NFL Fantasy Football Draft Stratagies

Best 2023 NFL Fantasy Football Draft Strategy

If you've lost your fantasy football league for six straight seasons, you've come to the right place.

You're more worried about your league's punishment than prize pool? You're constantly getting roasted by the worst guy in your league's group chat? The only way to prove them wrong is by nailing your 2023 NFL fantasy draft.

Below, I'll break down some of the best (and worst) simple strategies to implement on draft day:

Best Fantasy Football Draft Strategies

Buckle down, print off a few spreadsheets, and nail down these strategies before your draft:

Know Your Scoring Format

This one sounds pretty simple, but it's especially important. Knowing if you have a PPR league (point per reception), half PPR, or just no PPR is crucial for some of your sleeper picks and fantasy targets.

The value of all receivers goes way up in a PPR league and receiving running backs like Austin Ekeler, Jerick McKinnon, and new Eagles RB D'Andre Swift become elite options. If it's not PPR, you the value of traditional runners like Derrick Henry remain the top dudes.

So, know your format and adjust your rankings accordingly.

Know Your Draft Rankings

No, I don't mean know YOUR rankings. I mean know what website or draft portal you're using, and the standardized rankings that site will put out.

While most rankings are largely similar, there are always a few massive discrepancies where you can find value. For example, as of today's ESPN pre-draft PPR rankings have Cowboys RB Tony Pollard as the 21st ranked player. Yahoo has him at 9. 

So, take a look at every site/publication's rankings or use a consensus rankings page. And then compare to whatever draft portal you're using to find a few steals.

Wait On A QB

I think most fantasy football drafters have caught on to this one by now. But, there's very little value to drafting a quarterback early, especially if you're in a 1 QB league.

There is a case to be made for drafting the truly elite QBs like Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, as they posted almost 1000 more fantasy points than any other QB last year. But, after that top tier things bunch up fast. The total point difference between Geno Smith (the No. 5 fantasy QB last year) to Tom Brady (No. 12) was just 35 points. Over the course of 17 games, that's essentially nothing.

So, if you miss out on the top QBs, don't panic and grab someone at the top of tier 2. Just sit back and wait for someone to fall.

Worst Fantasy Football Draft Strategies

As important as it is to have a sound strategy going into the draft, it's equally crucial to know what not to do and who not to waste a pick on:

Don't Draft A Kicker Early

Don't draft a kicker until the final two or three rounds. I know it may be enticing to snag Justin Tucker early on, but it's not worth it. The Difference between the No. 1 kicker last year (Tucker) and No. 15 (Ryan Succop) was just 20 total fantasy points. That's just as big of a gap as between the 16th and 18th best running backs.

Also, kicker success is pretty unpredictable. Sure, Tucker was the most valuable fantasy leg last year. But Denver's Brett Maher was the No. 2 kicker by total points, and he wasn't even ranked within the top-10 at the position coming into the season.

Wait on kicker until really late, and fill out your RB, WR, TE bench spots first.

Don't Wait on Running Backs

There are a few positions you can slow play — quarterback, kicker, defense, and maybe even tight end. Running back is not one of them.

Most 10- or 12-team leagues require you to roster at least two running backs. If you look down to the ~20th ranked RB in consensus rankings we're getting to a tier of Cam Akers, David Montgomery, and Rachaad White. Even beyond the top ~15 RBs, every guy has red flags and plenty of unknowns. If you don't come out of the first few rounds with at least one RB, you're screwed.

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