The feeling of taking a player really late in drafts and turning him into a regular starter? There's nothing like it.
You're the envy of your league, the burglar before the waiver-wire bank even opens for steals.
Best of all, it involves the same risk as taking a pen from a bank (but not the ones wired to the table with the deposit slips).
When you're drafting in your first six rounds, you're taking risks with all of your picks. Injuries, bad play, off-field stuff can all impact anyone in the NFL including early-round Fantasy mainstays. Once you get to Round 7, the risk drops. I believe that making as little as one great selection from Round 7 on can catapult your Fantasy team into playoff contention. And as the rounds go on and on, the risk becomes lower and lower. Your team will not sink if your 14th-round pick sucks.
This year, the list is short but it has some real late-round appeal for you to consider taking from your leaguemates before they realize what's going on.
ALL of these players have an ADP of over 130th overall and are available in over 55 percent of CBSSports.com leagues.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans: There are a number of quarterbacks who could do well but won't get drafted in Fantasy leagues, including Tyrod Taylor and Jameis Winston. But the one who really caught a lot of people's eyes is Mariota. While Winston played like a rookie this preseason, Mariota looked like a three-year veteran. Unreal poise in the pocket, great accuracy and very good mobility. His location is a strike against him -- typically great Fantasy quarterbacks have at least one great Fantasy receiver. It's tough to look at Mariota and figure out how he'll deliver, but Russell Wilson's done it without a stud wideout, Ryan Tannehill did it last year. Those guys were willing to run, which Mariota did a lot of in college and should find himself doing from time to time in 2015.
I'm drafting/adding Mariota if: I have roster space for him and want a possible trade chip.
Crockett Gillmore, TE, Ravens: Gillmore checks all the boxes when it comes to size, route-running and physicality. He also has a quarterback who has relied on tight ends throughout his career, and he has an offensive coordinator in Marc Trestman who has utilized a tight end often -- such as Martellus Bennett over the last two seasons in Chicago. Gillmore now has the opportunity to be the Ravens top tight end in an offense that caters to him and share a field with a team void of quality wide receivers. Steve Smith will be the Ravens No. 1 option, of course, but Gillmore might wind up being No. 2. No one's drafting him, no one's thinking of him, no one really even knows who he is. That's surprising because he's hard to hide at 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds. Think about him.
I'm drafting/adding Gillmore if: I'm in a deep league and have roster room; if I'm not committed to my tight end and want a sleeper.
Duke Johnson, RB, Browns: Johnson has had appeal since the draft, especially considering the rest of the Browns running backs. In college, Johnson was a do-it-all back with excellent speed, feet, hands, basically everything while being a little bit undersized. But the injury bug hit him then and got him again twice since training camp opened (hamstring, concussion). That has pushed his draft value into deep sleeper territory. Eventually Johnson will get a shot in the Browns backfield, including on passing downs. Bringing a strong skill set and mixing it with a good offensive line should produce results.
I'm drafting/adding Johnson if: I'm in a deep league and have space to carry him for three or four weeks; if I have Isaiah Crowell as a potential starter; if I'm thin at running back.
Antonio Andrews, RB, Titans: The Tennessee backfield is filled with role players. Bishop Sankey is the starter by default, Dexter McCluster looks like the two-minute drill specialist and David Cobb, who is hurt, is a backup. Then there's Andrews, who during the preseason worked with the starters on passing downs and short yardage/goal-line plays. There's your proof he's already earned Ken Whisenhunt's trust when it comes to pass protection, which everyone else in Tennessee has struggled with. If you don't believe in Sankey, or McCluster, or Cobb, this is the last guy standing. Trusting a Ken Whisenhunt running back isn't always a great idea but he's leaned on physical rushers before (Jerome Bettis in 2004, Edgerrin James in 2007, Tim Hightower in 2008 and 2010) and isn't afraid to trust unknowns either (Willie Parker in 2005-06, Hightower). Andrews is worth at least keeping an eye on to start the season, if not clearing a bench spot for. It won't take much for him to earn more work -- he's already got the goal-line job.
I'm drafting/adding Andrews if: I'm in a deep league and have space to carry him for three or four weeks; if I have Bishop Sankey as a potential starter and I'm thin at running back.
Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks: It goes without saying that Fantasy owners in leagues where special teams yardage counts should covet Lockett. But it's come to the point where Lockett could be a major factor on offense for the Seahawks, too. He worked as the slot receiver for much of the preseason and flashed his speed on a deep ball on Russell Wilson's last pass. The Seahawks have never been shy about using unknowns in prominent offensive roles -- Wilson was used as such as a rookie and Chris Matthews went from inexperienced unknown to Super Bowl threat in February. Lockett joins the Seahawks with a great pedigree from Kansas State, reeling in at least 80 catches in each of his last two seasons and scoring once every 8.5 receptions in that time with a near-15-yard per catch average. It won't be long until he takes the top off of opposing defenses and makes the Seattle offense even more dangerous.
I'm drafting/adding Lockett if: I want to take a chance with a roster spot, cutting a mediocre player -- but not a handcuff running back -- for him.
Allen Hurns, WR, Jaguars: Last year Hurns caught over 50 passes for 677 yards and six touchdowns. The numbers didn't come consistently (two touchdowns in Week 1, two in Week 9, two in the rest of his games) but he showed enough to earn another crack at being a threat in the Jacksonville offense in 2015. Fellow second-year receiver Marqise Lee is hurt and teammate Allen Robinson is the guy we're fawning over as a potential breakout. But realistically, Hurns has just as good a shot as Robinson, especially after Hurns got a little stronger this offseason. He has the speed we wish Robinson had and for whatever it's worth, the Jaguars passing game looked a lot better this preseason. Hurns is the best late-round/waiver-wire lottery ticket receiver you can find.
I'm drafting/adding Hurns if: I have an open spot/mediocre receiver on my bench.
Benjamin Watson, TE, Saints: How many old tight ends can be recommended in one story?! Apparently, two. But this is the guy I'm adding at the end of all of my drafts, especially if I need a tight end to start streaming before the season. Jimmy Graham's gone and Josh Hill doesn't appear to be an every-down player. Watson does -- he not only received a ringing endorsement from Drew Brees in August but he also played on just about every snap Brees did in the preseason. Watson has barely been a Fantasy choice for his entire career but finds himself with an opportunity with New Orleans. Of course the Saints have utilized a tight end in their offense for years, and they don't have anyone to replace Jimmy Graham, but Watson is a 6-foot-3 target who will draw mismatches and take advantage of single coverage. Grab Watson and see what he does during the early part of the season. If he stinks, cut him. But if he's a red-zone threat for the Saints, he'll be worth starting.
I'm drafting/adding Watson if: I don't have a tight end I want to commit to for the start of the season.