When it comes to late round fantasy studs, you know the names: Tom Brady , Antonio Brown , Alfred Morris , Pierre Garcon , Marques Colston, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, etc. While these guys are almost immediately rattled off when your buddy tells you he doesn’t feel like watching the last couple of rounds on Saturday of draft weekend, the reality is that far more often than not, sixth and seventh rounders are duds rather than studs.
To help you find the gems, outlined in detail below is every skill position player (QB, RB, WR, TE) taken in the sixth and seventh rounds this past April. All 27 players will be separated into three different categories – 6th/7th Round Rookies to Draft, 6th/7th Round Rookies to Avoid, and 6th/7th Round Waivers to Watch. Also noted will be the 6th/7th Round Stud – the player taken in either round, who we at Fantasy Alarm think will have the biggest fantasy impact for the 2018 season.
Of the sixth and seventh rounders taken last season, only Elijah McGuire of the New York Jets made any semblance of a fantasy impact, as he flashed in spurts as a spell running back. His season included a breakout performance against the Jaguars and their number one ranked defense, where he tallied 131 total yards and a rushing touchdown. There were some at Fantasy Alarm talking him up that week, so pay attention here.
Side note: With the reality being that most sixth and seventh rounders don’t pan out – especially in fantasy terms – keep in mind that the majority of the names taken this season will end up on the 6th/7th Round Rookies to Avoid list. This is not lazy, but rather by design, as the goal is to be as realistic as possible. If you play your cards right, you won’t have to rely upon many sixth or seventh rookies this season anyway; God willing.
6th/7th Round Rookies to Draft
Braxton Berrios – WR, NE
He’s a mere 5-foot-9 and 183 lbs., but he’s also one of the only guys taken in these two rounds that has a legitimate shot to make a fantasy impact early on. Let’s get out of the way, the fact that shrimpy, white, slot receivers have a long history of being successful in the Patriots offense, and understand that on his own merit, Berrios has the talent to be successful in any NFL offense. While it took him until his senior season at Miami, Berrios developed into an impact receiver and return man, tallying nearly 700 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, and over 15 yards per punt return. Throughout training camp and preseason, Berrios will make a name for himself through proven hard work and tenacity as a special teams player, while the four-game PED suspension of Julian Edelman will make way for Berrios to see early work out of the slot during the regular season. At worst, during these first four weeks, Berrios will be asked to split slot duties with Jordan Matthews , as the rest of the Patriots wideouts are particularly suited to outside work (Cordarrelle Patterson , Philip Dorsett, Kenny Britt , Chris Hogan , Malcolm Mitchell , etc.). Even if Matthews is given primary slot duties in Edelman’s absence, the Patriots have a long history of employing multiple slot options per play, as has been evidenced through the complimentary long-term success of both Edelman and Amendola, Edelman and Welker, etc., over the years. In this scenario, Matthews can take over the Edelman role and Berrios can fill in for the departed Amendola. As for his current ADP, Berrios is falling well outside of the draftable range for typical 12-team formats. However, considering his current path to playing time, glove-like fit in this offense, and the fact that the GOAT is going to be throwing him the football, feel free to spend your final draft pick on Berrios when drafting this summer. He’s likely to pay early dividends.
John Kelly – RB, LAR
The Alvin Kamara comparisons are impossible to avoid with Kelly, as the two were not only teammates at Tennessee, but also possess nearly the exact same build, playing style, and NFL Combine performance. While his path to early playing time isn’t as clear as Kamara’s was most of last season, let’s keep in mind that entering training camp, Kamara had to supplant not only Mark Ingram , but also future Hall of Famer, Adrian Peterson . It can be argued that Kelly will have a tougher time, considering the presence of Todd Gurley , but there is no question that Kelly’s talent is already superior to that of primary backup Malcolm Brown .
Let’s be clear – with Todd Gurley in the fold, Kelly will have no chance of developing an even touch split like Kamara developed with Mark Ingram last season, but he will eventually become a valuable PPR threat and likely the proud owner of around 10 touches per game. Best of all, Kelly will hold the value of being Gurley’s primary handcuff option, something that will prove important considering Gurley is coming off of a 343-touch season.
Of the guys taken in these final two rounds, Kelly is the one closest to a draftable ADP. As it stands right now, Kelly is falling about 100 picks past the standard, 16 round, 12-team, ESPN draft. So he’s not exactly close to being relevant in your drafts. However, you can be the smart one and use one of your last picks on the potential fantasy contributor.
6th/7th Round Rookies to Avoid
Damion Ratley – WR, CLE
Amassed only 47 catches in his college career and is currently battling for a roster spot in a suddenly formidable Browns receiving corps. He has speed and a general athleticism trait, but he’s yet to put it all together. Even if he makes the roster out of camp/preseason, there is a very slim chance he makes any noise, especially in a fantasy sense, as a rookie.
Ray-Ray McCloud – WR, BUF
With just four touchdowns in three years at Clemson, chances are that McCloud will never develop into a legitimate fantasy threat at the NFL level, especially in his rookie season. For 2018, McCloud will battle for a roster spot, likely through hard work on special teams.
Russell Gage – WR, ATL
Listed as a wide receiver, Gage has also been taking snaps at cornerback in hopes of providing enough versatility to warrant a roster spot. With his time spent making a name for himself on special teams, Gage will have zero fantasy impact as a rookie, especially while needing to vault names such as Julio Jones , Mohamed Sanu , Calvin Ridley , and Justin Hardy .
Luke Falk – QB, TEN
Falk is currently the third-string quarterback on the Titans roster, behind Marcus Mariota and Blaine Gabbert . It is still unclear if the Titans are going to carry three quarterbacks during the regular season, so Falk is going to have to work his ass off to separate himself from Gabbert during the preseason.
Boston Scott – RB, NO
Needing to vault Mark Ingram , Alvin Kamara , and Daniel Lasco on the depth chart to become fantasy relevant, Scott will instead likely spend his time on special teams, hoping to secure himself a roster spot.
Tanner Lee – QB, JAX
Lee will battle it out with Cody Kessler this training camp/preseason for the Jags primary backup quarterback position. Even if he wins the battle though, Lee will still have no shot of supplanting Blake Bortles entering the regular season.
Trenton Cannon – RB, NYJ
Listed behind Isaiah Crowell , Bilal Powell , Elijah McGuire , and Thomas Rawls , Cannon will instead look to win the kick/punt return job during camp. His chances of maintaining a roster spot will be directly tied to his special teams contributions.
Cedrick Wilson – WR, DAL
While the Cowboys have no true number one receiver at the moment, they do have a bunch of bodies at the wide receiver spot. That doesn’t bode well for Wilson who currently is ranked behind nine or so names on the depth chart. He’s going to have to prove his chops on special teams if he has any hopes of making the regular season roster.
Jordan Thomas – TE, HOU
Thomas was the second tight end that the Texans took in this draft, making him currently fifth on the TE depth chart. With names like Griffin, Anderson, Akins, and Pruitt ahead of him, chances are that Thomas may not even make the final roster. As usual, special teams contributions will be key in his regular season viability.
Danny Etling – QB, NE
Etling is currently third on the Patriots depth chart. Chances are that he doesn’t beat out Brian Hoyer for the backup job, and playing behind the GOAT does fantasy owners no good either.
Alex McGough – QB, SEA
Same story here. Even if he miraculously wins the backup job, McGough does nothing for fantasy owners being stuck behind Russell Wilson .
David Williams – RB, DEN
Currently listed fourth on the Broncos running back depth chart, feel free to forget about Williams and instead spend your time looking for other legitimate contributors on the waiver wire.
Logan Woodside – QB, CIN
Woodside is currently the fourth quarterback on the Bengals roster. Translation: he’s on the outside of the 52-man roster and looking in.
Ryan Izzo – TE, NE
Izzo is currently seventh on the Patriots tight end depth chart, making him the longest of long shots to even make the roster.
Austin Proehl – WR, BUF
Proehl posted underwhelming collegiate production and is currently buried on the Bills receiver depth chart. He will need to prove his chops on special teams if he has any hopes of making the regular season roster.
6th/7th Round Waivers to Watch
Justin Jackson – RB, LAC
The Chargers currently only have two backs on their roster with an NFL carry – Melvin Gordon and second year player Austin Ekeler . Considering this, Justin Jackson has a legitimate chance at earning the number three role. Something of note about Jackson is that he’s only the ninth player in NCAA history to rush for over 1,000 yards in each of his four collegiate seasons, while he finished his career third all-time in rushing yards in Big-10 history. The kid has some serious accomplishments under his belt and is just one injury away from seeing legitimate touches. He’s well worth a long look in most formats this season.
Richie James – WR, SF
While a longshot for any legitimate production, James is still a late-round waiver to watch. He missed all of 2017 with an injury – something that derailed his draft stock – however in the two years prior James amassed incredible production, including two seasons over 100 receptions and 1,300 yards, while he combined for 20 receiving touchdowns. Sure he’s stuck in a slog of decent – not great – wideouts on the Niners depth chart, but with a good training camp and preseason, there is a chance that James can work his way into the rotation.
Bo Scarbrough – RB, DAL
The Cowboys are content with Ezekiel Elliott handling most of the running back touches, but with the selection of Scarbrough in the seventh round, backup Rod Smith suddenly has some competition. Scarbrough has always been a slightly overstated talent, especially because his extensive injury history, however there is no denying his size/speed/power combination. In the best case scenario this season, Scarbrough finds a way to supplant Smith as Zeke’s primary backup, where he will serve most likely as a spell option on third downs. He’s by no means a lock for production, but he’s a name to follow going forward.
Deon Cain – WR, IND
In a long line of talented Clemson receivers, Cain is just as gifted as any of them. Unfortunately, he has struggled mightily off the field, limiting the trust that coaches and organizations could have in him. Based off of talent alone, Cain is one of the Colts top receiving options. Provided he can put his off-the-field issues behind him, Cain may turn into a legitimate fantasy option.
Dylan Cantrell – WR, LAC
Cantrell is a physical freak, built in the mold of a tight end, but offering wide receiver skills. The Chargers are flush with wide receiver talent, but there is little chance that Cantrell falls outside the top five receiving options entering the regular season. That means that a single injury to any of the other receivers (looking at you, oft injured Keenan Allen ) can spell fantasy relevance for the rookie. Keep an eye on Cantrell.
Auden Tate – WR, CIN
Tate has a lot of names to vault on the depth chart and quite frankly is no lock to even make the roster out of camp, however his massive size and natural gifts going up to get the ball make him a name to follow closely. Don’t be surprised if he is used as a tight end eventually as well, which may give him some added value.
Equanimeous St. Brown – WR, GB
Let’s call him EQ for short. Now, with that out of the way, understand that he’s not only known for his ridiculous first name. In three years at Notre Dame, EQ posted some solid production, none better than his sophomore season, a year in which he actually had a decent quarterback throwing him the football. In 2016, EQ caught over 50 balls for over 900 yards, while he used his massive 6-foot-5 frame to haul in nine touchdowns. At the combine he opened eyes with reliable hands and he’s surprisingly fast for his size with a 4.48 40-time. As a rookie, St. Brown will almost assuredly have a roster spot locked up, while word coming out of camp is that he is coming close to winning the third receiver spot. Paired with Aaron Rodgers , there is a chance that EQ could develop into one of the better big-bodied deep threats in the league, which obviously will hold legitimate fantasy value. For now he’s going undrafted based off of ADP, which means that you can monitor him on the waiver wire. Keep in mind though that if he does win the third receiver job, that you are going to have to draft him towards the end of your drafts this summer.
Javon Wims – WR, CHI
On tape, Wims possesses obvious talent, despite not exactly posting the collegiate stats to back it up. With the Bears, while they now have some solid receivers, aside from Allen Robinson , they don’t really have a proven guy to play on the outside. It wouldn’t be that surprising if Wims worked his way into the flanker spot opposite Robinson, and vaulted names like Josh Bellamy and Kevin White . This is not a Wims for president endorsement, but it is a PSA to keep an eye on him going forward.
Marcell Ateman – WR, OAK
While James Washington made most of the headlines in Oklahoma State over the last few years, there were actually several draft pundits that would argue that Ateman was the better NFL prototype. In front of him on the depth chart is only Seth Roberts and Jordy Nelson , which isn’t great for his chances as a rookie, but not insurmountable. Truth be told, Ateman almost made the “avoid” list, but his talent alone makes him someone worth tracking on the waiver wire.
Trey Quinn – WR, WAS
Despite being “Mr. Irrelevant,” there are hopes for Quinn this season. As a junior at SMU in 2018, Quinn led the nation in receptions with 114, proving his ability as a true high-volume target. He will have to work a bit harder for his looks with the Redskins, but listed behind only Paul Richardson and Jamison Crowder for slot reps, Quinn has a chance to emerge as a legitimate contributor. It may take some time, as he will likely have to prove his worth on special teams first, but Quinn is a name to remember if you are in a PPR league.
6th/7th Round Stud
Braxton Berrios – WR, NE
While picking a small, white, Patriots slot receiver is more than a cliche in the fantasy community, when you get to these later rounds, roster spots aren’t guaranteed, let alone expected fantasy production. Because of that, Berrios is probably the one 6th/7th rounder worth investing in. You can do far worse in these later rounds than a talented guy, playing with the best quarterback of all time, with a path to playing time, while fitting the physical archetype that typically flourishes in this New England offensive scheme.