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By now you’ve looked at some high-priced targets and some mid-priced targets in the first two articles in the series. But the end game in a salary cap draft is just as important as the rest of the draft. Often, it is the difference between a solid roster and a roster that can win a title, and ignoring the final stages of the draft wastes opportunities and limits your upside. The way to finish your draft strong is to isolate some targets that you want to chase when salary caps are low, and players are largely going for less than $5. This is still a large part of the draft and requires care and precision. Here are some targets you should consider in the end stages of your salary cap draft.
Tua Tagovailoa – Everyone knows the struggles the Dolphins’ quarterback had last year. He suffered multiple concussions and was limited to 12 full games and a part of another. But in that limited time, he still managed career highs with 25 touchdown passes, a 6.3% touchdown rate, and a league-leading 8.9 yards per attempt. By any metric, Tagovailoa had an outstanding season when he was on the field. He’s certainly a risky pick, but when his average price is around $3, the market isn’t forcing you to commit much money to a guy who, if healthy, has the potential to throw for 30+ touchdown passes with his dynamic wide receiver duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. It’s easy to take the Dolphins’ signal-caller for a few bucks and then turn around and grab a more stable option to give you some insurance.
Jared Goff – The Lions' offense is either better or just as good as the 2022 version in just about every category. They have a talented offensive line, explosive wide receivers, a new rookie tight end lighting up training camp videos, an exciting rookie running back, and a solid between-the-tackles free agent running back to replace Jamaal Williams. Further, Goff’s 4.9% touchdown rate from a year ago doesn’t scream outlier (his career rate is 4.4%), and Detroit punched in a staggering amount of 1-yard touchdowns on the ground last year to boot. Yet Goff still goes for only $2 in most salary cap rooms and it’s not unusual to be able to get him for a minimum $1 bid, either. Take advantage of a guy who has 35 touchdown upside and pair him with Tagovailoa for a dynamic combination costing less than $5.
Tyler Higbee – The Rams tight end had a career-high 108 targets and 72 receptions last year, leading to a TE8 finish in PPR formats despite a measly three touchdowns. As already discussed, remember that the whole Rams offense struggled last year with injuries and poor production even when guys were healthy. The down year for Los Angeles leaves Higbee as a $2-$3 player, and that makes him a perfect late target if you spend up at other positions.
Cole Kmet – If you take out the weird double goose eggs to start the year for Kmet, he was the TE6 in PPR leagues from Week 3 on. He seemed to develop a rapport with Justin Fields the further the season went along, and he averaged almost 12 points a game in the second half of the year. Despite the strong finish, fantasy managers don’t seem to care and Kmet can be had for no more than $3 in most leagues.
Tyler Conklin – Even though he’s posted over 58 receptions and over 550 yards in each of the past two seasons, Conklin is still an afterthought in most drafts. But he gets a dramatic upgrade at quarterback this fall, and his TE14 finish from last season could easily turn into a Top 12 season with Aaron Rodgers leading the offense. Conklin will only cost you $1 in drafts and makes an attractive part of a committee approach in your drafts.
Hunter Henry – Mike Gesicki got all the buzz in the offseason when the Patriots signed him, but Henry is the one standing out in training camp, and now Gesicki is a bit banged up with a shoulder issue. Henry wasn’t great last year, but just like the rest of the New England offense, they struggled with the lack of an experienced play caller and were bad for long stretches of the year. Henry should bounce back, and challenging for top-12 production wouldn’t be weird in a scheme likely to feature a lot of 2-tight end sets.
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