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12 winning fantasy football tips for the 12s
It’s mid-August, and that means your Fantasy Football draft day is quickly approaching. To help you bring home that championship trophy, just like the Seahawks did in February, we’re providing you with a key rundown of winning Fantasy strategies for the 2014 season. Naturally, the number of tips we’ve decided to issue is 12. Seahawk supporters are known for not only being vocal and energetic, they are savvy and well-informed as well. Following these 12 Tips for Fantasy Success will not only reinforce your status in your league as being knowledgeable and prepared, they will make you as tough to beat as the Seahawks are at home.
1. Do Your Homework
Too many Fantasy owners don’t spend enough time preparing for their drafts, and show up unprepared when it counts most. As the Seahawks warm up for their season with training camp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center, you should be holding your own version of Fantasy training camp by getting up to date on all the latest news and information, absorbing rankings and advice from expert analysts, and participating in mock drafts. There’s lot of great free information on NFL.com, including their draft kit. You can also participate in mock drafts to get a feel for what you should do on draft day. Make sure you view Average Draft Positions as well so you can see when players are coming off the board. You can also dive in deep to our rankings and recommendations at RotoExperts.com. The more homework you do, the more confident you will feel on draft day.
2. Wait On Russell Wilson
The Seahawks proved they can win a Super Bowl with a steady and sometimes spectacular quarterback. You can do the same in Fantasy Football. While the temptation to grab a Peyton Manning or Drew Brees in the early rounds may be great, many winning quarterbacks can be picked off later in the draft. Russell Wilson has an Average Draft Position of 87.79 on NFL.com, putting him in the ninth round. Yet he was the eighth-best QB on NFL.com last season. Hang back and grab a Wilson, Jay Cutler or Tony Romo after you pick off some top-level running backs and wide receivers. If you have to start only one it makes more sense to wait on the QB when the position has good depth and you’ll need to fill out two or more running back and wide receiver slots as a priority.
3. Don’t Sweat Your Draft Slot
The Seahawks have proved in recent seasons that they can nab terrific NFL Draft selections in any round, at any slot. Wilson and Richard Sherman are prime examples of outstanding value selections. A well-prepared Fantasy owner can pick effectively from anywhere in the draft. If you don’t have an early pick, take advantage of being in the middle of the pack in a snake draft, when you won’t have to wait too long between selections. If you’re at the end of the first round, you’ll be the first owner to grab a second player. Be ready to effectively draft from anywhere, at any time. The league is not won and lost with your first round pick, either. Grabbing values and sleepers in the middle and later rounds can make a big difference. I’ll be picking off Jermaine Kearse in the late rounds, because he could end up being one of my 2014 gems.
4. Lurk On Lynch
When other Fantasy players get caught up in speculation, you have an opportunity to pounce. While he is still a top-ranked Fantasy RB, some Fantasy analysts don’t rate Marshawn Lynch quite as highly as they did last year because of his heavy workload over the past three seasons. While others are worrying about an unfounded drop-off in production, as a regular Seahawks observer, you know Lynch has shown no apparent signs of slowing down. So when he slips to you in the second round in some leagues, you can start celebrating with some Skittles at your draft table.
5. The Next Man Up
The Seahawks have built a winner for years to come because of outstanding depth. Their “Next Man Up” philosophy should also apply to Fantasy Football. Once you have filled out your starting skill positions in a Fantasy draft, stack up your reserve slots with upside performers at running back and wide receiver. You don’t want to miss out on a breakout day from a Christine Michael or an uplifting season from a Devonta Freeman or Markus Wheaton.
6. Pounce On Percy
In the middle rounds of your draft, don’t be afraid to “gamble.” Percy Harvin has an NFL.com ADP of 57.43, putting him in the sixth round. Some Fantasy owners may pass on Harvin because of his missed regular season time last year. Yet he offers outstanding upside as possible Fantasy WR3, and he’s healthy as the new season approaches. Don’t hesitate to take Harvin, as aggressive moves can pay off in the middle and later rounds.
7. Be Flexible
Don’t try to go into your draft with a rigid plan. Be ready to adjust on the run, and remember that no one strategy builds a winning Fantasy team. Go with the flow of the draft and simply be ready to pick the best available player to fill a need when it’s your turn. The Seahawks set a unique path to building a champion, and you can make your own winning blueprint as well. There’s nothing wrong with picking three WRs in the first three rounds if you are well-prepared.
8. Don’t Be A Homer
Yes, wear your Seahawks jersey to your in-person draft. But don’t fill your roster with Seahawks first and foremost, allegiances are not a priority in the Fantasy game. A winning Fantasy approach is to pick the best players to fill your needs, not just the best Seahawks. But if you do land Wilson as your starting QB by coincidence or he is simply the best player available in a certain round, by all means enjoy having one of your favorite players as your Fantasy starter.
9. Know Your Scoring System
This is an absolute must. Your Fantasy draft strategy is fully dependent on your scoring system. You must know every nuance of your league’s statistical setup. If your league awards bonuses for yardage increments, that can make a player like Harvin even more valuable. If your league allows you to start a QB at the flex position, which is unusual but not unheard of, then you may have to abandon the regular approach of waiting on the passers.
10. Don’t Draft To Trade
You should not take the best player on the board if he does not fill a primary need. If you get Drew Brees in the third round, don’t take Matthew Stafford in the fifth if your league starts only one QB. Why take a player you are going to deal away when your real need can be addressed in the draft itself? Don’t take a circuitous route to building your ideal starting lineup. Fill out your starting lineup slots other than kicker and defense in the first six to eight rounds or so. Don’t be tempted to nab a player who won’t fit into your starting lineup during the first half of the draft.
11. Know The Handcuffs
After you take your starting RB early, it’s always smart to grab his prime backup later on as a safety measure. Yet you may not always know who the direct handcuff is to your starter. If you draft Lynch, both Michael and Robert Turbin have significant appeal on the depth chart behind him. Yet in Kansas City, it’s clear that Knile Davis is Jamaal Charles’ primary backup. Always know the situations and depth charts at any position, especially at RB.
12. Don’t Look Too Far Down The Road
The Seahawks marched to a Super Bowl title by treating every coming week with great emphasis, and not looking past short-term goals. You should adopt a similar approach as a Fantasy owner. Don’t draft players based on late-season schedules or bye week situations that could be a concern after the first few weeks of the season. Your team will change a lot between draft day and your ultimate destination of the playoffs, so focus on building the best roster for now and the first few weeks of the schedule.
Scott Engel is an 18-year veteran of the Fantasy industry and was an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association’s Hall of Fame. For more in-depth Fantasy Football analysis from Scott and his team at RotoExperts.com, register now for the Xclusive Edge Fantasy Football package right here and take advantage of a very special discount offer for Seahawks fans!