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Perfect 2023 fantasy football draft strategy, round by round - Picks 7-9 3.0

2RHRYTH Atlanta Falcons running back Bijan Robinson (7) warms up before the first half of an NFL preseason football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Cincinnati Bengals, Friday, Aug. 18, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Bijan Robinson is the ideal mid-first-round pick: The rookie running back could be the best at his position in the NFL for several seasons.

• Great wide receiver options available in Round 2: Several wide receivers who could potentially lead the position are available in the second round.

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Estimated reading time: 17 minutes

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

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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

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

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Last updated: 8:15 p.m. Saturday, September 2

Round 1, Picks 7-9: Draft a wide receiver or running back

By this point, the top running backs, wide receivers and Travis Kelce are all likely off the board. If someone reaches for a player in the top half of the first round, take advantage of their mistake and adjust this draft strategy as needed.

No quarterback or tight end should get picked late in the first round or early in the second, so the decision here is between running back and wide receiver. There should still be a few top-five running back options, the ideal pick here, but there are plenty of wide receivers who are fine alternatives.

Top Target: Bijan Robinson

Landing in Atlanta was the best-case scenario for the best running back prospect in recent memory.

  • The Falcons were the only team that ran the ball on more than half of their offensive plays last season. They even stuck to the run when playing from behind.
  • They ran 48.8% of the time when trailing, five percentage points more than any other team.
  • Those rates remained similar when Desmond Ridder took over as the team’s starting quarterback.
  • The Falcons' depth consisted of the talented Tyler Allgeier and 32-year-old Cordarrelle Patterson. Allgeier can give Robinson a rest at times, but that shouldn’t stop Robinson from seeing 20 touches per game.
  • He will be running behind some of the best interior linemen in the league. Chris Lindstrom and Matt Hennessy are two of just five interior linemen who have earned a 90.0-plus PFF run-blocking grade over the past two seasons.
  • He should be an early first-round pick in redraft leagues, and the top option in single-quarterback dynasty drafts, rookie or not.
Possible Targets: Saquon Barkley, Stefon Diggs, CeeDee Lamb, Tony Pollard, Nick Chubb

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Round 2, Picks 16-18: Draft a wide receiver

The value at this point is at wide receiver and in particular Amon-Ra St. Brown. This is another point of the draft where there is a chance a top-14 player falls in which case abandon this strategy and go with the falling player, but if not pick the next best wide receiver to leave in your starting lineup each week.


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