Fantasy News & Analysis

Fantasy Football: 10 players to target late in dynasty rookie drafts

2RYKTPX September 30 2023 Palo Alto, CA USA Oregon running back Bucky Irving (0) runs for a touchdown during the NCAA Football game between the Oregon Ducks and the Stanford Cardinal.Oregon beat Stanford 42-6 at Stanford Stadium Palo Alto, CA Thurman James/CSM

• Making sense of the Day 3 running backs: This list is not all-encompassing, but players like Bucky Irving and Kimani Vidal are the perfect mesh of great tape and great landing spot.

• Third-round wide receivers slipping? While ADP will likely catch up at some point, Jermaine Burton and Luke McCaffrey can currently be had in the third round of rookie drafts more often than not despite their Day 2 draft capital and immediate paths to snaps.

• Check out PFF's fantasy football rankings: PFF’s fantasy football rankings include ranks from our experts, projections and our strength of schedule metric.

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Often afterthoughts and throw-in pieces to many fantasy football dynasty managers, late-round rookie picks and undrafted waiver adds can be essential to a rebuild or rounding out a team’s depth. Sometimes you nail a pick like Puka Nacua or Isiah Pacheco and get a massive return on investment, but often these players end up as roster fillers just to be cut a couple of years later.

So, how do we identify these diamonds in the rough? It's easier said than done, but accounting for situation, scheme fit and draft capital is often necessary to distinguish players. Every league and season is a bit different, but there will certainly be talent still on the board if your draft tends to go pretty chalky.

Here are 10 names to keep an eye on as you get into the third round and beyond of 2024 rookie drafts.

RB Bucky Irving, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Picked up in the fourth round by Tampa Bay, Irving was one of the most dynamic players in college football last season for Oregon despite a lack of desirable measurables and athletic ability. More than just a check-down option as a receiver, Irving racked up 55 catches last season on over 9.5 yards per reception. He forced 94 total missed tackles between the run and pass games, displaying a great feel for traffic and fantastic footwork to chain together cuts.

His landing behind Rachaad White was a turn-off for many managers, given White’s massive breakout last season. However, Irving has little else in the way of competition for snaps, and White wasn’t exactly efficient last season, benefiting mostly from sheer volume and receiving work. There is definitely a role for Irving as a complementary piece in year one, with an opportunity for an increased workload if his play strength is not a limitation.

Click here to see Bucky Irving's 2024 NFL Draft profile.

RB Tyrone Tracy, New York Giants

Another Day 3 running back, Tracy really faces only Devin Singletary as competition for touches at the moment, with Eric Gray and Gary Brightwell contributing more on special teams at this point in their careers. A converted wide receiver, Tracy spent four seasons at Iowa flashing playmaking potential as largely an afterthought amid the team's ground-and-pound offensive philosophy and quarterback struggles.

In his second season after transferring to Purdue, Tracy transitioned to running back and showed off a fluid and intelligent running style beyond his years, forcing a missed tackle on nearly every other attempt, leading to a class-high 4.4 yards after contact per attempt.

With his great feel for navigating traffic and an already established receiving skill set, Tracy feels like an overlooked player who may be available in the fourth round of fantasy drafts or post-draft.

RB Kimani Vidal, Los Angeles Chargers

Drafted in the sixth round to the Chargers, Vidal has seen his fantasy stock climb since draft day, even into the second round of some rookie drafts. While taking him over running backs like Ray Davis and Bucky Irving, who were drafted two rounds higher to arguably better situations, or over any Day 2 wideout is tough to endorse, nabbing him in the late third or early fourth feels like solid value.

At 5-foot-8, Vidal is a compact runner who is hard to bring down on first contact, racking up 94 forced missed tackles on the ground in 2023. He also shows some untapped potential as a receiver, catching all 18 of his catchable targets and tallying 214 yards after the catch.

The Chargers brought in former Ravens Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins to presumably handle backfield duties, but Dobbins is recovering from a third significant leg injury and it’s fair to ask when and how much he contributes to this backfield.

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RB Dylan Laube, Las Vegas Raiders

Likely available in the fourth round of rookie fantasy drafts, Dylan Laube was taken in the sixth round by the Raiders and has a legitimate chance to carve out a role in year one and beyond. Las Vegas appears intent to roll with Zamir White as its lead back in 2024, with Alexander Mattison and Ameer Abdullah potentially rotating in.

A true receiving threat, Laube has a skill set not really offered by the rest of the roster. Across 88 targets last season, Laube was lined up in the slot or out wide for 28 of them, posting a 79.7 receiving grade when lined up as a true receiver. Targets are king for fantasy running backs, and Laube’s receiving potential is something worth betting on at the end of rookie drafts or in the first wave of waiver wire runs.

WR Luke McCaffrey, Washington Commanders

It’s not often that a wide receiver with Day 2 draft capital can be had in the third or fourth rounds of dynasty rookie drafts, especially when there is little competition for playing time in an offensive system that prioritizes various skill sets. Through his four seasons in Arizona, new Commanders offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury led the league in four-receiver sets by a significant margin and used three-receiver sets at a rate above league average, leaving plenty of snaps available behind Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson.

Aside from the top two options, Dyami Brown, Dax Milne, Jamison Crowder and Olamide Zaccheaus represent the only threats to significant snaps for McCaffrey. A savvy and intelligent separator, the former quarterback posted a 97.7 receiving grade against zone in 2023 and dropped just three of his 127 targets. The third-rounder could earn a reliable chain-mover type of role as he aids rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels‘ development.

WR Jermaine Burton, Cincinnati Bengals

The consensus is starting to catch up on Burton, as he is sneaking his way into the second round of some rookie drafts. Still, he can be had in the third if your league mates are slow to adjust or heed character concerns. Burton had a troubling off-field issue at Alabama that made it hard to nail down exactly how the NFL felt about him, allowing his average draft position to slip outside the top 24 pre-draft, but the Bengals clearly felt comfortable enough to make him a Day 2 pick to complement Ja’Marr Chase (and Tee Higgins, if he sticks around).

A dynamic downfield threat, Burton averaged more than 17.5 yards per reception across four seasons with Georgia and Alabama and dropped only four of his 210 targets in his college career. Last year’s draftees Andrei Iosivas and Charlie Jones have both flashed, but Burton offers a lot more juice and reliability from day one, giving little reason to think he won’t be an immediate contributor and potentially a major beneficiary down the road if the Bengals move on from Higgins.

WR Javon Baker, New England Patriots

The second receiving weapon drafted by the Patriots after Ja’Lynn Polk came off the board at No. 37 overall, Baker racked up over 18 yards per reception on 111 catches across the past two seasons at UCF. Often going in the early-to-mid third round and occasionally slipping to the fourth round of rookie drafts, Baker has the production, skill set and landing spot to exceed his capital.

With names like Kendrick Bourne, Demario Douglas, JuJu Smith-Schuster and K.J. Osborne rounding out the Patriots' receiving corps, Baker’s inside-outside versatility, body control at the catch point and ability to stretch the field give him a solid chance to become one of Drake Maye‘s favorite targets sooner than later.

Click here to see Javon Baker's 2024 NFL Draft profile.

WR Malik Washington, Miami Dolphins

A bit of a luxury pick for Miami, especially after signing Odell Beckham Jr. just days after the draft ended, Malik Washington may take a year or two to pay dividends, but his natural separation skills and after-the-catch ability make him a seamless fit in Mike McDaniel’s offense.

In his final season after transferring to Virginia, Washington was charted as open on more than 84% of his targets and forced 35 missed tackles, a number that led all Power Five receivers. This one is a bit of a longer-term play, but patience could pay off massively for fantasy managers willing to use a late pick and a taxi spot on the sixth-rounder.

TE Jared Wiley, Kansas City Chiefs

Wiley brings a great frame, at 6-foot-6 and over 250 pounds, and shows great instincts against zone coverage and stellar ball skills as a post-up threat, bringing in all 10 of his catchable targets and converting five touchdowns in the red zone. The finer points of his game need to be cleaned up a bit, as outside of the red zone he was primarily used as a dump-off threat in the flats and over the ball, but is there a better tight end to learn the nuances of the position from than Travis Kelce?

Between Wiley's frame, athletic testing and fantastic hands, there is certainly a ceiling worth taking a chance on. Accounting for the added benefit of being attached to Patrick Mahomes for the foreseeable future, Wiley is a cut above the bulk of late-round tight end options, behind Brock Bowers, Ja'Tavion Sanders and Ben Sinnott.

TE Erick All, Cincinnati Bengals

A former Michigan recruit, Erick All spent his final season at Iowa, leading the team in receiving yards and touchdowns despite playing in just seven games. He turned eight of his 22 receptions into 15-plus-yard gains in 2023. The injury concerns are more than fair, as he had both of his final two seasons in college cut short, but at this point in fantasy drafts, you will be hard-pressed to find players without serious issues.

All will slot in behind Mike Gesicki and Drew Sample initially, but Gesicki is more of a big slot and Sample is mostly a non-factor as a receiver, giving All an opportunity to provide a solid middle ground if he can stay healthy. There aren’t many other late-round tight ends to feel great about, and All’s downfield receiving skill set, ability after the catch and in-line blocking floor are worth betting on in the fourth round or post-draft.


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