We always love finding late fantasy football draft picks who turn into league winners. Well, how about free picks? These aren’t sleepers, mid-to-late values, or the like. These players are absolutely free in drafts. Using NFFC draft ADP for August, no player costs you more than your last pick before DST (no kickers because #BanKickers). In fact, the majority of these are beyond your typical 12-team, 16-round draft, meaning you could take them with your final pick or file away for the first few waivers.
Bryce Young, CAR
Young won’t be in the Kyler Murray rushing realm but has some similarities outside his size. With the talent built around him — including veterans to help him acclimate — 4000+ and 20+ passing is attainable, and another 300-4 rushing would have him in the Top 15 conversation.
Sam Howell, WSH
Ben Roethlisberger’s skills, terrific weapons, and a highly-regarded offensive coordinator helping him develop — Howell checks all the boxes for breakout potential (I went deeper on him here), including a small dose of rushing.
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Deuce Vaughn, DAL
He won’t be more than a Tarik Cohen, Darren Sproles, or J.D. McKissic type, but that’s all Vaughn needs to be to return RB3 value in half and full-PPR.
Ty Chandler, MIN
Alexander Mattison takes over, but there are questions surrounding his ability to be a bellcow. Someone will sprinkle in and possibly even share a decent chunk. DeWayne McBride is a hammer but currently appears third behind Chandler, who can replicate much of what Mattison brings, especially if Mattison misses time.
Keaontay Ingram, ARI
James Conner doesn’t have an entire season under his belt in his career, and while the offense is likely to be abysmal, Ingram with heavy work would have starting value at the least.
Sean Tucker, TB
Only undrafted because of health concerns and not his skills, Tucker is making his case to be the backup plan for Rachaad White.
Jonathan Mingo, CAR
Back to the Panthers offense, Adam Thielen is the leader, but D.J. Chark has a history of missing time, which sets Mingo up for starting some games. Even without a Chark injury, Mingo has been as impressive as advertised, building a quick rapport with Young.
Parris Campbell and Darius Slayton, NYG
ADP: 180 and 236
The answer for the Giants receivers might be, “No one.” Nevertheless, Slayton and Campbell have been the starting duo with a battle for No. 3. Even if neither (or none) returns more than WR4 value, it’s worth the free lotto ticket pick that this offense takes another step forward in Year 2 of Brian Daboll.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Justyn Ross, KC
ADP: 188 and 230
MVS has been the only Chiefs receiver to be in the top two all offseason. Skyy Moore is extremely intriguing for his fit and upside, and that’s why he deserves the highest ADP. However, ignoring MVS altogether could be a mistake — and if we’re talking ultimate ceiling, that’s with Ross, who has battled injuries for too long.
Jayden Reed, GB
Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs are the current top two Packers receivers, but there is no guarantee 1) Watson sees even 80% of his success with Jordan Love, 2) that Love doesn’t target Doubs more, or even 3) Love develops chemistry with Reed, who has more top-two receiver ability than Doubs.
Michael Wilson, ARI
Back to those Cardinals, one of the more overlooked talents in the NFL Draft, Wilson is forcing his way into a starting role alongside Marquise Brown. Even if the offense is the worst in the league, being the second-best option in any offense will lead to value, and Wilson is free, then some more, and then still available.
Josh Downs, IND
Anthony Richardson’s passing ability is currently a concern, but his style leans more toward meshing with a Downs type versus Alec Pierce. It would not shock me to see Downs as the second-best receiver, even as a rookie, with Pierce falling to third, merely on the fit with Richardson. If you need more fuel for your fire, our Colts writer James Boyd seems to like Downs, too!
Michael Mayer, LV
All of the other rookies are getting attention — even one I’m about to bring up — and yet Mayer was one of the best talents in the draft. He fills a void left by Darren Waller and Foster Moreau with a quarterback who knows the value of a matchup problem at tight end. Mayer being the best rookie tight end is possible.
Jake Ferguson, DAL
Ferguson enters his second year as an all-around, above-average tight end, who has a nice opportunity to fill the Dalton Schultz void. Ferguson has taken the lead and held off rookie Luke Schoonmaker, and being the top tight end in the Cowboys offense is worthy of a flier pick.
Luke Musgrave, GB
Speaking of another rookie tight end, Musgrave is getting rave reviews and plenty of hype, which makes it weird that he’s still so far undrafted. Again, we don’t know for certain how Love will distribute targets, and if the reports are accurate on Musgrave looking as good as Dalton Kincaid, Sam LaPorta and others, he should be on your radar.
(Top photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images; pic of Sean Tucker: Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)