By day, Don* works as a high-powered lawyer in Austin. By night, he concentrates on his real job — private fantasy-league fixer. "After I won my league every year, a family member asked if I would pretend to be him online and oversee his office-league team because he didn’t want to look like an idiot," Don says. "His 10-person league had a $1,000 buy in. He paid me $500 and offered 50 percent of all winnings. I won him first place and was the overall points leader, so I walked away with $3,500 — until then, I had no idea this world of managing other people’s teams existed." Word spread and Don soon found himself competing in the office-world fantasy big leagues. "I secretly manage teams starting with at least a $5,000 buy in," he says. "I charge a hefty management fee and usually 10 percent of all winnings — The big-boy leagues with oil industry guys can get up to $40,000 buy ins." From draft-day decisions to message-board trash talking (using the client’s email address), to negotiating trades, Don studies the stats while managing his clients’ teams to victory — and a big payday. "Some of these businessmen own high-end sports cars that only get driven 30 miles a month because they’re using their private planes instead," he says. "It’s all about ego, bragging rights — and results." Here, exclusively for Men’s Journal, the world’s top fantasy-league manager offers his fail-safe secrets to winning your office league.
*Don’s last name has been withheld to maintain his secret identity.
Double Down With a Passing Tandem
Don often tries to land a top quarterback-receiver/tight end tandem (for example, the Saints’ Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham) — in part, because it seems to bring him luck. “I can say that in the six consecutive years of winning at least one league I was in that year, my arsenal always consisted of a tandem,” says Don. Of course, the problem here is you’re not distributing your risk; a bad day for the duo or a bye week could be disastrous. Then again, it could make watching the game of the week a helluva lot more exciting. “It’s a thing of beauty when Brees throws two TDs to Graham and you overcome a 21-point deficit in two or three plays.”
Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images