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Best Fantasy Football Draft Strategy For 2023

By Jared Smola 4:15pm EST 1/31/23

Draft Sharks Best Fantasy Football Strategy – The Draft 

Here are our three pillars for winning your draft ...

1. Pursue Value Above All Else

Most fantasy football owners inherently understand value-based drafting.

Think about it.

Value-based drafting explains why only some managers take QBs in the 1st round of a 1-QB league. Even though QBs represent the highest-scoring position. 

The value doesn’t line up:

The production doesn’t fall off as sharply from QB1 to QB12 as from RB1 to RB24 (assuming you start two RBs in your league). So you know you can wait on a starting QB.

Taking stud RBs or WRs with your first few picks makes the most sense. But after that, things can get tricky … 

How Value Should Determines Your Draft Strategy

Value can unlock the season’s difference-making players. That will be your best fantasy football strategy.

Here’s an example for you:

It’s easy to point to Josh Jacobs in 2022 as a league-winning pick. But what made him so?

It’s a two-part answer:

  1. Obviously, how many points he scored factors in. 
  2. But you also have to consider where you were able to draft him. 

That’s how you decide on TRUE player value. 

Think back to last summer:

No one projected Josh Jacobs as the potential top fantasy RB. 

You could draft him as a reserve – and much later than the top two tiers of RBs.

That’s how getting “value” will turn your draft into a championship team! 

And drafting for value is your best fantasy football strategy to kick off a championship season.

Sniffing out value like a (Draft) Shark! 

“Value” doesn’t mean taking the highest potential scorer at each turn. 

It doesn’t mean you should ignore which positions you have already filled. 

And it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to wait on that QB.

Actual draft value means accounting for all of these factors (and more, as we’re about to discuss) as you draft. 

With the idea of value at the forefront, here are some other cornerstones of the Draft Sharks fantasy football draft strategy.


Flexibility is crucial to your fantasy football draft strategy. No two drafts are the same; practice can only help so much. The Draft War Room uses 17 value indicators to identify the best values at each pick in your draft. If multiple team owners in your league use one strategy, the league-winning values differ from your pre-draft plan. You need to know when its time to zig when everyone else is zagging. Our Draft War Room uses 17 value indicators to identify the best values at each draft pick.

Pursuing value means staying flexible as you draft

When your opponents present you with value, be ready to pounce …

ZeroRB. HeroRB. Early QB. Bully TE.

You’ll hear other fantasy sites touting these specific draft strategies as the only way to win. It’s BS.

The truth is that you can win with any draft strategy. (So long as you’re focused on drafting for value). 

It all depends on the perceived player values in any given preseason – and the draft:

a) Perceived Preseason Player Value

The positions at which you allocate your early- and later-round picks will vary yearly. Depending primarily on where the pockets of value are at each position. It might make sense to target an elite RB for one season. The following year might present early WR/TE picks as the optimal path before you hammer later-round RBs.

b) The Draft

Every draft is different. If you find yourself in a league that loves snatching up WRs early, grabbing the falling RB will give you more of an advantage. Play in a league that loves waiting on QBs? Capitalize by grabbing an elite QB past his ADP. That’s the winning essence of drafting for value!

The key to a successful fantasy football strategy is a willingness and ability to stay flexible during your draft … so you can pounce on value.

Learn more about our ultimate value system DMVP

2. Don’t Draft From Rankings That Look Like Everyone Else’s

The worst fantasy football strategy starts by drafting like everyone else in your league.

Don’t clip your wings and make it impossible to gain an edge.

If your rankings look the same as the rest of your league, you tell everyone, “I’m just gonna be luckier than you.” 

If you want to be lucky, buy a lottery ticket. 

Luck should not be your strategy going into your fantasy draft.

How you can break from the herd

First, start with unique rankings to differentiate yourself from the herd. But it doesn’t end with your player rankings.

It’s about recognizing your situation and getting different in ways that can help you most.

That can be as simple as adjusting to league settings where your league mates fail to.

Ask yourself these crucial questions:

  • Do I have funky scoring at a specific position or two? 
  • Are my competitors overrating the impact of 6-point passing TDs on where you should target a QB?
  • Am I playing in an IDP league with 11 other people who ignore that area outside of draft day?

Or it could be any number of different circumstances.

Your chance of winning all ties back into value.

We’re not just talking about value in specific players.

There’s also value in finding the soft spots – in the format, the competition, even draft flow – and attacking.

Want more data when you are drafting? Check out our award-winning 3D Projections

3. Chase Upside Players In The Later Rounds

“If you ain’t first, you’re last.” - Ricky Bobby 

Here at Draft Sharks, we spend each offseason breaking down the fantasy outlook for every single relevant player:

  • Highlighting undervalued players
  • Warning you away from overvalued players
  • Identifying sleepers

It’s all essential.

But fantasy seasons often hinge on nailing the few true later-round league winners.

Think Josh Jacobs, Jamaal Williams, Zay Jones, and Evan Engram in 2022. James Conner, Leonard Fournette, Hunter Renfrow, and Darnell Mooney in 2021.

These guys scored so many fantasy points, especially relative to where they were drafted that you HAD to have ‘em to win.

In most cases, you should have this league-winning upside in mind with every pick you make

Of course, we can’t know who the league winners will be before each season. But we can pinpoint the players more likely to be league winners than others at similar ADPs.

We identify them by looking at their prior performance, supporting cast, coaching tendencies, etc.

When you’re on the clock and deciding between two or more players, always ask yourself:

“Which of these guys is more likely to be the league-winning, had-to-have player?”

Then take that guy.


What do Justin Jefferson, Brandon Aiyuk, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Christian Watson have in common? They broke out late in their rookie seasons. Be patient on rookies with high draft capital or watch for them on the waiver wire.

Let's Build a League-Winning Roster Together

We just covered our three pillars for a successful fantasy football strategy, and now we want to highlight how you can take them to the next level.

Draft War Room: The Sharpest Drafting Tool Ever Made

Sync your league to get a powerful, dynamic draft board with rankings and built-in strategy custom-fitting to your league format.

As you draft, 17 crucial indicators work behind the scenes to give you the optimal pick recommendation at every turn.

That’s hundreds of real-time calculations to deliver a Dynamic Most Valuable Player (DMVP) rating for every draftable player.

Learn more about how our Draft War Room tool can help you win your league.

3D Projections: True Dimension of Every Player's Potential

You’ll get deadly accurate projections from proven winners -- plus floor, ceiling, and consensus projections.

Accurate projections are a crucial first step in any draft tool. But that is still just one data point per player.

With 3D projections, we give you 3 more crucial data points:

  • A consensus projection from 38 other sites.
  • A floor projection for each player.
  • Plus a player’s ceiling, along with the likelihood he’ll hit that ceiling

Learn more about our 3D projections »

Advice that’s Actionable on Draft Day

These articles dig deep to explain how you should attack the specifics of this season ...

Breakout Player

This is the guy who could drive your fantasy season by dramatically outperforming his draft position.

Comeback Player

Who’s set to rebound from a down year and return big fantasy value? You’ll be first to know.

Early-Round Bust

Don’t ruin your fantasy season by blowing your early pick. We’ll call out a big-name player set to disappoint fantasy owners.

The Perfect Draft Strategy

This round-by-round draft strategy guide will walk you through the positions and individual players to target in every round of your draft.

Draft Sharks Injury Predictor

Sick of three starters going on IR by midseason? Get the scientific predictions NFL teams use.

Our proprietary algorithm looks at historical injury data, a player’s own injury history, and his expected workload to determine his likelihood of missing time this season.

The result: You can avoid early-draft landmines and find those sleeper handcuff types behind risky starters.

See the Injury Predictor in action »

Dominate your Fantasy League with
the Ultimate Tool Stack
In the heat of a draft, you want as much intel as possible. The key is integrating that into one simple, powerful tool.
Dominate your Fantasy League with
the Ultimate Tool Stack
In the heat of a draft, you want as much intel as possible. The key is integrating that into one simple, powerful tool.
3D Projections

3D Projections

3D Projections: True Dimension of Every Player’s Potential

Based on our award-winning projections, an axis of data points give insights far deeper than a ranking

View Our Accuracy Awards View Our Accuracy Awards »

Advice Draft Strategy

Advice That’s Actionable on Draft Day

Round-by-Round Draft Strategy Guides, Sleepers, Undervalued Players, Busts and Handcuffs

3D Projections

Draft War Room

Draft War Room: Intel Turned Into Killer Picks

Command your entire draft with a dynamic tool synced to your league. Updating and adapting in real time.

3D Projections

Keep Dominating Throughout The Season

Quickly find the free-agent gems, pull the trigger on the perfect trade & make the right start/sit decisions.

Keep Dominating
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