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DraftHustle 2023 Fantasy Football Draft Manifesto: Runningbacks

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

Fantasy drafts are starting to ramp up as we get closer to the start of the 2023 NFL season. Having done over 100 bestball drafts so far this season, I have a pretty good idea on how I will draft in my season long leagues, as well as what the good and bad values are for all your favorite players. Over the next few days, I will be giving my overall strategy and other bits of advice on drafting the 4 primary Fantasy Football positions in 2023. For more tools to help you during your draft, including, rankings, tiers, and Depth charts, be sure to check the Draft Hustle Season-long One Stop Shop here!

Draft Strategy

Running backs will always be the life blood of successful fantasy football teams, no matter how many wide receivers are currently being drafted in the 1st round. Simple supply and demand makes elite RBs more valuable than any other players in fantasy. In 2023, my preference is to draft one elite ball carrier in the first 2 rounds to build my team around, which is commonly called “Hero RB”. After securing that RB, I love to stack up on WRs and a top 7 QB before attacking the RB position again. The way WRs are being drafted so early this season, I tend to find myself drafting my RB2 in what is typically dubbed the “RB Dead Zone”, because a few of my personal top 12 RBs are falling into rounds 4 and 5. The 2023 edition of the “RB Dead Zone” has become distorted this season, because RBs who typically get drafted in rounds 4-5(RB 13-20ish) are being drafted later as WRs are getting drafted much higher than normal.

If I can get my 2 starting RBs early, I will typically dip back into the RB pool in the middle rounds (rounds 7-9) to grab my RB3. Once that is done, I like to fill my bench with backup RBs that are one injury away from being bell cows. I used to be an advocate of handcuffing, which means drafting the backups of RBs that are on my team to secure a backfield and helps build the floor of my roster. I now draft backups of RBs that I don’t own, which gives my team a much higher ceiling if those backups became starters later in the year.

How Many RBs can finish as RB1? – 8

The top 8 RBs in my rankings all have the talent and workload to finish as the RB1 overall, and I prefer to have at least one of them as my “Hero RB”.

I prefer to draft ____ of my top ___ RBs? 3 of my top 27

If I can leave every draft with 3 of my top 27 RBS (Christian McCaffrey to James Cook), I am satisfied.

Where do I draft my first rookie RB? - Bijan Robinson in Round 1

Bijan Robinson is a generational RB talent, and he is currently my RB2.

Favorite RB after round 10 (according to FantasyPros ADP)? - Jaylen Warren

Jaylen Warren has had a solid preseason and is currently my favorite RB4 draft pick in the double-digit rounds.

Breakout – Dameon Pierce, HOU

Dameon Pierce will be leaned on heavily by first year head coach DeMeco Ryans and rookie QB CJ Stroud to carry the Houston Texans to however many wins they can scrounge together in 2023.

Lottery Ticket – Roschon Johnson, CHI

I can see a path to Roshcon Johnson overtaking the Chicago backfield in the second half of the 2023 season.

Bust – Breece Hall, NYJ

Breece Hall is returning from a week 8 ACL tear in 2022, and he will have to share carries with Dalvin Cook in 2023. Round 3 ADP is too rich for me.

Check out rankings, tiers, auction values and more here.

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