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Fantasy Football Expert Draft Analysis 2023

Last Updated: Aug 9, 2023

Below you’ll find my fantasy football insights for the Scott Fish Bowl (SFB13) and Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association (FSGA) drafts. No two drafts are the same, and within this article, I’ll dive into my fantasy football draft strategies for each league.

FSGA Draft Analysis

As the preseason moves on, I am participating in expert or high-profile real and mock drafts nearly every week. Doing so gives me opportunities to share results and trends that can help you significantly with your own upcoming drafts.

Recently, I participated in the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association’s American Division league draft. Many of these drafts have unique format twists, and the FSGA chose to make this a 14-team field, so the player pool gets further stretched out while I am competing with some established and formidable fantasy football industry analysts.

For review purposes, you will see more names to consider overall and a more distinctive draft flow that demonstrates how every draft is different. While some player news may have changed outlooks slightly since the draft date in late July, there is still a strong feel for how different analysts value players and how player pick trends might play out.

FSGA Draft Results

FSGA Draft Recap

Early Race For The Best Wide Receivers

The top 10 wide receivers were drafted in the first 18 picks, which is in line with the most recent Average Draft Position Reports via FantasyPros for Points Per Reception leagues, where the top 10 WRs are taken in the first 21 picks.

Three teams elected to take WRs in each of the first two rounds, and two employed a full-on Zero RB draft strategy approach, waiting until after the fourth round to land a No. 1 running back. Personally, I could not pass on Bijan Robinson in the first round, but when it came around to my second pick, Amon-Ra St. Brown was still available and represented the end of the top-10 WR run.

I was simply not going to chance a long wait until the third pick and have a WR outside the top 15 as my anchor player at the position.

Surprise, Surprise

As I noted in my Scott Fish Bowl draft review, even in a league full of professional analysts and high-profile fantasy companies, someone will often make an unpredictable pick. Never spend too much time trying to forecast what will happen ahead of you — just be ready for anything and go with the flow.

When Travis Kelce went off the board at the sixth pick, the TrophySmack team decided it did not want to follow conventional approaches and pushed Mark Andrews into the first round, wanting to get the second-best tight end if the first one was not available.

While it’s not a move that most drafters would make, when they landed Lamar Jackson in the second round, a clear goal to obtain a top tight end/quarterback stack was achieved.

The picks were naturally questioned and were obviously unusual, but the main takeaway is that every draft has its unpredictable moments, even the ones involving those in the industry.

Have a loose pre-draft plan, but be ready for various scenarios in every round and you will come upon some pleasant surprises. Moreover, you may not get “sniped” as often.

Some Experts Still Wait on QBs

Preseason ADPs have consistently indicated that the top three QBs (Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts) are being drafted in the first 24 picks and the top seven are off the board in the first 45 or so. But as is past tradition, some of the fantasy analysts waited longer to nab their No. 1 QBs.

Three QBs were taken in the first 29 picks, and seven in the top 38, which did fall in line with ADP trends. However, six of the drafters took their QB1 after the fifth round, and five tabbed the starter in the eighth round or later.

Good values can be landed if you choose to wait on a QB in some drafts. Tua Tagovailoa and Daniel Jones were drafted in the ninth round here, and Anthony Richardson and Geno Smith, even though taken as a QB2, went off the board in the 11th round.

The pace when QBs are picked can be much different in your own draft, yet the key to note here is that if a top-seven or so QB is not ideally landed, there will still be viable starters available later on.

The QB position is still deep with about 15 quality starters or so, even if there is a drop-off after the top three, plus Justin Fields, Jackson, Joe Burrow, and Justin Herbert.

Gems In A Large Field

Reviewing a 14-team, 16-round expert draft can reveal a deeper amount of sleeper and value plays to consider. Some later picks I liked were Tyler Higbee (possible No. 2 pass-catcher for the Rams), Jordan Love (no competition for a starting job, mobile, and can throw deep), and Mecole Hardman (may emerge as the second-best fantasy WR for the Jets).

Mike Gesicki was my 13th-round pick. He was misused in Miami and now goes to a team that has traditionally tried to feature tight ends. Kyler Murray is a great late pick I have landed in my last two drafts, as he still has QB1 promise for later in the season.

FSGA Draft Strategies

Secondary Stacking

In high-stakes and highly competitive leagues, some fantasy football players like to aim for an elite stacking connection, such as Mahomes/Kelce or Allen/Stefon Diggs if possible. However, stacks in the later rounds can also emerge.

While I did not plan for it, when the opportunity arose to stack the New York Giants’ QB and top pass-catcher was there, I took it. Darren Waller was my fifth-round pick, and when Jones was still available in the ninth round, I confirmed the connection.

Jones to Waller, of course, isn’t a glamour stack, but Jones was a top-10 fantasy QB last year in overall points and points per game, and Waller will be his clear top target.

In other drafts, I did consider similar secondary stacks such as Deshaun Watson/Elijah Moore and Dak Prescott/Brandin Cooks. These are two instances where a quality No. 2 WR can be paired with a fantasy QB1.

Still Eyeing Prime Running Backs

The RB position does not purely dominate the first round of drafts anymore. However, when I am in position to take a prime RB in the first round, the elite targets will still get strong consideration.

Obviously, Christian McCaffrey and Austin Ekeler will go in the first half of the first round in many drafts. Yet if I can get Robinson or Saquon Barkley in the back half of the round, knowing I can still get a very good WR on the turn, I will opt for the RB.

The strategy worked out here, as I believe Robinson is a top-notch dual threat on a run-first team. The Falcons took him No. 8 overall in an era when RBs are devalued, so he is going to be a crux of their offense right away.

Ending up with St. Brown in the second round showed that it was a worthwhile move to opt for the RB at the ninth spot.

A Balanced Build

I am not a fantasy player who aims specifically to employ any sort of specific strategy, such as Zero RB or Zero WR draft strategy. I simply look to fill out the top skill position spots in my starting lineup first, but will pivot if a value play falls to my draft slot in any round.

Joe Mixon and D.J. Moore were solid plays for the No. 2 RB and No. 2 WR spots, respectively, and I really like Cooks as a WR3 and Elijah Moore as a possible flex option. The core of my lineup was essentially filled out in the first seven rounds, and it was all about depth and value thereafter.

A Short-Term View on Defenses

When drafting defenses, many fantasy players simply pick the unit that has the best overall seasonal outlook. That often turns out to be a mistake, as we usually stream defenses throughout the season, and should be drafting units based on matchups to open the year.

I don’t want the draft the New York Jets, who start off with matchups against Buffalo and Dallas. Instead, I went with Denver, which opens against Las Vegas, which won’t be explosive, and Washington.

FSGA Lineup, Scoring, & Rules

  • Roster
    • Start 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX, 1 PK, 1 DST
    • 6 bench players
  • Scoring
    • Passing TD - 4 points
    • Passing Yards - 0.05 Points Per Yard
    • Rushing and Receiving Yards - 0.10 Points Per Yard
    • 1 Point Per Reception
    • 6 Points For Rushing and Receiving TDs
  • Rules
    • Trading allowed
    • 14 regular season weeks, three playoff weeks

Scott Fish Bowl 13 Draft Analysis

The Scott Fish Bowl is the ultimate national annual fantasy football tournament in the industry. It consists of 3300 teams nationally in 275 12-team leagues that ultimately compete for the overall championship.

Included in this premier competition are top fantasy experts, celebrities, and savvy fans who come together to raise a tremendous amount of funds for charitable causes while vying for lofty spots on the overall standings ladder.

I recently completed my 22-round draft in this unique format, which includes superflex and tight end premium scoring markers. While the setup is very different from many standard fantasy football leagues, much can be shared to help fantasy players in other formats.

Scott Fish Bowl Draft Results

Scott Fish Bowl SFB Draft Board

Scott Fish Bowl Draft Recap

Going With the Flow

You can never fully predict what the flow of any draft will look like before it’s time to pick. I had the fourth overall pick, and my pre-draft approach was to plan for one of the top three quarterbacks or Travis Kelce to fall to me.

When Tua Tagovailoa was picked first overall, by a fantasy player who wanted to deviate from the norm in a large field tourney, it was assured that I would have the luxury of landing a prime QB or Kelce, and I went with Josh Allen.

Steering Towards Stacking

In a superflex or two-quarterback league format, “stacking”, or pairing a top QB with his prime pass-catcher, paves a path to potentially higher-scoring weeks. After taking Allen in the first round, Stefon Diggs was my preferred second-rounder, and he made it to my draft spot.

Stacking is also worthy of strong consideration in leagues where one QB is started. You don’t always have to aim to pair the elite QB with a prime WR either, as combining Trevor Lawrence and Calvin Ridley, for example, can be accomplished with later picks.

Know the Room

I was in a draft with some of the very best fantasy football players I will compete against this season. Plus, the scoring rules were so distinctive, that I couldn’t take a normal approach to drafting.

This was not like a “home league” draft where one is simply competing against friends or co-workers. So my focus was on either upside plays, or based on the scoring, heavy volume types..

Never Get “Sniped”

Throughout the draft, which was live for the first half, I frequently heard good-natured cries of “you took my guy!” I am never one to say that in a draft, even though it’s fun for many others.

In such a competitive group, other players will naturally be eyeing the same targets you are, so don’t build up too much hope that any potential pick will slip. I always have several players queued up, and target groups of players, so when it’s my turn, I just take the top guy available no matter who was picked ahead of my spot.

Scott Fish Bowl Draft Strategies

The Approach to Drafting Two QBs

In the superflex format, I ideally want to draft one of the top seven QBs, which include Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, Justin Fields, Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, and Justin Herbert.

From there, you can go with a “bully QB” strategy of taking two in the first two rounds, but that can weaken anchor players at other positions. My preferred approach is to get two QBs in the first four rounds, but I waited too long here and ended up with Jordan Love and Bryce Young later, and will hope that one of them outperforms expectations.

Aiming High at Tight End in 2023

Tight end is always the thinnest position in fantasy football, and when I have waited too long to address the position in the past, it has led to weekly frustration and some misses off the waiver wire. So nabbing a top five to seven TE is essential for me in any league, and especially in this one, where the position gets additional scoring bonuses.

I want a potential weekly advantage over my opponent, too. So if I don’t get Kelce in the first round, then I am aiming for T.J. Hockenson, Mark Andrews, George Kittle, Darren Waller, or Kyle Pitts a few rounds later.

I ended up with Kittle in Round Three here, and will carefully watch the flow of the position in any draft to jump on a preferred TE before the drafting starts to get into lesser territory at the position.

Complementing the Core With Values

In a superflex format where the TE is also valued more highly, your team is not going to have the optimal build at every position. I did not take my first wide receiver until the fifth round.

Starting in Round 13, I picked off some of my favorite fantasy football sleeper wide receivers, including Nico Collins, Skyy Moore, Terrace Marshall Jr., and Mecole Hardman.

Don’t Ignore Kickers

Kickers also have unique bonus markers in Scott Fish Bowl, yet they still get drafted in the later rounds. Many fantasy players despise using kickers, yet if they are required starters in a league, then don’t overlook preparing to draft at the position.

With spike weeks, kickers can boost your team to victory. In this format, there is an added emphasis on extra points, so I was satisfied to get Greg Zuerlein, as the Jets’ offense can be more potent this season.

Scott Fish Bowl Lineup, Scoring, & Rules

  • Roster
    • Start 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Superflex (QB/RB/WR/TE/PK), 3 Flex (RB/WR/TE/PK)
    • 11-player bench
  • Scoring
    • Passing TD - 6 Points
    • Completion - 1 Point
    • Passing First Down - 1 Point
    • 25 Yards Passing - 1 Point
    • Rushing and Receiving TDs - 6 Points
    • 10 Yards Rushing/Receiving - 1 Point
    • Rushing Attempt - .25 Point
    • Reception - 1 Point
    • Rushing/Receiving First Down - 1 Point
    • TE Premium - 1 Extra Point Per Reception and First Down
    • Kicking - 3.3 for Made Extra Point and Decimal Scoring for Field Goals
    • Special Teams - 6 Points for Return TDs and recovery in the end zone for a TD
  • Rules
    • No trades
    • 11-game regular season, playoffs through Week 17
    • A weekly game against the median

Author

Scott Engel

Scott Engel is a Senior Sports Writer at The Game Day. Previously he was at SportsLine.com and The Athletic. His work is also featured at RotoBaller and on Seahawks.com. Scott is a host on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. He is an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame. Scott is a four-time FSWA award winner and a 13-time finalist. He was an Associate Editor and featured writer at ESPN.com. and his career began at CBS SportsLine, where he was a Senior Writer and Managing Editor. Scott was the Managing Director at RotoExperts.

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