This article is part of our Best Ball Strategy series.
For this week's Underdog Fantasy NFL best ball post I'll run through some of the best Glue Guy picks – players unlikely to be stars, but ones who have enough utility at low enough acquisition prices that they make for good volume picks in almost any build. No matter what type of stacks you might pursue in a draft, these guys should be on the radar as ways to patch up the depth around your earlier selections.
All but one of these picks are wide receivers, unfortunately – most of the running back options could still see major value swings depending on draft and free agent movement, whereas these receivers have profiles and/or established workloads that indicate durable value at these prices.
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Joshua Palmer, WR, LAC (121.9 ADP)
I don't think Palmer is especially good, but he's good enough and familiar enough with Justin Herbert that the Chargers clearly have no choice but to rely on Palmer in a starter-like role in 2023. That might be true even if the Chargers keep Keenan Allen, but there's no guarantee that they do. Because Palmer can play inside or outside in the Chargers offense it makes him the in-effect swing backup for both Allen and Mike Williams, meaning any injury to a Chargers receiver other than Palmer almost entirely goes to Palmer's benefit. There aren't that many receivers you can say that for so clearly, and fewer yet assigned to quarterbacks as good as Herbert. If the Chargers cut Allen then Palmer's price could jump a few rounds, and in the meantime he has a high enough floor to warrant extended exposure even without such developments.
Michael Gallup, WR, DAL (147.3 ADP)
Gallup clearly was not himself last year when he returned from the ACL tear that ended his 2021 season. We know that both because he was well short of his prior production standards and because it came out that Gallup played injured in 2022, requiring an offseason surgical procedure on his right knee and right ankle. Gallup had 62 targets on 469 snaps before suffering the ACL tear in 2021, yet last year he had only 74 targets on 710 snaps. Dallas would need to add more than one standout wide receiver this offseason to substantially complicate Gallup's 2023 projection, because players like Noah Brown and Jalen Tolbert have already demonstrated their limited abilities. If Gallup does nothing in 2023 then it becomes difficult to budget the Dallas offense.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, KC (167.9 ADP)
Valdes-Scantling was not quite a hit even in best ball formats in his first season with Kansas City, but his strong finish in the playoffs could indicate improvement over the course of the season. If Valdes-Scantling works better with Patrick Mahomes after playing together for the first time in 2022 then at this price he could be a nice high-exposure selection, providing spike-week bursts of production at a trivial price. With JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman free agents and the duo of Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore unproven, Valdes-Scantling could have a surprisingly high floor for 2023. If just one of Smith-Schuster or Hardman walks in free agency it would be difficult to see Valdes-Scantling's price remaining this low. In such a case either Patrick Mahomes does nothing or Valdes-Scantling does something, there's no third possibility.
Van Jefferson, WR, LAR (212.5 ADP)
Jefferson would have a more complicated projection if Matthew Stafford were gone. As things stand, though, Stafford is expected to return to the Rams in 2023, along with Cooper Kupp and Sean McVay. Granted, the Rams offensive line is worse now than it was in 2021, but Stafford-Kupp-Jefferson is a formula we've already seen work well. Tutu Atwell has a snap cap due to his prohibitively small frame and the Rams only have so many draft and free agent resources to add wideout competition otherwise, so if Jefferson is healthy he should be looking at a three-down workload in 2023, a possibility his ADP doesn't seem to take seriously. If Stafford plays then there's no reason Jefferson shouldn't approach his 2021 production, when he caught 50 passes for 802 yards and six touchdowns on 89 targets. Jefferson is the epitome of a quality glue guy -- no one wants him but he's not going anywhere.
Devin Duvernay, WR, BAL (228.2 ADP)
Duvernay's season-ending foot injury arguably makes him riskier than some other players on this list, but if he's ready for Week 1 then he's a likely bargain at this price. Duvernay was held back by Greg Roman's offense yet was productive as a late-round best ball pick in 2022 anyway, so even if Roman were still the coordinator Duvernay would still make sense at this price. Todd Monken will likely prove a significant improvement over Roman, however, and if healthy Duvernay is unlikely to be outdone by any rookie receiver the Ravens select. Duvernay has some of the best hands in the league and is one of the most dangerous players with the ball – a competent coordinator can figure this one out quickly.
Tyler Scott, WR, Rookie (230.1 ADP)
Scott isn't getting much hype right now but expect that to change after the combine. Expect his price to jump at that point, too. Scott's Cincinnati player page claims he can break the 4.30-second threshold in the 40-yard dash, and he doesn't even need to run that fast to generate a great deal of hype. Anything less than a 4.4 should do the trick, and Scott's production at Cincinnati was otherwise excellent. There's a good chance he's a better prospect than former Cincinnati teammate Alec Pierce, who the Colts selected in the second round of last year's draft. Just make sure you're picking Tyler Scott and not Ty Scott. Ty is a non-prospect.
Israel Abanikanda, RB, Rookie (232.1 ADP)
Abanikanda is one of few running backs who, in my perhaps reckless opinion, truly cannot hurt you at this price. You shouldn't go overboard with any player's exposure level, but I think Abanikanda is so obviously underpriced that it makes sense to buy in bulk now and taper off later if necessary. He's simply too cheap. He's an easily better prospect than any of Tank Bigsby (170.6 ADP), Roschon Johnson (187.2 ADP), Chase Brown (226.6 ADP), or Kenny McIntosh (215.7 ADP), yet Abanikanda is going much later than any of them. Abanikanda is a great bet to end up selected on Day 2, whereas those four rookies are longer shots than the much-cheaper Abanikanda. Abanikanda should prove himself one of the few backs in the draft with homerun speed on a frame heavier than 210 pounds.
Xavier Hutchinson, WR, Rookie (238.4 ADP)
Hutchinson is far from a blue chip prospect, but he's so cheap at this price that it's hard to see how he could pose any meaningful risk in the 20th round. Hutchinson will be a 23-year-old rookie and therefore should be more polished, and hopefully more set up for immediate production than some of his younger rookie peers. While Hutchinson is old for his class, his age-adjusted production at Iowa State was excellent, meaning he didn't owe his collegiate dominance to an age advantage over his competition. With slot and boundary interchangeability Hutchinson should be in position to push for over 600 snaps as a rookie, which is a scenario his current ADP doesn't seem to take seriously.