Targets and TDs Fantasy Football

Targets and TDs Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football Draft Strategy: Tips for Drafting Your Winning Team in 2023

7 min read
Get ready for the 2023 NFL and Fantasy Football Season with this guide on drafting a winning team. Learn strategies for each round and position!
Fantasy Football Draft Strategy - Targets and TDs Fantasy Football

Are you excited?! I am!! The 2023 NFL Season is just around the corner and that means we are almost back to the Fantasy Football Season! Which means we need to consider how to draft our fantasy football team. Plenty of variables play a part of each round decision. I want to share some insight that I have learned over the years of drafting and playing fantasy football that have worked well for me in winning fantasy football championships. Below, I breakdown the options in a 12-team redraft half point per reception fantasy football league draft that goes 16 rounds.  An initial overall method/question I like to answer when looking at players to pick and play in fantasy football are the following:

Ability – what is a players overall ability to play football at the highest level?

Availability – does this player stay healthy enough to be ready to play when their number is called?

Opportunity – how many chances during a game or season does this player get to show their skills?

Consistency – are the results from the player similar from game to game? Are there wild swings of extreme highs and lows? Most times I prefer the consistency!  In best ball and other particular leagues swinging for the highs later in drafts is a nice strategy.

Advantage/Upside – on top of the players consistency, do they have an advantage when they play?  Are they more likely to get Targets or Touchdowns? Maybe they are good for 8+ Targets in a game.  Would you bet on this player to win their game day matchup?

Matchup – is the player playing an easier or harder team this week.  An even deeper thought/question would be how does the player compare to the defensive player that they anticipate to see most within the game.

Remember, this is your team! Don’t hesitate to choose your guys as you go through the draft. Some years I need to remind myself of this! Also, take advantage of players that drop down the draft board. Keep in mind those players that you prefer to have make up your team. Let’s look at the draft strategy that I would consider through the various picks in a 12-team redraft half point per reception league of a 16 round snake draft.

First Half of the Fantasy Football Draft

The first half of your Fantasy Football Draft (Round 1 – Round 8) is where you want to secure your studs, early and often. I believe that your first 4 picks could lead you to the road to success. That being said, I think you would need to mess up at least 2 of those first 4 picks to truly not have a chance at a championship. I have had 1st round picks not play for the season and still made the fantasy playoffs that year. In some cases, I won the title still (with just 1 of my top 4 players not helping me). Although, if 2 of those first 4 go bad, then it gets very tougher to get to the end goal.

Through the first half of the Fantasy Football Draft (8 picks) I believe you will want to have: 2 RB’s, 3 WR’s, a TE and QB.   With QB’s, I have done well with waiting until Round 9 and beyond in years past.   Although, the more the running QB’s have success I think they set themselves apart more and more.  Try to get one that still has a rushing floor (within these first 8 picks) if it’s possible.  I believe in a 12-team league more times than not the last position you will want to fill (in these first 8 picks) is that TE spot.  Sure, you can get a stud early.  That guy better play like a WR (as Travis Kelce has for most of his career) or missing out on the RB’s and WR’s at that point will be costly.

Second Half of the Fantasy Football Draft

In the second half of your drafts (Round 9 – Round 16), you want to look at those players with opportunities. Who is a backup Running Back that could see opportunity because the starter hasn’t done it yet for a whole season?  The NFL as a whole is moving more towards Running Back’s by committee.  Who are the second and third string guys on depth charts to begin the season?  Could they climb quickly as injuries mount or if the starter isn’t able play for the whole 17-week season?

Feel free to be riskier in these later rounds. You may well be cutting anywhere from 2-6 of these players through the season depending on your teams need. I would advise to pick your Defense and Special Teams (D/ST) and Kickers in the final 3 rounds of your draft. Some will swear by waiting for the final 2 rounds for these spots. I have been fine in my experience allowing more wiggle room here at the end of drafts to get them a round earlier.

Picks #1 – #6

In this starting range of picks you are probably going to try to start your team out with a bell cow/highly used (especially in the passing game too!) running back.  These are becoming more rare by the year, so to get one is an advantage.  Whether it be Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Austin Ekeler, Bijan Robinson or Jonathan Taylor.  With the limited availability of premier Running Backs this year, I am not opposed to picking another Running Back in Round 2. 

Consider the available top Wide Receivers and Tight Ends available to you as well.  Certainly Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase at Wide Receiver are options mixed in with the batch of high end Running Back’s available with an early pick.  Again, I would imagine you want to be close to the following combination of players by the time you are complete with Round 8, 2 RB’s, 3 WR’s, 1 TE and maybe a QB. Waiting on TE and QB is fine (I have won that way) so you would just have that many more RB’s and WR’s through Round 8 if that was your preference.

Running Back is the most fragile position and doesn’t last nearly as long from use, injury and such. They are the position that I tend to stash a few more of than Wide Receiver, Tight End or Quarterbacks. Unless you feel confident in picking up Running Backs on the waiver wire, I would get a few more in the draft.

Picks #6 – #12

Starting your draft, with a pick in the middle through the 12th pick you are looking at any of the top 5 running backs that may have dropped to you initially. If that didn’t happen this seems to be the point in which you compare your favorite #1 receiver (Justin JeffersonJa’Marr ChaseCooper Kupp, Tyreek Hill or Stefon Diggs) to the next tier of running back (Josh Jacobs, Joe Mixon, Nick Chubb or Derrick Henry). 

Also, among the first 12 picks you have to consider the unicorn Travis Kelce at TE.  Sure he is aging but Tight End’s have had success late in their career.  There will drop off at some point but nobody knows when.  Any combination of these wide receivers, running backs and tight end would get you through Round 1 and start Round 2. Keep in mind the ability to get: 2 RB’s, 3 WR’s, 1 TE and a QB through Round 8. Look to secure the best available players as you go through each round.

Fantasy Football Draft Strategy Final Thoughts

I tend to see that early in the draft I select players that I am most high in confidence on.  I feel good about their consistency and hopefully they are on a team with a Top Offense.  Not until the mid-rounds of the draft do I find myself taking great players on some not so offensive teams.  There will be fantasy value to players on not so offensive teams. With that much lack of opportunity though, I do tend to shy away from them until mid-draft.

It makes game day decisions slightly easier knowing you are confident in your starters.  At the same time, if I notice a bench player getting the Targets, getting Touchdowns he makes it tougher to stay on the bench as the season goes. If you think a player is setup nicely this season for Targets and Touchdowns, then you know I would be interested in them!

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Targets and TDs Fantasy Football

Find players that will have: Ability – Availability – Opportunity – Consistency – Advantage/Upside – Matchup

If your players are on an offensive team that can get many Targets and Touchdowns, you know I would be interested in them! Statistics courtesy of The Football Database , a great resource for your NFL players statistics. If you enjoyed the article please share it with others (via the social media links).

Missed any recent posts?!, check them out below as you get your mind focused on fantasy football opportunities!

Enjoy the journey throughout the 2023 Fantasy Football Season

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