Why you need to be more than a 'fan' during your fantasy draft

Yahoo Sports

By Ramin Mohajer
Special to Yahoo Sports

We all have our favorite NFL teams. But sometimes the fan inside of you can clash with the success of your fantasy squad. We’re here to try to help you keep your emotions in check, so you can make better decisions as a player.

Fantasy Football involves countless decisions, whether you’re drafting, considering a trade, or making a tough start/sit call. It follows that you can improve your fantasy performance by improving your decision-making. So, how do you improve your decision-making?

One important way is to be aware of – and try to resist – cognitive biases, the hardwired misjudgments that lead to irrational thinking.

This brings us to the mere exposure effect, which means we prefer something simply because it’s familiar. For example, you’re repeatedly exposed to a player on your favorite team, develop a preference for said player which becomes part of your identify and that leads to more emotional choices when you’re on the clock. This impacts every fantasy draft and can be a recipe for disaster.

[Yahoo Fantasy Football leagues are open: Sign up now for free!]

You don’t necessarily want to lead your fantasy league in players from the hometown team (unless you happen to be rooting for stacked squads like the Steelers or Saints).

The mere exposure effect also applies to two other aspects of fantasy decision-making (and therefore, fantasy success).

1. It can lead you to overvalue players who are constantly in the national media spotlight, regardless of their team or your fan affiliations.

2. The same process that occurs pre-draft with players on your favorite team can occur post-draft with players on your fantasy team; your exposure to them causes you to prefer and identify with them, which can result in emotional decisions that are not in your best interest. You can overvalue them in a trade or hold on to a struggling player too long when there are better options on the waiver wire.

This video is from GM Genius, a fantasy football scholarship competition and learning app where students ages 13-22 learn about cognitive biases and other decision-making concepts while competing for scholarships and other prizes.  It is run by How I Decide Foundation, an educational non-profit focused on improving youth decision-making. Like fantasy football, life involves countless decisions, so How I Decide believes that improving youth decision-making is key to improving outcomes in all aspects of life.

To sign up, please visit GM Genius

More Draft Prep from Yahoo Fantasy Sports

What to Read Next