What Most Fantasy Football Players Lack Mentally To Win

psychology of fantasy football

Does Psychology Play A Role In Fantasy Football?

“Fantasy football is just a hobby.”

“Managing a fantasy team is straight forward. Draft a team, improve your team, play your best players, and hopefully, you’ll make it into the playoffs.”

“As a fantasy football player, it’s all about having fun.”

You consistently hear these statements from friends, league mates, or random strangers, and it absolutely drives you nuts.


Because fantasy football is more than a hobby for you. It’s more than just a game. For some, it’s a career. It’s bragging rights, it’s an ego booster, it’s a part of life.

Winning is everything. And you’ll do whatever it takes to win.

In order to consistently be the best at fantasy football, here are some mental adjustments that you must abide by to be successful:

The Ability to Adjust Accordingly

We absolutely know that in order to succeed, we must prepare.

Mock drafts and player research is crucial for success. We devote hours of time and work to evaluate the players that are draft values, players we should avoid altogether, and/or if we’re adopting the zero running back strategy or value based tiers.

What we cannot predict is the draft actions of other league mates.

At any given point, a player that you assumed would be drafted before your pick may get skipped over, or, a player that was on your draft list gets selected earlier than expected; robbing you of a chance to own him.

One of the biggest things that we cannot prepare for is uncertainty within the draft.

A successful team manager adjusts accordingly. A wrench may have been thrown in your plans, but you absolutely need to pivot on the fly, no matter how prepared you are.

It’s crucial to the success of your team and winning.

The Ability To Reject Complacency

More than not, you’ll hear players talk about how they were in first place all year long, but failed to win the championship, blaming it on bad luck or timing of the matchups. Very rarely do you hear, “It’s my fault for being complacent”, but it’s most likely the case.

Very rarely do you hear, “It’s my fault for being complacent” when that is exactly the case.

Whether you’re in first place or last, you should never be complacent with your team. Complacency is a direct synonym of comfortability, which allows you to become overconfident, thus overlooking reality.

When looking at your team through an objective lens, you’ll notice areas of improvement. Your team can always be better.

Here are some examples where complacency will get the best of your team and cost you a championship:

  • One of your players has been a top scorer the last three weeks; his next matchup is against the #1 defense and you leave him in.
  • Your team is in first place, but your bench players are incredibly thin. You bypass the waiver wire simply because you already have a solid starting lineup.
  • You notice some of your league mates teams have voids, and you’re holding some bench players that would be a nice fit for them. You fail to propose a trade because your team is solid.
  • You reject every trade offer that includes your best player, even though your team needs to fill a void.

Unless you’re playing an MFL10 League, drafting a great team isn’t enough. Never be complacent, always look to improve.

Objective Reasoning

Play with your head, not your heart. It’s as simple as that.

Objectivity is your biggest advocate to your fantasy football team. It’s when you involve your emotions that you begin to make mistakes.

Many fantasy football team managers reach for players for several reasons.

  1. That player is on your favorite team.
  2. The player attended the same university as you.
  3. This player was on your team last year and played well.

And the emotions do not stop after the draft. Refusing a trade because players offered we not drafted as high as the player being given up (even if their play has been sub-par) is emotional playing.

Dropping players within the first couple of weeks because their play does not match their draft value is being emotional.

Underestimating a playoff matchup due to the fact that you are playing a team that slipped into the playoffs is playing with emotion.

Starting a player because “you have a feeling” even though the data says otherwise, is playing emotionally.

In all aspects of fantasy football, having an objective outlook is the only way to prevail week after week.

It’s Not All About Strategy

With fantasy football, too many players invest in research and data only for it to go to waste because they mentally made mistakes.

Remember, mitigating risk is crucial for fantasy football success. Keep these mental tips in mind before starting your fantasy football season.