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Fantasy Football Draft Strategy 2023 | 10 Tips to Dominate

Fantasy Football Draft Strategy

Draft Strategy

Here is a list of practical fantasy football draft strategy points to consider when you do your draft. This advice has helped me dominate expert leagues and I am positive and confident that the advice I’m sharing will also help you dominate. Enjoy this list and make sure you apply these strategies and take action! Be sure to share with your friends, but not your league mates! To completely dominate your league make sure you get the 16 Rounds Draft Solution and crush it!

Here is the summary of the strategy but be sure to read on to get all the detail of each point

Fantasy Football Draft Strategy 2023

  • Load up on running backs
  • Know the league rules
  • Know the ADPs of players during the draft
  • Wait on Tight Ends
  • Anchor your team with an ace QB
  • Balance your roster
  • Always back yourself up with depth
  • Be picky and use the “CUDDY” System when drafting
  • Wait on Kickers and Defense
  • Stray away from the consensus rankings

Let’s dive into more detail to give you a competitive advantage this fantasy football 2023 season; also, for news around the league, head over to my #1 Fantasy Football Instagram page for up-to-date analysis in my Story Mode.

1. Load up on Running Backs!

So here’s the deal, you need to load up on running backs, and that’s the bottom line! This needs to be first on your priority when approaching your draft. You have to go into your fantasy football draft knowing who the running backs are that will get the volume and which guys are not in a minimal committee! Listen, more and more often, we see coaches implementing running backs by the committee, and getting that solid workhorse back is crucial to your success at winning your league. Note a workhorse running back should get at least 70% of the workload.

Here is a solid tip on drafting that solid RB. You must ensure that the RB has shown that he can handle a full workload and has seen him do it before. There will be rookies that come in every year that will fall under the workhorse title. Try to make sure you target one of them you feel will break out as early as you possibly can without reaching. I understand things change, but you need to know that he is primed for a year of high volume and carries.  Saquon Barkley is an excellent example of a running back who gets his share of the workload every year.

Every year this Robust RB strategy becomes more and more crucial as teams are stacking RBs on their roster and giving them equal timeshare. In Fantasy Football Drafts, the RB position is, without a doubt, the most scarce position. Load up and do it early on.

Now in later rounds, I do suggest you secure some rookies with major upside. I’ve had great success grabbing the NEXT big rookie breakouts when loading up on young talent. Later rounds are a good time to do this, but sometimes you may want to snipe a rookie RB in earlier rounds if you believe the upside and opportunity are there. Make sure you look at the depth chart and project volume and opportunity for any running back you decide to draft on your roster. In my 16 Rounds course, I release every year I give you my big sleepers and breakouts. My in-depth research gets rid of a lot of your guesswork!

2. Know the league rules

Yeah yeah, this may sound like common sense, but common sense is not so common anymore! You have to know your league rules. Some of the league rules and things you need to look at are as follows:

  • PPR, half-point, or Standard scoring
  • Weight of the scoring at each position
  • Roster positions. For example, is this a 2 Qb league? How many RBs do I need, and how many bench spots are there
  • Is this an 8, 10, 12, or 14-person league
  • When is the draft, and how much time do I have in between picks?
  • Snake draft or auction draft?

Understanding the league rules will play a massive part in the drafting process. A solid example of this is the number of quarterbacks in your league. As a rule of thumb, I always draft 2 QB in a single Qb league, and 3 Qb’s in a two quarterback league. I do this to cover myself and have depth. The point here is knowing the league rules, scoring system, and landscape. Again, this is critical to dominating your fantasy football league.

3. Know the ADPs (Average Draft Position)

I can relate drafting in fantasy football to chess. You must make a move and draft that player before someone else does. You need to anticipate when a player may be taken off the board. There are many similarities between the two and knowing your ADPs for the players in that given year is essential. The last thing you want to do is get the player you want to draft sniped by your fellow league mate! Make sure you don’t overreach, though.

Fantasy Football Strategy

Drafting is kind of like Chess

The secret to avoiding getting sniped and getting the players you really want is knowing when players are coming off the board on average. The majority of players just follow ADP and draft based on that. If you do that you will lose. You need to think outside the box and draft players with an upside before the ADP at times and get value in later positions.

Mock drafting is the best way to gauge when players are being drafted. You need to do a lot of fantasy football mock drafts. Once you anticipate you will elevate your drafting game. A lot of casual fantasy football players don’t have a clue of players that are being drafted after round 4. Doing a lot of mocks will put you light years ahead of the average gamer.  Be a wise player and a drafting genius; know the average draft positions, you will thank me when you get all the players you really wanted.

 

4. Wait on a Tight End

Waiting to draft the tight end position is something that I have done every year and have had solid success with. Typically there are about 1-3 tight ends from the year prior that put up excellent fantasy points. The tight ends are then put on a pedestal and drafted early in next year’s draft. (This happens with other positions as well but stick with me for this example). Tight ends are essential but NOT as important as different positions such as running back early on. The draft strategy that has worked for me is waiting on a tight end until after the 6th round gives or take. After I have grabbed a safe TE in rounds 6-7, I will get a TE with upside at round 10 or after. This way I have a TE that could potentially break out and a safe one in mid-rounds.

I find that there are only a few consistent tight ends each year. You are betting off waiting and grabbing a rookie TE mid to later rounds with the upside.

I am happy with about 10 points PPR out of my TE every game. I find this position very volatile and always end up waiting later and backing him up with an upside TE. Try it out; you will be surprised by the outcome. No matter what happens, you will be happy because you will be loaded at WR and RB after five rounds.

5. Anchor your team with an ACE QB

Always, Always, Always make sure you have a solid QB that puts up points every week! These guys tend to put up the most points every single year. Usually, 1-3 QBs are the TOP scoring player each year. The great news is that the trends of quarterbacks are easier to spot. Statistically, you can see how well a QB can perform every single year, and there is much less volatility.

As mentioned before, don’t be afraid to double up and get a backup QB. There are many reasons I always get two quarterbacks in a one QB league and 3 Qb in a 2 Qb league. The most apparent reason to back up your QB is that you want to cover that bye week. No better feeling than having two solid quarterbacks on your roster at all times. Another reason I make sure I have a backup is to cover injuries or just a lack of performance. I tend to draft QBs earlier to make sure I have a solid producer every single year. I typically draft a quarterback as early as the 5th round.

NOTE on drafting a QB: Sometimes rookies or second-year players have a breakout year and are inflated for the next draft year. BE VERY careful here, as they have not yet proven they can deliver year in and out. Some people fall into the trap of drafting them as early as rounds 1 and 2, and then they bust.  Secure and anchor yourself with a proven Qb and back him up with an upside QB later in the draft!

Jalen Hurts, Josh Allen, and Patrick Mahomes are solid ace QBs heading into 2023 fantasy football. Just be sure you don’t overpay.

6. Balance your roster and have tons of depth!

Balance Your Roster

So what do I mean by a balanced roster??  Let’s get more advanced, Counselor style!! It means several different things. Stick with me; once you understand this, you will think outside the box.

Firstly, balanced means you need to get a balance of players that have upside and players that have consistency and are safe. This balance will give your team boom potential. For example, in the first 1-4 rounds you really want the safer, more proven talent. (Side note: normally, we see RD 1-3 talent bust sometimes!) Bottom line is that you still want the elite talent that has been performing year in and out ideally. You want to aim for names that are proven and will get the volume. In mid to late rounds, you want to take some chances on the upside and rookies. Balance is key. Playing too safe or playing too risky can hurt your fantasy football team.

Secondly, in balance, I mean you need to ensure you have a good amount of depth to cover your positions. I have seen it time and time again where a player is hoarding too much of ONE position, and then he has no depth at another position. This is not a good fantasy football draft strategy at all. Make sure you have depth at all positions to accommodate for bye weeks, lack of performance, and injuries.

BALANCE IS POWER! 

7. Have a backup plan for a backup plan

I live by the belt, suspenders, and then the superglue theory. Meaning I always back myself up!

Imagine you’re in a draft, and all of the players you wanted in round 3 have been taken. You’ve done over 1000 Fantasy mock drafts, and you thought you had all your bases covered, but all the players you wanted are taken in that round. What do you do?  Simple, you have a backup plan for a backup plan. In my 16 Round draft solution video training, I discuss which players to draft in each round, and I always make sure I have a TON of options to choose from no matter where I am in the draft.

A quick heads-up tip here is that when in doubt and panic mode, draft the best available player for the position you MOST need to fill. So if you need an RB roster spot filled and you see a solid RB there, pick him up. If you have made a list of players you have to have based on your research, work down that list. Now you may be reaching in some rounds, and that’s ok. I find leagues are NOT won by players in the first 1-3 rounds. Late-round steals can sometimes be the league winners!

This goes back to loading up on an RB early on. You need backup RBs, and if you load up early on, you will have the depth to cover yourself.

Cover yourself and always have a backup plan!

8. Be REALLY picky and use the “CUDDY” System

 

Cuddy System

CUDDY System Works!

 

I created and trademarked a straightforward drafting system you can run through your head before you draft any player for your roster. It’s called the “CUDDY” system. It is very easy to remember, and I will tell you what it means and how to use it!

CUDDY stands for Consistency, Upside, Durability, Depth, and Youth. I make sure that any player on my team has at least a 3/5 letter of the Cuddy draft system met. Yes, I am picky, but you have to be to dominate your leagues! Let’s dive in a little deeper here:

Consistency, what do I mean? Simply put, the player ideally must up points year in and year out, week in and week out, and game in and game out. I am looking for a player that is super consistent and produces often and a lot.

Upside:  The player with the high ceiling and upside. I love the U in the CUDDY. The upside is what wins championships in fantasy football. The only problem here is that with upside comes with significant risk. This takes us back to the balanced roster. You need players with both risk and safety on your team.

Durability: This really speaks for itself. I rarely draft injury-prone players or players coming off an injury. I understand that injuries do happen, and sometimes they are a fluke, but I stray away from injury-prone players and always aim to land durable and consistent players whenever I can.

Depth:  A very critical part of the CUDDY system. I see many players drafting running backs that are backups and RB 2’s on the team. Most people draft these guys because they are well known or have a “name” I almost always tend to aim higher on the depth chart. I NEVER settle for someone who is or could be behind someone on the depth chart. I will even draft a player with less consistency that is WR one on their team over a guy that is better known and is a WR 2 on his team. Always aim for the TOP of the depth chart and get the big volume and target guys. Like anything in life, you have to be picky and never settle. Set your standards high all the time. This is your team and winning at fantasy football is what it’s all about.

Youth: Man, do I love the youth. There are pros and cons to drafting young talent. I tend to stay away from rookie wide receivers and quarterbacks. I tend to gravitate towards rookies Rb’s mainly. The pros are clear, and the rookies coming in are HUNGRY. They are hungry to succeed and hungry to leave their mark. The cons are that we don’t know what to expect, and we don’t know how they will adapt to the speed of the NFL. If I see a young rookie Rb landing on a team where he will get the volume, I am sure to grab him as my Rb 3-4 on my team after I have already secured my proven workhorse backs. I also love youth because you get potential breakout talent before anyone else spots it. This is especially important in keeper leagues.

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire) – Trevor Lawrence Fits the CUDDY system for the 2023 Fantasy Football

Implement the CUDDY and get the edge in your fantasy football draft. It works!

9. Don’t overpay for Defenses and Kickers.

I wait as long as possible to draft either a defense or a kicker. To be honest, most of the time, I end up streaming both positions. This is probably the ONLY time I draft based on ADP. I usually just look at the best possible defense and kicker I can get based on last year’s statistics. Based on my experience and data, kickers are more consistent than defense. The offseason moves on team defense, and special teams can be drastic. You will not be getting the same team you got the year before, for the most part.

That all being said, if I see 2 or 3 defenses coming off the board in later rounds, I may be tempted to grab a top 5 defense based on last year. This is not a deal-breaker. I find most leagues are getting away from defense and kickers altogether. I find the volatility to be a pain at times.

On a side note, IDP player leagues are not something that interests me. I have played in leagues with these individual defensive players, and I found it annoying. You spend all this time drafting your team, and then suddenly, the CB on your opponent’s team has the game of their lives. IDP players can be highly volatile and boom or busty. I stay away from these leagues as they really rely on luck.

10. Stray away from the Consensus rankings!

If you follow the herd, you will not win, bottom line. BE THE LION AND NOT A SHEEP! Avoid what I call the Consheepsus rankings.

Fantasy Football Consensus Rankings

Stray away from the mainstream consensus rankings

Every year the mainstream sheep analysts bring out the lists of rankings and tell you this is the ADP.  This makes me laugh because it’s literally last year’s top finishers, copied and pasted to this year. This lack of thinking was what propelled me to create my brand and offer people better advice that works. I know why the sheep do this, though. They copy and paste fantasy football rankings because it’s easy and they play it safe. They don’t want to look bad but reach on unproven players or players that underperformed the year before. The funny thing about all this is that they are terribly wrong every single year.

There is so much more to creating the current fantasy football rankings for the year. You can’t just copy and paste. You have to look at coaching changes, injuries, depth charts, draft results, and so much more. The problem with the mainstream is that the sheep analysts always tell you to go with the popular players or the players that did really well last year. This advice is very safe and you don’t win your league with safe advice.

The ADP is just a guideline. Don’t be afraid to stray away from the mainstream and think outside the box. Sometimes you may be reaching on players and taking some risks. People in the draft will laugh at the moment, but at the end of the year, you will have the last laugh!

BE A FANTASY FOOTBALL LION!

Go out there and crush your leagues.

Now you have a solid fantasy football draft strategy to help you win your league. Here are some additional tips to help you get the edge. I am all about giving you as many tools in your utility belt as I possibly can. Bonus tips include:

  • Have no fear and take some risks with some players
  • Be confident
  • Show up to your draft sober and focused
  • Stay on top of the latest news
  • Stay on top of the latest injuries
  • You can get some solid breakout wide receivers and league winners later in the draft
  • Watch the NFL draft. You need to be aware of the rookies coming in and how it affects the offense

Also, make sure you are subscribed to my #1 fantasy football podcast as we go year-round! Make sure you check out the Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet as well!

Joseph Robert
Joseph Robert
Joseph Robert's outside of the box, LION mentality has created the strongest and most loyal fan base in the fantasy football industry! @fantasyfootballcounselor