Fantasy News & Analysis

Premium Content Sign Up

Perfect 2023 fantasy football draft strategy, round by round for 12-team leagues 5.0

2H5G36P Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) runs with the ball after a catch during a NFL game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021, in Inglewood, the Titans defeated the Rams 28-16. (Jon Endow/Image of Sport/Sipa USA)

• You can still draft running backs in the first round: Christian McCaffrey, Austin Ekeler and Bijan Robinson are way ahead of their peers. Their production should be unmatched.

• Don’t be afraid to draft a quarterback early: The recent decline (and even retirement) of several aging quarterbacks makes the top signal-callers of today even more valuable.

• Fantasy draft approaching? Use PFF’s AI-powered Live Draft Assistant to win the draft and dominate your 2023 fantasy football league.

Live Draft Assistant
Subscribe Button

Estimated reading time: 17 minutes

Want to dominate your fantasy football league this year?
Check out PFF's fantasy tools below:

Fantasy Draft Kit | Fantasy Mock Draft Simulator
Live Draft Assistant |
League Sync | Draft Rankings | Cheat Sheets

The perfect 2023 fantasy football draft series combines current average draft positions from expert and casual drafts to see which players should be available at each pick, and then we make the best picks given that information.

To try out a draft strategy for specific picks in different league sizes, check out our new mock draft simulator. To get all of this analysis — and more — in real-time during your draft, check out PFF's Live Draft Assistant.

For help in other formats, rankings or for more details about the players, check out the rest of my summer content below.

Preseason Recaps:  Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 | Hall of Fame Game

Player Profiles | Depth Charts | 10 tips to win | Undervalued | Overvalued
Rankings: PPR | Half-PPR | Standard | Superflex | Best Ball
Dynasty Rankings: PPR | Rookie | Superflex | Superflex Rookie
Position Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE
Sleepers: Top-10 | QB | RB | WR | TE
League Winners: Top-5 | QB | RB | WR | TE
Breakouts: QB | RB | WR | TE
Position Draft Strategy: QB | RB | WR | TE

 16-Team Draft Strategy: Overall strategy

 14-Team Draft Strategy: Overall strategy
12-Team Draft Strategy: Overall strategy | Picks 1-3 | Picks 4-6 | Picks 7-9 | Picks 10-12
10-Team Draft Strategy: Overall strategy | Picks 1-3 | Picks 4-7 | Picks 8-10

Last updated: 7:15 a.m. Monday, August 28

Round 1, Picks 1-12: Draft a running back or wide receiver

The point of the first round is to pick the best available player. That will almost always be a running back or wide receiver unless Travis Kelce falls a pick or two from his ADP.

Running backs generally offer the best value for someone picking early in the round, while wide receiver is better for those picking in the middle and late parts of the round.

Top Target: Cooper Kupp

Kupp will be looking to rebound after missing the second half of last season with an ankle injury.

  • When he's been fully healthy, the Rams star has been the league's best fantasy wide receiver over the past two seasons. He’s averaged 106.1 yards, 0.85 touchdowns and 24.65 PPR points per game.
  • It will be a little more difficult for Kupp to score this season: The other receiving options aren’t as strong, the Rams' offensive line is a work in progress and the team's defense lost key members.
  • Usually, that combination could lead to increased targets for a wide receiver. However, it will be hard for Kupp’s target share to get much higher than it has been.
  • Kupp recently turned 30, while his quarterback, Matthew Stafford, is 35.
  • He would ordinarily be WR1 by a distance, but all of the factors potentially working against him drag him down to WR2.

Possible Targets: Christian McCaffrey, Austin Ekeler, Stefon Diggs, CeeDee Lamb, Davante Adams


Unlimited Fantasy League Sync
Fantasy Start/Sit Line-Up Optimizer & Waiver Wire
WR-CB & OL-DL Matchups, PFF Player Grades, & Premium Stats 2.0 Tools
Nathan Jahnkes Rankings - #1 Most Accurate Last 70 Weeks
PFF Best Bets, Player Props, & Power Ranking Tools
NFL Mock Draft Sim with Trades & Draft Grades

Already have a subscription? Log In


Unlock the 2023 Fantasy Draft Kit, with League Sync, Live Draft Assistant, PFF Grades & Data Platform that powers all 32 Pro Teams

$31 Draft Kit Fee + $8.99/mo
$89.88/yr + FREE Draft Kit