“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Sun Tzu, 'The Art of War'
It is commonplace in fantasy football to become engrossed in the shiny bastion of self-determination in the face of all challenges. I alone will be the master of my fate in this season. The moves I make will be the undoing of anyone who stands against me and it is by this solo strategy that I will be champion.
What many owners forget as their attention is pulled in 10 different ways during a regular season week of relentless cheatsheets, expert opinions, and injury updates is that oh-so-underrated aspect of fantasy football: knowing your opponent.
It sounds simple, but how many of us can honestly admit that we have taken the time to dig down on the tendencies of not just ourselves, but our league rivals?
‘Well, I know Johnny likes to take running backs in the first round…’
It’s a start, but it is merely a peek through the keyhole into the mindset of the owner, not a hard and fast rule we can follow to glean actionable information that can ultimately help us succeed.
It is the unexploited edge that fantasy owners have had on the tip of their tongues for years, but have been unable to articulate. Know your enemy. After all, human beings – and by extension, fantasy owners – are predictable by their very nature. Taking the time out to know your rivals is like finding that 50 dollars in your back pocket that you didn’t even know you’d been missing.
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