Preparation is the ultimate key to succeeding in Fantasy Football. You have to be not just better informed on player information than your opponents, you should also be more savvy in terms of trends and strategies to employ. Fantasy Football is based on a very physical game, but it is more a test of mental strength and resilience than the real thing. NFL players have to come to camp in optimum shape, and you have to come to your draft with your mind in ideal form. Being aware of these very important tidbits and trends will certainly give you an edge when it comes time to build your team with the initial drafting process. When you're finished, you'll feel as primed as one of Pete Carroll's players after an intensive workout – Super-confident and ready to overwhelm any opponent. Of course, we keep the number of tips at 12, in honor of the Seahawks fans and their retired number. Fantasy Football, of course, is a fan's game, so the numbering is only a natural salute.
1. Wide Receivers rule
Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio Jones are the first three players off the board in NFL.com Fantasy drafts, according to the NFL.com Average Draft Position Report. Those are the first three players to be picked in most leagues, with Jones sometimes going ahead of Beckham in drafts. NFL.com default scoring is standard, but this trend represents PPR leagues as well. In fact, in many PPR leagues, you will see seven or so WRs get picked in the first round, and some teams will go with a “Zero RB” approach and wait until at least the fourth round to pick their first running back. Many Fantasy players nowadays feel that WRs are safer picks and are more comfortable investing in them early. Don't hesitate to go that route if you can confidently pick off three really good wideouts in your first three picks, and then prepared to pounce on a pair of running backs.
2. RBs are not out of the early mix, though
The next four picks off the boards according to the NFL.com ADPs, are all running backs. Todd Gurley, Adrian Peterson, David Johnson and Ezekiel Elliott come off after Brown, Beckham and Jones in the report. And they all seem to be going in the first round of drafts in all formats. That quartet are considered to be in a unique tier of their own, as perceived high level, high volume RBs. There's a drop-off in appeal at the position after those RBs are gone. Many drafts have six to eight WRs going in the first round, with the rest being RBs or TE Rob Gronkowski. There is no absolute one perfect way to draft. Going for a franchise RB early can give you some peace of mind and a possible lineup advantage on a frequent basis.
3. You can wait for Russell Wilson and other QBs
Quarterback is a deep Fantasy position and none are being listed in the first round of NFL.com ADPs. Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers are listed in the second round, but Russell Wilson, the next highest passer to be taken, is going off NFL.com boards in the fourth round. Having Wilson is very comfortable because he has always been a top-rated Fantasy QB in every year of his pro career so far. He was the third-most productive player at his position in each of the past two seasons and has never been lower than eighth, his rookie season rank. When you see quality passers such as Eli Manning (eighth round) and Philip Rivers (10th) going so much later, though, it's apparent you don't have to pounce on a passer early.
4. The Cowboys are a hot topic again
Two Dallas players are going in the first round according to NFL.com ADPs: Elliott at seventh overall and WR Dez Bryant at 11. Elliott is being viewed as a special talent who can return Dallas to its dominant running methods of 2014 again. He is versatile and has a ton of upside. Don't hesitate to take him as soon as fifth overall, especially in PPR leagues. Bryant may be set for a big rebound year and is a TD machine when he is in the lineup. Elliott is especially intriguing, Bryant has proved himself before.
5. Lamar Miller is generating a lot of buzz
Now with Houston, the former Dolphin is expected to have a breakthrough season in Bill O'Brien's offense. He is expected to pick up where Arian Foster left off, and brings the speed the team was seeking to add overall during the offseason, while he also blends in some power and pass-catching ability. Don't be afraid to tab him as soon as the end of the first round. His current NFL.com ADP is 14.70.
6. The Seahawks WRs are getting much respect
After a career season, Doug Baldwin has an NFL.com ADP of 47.96, putting him ahead of standouts such as Randall Cobb and T.Y. Hilton. In PPR formats, Tyler Lockett is the 34th WR off draft boards in PPR formats, according to FantasyPros.com. His stock is continuing to rise, as Fantasy analysts are talking about him constantly as a big breakthough performer for 2016. You may have to pick both them earlier than their ADPs indicate in some Seattle-area drafts to secure their services.
7. Thomas Rawls is one of the super values at RB
The Seahawks' No. 1 RB is back in the mix at training camp, and his current NFL.com ADP is 63.34, making him one of the best values at his position for sure. Rawls has already proved he can post RB1 Fantasy numbers, and he is being undervalued nationally in early drafts. Now that he is back at camp, you can be much more secure in picking him. Latavius Murray, at 57.86, has upside and is ticketed for a lot of volume. He is another fine value pick at RB.
8. Defensive lessons still not learned
The Seahawks defense is first off the board in NFL.com drafts, and the defending champion Broncos are right behind them. There is nothing wrong with that. But seeing them go off the board at 65.47 and 66.11 in NFL.com drafts is disturbing. No respectable Fantasy owner takes a defense in single digit draft rounds. I will gladly wait until 129.00 and get the Vikings or even settle for the Jets at 145.91. Defensive trends change too much from year to year and you may be able to grab better ones very late if you study, or you can simply get some quality ones off the waiver wire early in the schedule, even based on matchups alone. Experienced players wait until late on defenses, but mainstream drafts still have the defensive “reach” picks, leaving other good quality skill position values to slip a bit further overall.
9. Interesting WR picks in the middle and later rounds
Colts WR Donte Moncrief is big, fast and poised for a big year with Andrew Luck. You have to really like him at his current NFL.com ADP of 84.37. He is going earlier in some PPR drafts but is still a nifty target in all formats. Giants rookie WR Sterling Shepard has an ADP of 105.27 and has more polish than many other newcomers. He already has some WR3 potential in Fantasy, especially in PPR formats.
10. The ultimate gold to find at RB?
Chargers RB Melvin Gordon has an NFL.com ADP of 107.72. With his pure talent, the addition of college teammate Derek Watt (J.J.'s brother) as a fullback and improved blocking, Gordon could be one of the best later fliers in Fantasy drafts this year.
11. The curiosity surrounding a Seahawks rookie
According to FantasyPros.com, C.J. Prosise is the 41st RB drafted in PPR formats. He'll add a new dimension to the Seattle offense, as the Seahawks possibly expand and diversify the passing game more this year. He can be a real PPR specialist in the mold of Darren Sproles or Theo Riddick from a statistical perspective. Many experienced Fantasy owners are intrigued by his potential in the PPR format.
12. Lots of time for tight ends
The NFL.com ADPs indicate only five TEs are going before Round 7 of drafts. You can wait to get good quality players at the position if you miss on a big name. Zach Ertz is set for a breakthough season, Ladarius Green is in a great situation and Coby Fleener has gone to where a place where TEs call heaven, New Orleans.
Scott Engel is a 20-year veteran of the Fantasy Sports industry and an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame. For more in-depth advice and a full suite of Fantasy draft prep information from Scott and the team at RotoExperts.com, register for the Xclusive Edge Fantasy Football package right here. Seahawks.com readers get a special discount by entering promocode “seahawks” at checkout.