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Perfect 2023 fantasy football draft strategy, round by round for 10-team leagues 2.0

2NJ46DG MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 16: Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) runs after the catch during the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Miami Dolphins on October 16, 2022 at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL (Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

  • Wide receiver in Round 1 is advantageous in 10-team leagues: It’s a lot more likely that fantasy managers end up with two valuable running backs when there are fewer teams drafting, making it easier to wait on one and pivot to wide receiver.
  • Draft a quarterback early: Most teams should be happy with their wide receivers and running backs regardless of drafting them early or waiting a little bit, but not every team will be happy with their quarterback. Don’t be the fantasy manager who misses out.
  • Attack wide receivers again in the early to middle rounds: Once all of the every-down running backs are off the board, it makes sense to stockpile wide receivers while the talent is there before turning toward running backs in a committee.

Estimated Reading Time: 16 minutes

The perfect draft series combines current average draft positions from expert and casual drafts to see who should be available at each pick, thus allowing us to evaluate the best picks in each situation. For help on other pick numbers or league sizes, for rankings or for more details about the players, check out the rest of my summer content below. For rankings with better filtering along with auction values, check out our draft rankings page.

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12-Team Draft Strategy: Overall strategy | Picks 1-3 | Picks 4-6 | Picks 7-9 | Picks 10-12 | 10-Team
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Last updated: 7:15 a.m. Monday, July 31

Round 1, Picks 1-10: Draft a running back, wide receiver or Travis Kelce

It’s fine to pick the best player available. In a 12-team league, running backs can tend to be the better pick because it is relatively hard to add two quality running backs when 24 will be starters. But it’s easier when there will be only 20 starting running backs in the league, which allows us to go with the best available player here rather than trying to optimize based on future availability. And more often than not, that best player will be a wide receiver.

It’s also worth considering drafting Travis Kelce. The fewer teams in the league, the more advantageous it becomes to draft Kelce early.

Top Target: Justin Jefferson

Jefferson was the clear top wide receiver last season, and he is showing no signs of slowing down.

  • He led all wide receivers last season with 7.5 receptions per game for 106.4 yards and 21.7 PPR points.
  • He has achieved a 90.0-plus PFF receiving grade in all three seasons of his NFL career.
  • He recently turned 24 years old, so he’s still at a point in his career where he should be improving.
  • Among the elite wide receiver options, he has the best combination of great offense, offense and not as much competition for targets.
Possible Targets: Ja'Marr Chase, Christian McCaffrey, Austin Ekeler, Bijan Robinson, Travis Kelce

Round 2, Picks 11-20: Draft a running back or A.J. Brown

The top tier of running backs and wide receivers will be gone, but there is a huge gap between the second and third tiers of running backs, while the gap isn’t as large at wide receivers. That leads to running back being the top option in Round 2. If A.J. Brown starts to fall, it would be understandable to target him instead.

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