It’s finally Fantasy Football season once again! I’ve compiled some tips and insight on hidden gems that could help you keep your stars aligned and bolster your bench. These strategies are based on observations I made in a recent eight-team standard scoring ESPN league draft this past week.

If You Can, Pick Todd Gurley II First

If Todd Gurley was on your fantasy football team last year, chances are you won your league’s championship. Gurley led the NFL in touchdowns and yards from scrimmage with 19 and 2,093 respectively. He was the top-scoring running back in fantasy last year. With Gurley’s new contract extension, another year with Jared Goff, and the offensive-minded coaching of Sean McVay, I’m predicting he has the potential to single-handedly win match-ups for your team just as he did last year. Yes, regression to the mean, I get it. Gurley was so good last year it’s worth it.

What About the Other Top Choices?

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David Johnson and Ezekiel Elliot should both be hungry after disappointing 2017 seasons. (Remember Eagles fans, hungry dogs run faster). Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown also have that potential to drastically change any match-up. Yet, Bell has had a questionable history as far as injuries and suspensions go. There is always potential that only one of them has a good game each week, depending on the plan of the opposing defense each week.

The Quarterback Position is Deeper Than Ever

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We all know it’s a fantasy faux pas to pick a quarterback early in your draft, but this goes double this year. In my recent eight team draft, I waited until, get this, ROUND 12, to pick a QB, and guess who I got? MATT RYAN. Ryan is an excellent fantasy QB with as much up-side as any of the other elite guys. The QBs who went before Ryan were Rodgers, Brady, Wentz, Wilson, Big Ben, Cousins, Watson, Newton, and Brees. Then Rivers, Jimmy G, and Luck were all taken after Matt Ryan. Moral of the story: WAIT as long as you can.

There Is So Much Talent So Don’t Be Afraid to Gamble

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Mark Ingram is suspended for the first four games of the season, yes. He also went eight of sixteen weeks last year with double digit fantasy points, even with sharing the ball with rookie star, Alvin Kamara. He is arguably the most solid RB2, who I picked up at #69.

Alex Collins of Baltimore is another underrated choice. Some may put him in the “boom or bust” category, but for me he was also drafted extremely low in my draft at #85, despite being the 21st best RB in fantasy last year, and is projected to be better this year.

Nelson Agholor in Philadelphia had 8 touchdowns, and seven weeks of double-digit points last year behind Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery is now coming off a torn rotator cuff surgery, and there is no guarantee of when he will be back to 100%. Until he returns, I expect Agholor to be Wentz’s #2 target in Philadelphia behind Zach Ertz.

Tevin Coleman of Atlanta also dropped to the final round of my draft despite similar contributions to his team as Alex Collins. When Devonta Freeman gets a break, Coleman has some potential on goal-line plays, and has been a top 22 RB in fantasy the last two seasons. Depending on the week, Coleman could easily start over guys like Amari Cooper in your flex spot.

Don’t Prioritize Defense/ST After the Top 3 or Kickers At All 

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After the Jaguars, Eagles, and Vikings defenses come off the board, you don’t need to waste the 100th pick that could be used on someone like Sammy Watkins, Marshawn Lynch, Allen Hurns, or even a guy like Tyler Eifert on the Falcons Defense. Same goes for kickers. Stephen Gostkowski was drafted #63 in my league, followed by Brandon McManus at #66 and Chris Boswell at #70. Matt Bryant and Greg Zuerlein (the best K in my opinion) went shortly after, but all of them were drafted too high. I got Justin Tucker, last year’s #4 fantasy kicker, at #108 in the 128-player draft. R-E-L-A-X when defenses and kickers come off the board and hold out as long as you can.

One Last Challenge

As an Eagles fan, I challenge myself each year to keep away from drafting any players from the Cowboys, Giants, or Redskins so that my rooting interests are not complicated. I challenge readers to the same!

Let’s hear your fantasy football DO’s and DONT’S!

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Photo Credit- USA Today, NY Post, sportingnews.com, Baltimore Sun, Bleeding Green Nation

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