One of the most common fantasy football league formats is a 10-team, PPR format. That means plenty of draft strategies and plenty of outcomes. These leagues are usually the most competitive because the top talent is fairly evenly distributed across each team. These leagues typically also swing less on injuries, as there are enough backups available to replace star players who go down.
We’ll assume 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX, 1 D/ST and 1 K for the starting lineup. Running backs, receivers and tight ends receive an additional point for every reception. As always, make sure to check your specific league settings and tweak your draft approach based on those.
In most cases, you should grab a running back or a receiver with your first-round pick. Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce are going to be the exceptions but they’re likely going to be there in the second round or even later. You can afford to wait on QB and TE in this league since only 10 are going to be starting in any given week. Running backs and receivers are more important here, as the top players at this position often create separation in close weekly contests.
When to draft a QB?
Ideally, the fourth round is when you consider taking a quarterback. That would likely mean you’ve already addressed either the running back or wide receiver position completely for your starting lineup. There are a handful of excellent quarterbacks and plenty of suitable fantasy fallback options that might not jump off the page immediately. You don’t want to completely ignore this position, but you can afford to wait until at least the fourth round and still land a solid quarterback.
When to draft a TE?
Kelce is the anomaly, and even he might not be a surefire first-round pick in a 10-team PPR league. You should list out the top 10 tight ends according to projections and make sure you snag one of those. Unless you really want Kelce, you can probably wait on a tight end until the fifth or sixth round and still land a solid player. Otherwise, you can wait until near the end of the draft and still end up with a top-10 fantasy option. After all, other managers are unlikely to be drafting multiple top tight ends unless they plan on starting both.
The one positive thing about a 10-team league is you don’t have much room for sleeper picks because your bench will be loaded with starting-caliber players. This means you can readily find fill-in players on the waiver wire. Tight end could be a spot where a sleeper actually makes an impact but in most cases, it’ll be obvious which players are emerging. Those are the ones you can target as they’re likely going to be on the waiver wire.
Players to fade
The same logic goes for fades. There may be a player you do not like but if he’s highly valued in most projections, you should still be willing to draft him. Others in the league may value him more than you do, and that makes him a valuable trade asset. You can ignore the Nos. 3 and 4 options on depth charts during the draft. If any of those guys pop up, you can likely add them through the waiver wire during the season.
There are three important rules in fantasy football. The first is that you can’t win your league on draft night but you can certainly lose it by attempting to get cute and take players who aren’t highly rated but you believe will break out. The second is that injuries will happen, and it’s important to plan for them. The third is this is a game of luck as much as it is a skill, and you don’t get any bonus for winning by 25 instead of winning by .25.
An honorable mention here is to know that the team you start with is probably not going to be the exact team you end with. If you drafted well, you should have relatively the same group with a few upgrades.
In a 10-team league, you’re going to have players on your bench who can start. Within the first few weeks, understand where your weak points are and make moves to address those. You should also realize you’ll need this depth to account for bye weeks and injuries, so don’t trade it all away. In a 10-team league, the luck factor will be bigger than other leagues since the talent and usage for most rosters will be close.