Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Drafting from the Turn

So, you’ve gathered all the relevant info related to your draft and developed a strategy about how you’re going to attack it. Since you read my other article about how to develop that strategy, you’re likely in the process of mock drafting. 

You should practice drafting from each spot in the draft order, or at least around the beginning, middle, and end. If you’ve drawn one of the later picks, or more precisely the last pick, this article will outline who I’ve been targeting at “the Turn” and briefly why.

For this exercise, we’re assuming it’s a 12-team PPR league with 1 QB, 3 WR, 2 RB, 1 TE, and 1 Flex spot that can be filled with either a WR, a RB, or a TE.

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The Turn

This term pertains to a snake draft, as opposed to an auction format, where the manager drafts at the end of the round and then again at the beginning of a round. For example, if you’re in a 12-team league then “the Turn” would refer to the spot drafting 12th. When the next round begins, that same manager kicks off the round by making another pick. So in this example, the manager would have the last pick in Round 1 and the first pick in Round 2; the last pick in Round 3 and the first pick in Round 4; and so on and so on.

Pros and Cons

When you’ve drafted a lot you will have undoubtedly developed a preference for which position in the order you like drafting from, and there are advantages and disadvantages for drafting from the beginning, middle, and end. In this particular case, drafting from the Turn has the obvious advantage that you are the first manager to make a second pick which, as long as you don’t blow it, allows you to make a selection from a deep pool of players that will presumably allow you to pick a player that is forecasted – at least in your mind – to score more points than the remaining players available. And with so many players still on the board, your hands are not necessarily tied to the need to fill any particular slot on your team, i.e. QB, RB, WR, etc. 

The obvious disadvantage is that you won’t be picking again for a while. In a 12-team league you have picks 12 and 13, but then 22 players are drafted before you get to make another selection at the end of Round 3 (36th pick overall). This means you need to have an idea of who you want and what positions you need to fill when your turn comes around. For example, if you drafted two wide receivers and a running back with your first 3 picks, do you take another RB with your fourth pick and hope that the QB or WR you also want will make it back around to your next pick? If you don’t think the QB you really want is going to make it back around to you maybe you “reach” for that player and take the next-best WR when your turn comes back around (to “reach” generically means to take a player earlier than their average draft position – ADP – suggests they should go).

The Turn in 2023

Every year rookies emerge in training camp, players get older and less explosive than they used to be, there’s an inevitable injury during preseason that shakes up a depth chart, and plenty of experts chime in with their take on who has upside/risk. Then the rest of us take all that in and begin drafting, whether it’s an actual draft or mock draft, and out of that comes an ADP that fluctuates right up until the season begins. I’ve done several mock drafts, don’t ask how many because it’s embarrassing, and these are typically the players available to choose from at the end of Round 1:

It has been a looong time since I went Running Back-Running Back with my first two picks, regardless of draft position, but in today’s game it seems riskier than it’s ever been: the risk of injury is higher at the RB position, the use of “backfield by committee” is commonplace, and this year more so than previous years the RBs are threatening to hold out if they don’t get paid. Any of those things leads to the potential for less points in your fantasy lineup. But to be sure, I tried that strategy in mock drafts. I did not like the way my team looked, especially at the WR position. In a league that is pass-happy, you need some stud wide receivers and when drafting at the turn you won’t have one if you go RB-RB because there aren’t studs left when it comes back around to you. 

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Personally, I don’t love the options available here, but I found myself drafting CeeDee Lamb pretty consistently. To me this is a really solid pick, especially if you’re playing in a point-per-reception (PPR) format. Diggs and Lamb had virtually the same numbers last season, so I’ll take the younger option. If you want to take one of these RBs I’m going with Chubb. He’s a workhorse and has proven he can handle a heavy load (or, check out my GTS colleague’s take on why he’s fading him). Pollard is good, but hasn’t had to be the workhorse and I’m not sure he can handle it without Ezekiel Elliott. Henry is a beast and gets a heavy dose of goal-line work, but he’s old for a RB and their production goes downhill pretty fast, so he’s not for me. Davante Adams got it done last year despite shoddy QB play, but he’s an aging WR, so I found myself grabbing a bunch of A.J. Brown here (although I think it’s possible his teammate Devonta Smith will have a better year). When I went WR-WR with my first two picks, I found that I was happy choosing from the running backs that were available later on, so WR-WR will likely be my strategy if picking from this spot.

Rounds 3 and 4

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I think you have to decide whether you want a top tier tight end or not. Travis Kelce is going in the first round, and Mark Andrews is likely gone by this point, but if you want T.J. Hockenson, George Kittle, or Dallas Goedert you’ll probably need to take one of them with one of these picks, otherwise you will be left with Kyle Pitts, Darren Waller, Evan Engram, or one of the other TE’s later on. I believe Hockenson is going to have a great year in his first full season with the Vikings, so I found myself taking Hockenson here quite a bit, but also considering the other WR and RB options available around this spot. I probably do want to come out of the first four rounds with at least one RB though, and I found myself drafting Jahmyr Gibbs or J.K. Dobbins around here, although I don’t love either one with Gibbs being an unproven rookie and Dobbins being one of those RBs unhappy with his contract situation (not to mention coming off an ACL injury two seasons ago). I like Alexander Mattison, and if you do too you might want to consider taking him here because Mattison never makes it back around to me in the 5th round in my mocks. You’ll get a frontline starter that has little competition for carries with Dalvin Cook out of the picture. Otherwise, Dameon Pierce seems like a safe/productive pick even with newcomer Devin Singletary in the mix, or you could hope Cam Akers returns to some semblance of efficiency. 

If you went RB-RB in the first two rounds you’re likely looking at D.K. Metcalf, Amari Cooper, Deebo Samuel, Keenan Allen, or Calvin Ridley being your anchor at WR when drafting at this spot. All are good receivers, but I don’t want any of those guys to be my WR-1. If you went WR-RB though, any of those guys would be fine WR-2’s. I’m not thinking QB here unless somehow one of the top QBs drops (Mahomes, Allen, Hurts, Jackson), I’ll look to add a QB in the next round.

Rounds 5 and 6

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Maybe it’s because I saw what he did for my fantasy team last year (not his real-life team), but I consistently found Justin Fields was available at this turn and I scooped him up. His rushing production last season more than made up for the shortcomings in the passing game. You should assume some regression on the rushing front, but the passing game shouldn’t be as horrid as it was last season, so “positive-regression” should be in the offing on that front. If you don’t get Fields here you probably won’t get Herbert or Burrow on the way back either, so you’re stuck with choosing from Trevor Lawrence, Dak Prescott, Daniel Jones, Tua Tagovailoa, or Deshaun Watson. If you’re ok with that, fine, but I’m not. If Fields, Herbert, and Burrow are gone by this point, I’ll wait and throw a dart at one of those other guys in the following rounds. 

Depending on how you drafted the first several rounds will determine your next course of action. If you don’t have two WRs or two RBs at this point because you took a TE or QB in the first 4, pick 5 or 6 should fill that second slot. If you have two WRs and two RBs already, I’m probably taking BPA (best player available). If that’s a TE, great. If it’s another WR or RB, so be it. Personally, I found myself taking James Conner, David Montgomery, or Brandon Aiyuk with one of these picks.

Rounds 7, 8, and Beyond

If you haven’t secured a QB and/or TE up to this point you should be doing that. It is tough to win without consistent QB play and it’s only going to get worse if you’re gambling on getting someone later. Daniel Jones is a popular “sleeper” pick due to his rushing production and upgraded offense, but I don’t see it. I might hold my nose and select Deshaun Watson if he’s available and hope he returns to some sort of the QB he was prior to his off-field issues. And at the end of Round 7 at TE you might be looking at names like Njoku, Okonkwo, Kmet, Laporta… yuck. That’s why I’m taking mine early. Could one of those guys break out and have a good year? Sure, but good luck playing the lottery.

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I actually really liked the other players that were available around this time. I selected Rachaad White and Rashaad Penny a lot here. Maybe White can’t handle a full load and no longer has Tom Brady as his QB, but he also no longer has Leonard Fournette, and I’ll take a starting RB this late every time. As for Penny, he’s an injury waiting to happen, but he feels like a better fit than D’Andre Swift and if he can stay healthy he should secure the Miles Sanders goal-line work left behind (whatever isn’t usurped by Jalen Hurts). If I was taking a WR here I was taking Jahan Dotson or George Pickens. Two young, ascending, up-side guys. If you don’t trust Sam Howell to get Dotson the ball, go with Pickens. At least he has somewhat of a proven track record with Kenny Pickett.

You might still be able to grab the Buffalo backfield after all this (Damien Harris and James Cook). Josh Allen hasn’t been running as much as he used to and probably shouldn’t with capable running backs around him. Harris showed he had a nose for the end zone in New England and Cook is drawing all the pre-season hype. These guys likely aren’t your RB-1 or RB-2, so there’s little risk here. 

Wide receivers Jordan Addison and Adam Thielen kept hanging around late so I was taking them a bit. In Addison you have a young receiver working alongside Justin Jefferson who will hopefully open up some opportunities for him, especially if he can work his way past K.J. Osborn in the pecking order. Thielen will provide rookie QB Bryce Young with a veteran target who has a sticky pair of hands. And as late as he’s going it seems like a no-brainer, you can cut him later if he isn’t producing.

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The last couple names I’ll mention which are probably available late regardless of draft position are Darnell Mooney and Skyy Moore. Mooney actually had some productive games last season before his injury, but he was never supposed to be the number one receiver there in Chicago. Now they have D.J. Moore and Chase Claypool, which I think will take some pressure off of Mooney and allow him to produce in a role more suited to him. Skyy Moore is on the Chiefs, competing with Kadarius Toney and Marquez Valdes-Scantling for target share. Toney probably pulled a hamstring while I was writing this article and MVS is more of a deep threat, which could put Moore in prime position in a dynamic offense led by Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs spent a second-round pick on Moore in 2022, so they must think highly of his skillset.


So, if everything went to plan, I think my team drafting from the Turn would look something like this:

  • QB – Justin Fields
  • WR – CeeDee Lamb
  • WR – A.J. Brown
  • WR – George Pickens
  • RB – J.K. Dobbins
  • RB – James Conner
  • TE – T.J. Hockenson
  • FLEX (W/R/T) – Rashaad Penny

Not bad, but I think my preference is to pick from the 9 or 10 spot. I think that would give me a little more talent overall without being too middle-of-the-road. Keep an eye out for more articles like this to help you navigate your drafts!

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Jarod Rupp, Fantasy Sports
Jarod Rupp, Fantasy Sports
Jarod is a long-time fantasy sports veteran, with over 20 years of experience using salary cap, season-long, best ball, and DFS formats - mainly centered around MLB and NFL. Ever since the "Sid Bream Slide" he has been a die-hard Atlanta Braves fan. He also enjoys collecting trading cards and memorabilia from his favorite teams and players.

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