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Perfect 2023 fantasy football draft strategy, round by round for 12-team leagues 6.0

2MA69C6 Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs runs during during an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

• 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.

Estimated reading time: 18 minutes

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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.

Player Profiles | Depth Charts | 10 tips to win | Undervalued | Overvalued | 500 Stats
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: Top-5 | 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

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

Last updated: 7:15 a.m. Sunday, September 3

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. Pick someone better than Diggs if they are available, but there are a few picks near the end of the round where Diggs is the best option, so he is the player highlighted.

Top Target: Stefon Diggs

Diggs has ranked as a top-seven wide receiver in each of the past three seasons since joining the Bills.

  • He’s been excellent on a per-route basis, ranking in the top three in receptions (0.188), touchdowns (0.019) and PPR points (0.553).
  • The problem keeping him from the top three is that he ran only the 20th-most routes among wide receivers, at 573.
  • Part of the problem for fantasy purposes is the Bills rotate Diggs out too much. He played more than 80% of offensive snaps in only five games last season.
  • Diggs will turn 30 in the season, and the Bills invested in Dalton Kincaid, Trent Sherfield and Deonte Harty. They are all players who could cut slightly into Diggs’ playing time or targets.
  • He probably won’t finish in the top three unless several elite wide receivers suffer injuries, but he’s a safe bet to remain in the top 10.

Possible Targets: Christian McCaffrey, Austin Ekeler, Bijan Robinson, CeeDee Lamb, Amon-Ra St. Brown

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Round 2, Picks 13-24: Draft a quarterback or wide receiver

The options in this round typically consist of a Tier 2 running back or a top-tier quarterback. Only a few teams in the league have an every-down back, so drafting one, or even two, is an advantage. 


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