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Perfect 2023 fantasy football draft strategy, round by round for 10-team leagues — Picks 1-3

2H8BPB6 Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) breaks the tackle of San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair (51) for the first d

• Draft a wide receiver in Round 1: Fantasy managers in a 10-team league are more likely to end up with two valuable running backs when fewer teams are drafting, making it easier to wait on one and pivot to wide receiver with the first pick.

• Take back-to-back running backs in Rounds 2 and 3: Enough top running backs should slide to the end of Round 2 and the start of Round 3 to make that strategy valuable. 

• Elite tight ends available in Round 5: Some of the best tight ends have been sliding, so drafting one in Round 5 would present significant value. 

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Estimated reading time: 15 minutes


The perfect draft series takes current ADPs from expert and casual drafts to see who should be available at each pick so that we can make the best picks. For help on other pick numbers or league sizes, rankings or 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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More Rankings: PPR | Half-PPR | Standard | Superflex | Best Ball
Dynasty Rankings: PPR | Superflex | Rookie | Superflex Rookie
Position Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE
Sleepers: QB | RB | WR | TE
League Winners: RB | TE
12-Team Draft Strategy: Overall strategy | Picks 1-3 | Picks 4-6 | Picks 7-9 | Picks 10-12 | 10-Team
10-Team Draft Strategy: Overall strategy | Picks 1-3

Last updated: 7:15 a.m. Thursday, July 27

Round 1, Picks 1-3: Draft a wide receiver

Pick the best player available. If you're drafting for a 12-team league, it's often better to target a top running back because it is relatively hard to add two quality backs, given that 24 will be starters.

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.

With a top-three pick, it’s even better to go wide receiver. Top running backs should be available with the following two picks.

Top Target: Justin Jefferson

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

  • Jefferson's 7.5 receptions per game led all wide receivers last season. He averaged 106.4 yards and 21.7 PPR points per outing. 
  • He has earned a 90.0-plus PFF receiving grade in all three seasons of his NFL career.
  • He recently turned just 24 years old, so there's a good chance he can get even better.
  • Among the elite wide receiver options, he has the best combination of great offense and minimal competition for targets.
Possible Targets: Ja'Marr Chase, Cooper Kupp, Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, CeeDee Lamb

Round 2, Picks 18-20: Draft a running back or Jaylen Waddle

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