Fantasy football draft season is upon us, and with it comes the quest to assemble a championship-caliber team. Drafting from the first spot in a 12-team half-point-per-reception (PPR) league can be both exciting and challenging. With the right draft strategy, you can set yourself up for success from the very first pick. In this article, we will guide you through the best fantasy football draft strategy for each pick in 15 rounds, ensuring you build a competitive team capable of dominating your league.
Round 1: A Stud RB
RB's go early and often the first few rounds so it is crucial to snag the guy you're going to build your team around. This year's top options are McCaffrey, Ekeler, Taylor, and Chubb. While important, don't sweat this pick. Draft the RB that is highest on your board and be confident you more than likely got a weekly contributor to carry your team.
Pick: Christian McCaffrey
Round 2: A Stud WR
The RB pool should have taken a heavy hit by this point and it's time to capitalize on the top end receiving talent. Don't freak out and worry about your RB 2 yet. You already have your top RB prospect in the draft, so let's build on that advantage. I'm looking for safe and young players that should see plenty of work in their respective offenses. Players available around here will be St. Brown, Waddle, and Higgins.
Pick: Amon Ra St. Brown
Round 3: WR 2 or Top Tier TE
If having one of the top TE's this year is important to you, you have to draft them here or else you won't have one. Kelce will be gone but Andrews may still be on the board as well as Hockenson and Kittle. We have another long wait coming, so I’m more inclined to get my WR 2 or RB 2 before the pools see a serious hit in upside.
Pick: Jaylen Waddle
Round 4-5: RB Bulk
Avoid mid-tier TE’s like the plague. With our two top WR’s being solid and a deep WR pool, I’m going to bulk up my RB room with high upside players. There should be a few guys left before the massive drop off to mainly bench RBs. ADP suggests guys like White, Mixon, Swift, and Pacheco will still be on the board. Use both your 4th and 5th picks to round off your RB room.
Picks: Rachaad White & D’Andre Swift
Round 6: Consistent WR 3
At this point we have our starting RBs and two top tier WRs. The best WR 3 you could get at this point is a player who is consistent and isn’t going to screw you and end up losing you a week (Gabe Davis is punching the air right now). Some available options should be Evans, Pittman Jr., Kirk, and Godwin.
Pick: Michael Pittman Jr.
Round 7: Swing for the Fences at RB or WR
ADP be damned, at this point you’re taking your shot for fantasy glory! You have your top 3 at both of the most important positions in fantasy football by this point. This is the player that if they hit, they help propel you to a league championship. This may be a player who slipped in ADP because of a trade, injury, or just plain coming off a bad season. These types of players could be Kamara, Toney, Sutton, or Foreman/Herbert.
Pick: Kadarius Toney
Round 8: Time for QB
The signal callers available here should be a mix of Tua, Geno, Rodgers, and Cousins. This right here is why you wait. It’s stack time. By choosing to pass on TE and getting a high-end receiver, we are now able to pair our QB with our receiver for a player stack!
Pick: Tua Tagovailoa
Round 9: TE or Opposite Position from Rd 7 Pick
If you want to completely punt TE at this point and draft them super late, I don’t blame you at all. Njoku is tied to a good QB and Shultz could easily be a target hog in a Houston offense lacking play makers. If you don’t want one of them, then draft the position from round 7 that you didn’t pick. These players could be Foreman, Mitchell (handcuff), JuJu, or Thielen. I think the 9th round is too early to start worrying about handcuffs but if you are really concerned about your top pick, then you can invest here.
Pick: Dalton Schultz
Round 10-14: RB and WR Center
At this point, it’s time to start stock piling depth. If you haven’t drafted a TE yet, then you can draft one in this section as they are all pretty much the same. This area is where you should draft on a players opportunity share. There are a lot of talented guys, but if you don’t get the ball then what’s the point? I wouldn’t recommend getting a QB 2 unless you are unsure about your starter. You can pick up the best available QB on your bye week instead of rostering one all season to sit on your bench when it could be used for an upside player who you could either play or trade.
Picks: Samaje Perine, Zay Flowers, Romeo Doubs, James Robinson
Round 15: It’s Kicker Time
Even in a perfect world where every team waits until the final two rounds to draft a K and Def, you aren’t getting the best of either. That’s ok. Both of these positions are extremely stream able and should be streamed according to circumstance. I lean taking a K first as weather is the main thing that turns me off from a kicker. A good defense match up could mean more FG opportunities, so it balances out. I don’t care if I have the best defense in fantasy, I’m not playing them against Mahomes or any top tier talented offense. If you stream whichever defense plays Arizona each week this season, I guarantee you will have more points than whatever the top scoring DST team gets. Shoot for Kickers who play in domes. Otherwise, just get the kicker linked to the best offense available.
Pick: Jason Myers
Round 16: Draft your Week 1 DST
You’re going to stream defense all year, and you can because you’ll have time since the rest of your team is solid. Look at the Week 1 schedule and pick which teams are playing offenses that should be bad due to either a rookie QB or lack of play making options. The top options will be gone but you can get a team like the Commanders who have a good defense and are playing the Cardinals offense with their QB coming off a torn ACL and an offense in general disarray.
Pick: Washington Commanders
Congrats, you have a team ready to compete for a championship!
1:01 Christian McCaffrey
2:12 Amon Ra St. Brown
3:01 Jaylen Waddle
4:12 Rachaad White
5:01 D'Andre Swift
6:12 Michael Pittman Jr.
7:01 Kadarius Toney
8:12 Tua Tagovailoa
9:01 Dalton Schultz
10:12 Samaje Perine
11:01 Zay Flowers
12:12 Romeo Doubs
13:01 James Robinson
14:12 Jason Myers
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