How to draft the perfect roster this season

Today’s assignment is debating how to build the perfect fantasy football roster. Dalton Del Don and Jorge Martin make their respective cases for what the path to draft perfection looks like this season.

Dalton’s case for being all RB and WR until late

As long as it’s not a Superflex league, I’m using my first eight to nine picks on running backs and receivers. This strategy usually includes starting with one of the big four wide receivers (I also like Garrett Wilson and Amon-Ra St. Brown slightly more than consensus) and then grabbing Tony Pollard in Round 2.

My favorite running back targets this year (Jahmyr Gibbs, Breece Hall and J.K. Dobbins) are all available rounds 3-5. All three of those backs possess the upside to be first-round fantasy picks in 2024.

My mid-round wide receiver targets include Calvin Ridley, Brandon Aiyuk, Diontae Johnson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, among many other intriguing options in that area of the draft.

After loading up on WR/RB – I usually aim for 5-6 WRs and 2-3 RBs – it’s time to address quarterback. Being (among) the last to draft a QB, I like to be the first to take my backup, so I’m grabbing two of Tua Tagovailoa, Daniel Jones, Anthony Richardson and/or Geno Smith (you could also wait a few more rounds and grab Brock Purdy as your QB2).

I’ll then double-tap tight end, typically drafting Tyler Higbee, Chigoziem Okonkwo, Sam LaPorta and/or Dalton Kincaid in rounds 12-13 (with plenty of other alternatives available even later). And then use those final five picks on your kicker, your defense and your backup running backs — who offer far more fantasy upside than (non-rookie) wide receivers at this stage of the draft. Boom. Championship.

Jorge’s case for an elite QB having to be part of 2023 draft strategy

If I’m coming away from a draft feeling like I executed the perfect strategy, I have to feel really good about the quarterback position. While I would like the elite three of Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts or Josh Allen, I would expand it to the next five. For the purposes of this exercise, I’m going to focus on one player: Justin Herbert.

But first I’m going to employ a Hero or Anchor RB approach, preferably hitting wide receiver with the first two selections because I want elite players with those picks. Something like Tyreek Hill (Yahoo ADP: 7.7) and Garrett Wilson (21.8) would be a phenomenal start to a draft.

As I mentioned on my guest appearance with Matt Harmon on the “Yahoo Fantasy Football Show,” Najee Harris is my guy this year. I want an anchor who is going to touch the ball 300-plus times, and this season he is healthy, and running behind an improved offensive line.

In the fourth round I’m back to hunting wide receivers, and there are players like Calvin Ridley or Keenan Allen whom I’d be targeting with my pick. Then I would focus Herbert, who is going in the fifth round of 12-team drafts with an ADP of 54.0.

Why Herbert? Well, there are four active quarterbacks who have surpassed 5,000 yards passing in a season. Herbert is one of them, and has a shot to equal Mahomes’ production while going almost 40 picks after the Super Bowl MVP.

After that, I want as much running back and wide receiver depth as I can get, targeting tight end around pick 97 with David Njoku. Later I’d look for a second tight end like Gerald Everett to pair with Herbert. In the double-digit rounds, give me rookies with upside so I can get this year’s Isiah Pacheco or Tyler Allgeier. Or Garrett Wilson, who went pick 134 last season.

One reason I want a top-tier quarterback is I don’t plan to take up roster space with a backup. This way I get another lottery ticket who might help in the stretch run like 2021 Amon-Ra St. Brown.

Once the draft is complete, it’s just counting down victories and the days to around New Year’s when I can claim my title.

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