Why do Seahawks fans love playing Fantasy Football? Because at its very best, the game gives you a chance to be a virtual combination of John Schneider and Pete Carroll. You get the chance to acquire players and make lineup moves. If you work hard at it and are highly dedicated, you can also reach your league Super Bowl and win it, just like Schneider and Carroll did.
Of course, Schneider and Carroll reached the pinnacle of their profession in Super Bowl XLVIII with many years of hard work and dedication, plus a ton of annual preparation. For the Fantasy player, the prep process is certainly different and more unique and definitely less time-consuming than the full-time job of being a pro football general manager or head coach. Yet if you're going to win, you need to have the passion and willingness to put in the prior work and studying to succeed, and devote yourself to your Fantasy Football team in a manner that Schneider and Carroll could admire and respect.
Owning a Fantasy Football team is a fun experience that is designed to replicate the nuances of professional football team and player management. We all revere Schneider and Carroll for what they do so well and what they have accomplished. If you follow the below rules as you head into your draft room, you'll have a good shot of tasting great success like the Seahawks have in recent seasons. You'll get a virtual taste of what it feels like to be the very best in football. Nothing in our Fantasy world can compare to everything that goes into assembling and managing a true NFL roster. But as 12s, you can revel in the joy by being a fan, and as a Fantasy owner, you can hold your own trophy up in the winter to replicate the one the Seahawks won.
Here's what you need to be ready for on draft day and beyond, of course in a numbered list that honors Seahawks fans as always.
1. The first rule of Fantasy Football preparation is to know and study your scoring system.
Review it thoroughly and be ready to adjust your personal rankings and strategies accordingly. It's a basic edict, but one that sometimes gets overlooked or not given enough detailed attention before draft day. If your league awards six points for a TD pass rather than four, there will be a higher emphasis on QBs earlier in your selection process. That also means you could get Marshawn Lynch late in the first round or in the first half of the second when others are jumping a bit too early on passers.
2. Working off the first rule, you should exercise patience when drafting quarterbacks.
It appears glitzy to have Andrew Luck or Aaron Rodgers, but you usually only have to start one passer and the top running backs and elite wide receivers will disappear off the board quickly in the early rounds. Meanwhile, the position is deep, there are almost a dozen QBs you can comfortably start in Fantasy Football this season, and you can nab one as late as rounds seven through nine. If you really want Russell Wilson this year, you can still get him in the fourth or fifth round of many drafts.
3. Never draft or trade for a player based on your allegiances.
Sure it's a lot of fun to own Wilson and root for him as a Seahawk this year. But filling out needs is more important. If you started the draft with three wide receivers and have no running backs yet, you should not take Wilson in the fourth when QB is not your primary position of need. Take the player that makes sense. Also, loading up with too many Seahawks is not sensible Fantasy wise, because different players can shine in the offense in any given week and if the team gets involved in a low-scoring game, you can cap your overall Fantasy scoring outlook.
4. Don't try to rigidly plan ahead for your draft.
Every draft is different and you have to adjust on the run and go with the flow. Don't overthink things and try to predict what will happen ahead of you in the first round, simply take the best available players with your first two picks and work from there. There is no one set approach to roster building in the early rounds.
5. Always stay updated and prepared.
You must set aside time before your draft to absorb all the latest news. You must do the same before every weekly Fantasy game. Bookmark and regularly consult the NFL.com Fantasy Player News feed. Ideally, you should be checking once a day if you can, or set aside a few hours to at least skim through the most important recent items.
6. Don't rigidly plan for bye weeks on draft day or worry about them early in the season.
Your team will change a lot via trades and waiver acquisitions before a bye hits. The Seahawks do not have a bye until Week 9. So do not pass on an upside RB like Ameer Abdullah just because he has the same off week as Lynch. You should not be planning for your Week 9 lineup in August or September.
7. Don't draft to trade, or make a deal with another future trade in mind.
If you draft Jimmy Graham, there is no need to select Travis Kelce, too. You already have a No. 1 TE when you get Graham, and you'll lose out on another need or value pick if you take another starting TE soon thereafter. The type of player you may end up trading for could already be on the board when you select Kelce, and you are not likely going to start both, so be focused on what you need now, and not later. You also do not want to spend a significant pick or trade away a good player for someone that may ride your bench until you can move him. You often don't get proper return in such trades either, as other owners sense your greater need to deal.
8. Never worry about your opponents and who they draft or start.
Concentrate on building your own roster and set your own lineup, that is all you can control. Never make a draft pick or lineup move to block another team, focus on your own needs first. Don't join in a position run in the draft just because everyone else is doing it.
9. Never worry about what position you draft from.
There are advantages and disadvantages to every draft slot. If you pick first, you have to wait the longest between first and second picks. If you pick last, you will be the first owner to acquire a second player. A prepared Fantasy player drafts confidently from any spot.
10. Don't ignore the preseason.
Wilson served notice in his rookie year that he was going to be very productive when he shined in exhibition play. This preseason, Doug Martin is looking like a big rebound candidate and John Brown has the look of a potential breakthrough player. Check out NFL.com's preseason Fantasy Stock Watch from Marcas Grant.
11. Never sit your superstars during the regular season, especially based on a matchup.
The elite Fantasy players earn that status because they produce well against all levels of competition. In Week 16 of the 2011 season, the excellent 49ers defense had not allowed a rushing TD. Lynch, Fantasy standout that he was and is, had the first ground score that week to help his owners win championships.
12. Don't second-guess yourself too much.
Your first instinct is usually the best one. If you are well-prepared, you will always make confident moves.
Scott Engel is an 19-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 by entering the promocode "seahawks" at checkout.