Fantasy drafts have been a staple for the “Madden NFL” series and the latest edition is no different.
Knowing how the CPU will operate in the draft is the most important aspect of putting together a strong squad. The quarterback run is pretty substantial with Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson and Trevor Lawrence going before any other position player in varying orders. Interestingly, Justin Jefferson has consistently been the top non-quarterback, going at No. 10 in the draft.
The first few rounds are full of elite veterans and promising young stars in the making, it’s hard to go wrong either way early. Young players are prioritized, so do not expect to snag players like defensive tackle Jordan Davis (early-fourth round pick) later just because he’s a 78 overall.
Tip: Go through the position tabs when drafting. For some reason certain elite players don’t show up on the best available tab.
LT Trent Williams, 99 overall, 3rd round
The best offensive lineman in the game and last member of the 99 club to go in fantasy drafts is an immediate value in the back of the third despite his age. The 34-year-old tackle will anchor the offensive line in both pass protection and the run game. He’s going early in the fourth round, so unless you have a top three-to-five pick in round four, you’ll need to snag him in the third.
WR DeAndre Hopkins or LT Rashawn Slater, 4th round
DeAnde Hopkins is a 96 overall and without question one of the best receivers in the NFL. There shouldn’t have to be a case made for drafting DHop.
Rashawn Slater (84 overall) is a great pick if the goal is to build a team with a long-term outlook. Hopkins is a much more enticing player and should probably get an edge but Slater in the fourth is a slam-dunk pick as well.
LOLB Travon Walker or LOLB Aidan Hutchinson, 6th round
The No. 1 and No. 2 selections in the 2022 NFL Draft can be had in the sixth round of Madden 23 fantasy drafts. Aidan Hutchinson (77) and Travon Walker (76) are nearly identical in overall ability with the former providing more of a refined skillset and the latter having an edge in raw athleticism.
WR Jameson Williams, 78 overall, 7th round
Jameson Williams is a must-add in Madden 23 fantasy drafts. If you want a young, elite speedster on the outside (everyone should) you have the option of drafting Jaylen Waddle (84 overall) in the first few rounds or waiting on Williams in the seventh. He’ll be just as good by the middle of his rookie year should he get the targets he deserves, which is in the power of the user.
If you slip up and miss on Williams in this draft or play traditional franchise mode as well, he happens to be on the list of best (and easiest) players to trade for in Madden 23.
QB Jalen Hurts, 74 overall, 8th round
Jalen Hurts is one of a few young quarterbacks that aren’t being drafted insanely high in Madden 23 fantasy drafts. The dual-threat quarterback can be developed into a weapon down the road and his value is much cheaper than his peers. For example, Mac Jones and Justin Fields are going in the third round.
Also worth noting that Hurts is one of the fastest quarterbacks in Madden 23.
Veteran tackles Robert Havenstein or Trent Brown, 9th round
Rookie running back Kenneth Walker (77 overall) is worth splurging on if you elected to grab Trent Williams, Slater or another marquee tackle earlier in the draft. Otherwise, the ninth round can be used to bolster the offensive line with one of two right tackle options: Robert Havenstein (85) or Trent Brown (84).
WR Chris Olave, 76 overall, 10th round
Receivers are one of the best positions to develop because the user can influence their progress with a heavy dose of targets. Chris Olave has a combination of speed and refined route running out of the gate with limitless potential. He’s another must-add, especially if the plan is to play multiple seasons of franchise mode.
SS Kyle Hamilton or WR Robert Woods, 11th round
The 11th round has a lot of value, and forces the user to determine whether the plan is to win now or invest in the future. Strong safety Kyle Hamilton (76 overall) was the No. 14 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and could become a cornerstone piece of a fantasy-draft franchise.
The other option would be to go with wide receiver Robert Woods (86 overall), who is good enough to start for nearly every team but is 30 years old.
SS Jordan Poyer, 90 overall, 13th round
Drafting a 90 overall safety in the 13th round feels like a steal… because it is. Sure he’s 31 years old but he’ll be one of the best players on the defensive side of the ball for your team when the draft is all said and done for a very late pick. Jordan Poyer at this point in the draft is one of the best picks on the entire guide.
CB Caleb Farley, 75 overall, 14th round
There are many elite members of the secondary that can be selected extremely late in Madden 23 fantasy drafts due to being slightly past their prime. Mixing in players like Caleb Farley here and Hamilton earlier will help supplement the youth movement in the secondary.
Farley isn’t a No. 1 cornerback for Week 1 but he has the potential to become one down the road and the speed to keep up with just about any receiver in the league.
WR Garrett Wilson, 76 overall, 15th round
The ability to grab three of the top receivers in the 2022 NFL Draft Class at reasonable values is something that cannot be overlooked. Garrett Wilson is the last of the highly-touted receivers recommended on the guide. The only downside of drafting all three is that it could become hard to get every member of the trio enough volume to develop.
FS Devin McCourty, 87 overall, 16th round
Devin McCourty is sliding all the way down to the 16th round because he’s 35 years old. The goal is to build a roster capable of winning in the present and the future. Adding an elite free safety will greatly aid the present.
WR Julio Jones or MLB Nakobe Dean, 19th round
Maybe you ignored the idea of going all-in on three rookie receivers early or missed out on Hopkins early. In that case, Julio Jones (83 overall) will provide a steadying prescense for a roster in need of a veteran pass catcher.
If you took some of the prior suggestions and do not need to grab another receiver, rookie linebacker Nakobe Dean (71 overall) can provide some speed at the second level or become a hard-hitting safety with a position change.
Time to draft a quarterback, 20th round
After a massive run of quarterbacks in the top of the draft, things start to slow down for quarterbacks… until the 20th round that is. Kirk Cousins (80 overall) is one of the best value picks at his position and begins the second run of signal callers in the draft. He’s the best plug-and-play option in the entire draft outside of the first round given the CPU’s propensity to reach for average quarterbacks in Madden 23 fantasy drafts.
The other option here is to draft a totally unpolished rookie with the tools to become a good player. Kenny Pickett (68 overall) and Matt Corral (68 overall) go shortly after Cousins and are two of the top quarterbacks in a weak rookie class.
HB Leonard Fournette, 87 overall, 21st round
Fournette is another one of those must-adds and a reason for making these guides. The 27-year-old back still has plenty of juice left and falls way too far down the board. He can be paired with either Kenneth Walker in the ninth round or James Cook in the 22nd round.
HB James Cook, 75 overall, 22nd round
Cook is a developmental rookie running back that can start the 2022 season behind Fournette and eventually take over the bulk of the workload as he continues to progress. He can run through the tackles and can provide plenty of value in the passing game but he’s not a No. 1 running back fresh out of the draft.
K Justin Tucker, 90 overall, 30th round
Justin Tucker is not only the best kicker in the game but arguably the greatest of all time, at least from a pure skill component. He’s far and away the best special teamer in the NFL and he can be obtained in the 30th round.
RE Ndamukong Suh, 81 overall, 34th round
Ndamukong Suh is an above-average defensive lineman that is past his prime but still holds value at the bottom of the draft. He’ll be one of the many late-round suggestions that will keep the roster afloat while some of the prospects flourish into impact players.
SS Kareem Jackson, 81 overall, 35th round
The same message as with Suh can be applied here, he’s a veteran depth piece falling in drafts.
TE Jared Cook, 81 overall, 40th round
Tight end was a position that went unaddressed through the first 39 rounds in the guide. That’s not to say that it is recommended to wait to draft Jared Cook as the No. 1 tight end, but he’s a serviceable pass catcher in the basement of the draft and should be added almost regardless of what the current outlook at tight end is for your team.
C Ben Jones, 81 overall, 42nd round
Ben Jones is a quality interior lineman that can start at center or either guard spots should you neglect one of the positions to this point in the draft. Even with a solid starting five, Jones could provide some quality depth for a few seasons.
K Evan McPherson, 83 overall, 44th round
Justin Tucker is the best kicker on the board, but Evan McPherson has a superstar development trait at 23 years old and can become your kicker for the next two decades.
P A.J. Cole III, 84 overall, 45th round
A.J. Cole III is the top punter in Madden 23, mine as well grab the top player at the position here.
LT Duane Brown, 79 overall, 53rd round
Duane Brown is just good enough to be a starting tackle, though he’s not exactly the ideal fit at one of the premier positions in the game. He’s much more suitable for a swing tackle role with a year or two left in the tank.
FB Kyle Juszczyk, 87 overall, 54th round
The best fullback in the league does not get drafted in Madden 23 fantasy drafts but he’s worth snagging in the last round of the event.
FS Jason McCourty, 80 overall, undrafted free agent
Jason McCourty can provide depth as a priority-undrafted free agent. He’s likely to retire at the end of the year but is a more than serviceable player that does not even cost a draft pick.