MEMO: 2022-2023 Winning NFL Fantasy Football Strategy
Follow this strategy for guaranteed success in your fantasy pool this season
Author’s note: the American Economy series will resume shortly
It’s Almost Gameday
America will soon begin the 2022-2023 edition of its greatest entertainment spectacle, NFL football. Football is America’s pastime. For those that say baseball is our pastime, you’re wrong. First off baseball games are boring. But secondly, the 2021 national revenue of the MLB was $9.6 billion[i] versus $11 billion for the NFL[ii]. The NFL is undisputedly king of America and the NFL fantasy season is a great way to stay in touch with old friends, keep Sunday’s entertaining, and otherwise waste a tremendous amount of time.
I play in a league with my undergraduate fraternity brothers (I was cool in college). We completed our draft last night and with my Winning Strategy ™ successfully deployed, I can now share it with you. Why should you listen to me, a player whose best finish was 3rd in the 2021 regular season, unless you count my 6th place playoffs finish (I do not)? I’ll let the clarity of my analysis answer that question.
This draft strategy applies to a salary cap auction draft format, which is the most American draft format. Auctions mimic the unbridled creative destruction of capitalism, where the most aggressive fantasy players can drink everyone else’s milkshake. Snake drafts on the other hand give everyone a fair, ordered chance. Sounds a lot like communism to me.
I’m not going to lie to you, your performance on draft night is hugely impactful to your season. Screw it up, and your season is likely doomed. So, the most important advice for the draft is to go in with a plan.
Before you draft, I want you to stare at the following photo to get in the proper headspace:
Figure 1: Jeffrey Bezos
Now that you’re in the proper mindset, you must be extremely aggressive early in the auction while the best players are still available. Saving your money for late bargains is a loser’s strategy. Splurge on big names early and often. I’d recommend budgeting your salary something like 35% for pick 1, 25% for pick 2, 20% for pick 3 and using the remaining 20% to fill out the rest of your roster.
This is highly debatable, but I recommend picking your RB1 with pick 1, your WR1 with pick 2, your QB with pick 3, and then filling out the rest of your roster.
Here's the projected draft position of the top 20 players to aid your planning:
Figure 2: Projected top 20 draft picks[iii]
General Season Strategy
90% of life is just showing up – Woody Allen
The most important, and basic, thing you can do is simply fielding an active, heathy roster each week. Manage your byes and injuries every week and you’re almost certain to avoid last place in your league.
You must also commit to grind on the weekly waiver wire. Unless you’re extremely lucky, you will face injuries that need to be managed. Monitor season-wide injuries every week and check in early Tuesday morning to see who’s available. I recommend 7am before your enemies awaken. I also recommend checking back immediately after waivers clear to see if any freebies can be picked-up.
I think the RB1 is the most important position to pick first in the draft. And this year’s universal number one prospect is Indianapolis Colts RB Jonathan Taylor, who entered the Patheon of NFL gods with his 2021 season.
Figure 3: Jonathan Taylor’s excellent 2021 season
But beware that after being a human bowling ball every snap, a RB is likely to be injured at some point in the season and you’ll need a solid RB2. For example, I was very proud of myself last season for employing the Winning Draft Strategy ™ to get overall number one pick Carolina Panther’s RB Christian McAffrey, until he went down with a hamstring injury in Week 3.
Here are the top 10 fantasy RBs for the 2022 season:
Figure 4: Projected top 10 RBs[iv]
I recommend getting a stud WR1, as elite WR1s produce nearly as many points as the top RBs with a lower risk of injury.
Here are the top 10 fantasy WRs for the 2022 season:
Figure 5: Projected top 10 WRs[v]
QBs typically are the highest point producers on a fantasy team. But unless your league is massive, there are more good-enough QBs available than players in your league. Therefore, it is not worth it to use your first or second pick on a QB.
Here are the top 10 fantasy QBs for the 2022 season:
Figure 6: Projected top 10 QBs[vi]
Tight-ends are often large doofuses who can score a lot of points (i.e. Rob Gronkowski). Elite TEs can compare favorably with WR1s, but unless you’re getting a top 2 TE (Travis Kelce or Mark Andrews), I recommend a bargain.
Here are the top 10 fantasy TEs for the 2022 season:
Figure 7: Projected top 10 TEs[vii]
I often empathize with kickers, who often face high-pressure situations. I played goalkeeper in soccer and respect the mentality they must cultivate. But that doesn’t change the fact that they are low point producers in fantasy football. Furthermore, the projected point spread between the best kicker and the tenth ranked kicker is 9.4 points. Don’t splurge on a kicker.
Here are the top 10 fantasy Ks for the 2022 season:
Figure 8: Projected top 10 Ks[viii]
Defense wins championships. But not in fantasy football. Pick up a solid D/ST but don’t splurge.
Here are the top 10 fantasy D/STs for the 2022 season:
Figure 9: Projected top 10 D/STs[ix]
There you have it. Follow this strategy for guaranteed success this season. But don’t come complaining to me if this sure-fire strategy fails you. That failure is solely your own.
One final recommendation: Gameday ambiance is critical. I recommend the NFL RedZone channel to watch every game on Sunday. The channel shows all games in the early and afternoon time slot on Sundays. It will show every point and as the name implies, cuts to a game every time a team enters the red zone (20 yds before the endzone). It often shows multiple simultaneous games in a split, quad, and occasionally the elusive octo-box so its perfect for ADHD plagued Millennial and Gen Z-types. It’s $5/month directly from the NFL and its price varies on cable and streaming services.
Unhealthy food is also crucial to the ambiance. I recommend Buffalo Wild Wings or the Pizza Hut Big Box.Whatever you choose, the goal should be to coat your arteries with as much cholesterol as possible.
Godspeed in your 2022-23 fantasy football season.