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These Guys Should NOT be Going Undrafted on Underdog Fantasy

By Jared Smola 3:22pm EDT 8/16/23

Get Weird to Win Underdog Fantasy's Best Ball Mania IV

You gotta get unique if you want to beat out 677,375 other teams to take down Underdog Fantasy’s Best Ball Mania IV.

One of the best ways to get unique?

Draft guys who aren’t on many other rosters.

Think of it like a DFS tournament. We’re always looking for that low-owned gem that can vault us to the top of the leaderboard.

Same idea in Best Ball Mania. If we can find that deep sleeper that’s only rostered on 1-2% of teams and scores big late in the season, it could be the edge needed to take down the $3 million top prize.

All the guys you take in rounds 1-16 are also getting picked in every other Best Ball Mania draft. 

But if you take some time to scroll through the barely drafted names, you can find some intriguing low-owned players.

With 216 selections in an 18-round Best Ball Mania draft, I’m only looking at players here with an ADP of 215+.

Here are seven names to consider mixing into your portfolio:

Get a custom cheat sheet for any fantasy format, including Underdog.

 

Evan Hull, RB, Indianapolis Colts

The Colts backfield is a mess

Jonathan Taylor has yet to practice this offseason due to some combination of contract issues and a bum ankle.

Zack Moss has been sidelined since breaking his arm on July 31.

That’s left the Colts backfield to:

  • Hull 
  • Deon Jackson
  • Jake Funk 
  • Recently signed Kenyan Drake

Hull is the most intriguing of the bunch

He fell to the fifth round of this spring’s draft, but there’s plenty to like about his profile.

Hull is an excellent pass-catcher. He racked up 88 receptions for 810 yards (9.2 YPC) over the last two years at Northwestern. His 1.85 yards per route run last year ranked seventh among 119 qualifying RBs.

He’s also an impressive athlete. The 5'10, 209-pounder clocked a 4.47-second 40 time and elite 6.90-second 3-cone at the Combine. He earned a 93rd-percentile Relative Athletic Score.

If Taylor’s absence bleeds into the regular season, we’d bet on Hull at least playing a significant pass-catching role – with a chance to also emerge as the lead ball carrier.

That type of upside should not be going undrafted in Best Ball Mania.

TIP

Considering weekly upside is a key tenet of our best ball draft strategy.

 

Deneric Prince, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

Taking a Chiefs player with your very last pick is never a bad idea.

And it’s not like we haven’t seen a Chiefs RB come out of nowhere to post nice fantasy numbers. Isiah Pacheco just did it.

Lots of love

Prince has had an even buzzier offseason than Pacheco did last year.

HC Andy Reid talked him up in June: “He’s a sharp kid. He’s got skills. He’s big, he can run and he has a good feel for things right now.”

QB Patrck Mahomes piled on in early August: "He can catch the ball in the backfield, he can run the ball really well, and he’s getting better and better with the protection stuff.”

Path to playing time

It’s worth noting that Prince played behind both RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire and RB Jerick McKinnon in the preseason opener. (Pacheco did not play as he continues to work back from offseason surgeries.)

But Prince is expected to be Kansas City’s kick returner this season, essentially guaranteeing him a roster spot. 

In that case, all that would stand between him and offensive snaps is:

  • Pacheco, a 2022 seventh-round pick coming off two offseason surgeries
  • A 31-year-old McKinnon
  • Whatever Edwards-Helaire is at this point

A familiar profile ...

Prince went undrafted this spring and had an underwhelming college career, totaling just 316 carries and 17 catches across four seasons.

But he’s a plus athlete: 216 pounds with a 4.41-second 40 time.

That profile sounds an awful lot like Pacheco, who went undrafted in many Best Ball Mania drafts last year and wound up as a top-35 fantasy RB.

  

Justice Hill, RB, Baltimore Ravens

Underdog drafters are clearly assuming that Gus Edwards will be Baltimore’s No. 2 RB this season. He’s sporting an ADP early in Round 16.

Hill is hardly ever getting picked despite having a real shot to win that No. 2 job.

Ravens No. 2 RB job up for grabs

Hill started the Ravens’ preseason opener and played every snap on the first two drives. Edwards then entered the game – and played deep into the second quarter.

Edwards has been an efficient runner since joining the Ravens in 2018. But he’s 28 now and has been limited by injuries to just nine games over the last two seasons.

It’s also worth noting that Edwards took a $1 million pay cut in March to stick around.

Hill, meanwhile, inked a fresh two-year, $4.5 million contract this offseason. 

Hill coming off solid 2022

He played well in limited action last year, averaging 5.3 yards across 49 carries.

Hill also finished second among Ravens RBs with 129 pass routes and caught all 12 of his targets. He totaled 44 catches over his final two college seasons.

Hill is certainly a better receiver than Edwards, who has caught just 18 balls in 52 NFL games.

That figures to be more important this year under new OC Todd Monken, who’s expected to juice up Baltimore’s passing volume.

We’ll continue to track this battle for the Ravens’ No. 2 RB job. But grab some Round 18 Hill in the meantime.

 

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Tutu Atwell, WR, Los Angeles Rams

Building momentum

Atwell and WR Van Jefferson were held out of the Rams’ preseason opener. Those two appear in line to open the regular season as the team’s No. 2 and No. 3 WRs.

Don’t forget that the Rams spent a second-round pick on Atwell just a couple of years ago. He went catch-less as a rookie and didn’t do much over the first half of last season. But Atwell flashed a bit down the stretch:

  • A 62-yard TD in Week 11
  • Four carries in Week 13
  • A 5-50 line on a team-high 9 targets in Week 14

Big-play ability

Generously listed at 165 pounds, Atwell is a long shot to ever see big volume consistently. But his sub-4.4 speed gives him big-play upside if he gets a fair number of weekly snaps.

He could be part of a bounce-back season from a hopefully healthier Rams offense.

 

Deonte Harty, WR, Buffalo Bills

This guy looks like the favorite to open the season as Buffalo’s No. 3 WR.

Reading preseason tea leaves

WR Stefon Diggs was held out of the preseason opener. 

Harty, WR Gabriel Davis, and WR Trent Sherfield were the only WRs to play on the first two drives. WR Khalil Shakir played 20 snaps with the second- and third-team offenses.

Also noteworthy: Harty played 10 of his 13 snaps in the slot.

Starting slot receiver?

The situation probably isn’t settled, but it looks like Harty is the favorite for the primary slot job between Diggs and Davis.

And that’s not a major surprise when you remember that the Bills gave Harty a two-year, $9.5 million deal in free agency.

Winning that No. 3 WR job still wouldn’t make Harty a great target bet – behind Diggs, Davis and probably RB James Cook and TEs Dalton Kincaid and Dawson Knox.

But Harty would benefit from a pass-heavy Bills offense and his own big-play ability. He possesses 4.4 speed and has NFL TDs of 72, 70, 55, and 53 yards.

Sounds like a potentially valuable 18th-round Underdog pick.

TIP

Harty recently climbed our 2023 fantasy football rankings.

   

Demario Douglas, WR, New England Patriots

Hand up if you had Demario Douglas on your bingo card as one of August’s buzziest players.

We sure didn’t.

Who the hell is Demario Douglas?

Douglas was an afterthought in the 2023 WR class coming out of Liberty.

But he’s coming off a 79-993-6 line this past year with big market shares:

  • 34.3% of the receptions
  • 35.3% of the receiving yards
  • 28.6% of the receiving scores

Douglas goes just 5’8, 179 pounds but registered a 4.44-second 40-time at the Combine with a 97th-percentile broad jump and 89th-percentile vertical.

He’s drawn rave reviews for his route-running ability in training camp and has already earned first-team snaps.

Playing time available

Douglas is seemingly battling with Tyquan Thornton, who’s had a disappointing offseason, for the No. 4 WR spot.

And if he wins it, two of the guys ahead of Douglas would be:

  • DeVante Parker, who missed 11 games over the past two seasons.
  • Kendrick Bourne, who has only once reached 700 yards in an NFL season.

There’s room for Douglas to carve out a real role. And this Patriots passing game has the potential to take a significant leap in 2023 with a legitimate offensive coordinator at the helm.

  

Logan Thomas, TE, Washington Commanders

Unlike with the other guys on this list, we’ve seen Thomas be a strong fantasy contributor.

Track record

He’s three years removed from a TE6 finish in half-PPR points. He even ranked eighth in half-PPR points per game in a six-game 2021 season.

Thomas plummeted to 42nd in points per game last year. But there’s reason to believe he’ll bounce back in 2023.

New offense should boost TE production

New Commanders OC Eric Bieniemy arrives from Kansas City, where he helped Chiefs TE Travis Kelce to huge numbers.

Thomas is, in fact, not as good as Kelce. And will not be putting up Kelce-esque numbers.

But it does sound like Bieniemy wants to get the TEs more involved in Washington’s passing game

"It looks like Washington's tight ends are going to be heavily involved in the passing game this season," Zach Selby of the team’s official site wrote after attending June minicamp.

Selby went on to note that Thomas was the “top target for the position” and “looks like the threat he was back in 2020.”

Thomas still the favorite

Thomas has dealt with a calf injury in August, but it doesn’t sound like something that’ll impact his availabilty for the start of the season.

We’re keeping an eye on TE Cole Turner, who has reportedly had a nice camp and caught four balls in the preseason opener.

But Thomas remains the favorite to be the lead TE in what could be a much-improved passing game under Bieniemy.

He’s a nice TE3 target with your last pick.

 

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