In the weeks leading up to the fantasy football season, die hard players like you and me do nothing but research and stress. Who am I taking in the first round? Do I wait on a Quarterback? Don’t get drunk and take a Defense in the 9th round again?

These are some of the things I repeatedly tell myself while preparing to take another hopeful shot at the illustrious fantasy football championship. But we forget why we really play. Sure we love football, but if we solely loved the sport itself, we would just be general die-hard fans. No, we love fantasy football. Why? Because we enjoy nothing more than ruining the hopes and dreams of our good friends, and proving to them and ourselves that we are in fact smarter, more dedicated, and overall, just better.

Below I am going to list a few things that can help you win your championship and intensify your league rivalries. As the saying goes, half the battle is won off the field in this 16 week fight to the death.

GET UNDER YOUR FRIENDS’ SKINDolphins-Texans-Footb_Hopk

Rattle them. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing a fellow committed fantasy player desperately scramble and scream due to frustration and fear. Now you need to draft smart, but if it’s the 11th round and your friend is a Browns fan, it could be fun to snag Terance West with the pick right before him. AJ Green or Dez Bryant? Toss up? Your friend picking next is a Bengals fan? AJ Green it is.

As long as you are relatively satisfied with the pick, you’re already a step ahead, since you are in your rival’s head. I once was playing an important matchup against a college roommate. To psych him out I printed out pictures of my entire starting lineup and decorated his room with them. I could smell his fear and desperation.

HYPE UP THE MATCHUPS

If your league is filled with unstable personalities (mine is, as most serious leagues are) dial up a little added pressure going into the week. If you have a good past record against an upcoming opponent, remind them of your dominance both frequently and publicly. If you know your opponent is in turmoil about his flex position, constantly give him pros and cons on all his players.

In short, be annoying. Make fun of their starting lineup, use reverse psychology, anything you can do to get them to overthink and possibly make an emotional, last minute decision that screws them in the end. Shit-talking about matchups around the league add pressure, but be comfortable occasionally putting your foot in your mouth as these methods are susceptible to backfiring.

FIND THE WEAK ONESfootball2

Every league has them. You know who they are. If you can find an easily manipulated league member, you can work their strings like an uninformed fantasy puppet. Perhaps you can trick them into trading you a premier player for a couple average ones. Tell them what they want to hear. DO WHAT YOU MUST TO WIN!

Sometimes being a fantasy villain can put a target on your back, but everyone loves a little fantasy football drama. You can turn these weaklings against other players, get them to drop the play you want to pick up, and quietly, sneakily, climb the rungs of the fantasy football ladder. (Keep in mind, FantasyFootballPros does not encourage lying to fellow league members throughout the season. But I totally do) I’m pretty sure Barry Sanders once said something along the lines of: “All is Fair in love and Fantasy Football” I could be wrong.

KEEP AN OPEN EAR

When my friends asked me to join them on this website, I graciously accepted. But probably not for the reasons they thought. Sure I love, writing, analyzing, and obsessing about fantasy football, but what better way to find out which players my fellow league members liked and disliked. Make casual conversation pre-draft or even in season to find out where guyss in your league stand on certain players. Any information can help.

For instance, last year, my roommate was a Giants fan and was high on David Wilson, which I knew from sneaky reconnaissance and also some general knowledge. I owned David Wilson and after week 1 sensed his inevitable demise. I used this information to work out a trade giving up David Wilson, Brian Hartline, and Knowshon Moreno for Calvin Johnson and a player I can’t recall.

This year I know fellow blogger Walsh loves Jimmy Graham and that fellow blogger Nick Schreck loves Zac Stacy. It’s good to know where your league members rank other players for good as well as evil though. All information is good. Understanding your league members and their fantasy preferences, can help you pull off that draft day heartbreak pick, and sell high on him week 1. It can fluster your rivals and let you see into their fantasy soul. It can help you over-dramatize situations like fantasy football and writing about fantasy football.

The reason we play is to have fun with friends. I just happen to have fun watching my friends cry. Whether you choose the route of fantasy hero or fantasy villain, keep these fantasy tips in mind because despite how angelic and genuine you think you are, I’d like to see a fantasy champion that hasn’t used at least one of these methods on their ride to the top.

Done any shady trades? Have some tricks up your sleeves I didn’t address here? Let us know!

Matt Rodgers

Matt Rodgers

Sr. Fantasy Analyst at Let's Talk Fantasy Football
New Jersey Packers fan living in Hoboken. Fantasy football is a way of life and makes Sundays the greatest day of the week. I will lie to you during trade talks
Matt Rodgers
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