107 days until Lions-Chiefs kickoff…
In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Masterworks:
Three late-round TEs worth throwing darts at in best ball land
Week 17 Best Ball Correlation Manifesto
2025 NFL Draft and 2026 Super Bowl locations
Team preview szn: Minnesota Vikings
It’s 5/23. Take it away, Ian Hartitz…
Every year fantasy drafters (me) look at the late-round TE scene through rose-colored glasses.
The misses go on and on – but that doesn’t mean late-round TEs never hit. Specifically, 17 out of the 60 top-six performances at the position over the past 10 years came from players with a preseason ADP ranked outside the top-12 TEs.
10 players even carried a positional ADP as the TE18 or lower.
Lowest ADP from top-six fantasy TE 2013-22:
2018 Jared Cook TE18
2018 Evan Engram TE18
2015 Jordan Reed TE19
2013 Julius Thomas TE22
2019 Darren Waller TE25
2016 Kyle Rudolph TE27
2021 Dalton Schultz TE33
2015 Gary Barnidge TE40
2020 Logan Thomas TE49
2020 Robert Tonyan TE69
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz)
May 22, 2023
Similar to QB, the fantasy industry has consistently done a far better job identifying the top-six finishers at the position than the 7-12 group in terms of preseason ADP.
Where the industry has been less solid over the years is at tiering out the fantasy upside from players with similar volume projections. This has led to me preferring a “first or last” strategy at both positions to either, 1.) Land a complete stud at the top of the draft who is being priced that high for a reason, or 2.) Throw multiple darts at the late-round group in lieu of overvaluing the middle class.
The following TEs have Underdog ADPs as the TE18 or lower and outside of the top-160 picks. Their chances of success aren’t great – that’s why they are this cheap in the first place – but we are saying there’s a chance!
⚡ Chargers TE Gerald Everett (ADP: TE20, pick 165.3)
The six-year veteran enjoyed career-best marks in targets (87), receptions (58) and receiving yards (555) alike in 2022, and that doesn’t even include his sterling 6-109-1 performance in the Chargers’ ill-fated Wild Card loss to the Jaguars.
New OC Kellen Moore helped enable a far less explosive TE in Dalton Schultz to rather great fantasy heights during their time together in Dallas.
Everett’s path to success is for the Chargers to lean fully on him instead of rotating backup options Stephen Anderson, Donald Parham and/or Tre’ McKitty.
✈️ Jets TE Tyler Conklin (ADP: TE26, pick 196.3)
Conklin ripped off 61-593-3 and 58-552-3 receiving lines in 2021 and 2022. This puts him in decent company as one of just nine players at the position with 50-plus catches and 500-plus yards in each of the past two seasons.
TE with 50+ receptions and 500+ yards in each of the last two seasons:
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz)
May 4, 2023
The biggest issue with expecting more from Conklin is his lack of an every-down role when fellow 2022 offseason addition C.J. Uzomah was also healthy. Overall, Conklin posted 92%, 100% and 96% snap rates in three games without Uzomah, but finished between 61% and 81% the rest of the season.
Here’s to hoping new OC Nathaniel Hackett treats Conklin more like Greg Dulcich and less like Albert Okwuegbunam.
🚀 Colts TE Jelani Woods (ADP: TE30, pick 211.4)
Woods’ season-long 25-312-3 receiving line as a rookie didn’t exactly jump off the page, but the 24-year-old still posted two top-five fantasy finishes and flashed some of the freaky athletic ability that earned him all sorts of pre-draft love from fantasy analysts in the first place.
Similar to Everett, the hope with Woods is that his new coach (former Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen) will stick with what worked for them with their previous employer and feature *one* TE as opposed to a committee.
Woods will be flirting with the position’s top-12 fantasy players in a hurry with evidence of a true full-time role.
Best ball season is in full swing, and Pete Overzet is here to share how you can take first place in these large contests…
Over 75,000 teams have already been drafted in Underdog Fantasy’s Best Ball Mania IV tournament as users chase the absurd $3 million top prize.
In previous best ball strategy pieces, we dissected the unique structure of the tournament and shared some early players to target in drafts before their prices rise, but today we are going to dig into the $3 million dollar question…
How do I draft a team that gives me a realistic chance at winning first place?
😲 Best Ball Mania IV is massive
I know I just said “realistic” above, but that’s probably not a reasonable word to use for a tournament with 677,376 entries.
Even if you were the best drafter in the world, the Magnus Carlsen of best ball so to speak, the deck would be stacked against you.
Think about it this way…
If you were a drafter with average skill and you max entered the contest with 150 entries, this would be your expectation for advancing teams:
2/12 teams advance in Round 1, Weeks 1-14 (your expectation: 25 teams to Round 2; 2/12 * 150 = 25)
1/16 teams advance in Round 2, Week 15 (your expectation: 1.56 teams to Round 3; 1/16*25 = 1.56)
1/16 teams advance in Round 3, Week 16 (your expectation: .097 teams to Round 4; 1/16*1.56=.097)
That means the average 150 max drafter will have a 10% chance of getting one team to the 441-person finals. Or, to frame it another way, if Underdog ran this exact contest for the next 10 years, the average 150 max drafter would get one team to the finals during the span of that decade.
Now I realize that paints a bleak picture, but I do think it is important to go into these contests with open eyes–both from an expected ROI (return on investment) perspective and from a strategic perspective.
So now that we understand this contest structure, your two big takeaways should be…
I should not expect to be profitable in this contest most years. I am risking a small buy-in ($25) to try to win life-changing money ($3 million) and I am at peace with that tradeoff.
If I am fortunate enough to sneak a team into the finals, it sure as hell better have a chance to get first place because of the top-heavy nature of the payouts.
The Full Prize Structure 🙌 https://t.co/4n7r1YdR74
— Underdog Fantasy (@UnderdogFantasy)
Apr 29, 2023
Well, Pete, that’s a nice thought, but how do I actually draft a team that has a chance to get first place?
I knew you were going to answer that question and I’m glad you asked…
📊 Correlation is our best chance at first place
Correlation, or put more simply, stacking, is the biggest lever we can pull to give ourselves a chance to get first place in Week 17.
What is stacking? In the literal sense, stacking means taking multiple players from the same team, preferably a QB with his pass catchers.
Stacking, and more generally speaking, correlation, reduces the number of things we have to get right to win.
If Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill has a big game, it’s very likely that his QB, Tua Tagovailoa, will as well. So when we draft Hill, we should also consider targeting Tua because you only need to be right about one thing. If you take Hill and then, say, Dak Prescott, you now need to be right about two different, uncorrelated things.
Anyone who plays DFS is familiar with this dynamic. Every time a QB throws a pass to a receiver they both score points so their production is directly correlated. You can see in this chart from TJ Hernandez that QB and pass catcher (WR + TE) production is highly correlated (green):
The great thing about stacking is that it can help us in two ways:
Regular season stack benefits: if you nail a stack on an undervalued offense, you are going to reap those benefits in Weeks 1-14 and increase your chances to advance to the playoffs. This is exactly what happened to the drafters who nailed the Jaguars as a breakout offense in 2022.
Playoff stack benefits: Because you need to finish first out of 16 teams in both Week 15 and Week 16 to advance to the finals, nailing a stack in those weeks can help you jump to first in your pod and help you advance.
New to Underdog Fantasy? Get a 100% deposit match on your first deposit of up to $100 by signing up to start drafting today!
💰 A million-dollar Banksy got investors 32% returns?
It's like grabbing Jalen Hurts in a start-up Dynasty Draft.
We know it may sound too good to be true. But it’s not only possible, it’s happening—and thousands of investors are smiling all the way to the bank, thanks to the fine-art investing platform Masterworks.
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But art? Really?
Okay, skeptics, here are the numbers. Contemporary art prices:
Outpaced the S&P 500 by 131% over the last 26 years
Have the lowest correlation to equities of any asset class
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Your fantasy roster shouldn’t be the only work of art that’s profitable.
“Net Return" refers to the annualized internal rate of return net of all fees and costs, calculated from the offering closing date to the date the sale is consummated. IRR may not be indicative of Masterworks paintings not yet sold and past performance is not indicative of future results. See important Regulation A disclosures at masterworks.com/cd.
⭐ Super Bowl LX has a location. Get those plane tickets now!
😲 Thursday night football games are now subject to flex scheduling. Five key late-season matchups could be moved.
💣 DeAndre Hopkins named the five QBs he’d like to play with. No. 1 might surprise you.
🦶 This former first-round WR is on the field for OTAs. Can God PLEASE turn off injuries already.
🧀 The 2025 NFL Draft is headed north. They better be selling the BEST cheese.
💪 NFL teams can now keep a third QB active on game days. CMC must be pumped.
🐐 Tom Brady to the Raiders?! Kinda sorta.
💸 The NFL is undergoing another gambling investigation. Please spare our favorite fantasy players.
Fantasy Life senior analyst Ian Hartitz is breaking down all 32 NFL teams over the next two months. Let’s take a look at the Vikings, who once again look a lot like one of the league’s more fantasy-friendly offenses…
Justin Jefferson (Ian’s WR1)
Jordan Addison (WR38)
K.J. Osborn (WR71)
Jalen Reagor (WR120)
Jefferson’s first three seasons in the NFL have been pretty, pretty special. In fact, his production through three years is arguably the best in WR history:
Receptions: 324 (No. 1)
Receiving yards: 4,825 (No. 1)
Receiving touchdowns: 25 (tied for No. 25)
PPR points: 973.3 (No. 1)
PPR PPG: 19.5 (No. 3)
The NFL’s reigning king in total receptions (128) and receiving yards (1,809), Jefferson has the requisite combination of high-end volume and elite talent to stand tall as the overall No. 1 fantasy WR entering the 2023 season.
Behind Jefferson, there's the first-round rookie WR Addison, who has steadily received plenty of offseason buzz after the Vikings selected him with the 23rd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
One of the main reasons why Addison received so much pre-draft hype was due to his ability to command targets at a high level in multiple collegiate environments.
The 2021 Biletnikoff winner should benefit mightily from playing across from Jefferson, as Addison’s tentative status as the offense’s primary slot WR will help the slender talent (5’11, 173 lbs.) deal with less press coverage and serve as a lethal zone-beater.
Faith in Addison also requires faith in Kirk Cousins, who has done nothing but enable high-end WR production in fantasy since he joined the Vikings in 2018:
2022: Jefferson (WR2); Thielen (WR43)
2021: Jefferson (WR4); Thielen (WR14)
2020: Jefferson (WR9); Thielen (WR11)
2019: Diggs (WR25); Thielen (WR42)
2018: Thielen (WR7); Diggs (WR11)
Addison is firmly in play as a borderline WR3 (at worst) alongside guys like Treylon Burks, Diontae Johnson, and Jahan Dotson. This is a tier of talented WRs that offers drafters one last chance at some serious upside before the WR position really starts to fall off a cliff.
As for Osborn, it’s hard to be overly excited considering he profiles as the No. 4 pass-catcher behind Jefferson, Addison, and even T.J. Hockenson.
Osborn’s underlying numbers in yards per route run (1.19, 97th among 110 qualified WR) and targets per route run (14.5%, 104th) over the last two seasons are also nothing to write home about. He’s merely a late-round dart throw who managers probably won’t ever feel confident about sliding into a FLEX spot.
There is simply no way this wasn't a last-place fantasy punishment. https://t.co/7pnPQHN64C
— Andy Behrens (@andybehrens)
May 22, 2023