The Fantasy Football Playbook: How to draft and play like an expert

Whether you draft a running back, like Dalvin Cook, in the first round or not, the goal remains the same: Celebrate over your league at the end of the season! Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via AP

August is nearly here, my friends.

To many, that simply means summer is winding down and "back to school" is on the horizon.

To you and me, it means the heart of fantasy football draft season has arrived.

The purpose of this piece is to take a thorough look at the fantasy landscape and offer tidbits of information that can help you make the best decisions not only on draft day, but in the weeks leading up to Week 1 and throughout the season. The focus will primarily be on average-sized, season-long leagues, but I didn't forget those of you who, like me, are in unique leagues, including dynasty, keeper, superflex and IDP. If you're a regular reader of my work, first of all, thank you. Second of all, this will seem quite different. Instead of going heavy on data, numbers and charts, this is a strategy piece for beginners and advanced players that shows you how I apply all that I've learned during an offseason of research.

Bear with me and I'll cover as many bases as possible in a relatively short amount of time.