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The truth about fantasy football is that 20 percent of it is knowledge and the other 80 percent of it is luck. You can rip through hundreds of pre-draft ranking lists, crush mock draft after mock draft, and waste countless hours listening to ESPN’s smug Matthew Berry spew irrelevant stats into your earhole — “last season Carson Wentz averaged 1.8 more rushing attempts per game when his beard was trimmed versus when it was poorly maintained,” but none of it truly matters. One big injury or one alleged haymaker from your 1st round pick to the face of his girlfriend and everything flies off the rails.
In other words, or in the words of every coach ever, you can only control what you can control. So, in partnership with Draft Analyzer, below you’ll find the real keys to winning your league — the things that nobody talks about, the things that you can control. This won’t have anything to do with actual strategy. It will focus more on how to establish mental dominance, swindle your closest friends, stab them in the back, irritate everyone in the league, and collect their money 16 weeks later. Let’s go.
1. Give Yourself a Nickname and Create an Original Team Name
First you need to put a down payment on some property inside everyone else’s heads. The easiest way to do this is to give yourself a nickname and then only refer to yourself, in the third person, by that nickname for the entire year. Giving yourself a nickname is immensely frowned upon and will immediately annoy the shit out of everyone in your league. Good, that’s the plan. The nickname doesn’t even have to make sense. In fact, the dumber it is, the more real estate you’ll own inside your friends’ skulls. Call yourself something juvenile like Mr. Big Dick of Fantasy, then sit back and watch your friends’ heads explode. Start doing this in the weeks leading up to the season and you’ll already have a mental edge come week 1.
Next up is your team name. Unlike your nickname, which can be unoriginal so long as it infuriates those around you, your team name must be original. Nothing predicts a shitty season like using some lame team name you found with a Google search. Sure, “2 Gurleys 1 Cup” is slightly funny but it’s not you; it’s a 47-year-old PornHub addict in Missouri who drinks Bud Ice after a long day of telemarketing. You’re better than that. If you can’t invest some time into creating your own solid team name you might as well call it a season and bow out before they collect your dues.
2. Pre-Draft Smokescreens and Data Dumping
In the week leading up to your draft, you must begin blasting your closest friends with misinformation. Tell them about sleepers you have targeted, tell them how low you are on players that you love, and hit them with loads of fabricated statistical data to back it all up. You must send such an outrageous amount of fake intel that nobody bothers fact checking you because it would take too long. This accomplishes two things. First it conceals your true intentions and turns you into the Little Finger of your league. And second, it makes everyone think you’re the Rain Man of fantasy research and that they have no chance to compete with you.
3. Form Alliances, Betray Your Allies, Crush Them Completely
You can’t win fantasy football by yourself. Throughout the season you must find allies to help you pull off daring threesomes and three-way trades. You’ll also use these pawns to claim players off waivers for you (when you’re in the back of the waiver order) and to then trade those players to your team. You must promise your allies that you’ll return the favor at a later date, but you never will.
You must always betray them.
Always stab your friends in the back the instant they no longer serve your purpose. Don’t wait too long to shank them or you’ll end up face down with a knife through your spine. When you stab an ally in the back be sure to announce it to everyone in the league so they know you’re a vicious animal who will do anything to win (once again we’re establishing mental dominance). Always tell your betrayed friends, “Dude, I had no choice.” They should understand, and if they don’t, they’ll never win a title, and you should partner with them again next season.
4. Never Admit Defeat and Always Stay Obnoxious
In the event that you drop a game you must be incredibly obnoxious about it. It’s fine to lose a game but it’s never okay to admit defeat. Always tell your opponent you would’ve beat them if… and then insert a million excuses. Make the excuses so fucking stupid that it drives them crazy. Tell them you would’ve won but you got food poisoning the night before. Or that you would’ve won but your parents were visiting that weekend. If you lost by 40, tell them you would’ve won if the scoring system more accurately reflected that of real football. Continue pelting them with nonsensical excuses long after they’ve stopped returning your texts. Never give them the satisfaction of victory or they will use it against you later in the season.
And with that you have all of the tools to become a champion. Using these tactics, you are all but guaranteed to win your league’s fantasy championship. But, if you somehow don’t win the title, you can at least take solace in the fact that you’ve annoyed the absolute fuck out of your friends for an entire football season. You can finish dead last and you’ll still have been the most aggravating player in the league. That’s worth a title in itself..
To get an actual leg up on your competition, use Draft Analyzer to nail every pick and become a champion. Draft Analyzer works with all the major fantasy sites and updates along with your draft. Never fuck with printouts or cheatsheets again. TFM readers get 20% off by clicking here.