It's safe to say that COVID changed almost everything in some way. Restaurants gave way to take-out, Vegas gave way to online casino play, in-store shopping gave way to online shopping. And real football game attendence gave way to the rise of Fantasy Football.
Even during the darkest days of COVID football game cancellations, fantasy football aficionados never wavered in their dedication to their games. For over a year, fantasy football enthusiasts zoomed their drafts, expanded their rosters, migrated from individual QBs and Kickers to the team use, used more flexibility on their rosters, developed practice squads, opened up first come, first service pickups for as late as 90 minutes before gametime and created average point rules and total points leagues in order to keep going.
Now that things are returning to some semblance of “normal”, fantasy football players are focusing on incorporating some of the hard-learned lessons of the pandemic era into their games while adding in new insights in their quests to be the best in their fantasy league. Some thoughts include:
Skill Vs. Luck
Remember that fantasy football is a combination of luck and skill. You can’t rely totally on either element but rather on the way that the two elements combine to give the player a competitive edge in the competition. If you ignore either one of these factors, you’ll be disappointed.
Fantasy football is an involved, complex and intricate game that demands that you understand the game before you jump in to start playing. Even if you were a casual observer in the past, you can’t really be competitive until you learn and understand the game thoroughly. In addition to attending as many games as you can or watching games on TV with good commentaries, you can join online communities where you’ll find data about wins, losses, injuries and, most importantly for fantasy players, predictions for the weeks to come.
It’s worth your time to watch other fantasy players on YouTube. These tutorials are extremely important in understanding how to play and win.
Just as having the right mindset is vital for football players in order to succeed in their gameplay, it’s also important that fantasy players pay attention to their own state of mind so that they can perform optimally.
The ability to remain calm is, above all, the most essential element for a successful fantasy football competitor. You simply can’t get nervous if your team isn’t performing as you had hoped. You must remain confident in your abilities and your choices. Don’t lose your cool if a player gets injured and keep abreast of what is happening throughout the league. You can’t do more than that.
Your biggest asset is your analytical abilities because that will be the key to your ability to formulate a winning strategy. This is where you work on your demeanor – by analyzing the various aspects of the game, you’ll become more adept at predicting the various outcomes. Not only will this allow you to remain calm and focused on the task but you’ll slowly improve your own overall playing strategy.
Every team owner has his or her own strategies for fantasy football but there have been some strategies that have been proven to be more effective than others. Everyone recognizes the importance of paying attention to injured players but in the heat of the moment, it can be forgotten.
That’s a big no-no. When you are drafting your team, the first thing that you should do should be to check which players are being fielded with injuries. If you draft a player who ends up being benched the entire season, you’re finished. Many successful fantasy players have learned to draft their running backs early and hold off on drafting the quarterbacks.
Another tactic that many competitors find to work is to focus on players who seem as though they will be able to accumulate points throughout the season. Don’t put all your eggs in the baskets of the star players but prepare for tough competition via a strong team effort.
As with any activity, if you lose your sense of perspective, your mental health can be adversely affected by playing too much fantasy football.
A recent survey by sports psychologists at Nottingham Trent University determined that playing too much fantasy football can result in low mood and anxiety. The study, carried out with 2000 subjects, determined that, while most players’ health was unaffected, participants who didn’t monitor their game time could find themselves suffering from sadness, anger, tiredness, low self-esteem and frustration.
“High engagement players” were the most at-risk for these mood swings including those who played for more than 45 minutes a day, spent more than 2 hours a day thinking about fantasy football or were engaged in more than an hour of research every day.
According to Dr Luke Wilkins, professor of sport and exercise psychology, "While it's positive that only a minority report mental health issues in relation to their fantasy football, it is concerning that higher levels of engagement appear to increase the likelihood of experiencing issues with mood and anxiety and seem to be having a negative impact on players' lives….Fantasy football is unwinnable for the vast majority that play and it is possible that the more a person is invested, the more negatively impacted they will be when they 'lose'."
Wilkins said that he would like to see players themselves do more to monitor the amount of time being dedicated to the game.