- Where are the late round league winners in 2022 fantasy football?
- Take some risk on late round picks with high upside this NFL season
- Read below for three sleepers that can breakout in fantasy football this year
Being able to turn a late round pick into a top-12 player at the position alleviates a ton of pressure on your early round picks. It also could result in a fantasy football championship if you pair it with an early round stud. Fantasy managers that took Jonathan Taylor in round 1 and Deebo Samuel in round 11 last season were laughing their way to a title. There are always late round league winners to be had.
Finding these late round studs doesn’t come without risk, there’s a reason why they’re going so late. For Deebo it was about being able to stay healthy along with the expectation that sophomore Brandon Aiyuk was going to take a year 2 leap. There were a few others that returned late round value in Mike Williams, Jaylen Waddle and Brandin Cooks.
Just as much as there’s late round league winners, there’s also late round busts. Like Kenyan Drake, Robbie Anderson and Mecole Hardman. But it would hard to argue that those players lost you your league in 2021. So taking calculated risk is certainly the way to go. Let’s take a look at three players that have the makings of a league winner but are going in the double digit rounds of fantasy football drafts.
Justin Fields (QB) – Chicago Bears
ADP: 14.03 (QB17)
Can a quarterback really give you league winning upside in a 1QB league? When he’s going this late and has dual threat abilities I really think so. Taking Fields in the 12th round of your fantasy football draft is going to allow you to better built out other positions on your team, there are quality receivers available in rounds 5-8 where a number of quarterbacks are typically going.
Last season Fields posted 420 rushing yards, which ranked 5th despite making just 10 starts. In a full season sample size that’s over 700 yards on the ground. Almost 80% of those yards were through scrambles, former head coach Matt Nagy didn’t take advantage of one of Fields greatest skill sets.
Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy will now be calling plays and fantasy managers can expect plenty more run-pass-option (RPO) in the playbook. Nagy ran RPO on just 4% of plays despite the fact Fields ran RPO a significant amount during his time at Ohio State. Which is mind boggling when you consider the fact Fields 8.9 yards per attempt was 12th at position last season but he was 28th in play-action dropback rate.
Seeing an improved game plan that better suits his skill set will work wonders in elevating Fields floor on a week-to-week basis. His rushing upside is enough to potentially lead the position in 2022 and that gives him the chance to have a top-8 quarterback finish.
Kadarius Toney (WR) – New York Giants
ADP: 10.08 (WR49)
This is a player that has all the traits you’re looking for in a late round league winner. Toney is extremely talented in an offense that is missing that number 1 receiving option. The reason he’s found in the double digit rounds of your fantasy football draft is injury concern. Toney appeared in 10 games last year but started just 4. He’s also dealing with a knee injury leading into the Giants week 1 tilt with the Titans.
The good on the field is too much to pass up in my mind. When Toney is on the field he demands opportunity, his 28.9% target rate ranked 7th and his yards per route run was better than Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs and Diontae Johnson. It’s cause he got open, ranking 12th in target separation against man coverage. He also led wide receivers in missed tackles forced per reception, Cooper Kupp and Deebo Samuel were the leaders in total missed tackles forced.
The best fantasy football draft strategy requires you to take risk in the later rounds. We are getting a discount on Toney because of his injury concern, if he’s on the field we know what he’s capable of. If it doesn’t work out though, he won’t keep you from winning a championship.
Raheem Mostert (RB) – Miami Dolphins
ADP: 16.03 (RB59)
I’ve spoken pretty candidly on the OwnersBox YouTube channel about Chase Edmonds being a must draft running back in fantasy football. But at the same time I’ve also noted the fact Edmonds has never taken on the role of converting red zone and inside the 5 carries into touchdowns. New head coach Mike McDaniel picked out Edmonds and Raheem Mostert to fill out his backfield, Mostert has the benefit of familiarity with this scheme.
As the offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers last season, McDaniel’s offense ran the ball in the red zone on 45% of plays which was a far cry from Miami’s 37% from 2021. The running back position should return much more fantasy value this season. Mostert is an explosive player when on the field and is better suited then Edmonds to run between the tackles. In 2020 his 55.8% base front carry rate was the highest in the NFL, and he averaged 5.7 yards per carry against it.
The Dolphins released RB Sony Michel.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) August 29, 2022
The release of Sony Michel early this week speaks volumes as to how this staff feels about their current backfield. Mostert provides intriguing upside purely as a handcuff behind Edmonds. But if he proves to be the better option for McDaniel in the red zone then he could prove to be the type of value that James Conner was last season. This is a valuable rushing offense that many of your leaguemates may be overlooking.