6 min read

2023 Fantasy Football Strategy Based on Draft Slot

Often, the most instructive way to learn about proper roster construction is to see viable fantasy football teams. Here, you’ll see a sample fantasy football roster for every single draft slot, along with tips on how to round out the team in the later rounds.

This article contains very few player takes. More so, it’s designed to help you see how to balance position groups with a variety of builds across every possible Round 1 pick position.

If you want a free, color-coded, downloadable PDF cheat sheet to bring to your fantasy draft, we have you covered.

For this article, assume a half-PPR or full-PPR 12-team league. Red=QB, Blue=RB, Green=WR, Black=TE

Early Pick (1-4)

Round Pick 1 Pick 2 Pick 3 Pick 4
Round 1 Justin Jefferson Christian McCaffrey Ja’Marr Chase Austin Ekeler
Round 2 DeVonta Smith Chris Olave Joe Mixon Jaylen Waddle
Round 3 Jalen Hurts Tee Higgins Mark Andrews Tee Higgins
Round 4 Dameon Pierce Christian Watson Joe Burrow Kenneth Walker
Round 5 T.J. Hockenson Justin Herbert DeAndre Hopkins Breece Hall
Round 6 David Montgomery Darren Waller Rachaad White Mike Williams
Round 7 Jerry Jeudy Alvin Kamara Jahan Dotson Dallas Goedert
Round 8 Jaxon Smith-Njigba Zay Flowers Treylon Burks Deshaun Watson

Pick 1 — This team has strength at receiver with the two early picks, so a flier on the injured Jerry Jeudy and rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba round out the receiving core. One, possibly two, more receivers can be taken in the later rounds. This team doesn’t need to draft another quarterback or tight end.

This team should take four to six more shots at running back to build depth. A player with standalone value like Jamaal Williams could be taken in Round 9, followed by a slew of backup running backs.

Pick 2 — This team should prioritize running backs later in the draft. One or two more receivers can be added here if needed. No other quarterback or tight end needs to be selected. There are already top-five options for each position on this roster in Justin Herbert and Darren Waller.

Pick 3 — This team is betting on a big offensive season for the Cincinnati Bengals, with three players from that team on this fantasy roster. The receiver room only has one headliner here, so targeting young upside receivers such as Skyy Moore and Rashod Bateman should be prioritized.

Round 2 rookies like Marvin Mims and Jonathan Mingo should also be considered. One to three receivers can join this team. While the two starting running backs are locked in, at least three more picks at the position should be made.

Pick 4 — One more receiver should be prioritized to ensure there are at least four options to consider during the season. The running back room should add one to three backups in the draft's final rounds, but in Rounds 9-12, the focus can be on finding another option at quarterback and tight end.

A more stable late-round passer like Kirk Cousins could be selected, or drafters could prioritize other, slightly more volatile quarterbacks from a great offense, like Geno Smith or Tua Tagovailoa. At tight end, Dalton Kincaid or Tyler Higbee (in PPR formats) could be considered later because Dallas Goedert isn’t quite at plug-and-play levels yet for fantasy football.

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Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce

Middle Pick (5-8)

Round Pick 5 Pick 6 Pick 7 Pick 8
Round 1 Travis Kelce Tyreek Hill Cooper Kupp Bijan Robinson
Round 2 Garrett Wilson Davante Adams Jaylen Waddle A.J. Brown
Round 3 Tee Higgins Jahmyr Gibbs Mark Andrews Najee Harris
Round 4 Justin Fields DJ Moore Dameon Pierce Deebo Samuel
Round 5 Brandon Aiyuk Justin Herbert Drake London T.J. Hockenson
Round 6 David Montgomery Rachaad White Trevor Lawrence Christian Kirk
Round 7 Jerry Jeudy Marquise Brown D’Andre Swift Mike Evans
Round 8 Khalil Herbert Evan Engram Courtland Sutton Antonio Gibson

Pick 5 — This team can focus on running back depth for the remainder of the draft. One more receiver can be taken, but there isn’t much need at quarterback or tight end. If Justin Fields concerns you and you want to take another middle-round guy to pair with him, don’t take Fields. If you’re taking him in Round 4 near his ADP, you should assume he produces a great fantasy season. Never bet against your early-round picks with your late-round picks.

Pick 6 — Another tight end can be selected late here if Evan Engram is crowded out for targets in Jacksonville. Most of the remainder of this draft should be stabs at the running back position. One more receiver should be selected here. Herbert should be this team’s only quarterback.

Pick 7 — Running back should be prioritized, and another young receiver (a rookie or second-year player) can be added.

Pick 8 — Two picks from the Daniel Jones, Tagovailoa, Smith and Cousins tier should be taken. Smith and Cousins pair well together through the first couple of months of the season based on alternating easy and hard matchups.

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) carries the ball for a first down in the third quarter during an NFL Week 8 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Monday, Oct. 31, 2022, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.<br />Nfl Cincinnati Bengals At Cleveland Browns Oct 31 0025
Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb

Late Pick (9-12)

Round Pick 9 Pick 10 Pick 11 Pick 12
Round 1 Nick Chubb Saquon Barkley Tony Pollard Stefon Diggs
Round 2 Garrett Wilson Amon-Ra St. Brown Derrick Henry CeeDee Lamb
Round 3 Josh Allen DK Metcalf Calvin Ridley Travis Etienne
Round 4 Breece Hall Lamar Jackson Amari Cooper Keenan Allen
Round 5 Chris Godwin Diontae Johnson Darren Waller Terry McLaurin
Round 6 James Cook Alvin Kamara Mike Williams Javonte Williams
Round 7 Gabe Davis Dalvin Cook George Pickens Jordan Addison
Round 8 Brian Robinson Zay Flowers Jaxon Smith-Njigba Pat Freiermuth

Pick 9 — Two or three tight end lottery tickets should be selected. Two more running backs and two more receivers round out this build through 15 rounds.

Pick 10 — Follow the Pick 9 advice above for this team, too.

Pick 11 — Refer to Pick 8 for quarterback strategy. Three to four backup running backs should be taken in the final rounds.

Pick 12 — This team is set at receiver. Two later-round quarterbacks can be selected. Another tight end can be taken, too. The remaining picks should go toward filling out the running back room.

We recommend checking out the Fantasy Football Game Plan, another quick strategy read for how to attack your fantasy drafts.

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