 4.44 40-yard dash at the combine but pushed that down to a 4.39 on his Pro Day and has purportedly been clocked as low as a 4.29 in the past. He improved in each year of college culminating with a Junior season where he was consistently spotted getting behind defenses. Scott finished 13th/48 qualifying wide receivers in contested catch rate despite his small stature, as well.
At the next level, Scott should operate mostly in the intermediate-to-deep levels of the field, which should provide some boom weeks throughout the year, and, depending on the landing spot, could dig him out of the last round once people catch on that this is the format that best exploits his strengths. For now, the speedy deep threat can be stuck on to teams in the last rounds of drafts for anyone looking to plug a hole at the WR position.
Elijah Mitchell, RB, 49ers (Superflex ADP: 140, RB41)
Chris Gee: Elijah Mitchell is one of those late-round best ball picks that just screams common sense. He’s the backup for Christian McCaffrey in a Kyle Shanahan offense that is one injury away from being a consensus top-12 running back. During the regular season, all Elijah Mitchell did was amass 279 yards (6.2 yards per carry) and score two touchdowns in five games. Shanahan showed us in the regular season that they would utilize McCaffrey heavily in the pass game but if you look at the regular season carry splits between McCaffrey and Mitchell they were almost 50/50 in yards and touchdowns (games that both Elijah Mitchell and CMC played together).
Granted there is some injury concern but at his current ADP he is well worth the risk. As someone who has over 30% exposure in Underdog’s original Big Board contest, I’m betting big on Mitchell to have stand-alone value with the ability for elite upside if something happens to CMC. The textbook definition of a great best ball pick in the 11th round.
Khalil Shakir, WR, Bills (Superflex ADP: 179.8, WR79)
Neil Dutton: Khalil Shakir did pretty much nothing of note as a rookie. He is the proud owner of 10 NFL catches and 161 yards, with a single touchdown. But he is tethered to Josh Allen, and at present Shakir appears to be the WR3 behind Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis. As he played nearly half his snaps from the slot in 2022, there is a chance that he develops into a reliable target for Allen in the short to intermediate area of the field.
There’s also a good chance the Bills spend an early-round pick on a receiver and crush Shakir’s value AND my dreams. But at his current ADP, he’s worthy of our attention.
Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys (Superflex ADP: 187.9, WR71)
John Daigle: We tend to do this annually in fantasy: a player who should have been discounted for a variety of reasons last season is being double-discounted the following year for everyone’s mistake in drafting him prior. And as it pertains to Michael Gallup and his ADP, a full year removed from reconstructive knee surgery is the time to pounce — not last year after he only went under the knife in February.
Even with Brandin Cooks being added to the mix, Gallup had previously earned Dak Prescott’s trust in leading the team in downfield targets (20-plus yards) in 2020 and 2021. A return to form (in that particular area of the field) this year could at least allow for spike weeks from a late-round wideout with a proven history of success in this offense.