Crush Your Fantasy Football League (Tips from 4 Repeat Champions)

fist crushing beer can

Buy a Beer for the Man with Great Fantasy Football Wisdom

The saying goes you shouldn’t take financial advice from a broke man or diet advice from a fat man. But if a fat, broke man has won a couple of fantasy football championships, by all means, pull up a stool, buy him a beer, and soak in his fantasy football wisdom. If you can’t find such a man, the Bullrush has four repeat fantasy football champions to tell you how to crush your fantasy football league. These guys bare their souls, answering 24 questions posed by the Bullrush.

Some people argue that fantasy football is luck. Luck certainly has a part, as we can’t predict injuries, but luck is a bit player in the fantasy football game. As evidence, here are some interesting stats about the great UCFL’s 15-year history.

The Same Guys Crush Their Fantasy Football Leagues Every Year

87% of championships in the UCFL have been won by 14% of the managers

The UCFL has had 35 unique managers over 15 years, and five guys have won the league 13 times. In other words, 14% of the fantasy managers have won 87% of the championships.

The Dominant Fantasy Football Managers in the UCFL 15-Year History

a list of the five dominant UCFL fantasy football champions who crush their leagues
Champs who repeatedly crush their competitionKendall’s name isn’t here

If fantasy football is a game of luck like pulling the handle on a slot machine, why are the same few guys winning every year? Fantasy football is a game of skill with a bit of luck seasoned in, but as they say, fortune favors the prepared. The Bullrush will prepare you with fantasy advice from four of the five guys who have dominated the UCFL over the last 15 years.

The Guys Showing You How to Crush Your Fantasy Football League

These guys coaching you to victory are proven fantasy football studs. They’ve each won multiple championships, and none are fat and broke (some may be fat or broke, but not both). For the sake of full disclosure, I’m one of the guys, but I’m the least of these. My championship victories date back to 2008 and 2012, but the other three knuckleheads have swept the great UCFL yearly for the last five.

Let me introduce you to our expert panel of repeat fantasy football champions. In addition to being fantasy champs, each guy carries a distinction to set him further apart. I’ll go in order of tenure.

Dan the Man, Legend, and 4X Champion

Dan with the UCFL fantasy football championship belt and trophy has been crushing the league for 15 years

Big Dan is our commissioner and is the only original founding member to remain in the UCFL. Dan has another distinction of being the league’s only 4x champ. His last victory was in 2018, but until then, he won the trophy on average every three years. Dan the Man is due. Dan is famous for limping into the playoffs with a mediocre record and crushing everyone’s dreams. Unquestionably, he holds the record for the most title game appearances counting the times he lost the big game.


Dennis, the Bullrush Editor, and 2X UCFL Champion

Dennis, the Bullrush Editor and 2X UCFL fantasy football Champion

I joined the league in its second year in 2008. I knew zero about fantasy football but somehow managed to win the championship in my first year – which is a trend. Four out of five of the league dominators won in their first year. I’ve won 67% of my games in 14 years, which is better than the Packers and a little worse than the Patriots, who are the NFL’s winningest teams over the last 15 years. I have the distinction of owning the UCFL’s only perfect season, which came in 2012 with a record of 15-0, thanks to Adrian Peterson and Peyton Manning. And I’ve played in multiple championship games, only to get beat by one of these guys.


Bobby, the Self-Proclaimed King and 2X UCFL Champion

Bobby, the Self-Proclaimed King and 2X UCFL fantasy football Champion

Bobby pulled off the most amazing feat the UCFL has ever seen (except my perfect season). In 2017, a league mate quit after week 5, and we scrambled to find Bobby making tacos in a local Mexican food truck. He took over a 2-3 team and in week 8, executed a colossal trade with Kendall that brought league-winner Todd Gurley to Bobby’s team. The rest is history. Gurley carried Bobby to the belt and trophy in his first season, and Bobby repeated in 2021. Since his first full season in 2018, Bobby is tied for the most regular season wins with 32, and he’s played in the championship game 3/5 years. He likes us to call him “King Bob.”


Fink the Stink, Back-to-Back 2X UCFL Champion

Fink the Stink, Back-to-Back 2X UCFL fantasy football Champion

The last man up, Fink the Stink, would want me to inform the viewing audience of a crucial fact. Counting from King Bob’s first full season, Fink has just two fewer wins but came into the league a year later. Fink brought the heat in his first year, 2019, winning ten games on his way to the championship. He doubled down in 2020 with 11 wins and another title. Fink is the only back-to-back UCFL champion and has won 75% of his regular season games in his first three years. We have a saying around here when it’s your week to play him, “You’re gonna get Finked this week.” He Finked me in the 2019 championship game. That’s a story for another day.


It’s worth repeating – these three guys offering their fantasy football insights have blitzed the UCFL every year for the last five. You’re getting fresh and relevant advice. The Bullrush didn’t wake up grandpa, who fell asleep reading his fantasy football magazine to ask his opinions. You’re getting inside the heads of the top dogs in the best damn fantasy football league in the country.

Let’s go!


Wisdom to Crush Your Fantasy Football League

1- What’s your team name, and how did you come up with it?

Dan:

The Waterboys. I like water, plus it’s an all-time classic movie.

Me:

The Hail Marys. Originally, I was Team Brady because my last name is Brady and Tom was my QB, so it seemed right. But the GOAT wasn’t my QB the next year. My favorite grandmother’s name was Mary, and the hail mary pass is a long one for all the marbles. I came up with the slogan, “Life is short, go long,” and I’ve been the Hail Marys ever since.

Bobby:

The Bob Squad. I like associating my name with things like this, so a play on “bomb squad” worked out here.

Fink:

Fink The Stink. When I showed up to the draft, it was already written on the draft board. I didn’t bother to change it. Previous name was Get Pounded to support the Panthers.


2 – How early do you begin preparing for the draft?

Dan:

 Really getting prepared a couple of weeks before the draft.

Dennis:

In the early days, I started prepping in June, and by mid-July would panic because I only had six more weeks to draft day. That approach was successful as I won two championships in my first five years, but I’ve tried to restrain myself the last few years and wait until August 1. But honestly, that approach hasn’t worked. This year I started preparing in early July, and hopefully, my results will improve.

Bobby:

When I was younger, I would be preparing for the draft all summer long as I had more time to focus on fantasy football. In recent years, I’m guilty of last-minute preparation, but it seems to work out well as I’ve made it to the champ game 3/5 seasons.

Fink:

A couple of days before. Not much use wasting your time since it is an auction draft. Just know the best RB and WR scenarios and go from there with bidding.


3 – How much time do you spend preparing for the draft?

Dan:

Casually read 5-10 min a day of news and info after the NFL draft takes place

Dennis:

More than these guys, apparently. Once I start prepping, whether it be June, July, or August, I am immersed.

Bobby:

Again in recent years, I’ve put little effort towards this. If I’m being honest, I begin looking at players the week of the draft. I have great resources that I use and will always keep top secret.

Fink:

An hour or two tops. If you watch the NFL on a regular basis, you know what players to look for.


4 – Do you enter a draft with one person in mind you must have?

Dan:

Always have 1 person locked in on.

Me:

No, not typically one person. I have a range of guys at each position I’m happy with. But we started doing auction drafts in 2019, and I still haven’t gotten a hang of it. As I mentioned earlier, I spend a lot of time getting ready, and I know how every expert priced the studs. Well, in the UCFL, you can toss those values out the window for the top-5 RBs. I’m a deer in headlights when the numbnuts in the UCFL bid the prices 30-40% higher than I expected.

Bobby:

I definitely have my guy. Sometimes I have 2 or 3 in mind. When this happens, there is about a 90% chance I go home with these guys no matter the cost come draft time.

Fink:

Everyone does until you realize they cost too much or someone takes them right in front of you on a snake draft.


5 How long have you played fantasy football?

Dan:

However long the UCFL has been around – I think 15 years.

Me:

Since 2008 when former UCFL member, Andy, invited me to join.

Bobby:

I have been playing fantasy football since 2009. (Freshman year of high school).

Fink:

10 years.


6 Do you like snake or auction draft better?

Dan:

Auction draft period.

Me:

I brought the idea of the auction draft to the UCFL in 2019 after 12 years of snake drafts, and I’ve had a love/hate relationship with it. I love the fact that you can get whoever you want, as Bobby mentioned earlier. You’re not going home with McCaffrey or Jonathan Taylor if you have pick 6 in a snake draft. But you can put both players on your board if you’re willing to pay for them in an auction draft. I’ve hated auction drafts because my UCFL league mates have a fatal attraction to running backs and run the prices to the stratosphere.

Bobby:

Auction drafts have won my heart. Being able to have full control over who you draft separates the boys from the men. As somebody who believes in the guys they draft, I think I can accredit part of my championship appearances to the auction draft style.

Fink:

I’ve been screwed over in snake drafts enough to only want to do auction drafts.


7What’s your strategy on trading?

Dan:

Trading is a touchy deal, kinda have to wait a few games into the season and see if any teams have weak areas you can help take advantage of if your overloaded in the same area.

Me:

My first rule on trading is don’t trade with Dan. You won’t leave the deal with your pants on. My second rule is to keep rejecting Kendall’s offers until the gift arrives in my inbox. The first rule for everyone else in the UCFL should be to reject my first offer – it’s out there just feeling things out. Ultimately, a trade should be a win/win for both sides, but I’ll take a gift if someone wants to give it. I love the back-and-forth trade negotiations, but it’s easy to get caught up in it and do stupid things. I agree with the other guys here – trade when you have a need and be patient.

Bobby:

Trade when you need to, not when you want to. During the season, you will hear trade talk on a daily basis because we are all amped up about the football season and want to talk football talk. Leave it as talk for the most part and only begin trading when you have a serious need, or you’ve received a “gift” in your inbox. I personally make less than 5 trades a year and can say I “win” almost all of them. Patience is key young grasshopper.

Fink:
Don’t, unless you have an extreme need and have other positions on your BENCH that others need, or if you can trade 2 or 3 people for a stud.


8 – How do you prepare for your weekly matchups, and how much time do you spend?

Dan:

Just making sure no injuries and crazy weather. After the waiver wire maybe 5-10 min.

Me:

I scour free agency for potential breakout players, make sure my guys are healthy, and troll my league mates’ teams for ways to improve my team. And since we play kickers and defenses, I try to optimize those positions based on matchups and weather conditions.

Bobby:

Weekly matchups are generally easy for me. Since I draft a starting lineup I plan to rely on, I usually don’t spend much time reading analytics about how my players will perform against a team each week. “Set it and forget it” is what they call it. The only time I find myself digging into matchups is when I’m choosing my defense for the week (since it’s rare to set and forget a defense unless you have Fink’s Pat’s D).

Fink:

Try and pickup people on waivers that the opponent needs if possible.


9 Do you like stars and scrubs or a balanced approach?

Dan:

I’ve been trying a balanced approach, not doing well with it. So might try stars and scrubs. Overall I prefer a balanced approach.

Me:

This question is most appropriate for an auction draft. In a snake draft, you take whoever falls to you. I’ve gone with a balanced approach because I’m too cheap to pay for the studs. But I’m not convinced which approach is best. Bobby says stars and scrubs, and Fink says balanced. Since we started auction drafts in 2019, Fink has won two titles, and Bobby has played in two championship games, winning one and losing one (to Fink).

Bobby:

Stars and scrubs, baby. This is what the auction draft is all about. I go get my guys who I know will play a large role in getting me to the champ game, then fill my roster with anyone I can afford. With this strategy, you definitely need to do your homework on sleepers or have a good resource to give you some names to roll the dice with.

Fink:

Balanced approach wins long-term.


10 – Do you want a stud QB, or do you stream the position?

Dan:

Stream QB all day.

Me:

I’d love to have a stud QB, but I never pay for one. I’m happy to get 18-20 points from a QB, and you can find that outside the top 5 without having to stream.

Bobby:

Who doesn’t want a stud QB? Problem is paying for one.. I think you can find success with either strategy depending on how your draft goes.

Fink:

If you don’t have a top 5 QB, your best bet is to stream.


11 What’s your best advice for someone new to fantasy football?

Dan:

If your in a good league like the UCFL, enjoy the fellowship. Listen, learn and never quit during the season.

Me:

I agree with Dan. Build a great fantasy football league and enjoy the fellowship. I found some of my best friendships in the UCFL. Also, dial in on 1-2 fantasy experts or sites, and don’t try to listen to 20. You’ll listen to one podcast, and the person will say, “definitely draft this guy,” and then you’ll listen to another podcast and that person will say, “definitely fade this guy,” and they’re talking about the same player.

Bobby:

Find legitimate resources that provide good insight on players to build a team with. Ignore the chirping your friends will do because there will be a lot of it.

Fink:
Don’t trade too much. Find RB2s and RB3s on waivers. Don’t ever play any players from the Patriots except the defense.


12 Why do you think you have won multiple championships, yet some players in the league have never won?

Dan:

Not sure, some folks say a horseshoe has been placed places. But I’d say good hits on the waiver wire and not jumping into the trade game after the 1st game.

Me:

My last championship was in 2012, and I’ve only had one title game appearance in recent history, so I’ll mostly defer this question to the other guys. But I’ve been successful with a 67% win rate over 14 years through diligence. Few guys, except Kendall, waste as much time as I do studying and thinking about fantasy football.

Bobby:

What stands out the most when talking about myself is the trading aspect. The UCFL is a trade-heavy league. It’s very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day moving players around for no reason. I personally go with my gut when it comes to my studs, give them plenty of time to prove who they are, and it generally works out in my favor.

Fink:

Opponents failed on waivers late in the season. I managed to pick up a starting RB for a playoff game once, and he did well. Opponents didn’t take into account the weather. Bobby made a big mistake starting 3 Green Bay players in the ship during a snow game against a division rival. Not sure what other choice he had, but he was also riding 3 players from one team, and that is never a good idea either.


football helmet with words "I'm just here for the snacks, commercials and the halftime show

13 – What’s the worst fantasy football mistake you’ve ever made?

Dan:

Being a Chiefs fan, drafting Mahomes first year as a starter (2nd season) and dropping him before the season for Andy “Red Rifle” Dalton. Still ain’t heard the end of that. Plus, I deserve it. WTF was I thinking?

Me:

Oh, let me count the ways. I have at least two. Does anyone remember Eddie Lacy? His first two seasons with the Packers, 2013 and 2014, were stellar. He got off to a slow start in 2015, and I struck a deal with Chris to get him early in the season. Lacy proceeded to suck, and I dropped him. Dan vultured him off the waiver wire, and Lacy whipped my ass in the semifinal match with Dan. Lacy rushed 24 times for 124 yards and a touchdown. Dan went on to win the championship in 2015. Remember him saying something about a horseshoe? My other monster mistake was last year, 2021. Seeing the stud running backs fly off the board at exorbitant prices overloaded my senses, and when I awoke from the coma, the best RB available was J.K. Dobbins. Granted, half of the best running backs were keepers on other teams, so the supply was limited. I won Dobbins for $40, about 20% of my remaining budget. Then Dan won the bid for Gus Edwards, Dobbins’ handcuff, announcing that Dobbins just went down with a season-ending injury in the last preseason game. The mistake was not getting updates on players before I bid on them.

Bobby:

In my dynasty league, I got caught up in the hype and bought a stock extremely high. Kyler Murray dropped 40 points a game for 3 or 4 weeks straight, and I was in need of a QB, or at least thought I was. I traded away Joe Burrow (on a rookie contract), three 1st round draft picks (rookie draft picks just like the NFL), Elijah Mitchell (also on a rookie deal), all for stupid Kyler. I let the hype get to my head, and this is definitely the worst decision I’ve made in my history of fantasy football. It will impact my dynasty team for years to come.

Fink:

Getting drunk at the draft and leaving with two TE1s with no WRs. (Editor’s note: Fink still finished the season in third place with a 9-5 record).


14 – What’s the worst mistake someone can make?

Dan:

Not paying attention to injury news.

Me:

The worst mistake a person can make is really two-fold: not actively managing your team and giving up. Don’t play if you’re not going to be engaged. Injuries happen, players on waivers pop, and other things come up that managers must deal with to stay competitive. Also, if lady luck screws you over for a while and you hit a losing streak, don’t give up. Keep managing your team, scour the waiver wire, and work deals with other managers. Last year, Justin started the season 1-5 (his first win didn’t come until week 4), yet he barely missed the playoffs and finished 7-7. As he would say, “keep pounding!”

Bobby:

Giving up in a season. This is FANTASY football, people. We can talk about strategy all day long, but at the end of the day, we’re all in this casino together. If you start out 1-5, there is still a chance your dice get hot, and you make the playoffs. Continue researching, make proper moves, and stay focused on one week at a time. Never tap out and quit caring about your team.

Fink:

Accepting an initial trade from Kendall.

Kendall sweet-talking someone into a trade deal that will leave them both feeling dirty and guilty in the morning.


15 – What’s your secret to a successful draft?

Dan:

No secrets, in auction draft don’t lose track of dollar bills and be broke early.

Me:

First and foremost, don’t draft guys who are retiring or injured. In 2019, I drafted Andrew Luck 30 seconds after he announced his retirement. Twitter Bobby let me know about it, and then last year it was Dobbins. Stay updated on player news during the draft. I haven’t had a successful draft since we went to auction, so I won’t act like I know what I’m talking about here.

Bobby:

Go with your gut. My personal opinion on players is #1 in my book. I use external resources when I need a second opinion on something I’m not too confident on. Usually my “studs” who I plan to roll with for the year are guys I’ve seen play and personally want no matter where they are ranked on the draft board.

Fink:

Don’t overspend. Draft people who were trending late in the previous season. If they have the same teammates, they will likely continue to succeed. When you know someone is attached to a player, run the price up on them.


16 – How do you decide which “experts” you listen to?

Dan:

Not locked into any one “expert ” so I graze around looking for various opinions on the subject.

Me:

You figure this out over time because there are a million “experts”. You can see how the experts rank in their accuracy on Fantasypros.com. Then you choose someone whose articles and podcasts you enjoy. I love fantasy football podcasts, but I’m picky. I don’t care for a lot of silly banter amongst the hosts that waste my time. My favorite resource for articles, rankings, and stats is 4for4.com. Jon Paulsen is a perennial top-10 fantasy player rankings expert. My favorite podcaster is JJ Zachariason, who delivers quick, information-packed, data-driven, and commonsense analysis. I also like Dwain McFarland’s podcasts with Pro Football Focus.

Bobby:

I’ve been fortunate. I can’t spill the beans on my top secret resource, but early in my fantasy football career, when I didn’t know what I was doing, I found a source and leaned into it hard. Drafted exactly according to their rankings, and I never had a bad year. Find something, test it out, and if it works, stick with it. Once you know what you are doing, make sure it aligns with your opinions for the most part. I like when me and my resources think alike. (Editor’s note: I offered Bobby a 6-pack of his favorite beverage at the live draft for the name of his secret source, and he declined.)

Fink:

I only pay attention to their stats regarding targets and rushes.


17 – How active are you at looking at free agents?

Dan:

Very active, that’s what makes or breaks a lot of teams

Me:

Obsessive.

Bobby:

Defense weekly. Bench players, not so much. I draft a bench that I usually want to see over 3-4 weeks of play. If anyone isn’t performing, then I’ll jump into the FA’s and switch things up.

Fink:

Every day.


18 – What do you like most about playing fantasy football?

Dan:

Trash talking, fellowship and draft day party.

Me:

I love the friendships, trash-talking, camaraderie, trade negotiations, and the escape from real life. Fantasy football is also great for old men like me.

Bobby:

The friendship. Few things can bring a group of guys together the way fantasy football can. Any day of the year, I know I have multiple group chats that I can send one text in and stir up some fun for the day.

Fink:

The draft party food.


19 – What’s the key difference between a good fantasy player and a bad one?

Dan:

3 wins. (Editor’s note: Our UCFL 4x champ is being hard on himself as he only won 3 games last year.)

Me:

I mentioned this already, but it’s active management. The successful teams are keenly in tune with the football world. They get alerts when players are injured or get arrested for beating up their girlfriends. They’re married to the waiver wire; they look for ways to improve their teams through trades. Slackers don’t do well in the UCFL (although many slackers did better than Dan last year).

Bobby:

The ability to trust yourself. The hype is cool and fun but don’t get lost in the sauce. If you do your research and stick to your gut, you’re going to be just fine.

Fink:

Patience.


20 – Is fantasy football success more luck or skill?

Dan:

Definitely some luck involved but I’d say 90% skill.

Me:

Fantasy football, like life, takes both luck and skill to succeed. But I firmly believe that good luck favors those who work the hardest. It’s the lazy folks who want to attribute someone else’s success to good luck.

Bobby:

Skill is a higher percentage. Not sure by how much, but it definitely takes more skill than luck. With that being said, there is definitely a big luck aspect to this game.

Fink:

Skill gets you through the year if you plan ahead and manage your team accordingly. Playoffs are luck.


21 – How can someone get better at fantasy football?

Dan:

Being open-minded to different strategies if something ain’t working for them.

Me:

Find the right resources for articles, rankings, and podcasts, and work hard to build a great league with people who are active and competitive. Iron sharpens iron. Also, play as much as possible. With Fanduel, Underdog, and other fantasy football sites, you can get in a lot of practice reps.

Bobby:

Just like anything else. Find someone who is skilled in fantasy football and pick their brain. Best way to learn is from an expert in the field.

Fink:

Watch more football.


22 – How can you overcome a terrible draft?

Dan:

It’s very difficult to do that, but scan free agents relentlessly looking for the diamond in the rough.

Me:

One word – Kendall. The man will help you build back better. But if you don’t have a Kendall in your league, then you have to work the waiver wire hard. Look for players trending up who are getting more playing time, like undrafted rookies. You might be able to pull off a big trade with someone who has a stud. When Bobby inherited a crappy team mid-season 2017, he pulled off a massive trade with Kendall for Todd Gurley. But again, that was with Kendall.

Bobby:

I would say free agency more than trading. If you drafted shitty and don’t have players of much value on your team, trading isn’t your best route here. Do your free agent homework and snag the guys with the potential to breakout. I’ll be hoping and praying with you that they do.

Fink:

You can’t.


23 – How do you overcome losing your stud running back to injury?

Dan:

Another very difficult issue, only way is hope you have his handcuff and he’s good. Or just have the bench loaded with running backs.

Me:

Losing a true stud is hard to overcome. You paid a lot for him, which was opportunity costs at other positions. Having his backup is nice, but you’re not getting your money’s worth at all. In 2019, over a full season, Christian McCaffrey averaged 25.7 points a game. In 2020 and 2021, he suffered early season-ending injuries. In the two games he started each season, he averaged 27 and 23 points, respectively. Those points are a nice return on investment, but in 2020 his handcuff Mike Davis started strong but averaged 12.7 points a game. Last year, Chuba Hubbard averaged only 9.7 points a game after CMC was injured in week 3. You’re not winning your league with 10-13 points from your #1 running back.

Bobby:

This hurt me to read this question. A fantasy football player’s worst nightmare. If you drafted an absolute stud running back, you better have his handcuff. If you don’t, you better be ready to spend up to 100% of your FAAB, depending on the severity of the injury.

Fink:

Have his backup ready.

The Final Score

The Bullrush would like to thank Dan, Bobby, and Fink for their time and willingness to impart wisdom on how to crush your fantasy football league. We have about 30 days to the event grown men and women anticipate more than Christmas Day. Get prepared and go crush your fantasy football league.

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