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The final rounds of a typical depth redraft fantasy league are essentially priority waiver wire plays. Especially with the dynamics at play, expect the turnover level in the early weeks of the season to be high - and they should be - on the back end of fantasy rosters. Between a shorter Injured Reserve status, PUP list players, COVID-19 designations, nagging injuries to keep players out from August or early September to plainly evolving preferred players from the waiver wire, flexibility is key with the valuable roster spot capital.
With that lens on the final draft picks, drafters need clarity quickly from said selections and a big dose of upside possibility if one of the previously mentioned scenarios occurs in the window between the draft and the first few weeks of the regular season.
Here are the high-variance options with a clear storyline of how they can be a season-changing selection right away to warrant keeping them. It only takes one 'now I have a fantasy starter' outcome from a handful of your final selections to pay significant dividends from this approach.
*Using mid-August Consensus ADP, Average Draft Position, for PPR leagues starting in Round 13*
Be conservative with extra quarterbacks on your roster in typical redraft leagues on the shallower roster size. If going true late-round quarterback to stockpile other positions, here are the best plays to begin the season:
Ben Roethlisberger: Roethlisberger has been a fantasy production stalwart of active quarterbacks with seven top-12 seasons in his career and only twice (over 17 years) finishing outside the top-20 of the position. JuJu Smith-Schuster returned in free agency, Diontae Johnson finished in the top-20 a year ago, and Chase Claypool has the historical markings of a WR1 in his career (not necessarily in 2021, but possible). Eric Ebron is underrated among tight ends, and Najee Harris offers a receiving uptick at running back as well. In the mid-20s of positional ADP, Roethlisberger is a no-brainer to best his draft cost.
Wildcard: Trey Lance. The upside is pronounced with Lance, an elite rushing option. He is paired with Kyle Shanahan and a strong group of skill-position weapons in San Francisco. The key variable is when Lance will start. If Jimmy Garoppolo starts the season and the team is winning, this could be an Alex Smith-Patrick Mahomes II type situation in Kansas City where the rookie stays on the shelf of a playoff team.
The highest upside options who would benefit from any missed time to a running back ahead of them on the depth chart are THE priority selections late in a draft.
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