Mike Clay's Fantasy Football Playbook for 2022: Draft, trade and win like a pro

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A new fantasy football season is upon us and -- if you tuned out after February's Super Bowl -- you certainly have a lot of catching up to do.

The 2022 NFL offseason was the most chaotic in league history. We had old QB faces to new places, major coach and front-office movement, several key retirements (including a Tom Brady retirement and un-retirement) and, of course, an unprecedented number of star wide receiver trades.

The Playbook takes a thorough position-by-position look at the fantasy landscape and offers advice and information that can help you make sound 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 more nuanced 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 both beginners and advanced players that shows you how I apply all that I've learned during an offseason of research. Note that I originally published a version of this article in 2021, but substantial updates have been made for application to 2022.

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

What to do with your first two draft picks

Our quest to identify the perfect fantasy football strategy evolves year after year, but at the end of the day, finding quality running backs remains the most important goal.

How exactly you find those quality options remains an industry-wide debate. Some will tell you to load up early and often, while others opine that some form of the "Zero-RB" strategy is your ticket to a fantasy title. If you're not familiar, Zero RB is a drafting philosophy that involves not selecting any running backs until at least the middle portion of your draft, instead loading up on wide receivers (and perhaps an elite tight end) in the first several rounds. Then, when top backs inevitably get injured, your opponents' rosters get worse and you can use your stashed backs and waivers to fill your RB slots, giving you an edge on the field.