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Perfect 2023 fantasy football draft strategy, round by round - Picks 4-6

2K4GKGK Houston, TX, USA. 2nd Oct, 2022. Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30) celebrates his touchdown during the 2nd quarter of an NFL football game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX. Trask Smith/CSM/Alamy Live News

  • Aim for a top-three running back: While other fantasy managers pick a wide receiver early, an elite wide receiver option should fall straight to this pick range.
  • Round 2 leads to a difficult decision: There is a choice to make in the second half of Round 2 between a top-three quarterback and a top-right running back. That decision will determine the strategy for the rest of the draft. 
  • Multiple options for picking an elite tight end: Based on ADP, someone picking in this range should have a shot at any of the top tight ends without reaching.
Estimated reading time: 16 minutes

The perfect draft series takes current ADPs from expert and casual drafts combined to see who should be available at each pick and make the best picks given that information.

More Rankings: PPR | Half-PPR | Best Ball
Dynasty Rankings: PPR | Superflex | Rookie | Superflex Rookie
Position Rankings: QB | RB
Sleepers: WR | TE

Last updated: 7:15 a.m., July 11th

Round 1, Picks 4-6: Draft a running back or Cooper Kupp

The decision here should be a relatively easy one with Bijan Robinson — and sometimes Austin Ekeler — often falling this far in the draft. It will be impossible to match this running back production elsewhere in the draft, and it’s similarly difficult to replicate an elite wide receivers production, but it’s at least possible. 

If Christian McCaffrey, Ekeler and Robinson are all gone, then it’s fine to turn to a wide receiver. Chances are Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase will be off the board, but if not, it’s fine to pick to them before turning to Cooper Kupp. Even Tyreek Hill isn’t out of the question for the middle of the first round.

Top Target: Austin Ekeler

Ekeler is coming off of back-to-back seasons as a top-two fantasy running back, with little reason to expect a significant decline.

  • Ekeler’s fantasy dominance has come from volume in the passing game mixed with touchdowns as a runner.
  • His 0.061 rushing touchdowns per attempt and 11.6 receiving fantasy points (PPR) per game both lead all running backs over the last two seasons.
  • Los Angeles didn’t address the running back position in the offseason despite Ekeler being in the last year of his contract and 28 years old.
  • The lack of competition can give fantasy managers confidence Ekeler will remain a great fantasy back despite the change in offensive coordinator.
  • The top running back in new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore’s offense has been a top-10 fantasy back each of the last four seasons, and none of his backs have had the receiving ability that Ekeler possesses.
Possible Targets: Bijan Robinson, Cooper Kupp, Saquon Barkley, Jonathan Taylor, Tony Pollard

Round 2, Picks 19-21: Draft a quarterback or running back

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