Fantasy football Ultimate Draft Board: Perfect picks for every round

After having to wait a year to make his NFL debut due to injury, Travis Etienne Jr. made an immediate impact on the Jaguars' offense with 1,441 yards from scrimmage in 2022. Tim Warner/Getty Images

Fantasy football drafts are all about collecting the best possible values, but we all know those special players exist who we want badly on our squad.

Whether it's the young, up-and-coming wide receiver on our favorite team, a sleeper running back no one is talking about or this year's big breakout at tight end, these players add an extra level of excitement to the roster construction process.

This round-by-round analysis will give you an idea of what's going through my head on draft day, headlined by those players I have circled on my cheat sheet.

For a more philosophical look at the 2023 fantasy football landscape, including strategies for drafting, trading and working waivers in all types of formats, be sure to check out the 2023 fantasy football playbook.

Here it is, my personal recipe for a 2023 fantasy football championship:

The core

When I'm making my selections in fantasy football, I often ask myself a question: "Am I drafting this player at his ceiling?" If the answer is yes, I generally aim for someone with more upside. Of course, all of the players available in the first round or so are likely at or near their ceiling, so this is an opportunity to not overthink it and simply take the best available player on the board.

Round 1: Justin Jefferson ... or best available player

Most years, the top running backs stand out at the top of drafts and it's easy to grab one or two of them and feel good about ourselves. This is not one of those years.