Late-Round QB Targets | 2023 Fantasy Football

by Aditya Fuldeore · Best Ball Plays & Strategy

The anticipation, the sleepless nights… it’s almost here. The start of the NFL season is close and redraft leagues are drafting in the days leading up to September 7th. Before you go out and make your selections, read up on some late-round QB targets to snag if you can’t grab the elite, high-end QB1s.

Kyler Murray

In seasons past, Kyler Murray has been a QB1 option. However, he is coming off an ACL and meniscus tear from last season. Murray’s availability for the start of the season is in question, which has made his ADP fall in drafts.

In 11 games last season, Murray had an 8.2 (No. 2) Accuracy Rating and 81.0-percent (No. 6) Catchable Pass Rate. As a rusher, he averaged 6.1 (No. 9) carries per game, adding to his dual-threat abilities. Murray finished as a top-12 QB eight times last season, with 18.9 (No. 7) fantasy points per game. Excluding the game where he got injured, Murray averaged over 20 fantasy points per game. When healthy, he is a clear QB1.

Currently, Murray’s Yahoo ADP (via FantasyPros) is past pick 200 in 1QB leagues, going as a late QB2. Fantasy gamers can draft him in the 18th round of 12-team leagues, and in some cases, he may be going undrafted. Using a late-round pick on Murray and stashing him on your bench or injured reserve would allow you to get a guy with QB1 upside the back half of the season. While he will take time ramping back up from injury and won’t run as much, Murray is still a good gamble to take at his price.

Geno Smith

With an unforeseen late-career breakout, Geno Smith has propelled himself into the late QB1 conversation. The Seahawks have instilled confidence in Smith as the starter, signing him to a three-year contract this offseason. Smith turns 33-years-old this season but has plenty of upside in Seattle’s offense.

Last season, Smith threw 572 (No. 9) passes to the tune of 7.5 (No. 9) Yards Per Attempt. He was a good deep-ball passer, with a 6.6 (No. 3) Deep Ball Accuracy Rating. Finishing with 18.5 (No. 8) fantasy points per game, Smith is part of one of the best offenses in the league. Seattle’s receiving corps added Jaxon Smith-Njigba to Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf in the offseason. With elite weapons to throw to, Smith once again has QB1 upside. Add in his rushing abilities – 366 (No. 8) rushing yards last season – and Smith is more primed to take a leap rather than regress.

Smith is currently being drafted in the late QB1 – early QB2 range. His ADP lands in the late 10th round, with QBs like Kirk Cousins, Aaron Rodgers, Daniel Jones, and Anthony Richardson going around him. Out of those, Jones is the only one with a higher ceiling than Smith with a combination of experience, offense, and rushing upside. Geno is an easy QB to stack with any of his receivers and provides top-12 upside in 1QB leagues.

Sam Howell

As Sam Howell enters his second season, Ron Rivera announced him as the Washington Commanders’ starter. A fifth-round pick from last year, Howell will get his shot to take the reins to Washington’s offense with Jacoby Brissett backing him up.

Last season, Howell started a Week 18 game against Dallas. He finished the game with 19.3 fantasy points, the No. 7 QB of the week. While a Week 18 fantasy finish isn’t very significant, Howell’s potential was showcased. He averaged a deep 8.9 Yards Per Attempt in the game, echoing his 10.3 (96th-percentile) College Yards Per Attempt. Howell also carried the ball five times for 35 yards and a touchdown that game. He ran for 828 yards in his last college season and recorded a 4.73 (74th-percentile) 40-yard dash, showing his dual-threat potential. Howell has good offensive weapons to throw to in Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Antonio Gibson. He is a young QB with traits good to invest in for fantasy football.

The theme of this whole article has been rushing upside. Howell has the rushing upside to surpass the other QBs going before him. With a late 18th-round-to-undrafted ADP, he is a flier to take as your QB2. Jimmy Garoppolo and Matthew Stafford are late-round QBs with lower ceilings. If you’re looking to take one of the rookies, Howell shouldn’t be off your radar either. It’s also his first year starting, he just has a year of learning the offense under his belt, which the rookies don’t have. If you’re looking for a QB2 flier, Howell is a perfect value at the end of drafts.