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Perfect 2023 fantasy football draft strategy, round by round — Picks 10-12

2KB9DP1 New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) carries the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Michigan USA, on Sunday, October 27, 2019. (Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto)

  • Take advantage of sliding running backs: Wide receivers are going earlier in drafts this year, leading to some great running backs being available late in the first round and early in the second.
  • Stock up on wide receivers early: The value typically isn’t there to take an early quarterback or tight end, which means it makes sense to add some great wide receivers.
  • Add several rookies late: There should be plenty of opportunities in the second half of the draft to add high-upside rookie running backs and wide receivers.
Estimated reading time: 16 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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Draft Strategy: 12-Team | Picks 1-3 | Picks 4-6

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Last updated: 7:15 a.m. Wednesday, July 19

Round 1, Picks 10-12: Draft a running back or CeeDee Lamb

By this point of the draft, the top-tier running backs, wide receivers and Travis Kelce are all gone. Quarterback or any other tight end is out of the question this early, leaving the decision between a running back and wide receiver.

Running backs tends to be the better pick at this point because the wide receivers in a few rounds are much better values than the running backs, so it’s better to go running back early. CeeDee Lamb is the one wide receiver to consider for someone who really wants to go with a wide receiver in the first round.

Top Target: Saquon Barkley

Barkley turned his career around in 2022 after missing nearly all of 2020 with a torn ACL and ineffective play in 2021.

  • His top-five fantasy finish was partially due to good play but also to volume.
  • Barkley has 82 rushing yards per game, which ranked fourth among backs while his 23.7 pass routes per game ranked fifth.
  • Saquon Barkley has 25.3 pass routes per game which ranked second out of 78 running backs with at least 40 games over the last five seasons.
  • He graded below replacement level as a receiver, but as a rookie, he was among the league’s elite receiving running backs.
  • If he can return to that level of play as a receiver, he could be the top fantasy running back this year.
  • Fifth-round rookie Eric Gray specializes as a receiver, so there is also a chance Barkley sees fewer targets.
Possible Targets: Jonathan Taylor, Tony Pollard, Josh Jacobs, CeeDee Lamb, Nick Chubb

Round 2, Picks 13-15: Draft a quarterback or running back


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