Chris Dell is currently the sports editor and fantasy football columnist at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, as well as the lead fantasy analyst for ESPN 97.5's "Late Hits." He's also a former sports writer and editor for The New York Times, New York Daily News and Yahoo Sports, among other publications These specific rankings below are based on 1/2 PPR, but they can be adjusted to Standard, Superflex, and PPR as well.
Fantasy football draft strategy
The NFL preseason has offically kicked off, and the Ravens are undefeated. Daily padded practices are well underway, and "training camp buzz" has reached completely unwarranted new heights.
This can mean one thing, and one thing only:
FANTASY FOOTBALL SEASON IS F&%*#@! HERE
Excuse my filtered french, but its officially Christmas come early for us fantasy diehards and dedicated managers across the globe. Drafts are rapidly approaching, and whether you're playing with friends and family or in a competitive office or high-stakes league, we at the Betting Predators are here to make sure you're fully equipped for every scenario possible. My season-long rankings and draft tiers below can be sorted by league scoring format (half-ppr, superflex, standard and ppr), and by position. And I make updates based on injuries and depth chart changes, you'll see them updated live here, right on this article.
Fantasy rankings aren't everything
Rankings aren't everything, and fantasy projections can often be vastly overrated when preparing for your drafts. But they can also be a very helpful guide to outsmarting your opponents, who will often reach too early for "their guys" and let other "unsexy" players slip way too far past their ADP (average draft position).
Drafting for ADP isn't everything
But it's also a good start in maximizing the value of every player you draft, in every round along the way. By using our draft rankings and tiers below, and comparing them to both the current ADP market of each player and each player's ECR (expert consensus rank), you'll get a good idea on which players you can pounce on multiple picks early - and not multiple rounds early. Draft for value, but know that it's not a hard-and-fast rule. You still want to draft the guys you like, and get great prices on them along the way.
Fantasy draft tiers are CRUCIAL
Lastly, this is where my FANTASY DRAFT TIERS can come in handy more than anything.
Taking advantage of player ADP is one thing, as is using draft rankings. But the most important thing to realize in your draft is that the difference between RB11 and RB19 - or the difference between WR17 and WR33 - can often be extremely miniscule. Year-long projections can often be less than five points different across a full 17-game season when comparing TE7 to TE20, meaning that it really doesn't matter who I have ranked in order between those two rankings. Fantasy draft TIERS helps to solve that issue. My tiers below will show you what "group" of players separate from other groups of players.
Missed out on TE8 Kyle Pitts and worried you can't draft a top-tier tight end? Well, according to my 2023 TE Tiers, you can actually get better draft value by waiting to draft tight ends with similar season-long fantasy projections as Pitts: Dallas Goedert, Greg Dulcich, David Njoku, Sam LaPorta, Dalton Schultz, Chig Okonkwo and Dalton Kincaid. The ceiling outcomes between these eight different tight ends isn't all that significant at the end of the day, and knowing how to sift between each position's tier can often save you multiple rounds of CLOSING LINE ADP VALUE by the end of your drafts. At the end of the day, there's no clear-cut strategy or science to "OPTIMIZING" your draft - anyone who says there is straight fantasy capping (yes, I said capping in a fantasy article - it really is 2023, you can smell it in the air).
So, withour further ado, let's dive into the first edition of my 2023 Fantasy Football Season-Long Rankings and Draft Tiers. I cut this list down to 200 on the main list below, but you can wind up searching 500+ players by toggling through each position. Overall, I was able to realisitically rank each of the following positions for this season:
- 100 quarterbacks
- 125 running backs
- 175 wide receivers
- 100 tight ends
- 32 defenses
- 32 kickers
In case you missed it, I'm also publishing a weekly fantasy football column at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where I recently joined their awesome team as the new sports editor. You can read my first article, "The 10 commandments of fantasy football" as well as my thoughts on some of my favorite fantasy quarterbacks and running backs this year. Much more to come here, including my favorites tight ends, sleepers, busts and top 12 picks - but in the meantime, BOL and happy drafting to all!
Note: "ECR" stands for Expert Consensus Rankings, which is the average of all analyst rankings throughout the fantasy football industry. The "Vs. ECR" category on the right will show you how far off / different that Chris' rankings are from consensus.
SEASON-LONG FANTASY RANKINGS & DRAFT TIERS ARE UPDATED DAILY AT 12 A.M. EST
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