(Note: this article appears as part of our 2013 Fantasy Football Draft Guide; a comprehensive piece that helps you win your upcoming draft)
You’ve got one pick remaining and have decided to neglect a kicker in search of a super-secret-sexy-sleeper-pick, and sometimes drafting fantasy football late round lottery tickets can pay off. Here are a few to keep tabs on, especially in deeper leagues.
At best, you win the lotto; at worst, you drop them and grab a kicker.
These guys are likely waiver wire material in most standard leagues and many may never see a roster in traditional formats in 2013, but it doesn’t hurt to acquaint yourself with a few fantasy football late round lottery tickets.
Fantasy Football Late Round Lottery Tickets: Quarterbacks
Obviously, unless you’re in a 2 QB league, or another format where you need additional QB depth, or have a set number of QB roster slots there is little need to take any of these guys. Regardless, here are a few who could surprise in 2013.
Matt Cassel, Minnesota Vikings: All reports out of camp suggest he is at least on par with Christian Ponder, who has shown nothing thus far in his NFL career. Cassel at least has 2 strong seasons under his belt, and you’d have to think with Adrian Peterson around taking some of the opposing defensive focus he could post modest QB totals.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tennessee Titans: Jake Locker has been the furthest thing from durable and the Titans have a number of receiving options. Fitzpatrick has put it together in the past for short stints and new scenery could help the veteran.
Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars: He had the monster game against Houston last year in Week 10, jumped on every fantasy waiver wire list and then faded back to mediocrity. Only 32 QBs can start a week though, and Henne could be one of them.
Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles: Foles showed some signs of life last season, and Vick has missed 14 games over the past 3 years and is 33 years old. It is very realistic that Foles sees some starts this season and could even land the job out of camp.
Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins: All signs are pointing to Robert Griffin III being ready for the start of the season, but with a reconstructed knee and a mobile quarterback, a setback is always possible. Furthermore, RGIII has already shown a propensity and susceptibility to injuries.
Fantasy Football Late Round Lottery Tickets: Running Backs
So these are some deep sleepers, late round, deep league targets. In most cases a few things have to fall into place, or injuries or injuries have to occur to make these guys relevant, but in the deepest formats there might be some lightning in a bottle.
Mario Hardesty, Cleveland Browns: The injuries have caught up to Hardesty, and he has never performed anyway. He is now a mere handcuff to Richardson, and one who doesn’t project to get many touches. However if he is finally healthy and Richardson goes down, he stands to do well. Just keep tabs, because he has to actually be 2nd on the depth chart.
Stepfan Taylor, Arizona Cardinals: Rashard Mendenhall is the starter and Ryan Williams is set to be next in line, but neither have ever been able to stay healthy. Taylor is a power-back from a college running a pro-system, and could get an opportunity in 2013.
Mike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers: He does his best work around the goal line and in short yardage situations and has been a top 40 fake RB the last 3 seasons. Combined with Jonathan Stewart already nursing an injury and DeAngelo Williams isn’t getting any younger, Tolbert may not be so far off getting a crack at things.
Mike Gillislee, Miami Dolphins: The Gator alum excels at nothing, but is well-rounded, a threat in the receiving game, and capable of stepping in immediately. Lamar Miller is unproven and Daniel Thomas is nearing bust territory.
Knile Davis, Kansas City Chiefs: With only Shaun Draughn to beat, the speedy, yet unproven back would be the next option behind Jamaal Charles. In an offense that is going rely on their running back, Davis could be a major factor if Charles were ever banged up.
Joique Bell, Detroit Lions: More suited for PPR formats, Bell was actually better than Leshoure on the ground last season too. Unfortunately he’ll likely need a Bush or Leshoure injury to get any real opportunity at fantasy production.
Denard Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars: With no defined role it is tough to project what Robinson’s impact will be fantasy-wise, but he is a home run waiting to happen. Explosive, versatile and a potential game changer, Robinson could earn opportunities.
Fantasy Football Late Round Lottery Tickets: Wide Receivers
There is quite the mix here, a couple veterans, three rookies and a hopeful 3rd year breakout candidate. Receivers need to receive targets to be effective in the fake football game we love, so it is all about opportunity. Once a guy can carve out a role and gain the trust of his QB and coach, the results will follow.
Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys: The All-American has ideal size and a huge vertical leap, but isn’t the fastest and is off to a slow start in camp. He might not be able to supplant Dwyayne Harris, but if he does he could be a threat, especially with so many other options defenses need to focus on.
Corderrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings: Similarly to Williams, Patterson is raw, lacks the polish and will need some NFL seasoning. However, we’ve seen receivers come out of nowhere and produce and Patterson may have a clearer path to playing time.
Jason Avant, Philadelphia Eagles: You wont find many steadier possession receivers in football. I know that doesn’t win league titles, but especially in PPR formats, Avant may have enough value to fill in from time to time. Low upside, which isn’t what these picks are all about, but he will be relevant.
Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers have a history of developing their wide receivers quickly and Wheaton is a burner would could test defenses. Temper expectations, but he could emerge as a big play threat by season’s end.
Tandon Doss, Baltimore Ravens: Boldin is gone and Doss is an ideal replacement. He is a quality route runner, who boasts good hands and size. He could turn into a PPR gem and Flacco favorite with Dennis Pitta also a non-factor this season the opportunity should be size to seize.
Brandon Lloyd, Free Agent: So he didn’t click with the Pats last season, but he has to sign, right? If he does, he instantly becomes fantasy relevant and right now he is going undrafted a lot. There is no risk and all kinds of upside. If he doesn’t end up signing you just drop him for the next best option.
Fantasy Football Late Round Lottery Tickets: Tight Ends
Unless you have to fill a required roster spot, you really shouldn’t be worrying about a TE late. However, there are all kinds of formats out there and deep leagues where a you might need to reach for a TE late, so here are a few options.
Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans: The former Niner is way off the grid, but is set to be the every-down tight end. You shouldn’t expect miracles, but there should be some opportunities and he’ll be on the field.
Gavin Escobar, Dallas Cowboys: Unless Jason Witten gets hurt (and he plays through everything it seems), Escober’s greatest fantasy relevance will be the targets he steals from Witten, effecting Witten owners. The Cowboys took him early for a reason though, and he could be a surprise.
Mercedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars: Remember when Lewis put up a top 5 TE season? Feels like a lifetime, but it wasn’t even that long ago. Although he likely isn’t going to get back anywhere near that level of production… but he has done it before.