Scott Engel returns to Seahawks.com for his eighth season of Fantasy Football coverage. An inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association’s Hall of Fame, he is in his 23rd year as a Fantasy analyst and professional. You can now find more of his work and rankings on RotoBaller.com and hear him every Saturday night and Sunday morning on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio.
Many Fantasy players are now in the mode where they are preparing for their upcoming seasonal drafts. Those who want to get an early jump on drafting do have other ways to get involved, though, as we will outline shortly. As the Seahawks go through their training camp reps, you need to prepare for your impending campaign as well. Here are 12 tips for you to succeed in 2019, both before and during the draft.
1. Practice Makes Perfect
It may be hard for you to fit in “two a days” drafting, but you should be drafting once or twice a week in mocks or Best Ball formats. This will prepare you to get in the flow of the draft itself while seeing how other owners value players. You can join a mock draft any time on NFL.com. Best Ball drafts are growing in popularity. In the Best Ball format, you only draft and do not make any roster moves thereafter. Your highest scoring rostered players get statistical credit every week. The BB drafts are very deep and competitive and are a terrific way of learning the player pool and engaging with experienced competitors.
2. Go With The Flow
While you may get a decent handle on where players will be valued in mocks and Best Ball formats, you’ll notice that every single draft is unique and different. That’s because every draft contains 10 to 14 or so different people with their own distinctive mindsets and player assessments. Anything can happen before it’s your turn. Be ready for surprises, and don’t focus on adhering to rigid pre-planned strategies.
3. Don't Look Too Far Ahead Or Behind
When you are drafting, don’t worry about Weeks 14 to 16 and who has the best playoff schedule. In fact, schedule analysis is so heavily based on last season, much of it’s often not relevant a few weeks into the new season. Your team is going to change so much between now and the Fantasy playoffs, that looking at December matchups in August may just be a waste of your time. Also, do not get locked into planning for bye weeks ahead of time when your roster will change its look between Draft Day and the actual byes.
4. Wait On A Quarterback
Unless you play in a two-QB league, you should wait until at least the fifth or sixth round to draft a quarterback. You usually have to start more running backs or wide receivers, and the QB position is very deep with quality talent. Plus, you can get a guy like Russell Wilson or Matt Ryan a few rounds after the perceived elite level passers are off the board and be very happy with their production. Wilson and Ryan are standout Fantasy players who are being taken as fine value selections. Even in a two_QB format, you can get an adequate starter in the fifth or sixth round.
5. Stay On Top Of Preseason Fantasy News
Take a few minutes every day to go to a site like NFL.com or RotoBaller.com and peruse the latest Fantasy Football headlines. You cannot afford to be ill-prepared on Draft Day. You don’t want to be the person that drafts an injured player or did not know who may have changed teams.
6. Get An NFL Fix For An Advantage
You should not pay attention to just Fantasy news. Regular NFL information outlets can provide a lot of extra insights that can help you gain an advantage. Reading reports and columns on sites like NFL.com and watching the NFL Network exposes you more to what’s going on around the league. Information is Fantasy power. Absorb as much of it as you can. You can learn something from an analyst like Bucky Brooks, although you may be used to just listening to what Michael Fabiano or Marcas Grant might have to say.
7. Don’t Be A Homer
You may be in the fourth round and Tyler Lockett is still available. But you have not drafted a running back yet. Always take what you need, not who you root for. If you are in the seventh round and still need a QB and Wilson is available, and he is the top ranked passer on your board, take him and enjoy having one of your favorite players on your Fantasy team. But don’t force him onto your roster, let it be a pleasant coincidence that you landed him.
8. Ignore The Noise
If you really like a player and want to draft him earlier than most, go for it. Who cares if anyone else ribs you about the pick? Aggressive drafting can win a league for you. No, you don’t have to follow the herd on where players are valued. If you are well prepared, you can follow your own path with confidence.
9. Know Your Scoring System
This is an essential and sometimes overlooked rule of Fantasy Football. Don’t show up on Draft Day and ask whether the league is a half or full PPR format. Learn your rules as soon as the league is established and practice mock drafting in the format you are going to play in.
10. Separation Is In The Preparation
You cannot firmly plan ahead of your draft to execute your picks in a certain order. Don’t expect to go RB/WR/RB/WR to start. As we said, you have to adjust on the run. After every pick, start queueing up or writing down the next 10 to 12 players you may want to take in the next round. Then when your turn comes, you simply take your top rated player that is still available.
11. Save Trading For After The Draft
Resist the temptation to trade draft choices or slots. If you are well prepared, you can draft successfully from any position. Every draft slot has its advantages and disadvantages. Also, don’t load up on a position to trade guys away. You should draft what you need if it’s right in front of you. You may never get proper return in deals if other owners know you are anxious to trade because you set it up for yourself that way.
12. Don’t Get Too High Or Low
Everyone loves their roster on Draft Day, but there is still a lot of work to be done. No one wins the league on Draft Day. Injuries, sleepers and busts, trades and waiver moves all change your outlook very quickly. Also, do not fret if you don’t like your initial draft or start the season slowly. Fantasy championships are not won in August.
For more from Scott Engel, get theRotoBaller.com 2019 Fantasy Football Draft Kit, which includes his rankings and regular weekly columns. Enter code “Seahawks” at checkout for a discount.
Photos of fans attending 2019 Seahawks Training Camp, presented by Safeway on Tuesday, July 30 at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.