2018 Fantasy Football Late-Round Targets: Lottery Tickets

by Dennis Sosic
2018 Fantasy Football Late-Round Targets: Lottery Tickets

There are less than 45 days until the 2018 NFL season kicks off! Can you believe it? It's almost here!  Can you tell I am excited?

To answer the question, YES, I am excited!

I also get excited about lottery tickets. No, I am not talking about the ones you buy at your local beverage store or gas station. I am talking about a lottery ticket in your fantasy football drafts. Players taken in the late rounds who can vastly outperform their average draft position.

You don't have to rummage like a maniac through your cheat sheet or type feverishly in your search queue, because I came up with a starting lineup of players. Plus those also deserving your attention listed as honorable mentions.

Each of these players have a average draft position which is outside of the top 100, according to Fantasy Pros.

Who are the 2018 Fantasy Football Late-Round Targets aka lottery tickets? Let's take a look...

2018 Fantasy Football Late-Round Targets

Prepare for your draft by using the Free Mock Draft Simulator.


Philip Rivers, QB, Los Angeles Chargers (ADP: 112, QB16)

Philip Rivers threw for a 96 percent rating, 4,515 yards, and 28 touchdowns last season. Rivers threw at least one touchdown in all but one contest and three multiple scores in nine games. He turned the ball over just 11 times (ten interceptions and one lost fumble). That represented his lowest number since his first season as a starter in 2006.. He continues to play at an elite level as evidenced by averaging more than 4,400 yards and 30 touchdowns over the past five seasons.

Rivers has a ton of weapons at his disposal. He has one of the best possession receivers in the league in Keenan Allen. He has downfield threats in Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin. With the loss of tight end Hunter Henry, future Hall-of-Famer Antonio Gates should be back this season to provide a safety blanket for Rivers.  The Chargers also have a talented running back in Melvin Gordon. Gordon was one of only nine running backs to rush over 1,000 yards last season. The offensive line ranked among the lowest units in the league last season, but the Chargers signed Center Mike Pouncey to provide a solid anchor for the guys up front on the Chargers.

Over the last three seasons, Philip Rivers has shown consistency in his finishes. 14th in 2015, 12th in 2016 and 9th in 2017. During this same span, his average ADP is QB15.6, while his average finish is QB10.4. Rivers finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in the eight of his past 10 NFL seasons. Rivers has a history of beating his draft position in fantasy. The QB position is so deep this season, that it makes total sense to wait on quarterbacks. Rivers is undervalued every season, and hasn’t missed a game in 12 seasons. However, he is the quarterback fantasy owners should look to pick up every year at his ridiculous value.

Honorable Mention: Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ADP: 156, QB22)

Running Backs

D'Onta Foreman, RB, Houston Texans (ADP: 114, RB43)

D'Onta Foreman was in the midst of a promising rookie season when he tore his Achilles in November 2017. This is a devastating injury for anyone, but especially for a professional athlete. Some players are never the same after this injury. Foreman rushed for 327 yards and two touchdowns with a 4+ YPC during his first NFL season before an injury cut short his production.

Lamar Miller will still be the starter to open the 2018 season. He did have a disappointing 888 yards with a 3.7 yards-per-carry in 2017. Miller did not register a single 100-yard game last season. Unfortunately, Miller has really never taken over the lead back role the Texans hoped when he arrived in 2016.

The Texans' finished the season just inside the top half of the league in rushing yards. However, were near the bottom of the league with only eight rushing touchdowns on the season. In the PFF Player Grade,  the Texans rated as the WORST offensive line in the NFL in 2017. The Texans are focusing on improving their offensive line coming into the 2018 season. They expect to have four new starters on the line this season. This should improve things, because hey, it can't be much worse.

If Foreman is ready for the season opener, he may well form a committee with Lamar Miller. The Texans are high on him and he should play a bigger role this season. Fantasy owners looking to hit a jackpot late in drafts can do a lot worse than taking Foreman, who will be playing in a high-octane offense in the 2018 season.

Corey Clement, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (ADP: 135, RB47)

Corey Clement went seven rounds in the 2017 NFL Draft without a single call. Fortunately for Clement, he ended up on a team that knew how to utilize him. As an undrafted free agent, the Eagles realized they found a diamond in the rough. As 2017 went along, Clement continued to carve out a significant role in the Eagles' backfield.

Clement ended up leading the Eagles in rushing touchdowns. He posted a 74/321/4 rushing TD (4.34 ypc) and 10/123/2 TD on 15 targets to rank 75th among RBs with a 5.65 FPG. Not bad for a backfield loaded with names like Jay Ajayi, LeGarrette Blount, Kenjon Barner, and Darren Sproles. Clement culminated his rookie season with a record-breaking performance in the Eagles Super Bowl victory. He became the first undrafted rookie running back in NFL history to catch 100 yards in the Super Bowl.

Clement will most likely remain as a third-down and passing down back. He will sit behind Ajayi on the depth chart. Ajayi will take on most of the carries, with Darren Sproles utilized mostly as a punt returner. However, the uncertain future of Ajayi raises some questions about the Eagles' running back position. If Sproles comes back healthy and makes big contributions, the Eagles could find themselves looking to move Ajayi at the trade deadline. Clement will remain heavily utilized by the Eagles. He could even end up taking over the lead back role by the end of this season. To get that type of player in the double-digit rounds leads to fantasy championships!

Honorable Mention: Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks (ADP: 141, RB48), Kalen Ballage, RB, Miami Dolphins (ADP: 188, RB58)

Wide Receivers

Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants (ADP: 107, WR44)

Even though he missed five games due to ankle injuries and migraines last season, Sterling Shepard had 59 catches. He posted career highs in receiving yards (731) and in receptions on a per-game basis (5.36).

Shepard became the Giants No.1 wide receiver after Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall went down with season-ending injuries in Week 5. He improved his big-play production last season. Shepard had three receptions of 40+ yards; he had zero in his rookie season. Shepard also ranked third among all receivers on crossing routes with a grade of 125.1 courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

Eli Manning believes that Shepard is a prime candidate for a breakout season. There is every reason to think he's right. Largely a slot receiver his first two seasons, Shepard saw plenty of reps this spring lined up on the outside. He will have an opportunity to post full-season career highs as the Giants' WR2.  The addition of rookie running back Saquon Barkley, the return of stud receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and the emergence of tight end Even Engram should open up the field. That will help Shepard because opposing defenses will be unable to concentrate on him.

New head coach Pat Shurmur runs an offense where the starters normally prosper. Last season, the Vikings receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs had big seasons in Shurmur's offense. He likes his quarterbacks to throw the ball only to his best players. Consequently, look for Sterling Shepard to get a ton of targets coming this way to his first career 1,000-yard season.

Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions (ADP: 151, WR57)

Despite missing five games in 2017 with a lingering hamstring injury, Kenny Golladay managed to put together a solid campaign in his first year. He averaged 17 yards per reception and snagged three touchdowns. Golladay caught 28 passes for 477 yards. Had he met the 30-catch threshold for league leaders, this would rank fourth in the NFL in yards per reception (17.0) .

Golladay displayed glimpses of being a standout wide receiver. His final four games were on a pace for 52 catches for 612 yards. While not exactly the numbers of a superstar, it would put Golladay among the top 50 NFL wide receivers in catches and yardage.

The Lions were one of the three teams featuring two 1,000 yard pass catchers in Golden Tate and Marvin Jones Jr. What makes the Detroit Lions unique is the No.3 option in Kenny Golladay. With former tight end Eric Ebron released earlier this offseason, the Lions will need Golladay to take advantage of those available targets. He will also need to display that big-play ability resulting in Golladay having 28 percent of his catches reach 20 yards or more.

The 6-foot-4 receiver stands at least two inches taller than any other wideout currently on the roster. That height is only part of the equation. His 32-inch wingspan makes him open, even when he looks covered. Furthermore, the Lions still don't have a running game. Therefore, Matthew Stafford should look to take advantage of Golladay's measurables. This means especially in the red zone to the tune of  50+ catch, 700-900 yards, and 6-8 touchdowns.

Honorable Mention: Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ADP: 210, WR72), James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (ADP: 206, WR71)

Tight End

Vance McDonald, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers (ADP: 168, TE19)

If you miss out on one of the top three tight ends, then the position becomes something of a dart throw. The Steelers traded for Vance McDonald shortly before the start of last season. McDonald struggled to get playing time and chemistry with Ben Roethlisberger during the regular season. The former 49er finished the season with 14 catches for 288 yards and a touchdown in 10 games.

Injuries slowed McDonald down at the beginning of the 2017 campaign. He started to show what he can do during the fantasy playoffs when he broke 50 yards in two of his final three games. He really gave fantasy owners something to think about for the 2018 season when he caught 10 passes for 112 yards (on 16 targets!) in the Divisional Round loss to the Jaguars.

McDonald looks the favorite to start over incumbent Jesse James. However, McDonald has yet to play a 16-game season. Additionally, McDonald will be working in an offense with a new offensive coordinator. Todd Haley is now with the Cleveland Browns. Randy Fichtner, who was Roethslisberger's quarterbacks' coach, is now calling plays for the first time since 2006 when he was at the University of Memphis. You would hope that a team ranking third in total offense and eighth in scoring last season would not have to go through many adjustments.

I expect Vance McDonald to be a late-round gem. Currently, he has an average ADP of 19th among tight ends. If you passed on the elite tight ends, you should target a tight end with upside in a great offense. That describes Vance McDonald. Big Ben has made less talented tight ends fantasy relevant.

Honorable Mention: Benjamin Watson, TE, New Orleans Saints (ADP: 219, TE26)

Flex (RB-WR-TE)

Kenny Stills, WR, Miami Dolphins (ADP: 142, WR53)

Last season, Kenny Stills caught 58 passes for 847 yards with six touchdowns. All of which came as a slot receiver. He was second on the team in receptions, yards, and touchdowns behind Jarvis Landry.

Stills enjoyed the second-best season statistically of his career despite playing with a torn tendon in his right hand, which he didn’t disclose until the season ended. Despite Miami’s offensive woes last season, he remained effective in generating the big play catching five of 13 deep targets for 141 yards and two touchdowns.

With Jarvis Landry leaving the Dolphins for Cleveland and Julius Thomas leaving the team as an off season cut, it presents an opening of 213 targets from last season. The addition of wide receivers Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola will gather some of those targets. However, it also should allow Stills to see a lot of one-on-one coverage with no safety help this season.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill returns in 2018 after missing the entire 2017 season with a torn ACL.  Stills already has a relationship with Tannehill under center for a majority of the 2016 season. He averaged 17.3 yards per catch and scored a career-best nine touchdowns in the 2016 season.

There might be some game-to-game volatility with Stills, yet strong potential for his best year as a professional in 2018. With no Jarvis Landry stealing targets, Stills will emerge as Tannehill's favorite weapon. This may lead Stills to record his first 1,000-yard season of his career. Consistently a late-round fantasy gem, watch his numbers jump to 70+ catches for 1,000 yards+ and eight touchdowns.

Honorable Mention: C.J. Anderson, RB, Carolina Panthers (ADP: 107, RB41), Josh Doctson, WR, Washington Redskins (ADP: 150, WR57)

Visit the F6P Fantasy Football Draft Kit Page for more advice to prepare for the 2018 season.

2018 Fantasy Football Draft Kit Categories
RankingsPosition PreviewsTeam PreviewsSleepersBusts

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1 comment

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 - Fantasy Football Links - FantasyRundown.com July 25, 2018 - 3:52 pm

[…] uncovers some late-round lottery tickets to consider when finishing your fantasy […]


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