How Patience and Mental Health Affect Your Fantasy Teams

Patience.

In this day and age, with every moment needing to be gratifying and an end result needed that day, that hour, and even that minute, season-long fantasy baseball is seemingly quite the opposite. The daily grind takes a toll mentally, and it is hard to remind yourself not to live and die with every moment this early in the season. I am not saying that these stats do not matter as much as the stats needed in September to win your leagues, we all know they count the same. But season long fantasy sports are a different animal when you add the human element into it. That human element is what makes our game so fun, and not to mention stressful. We have so many decisions to make for 6 months, it is hard to quantify the decisions we made in April and May come September.

This is what is one of the more important things I have learned from some of the best fantasy players out there. Having patience prepares you for the long haul, and in turn helps your mental health and toughness throughout this long fantasy season. A lot of these players refer to this as “the grind,” and it is just that; looking at live scoring every day, being on top of FAAB every week, while managing lineup changes is a lot when trying to compete over 6 months. We stress about every little injury, or bad start, or when a hitter gets an off day, and we forget that it is more than just this one day in this long season in that moment.

Steve Jupinka (NFBC Hall of Famer) was one of the first people to teach me this lesson. He is one of the best there is taking a 10th place team at Memorial Day and turning it into a league winner by the end of the year. Sure, other things are involved when that happens, as we know him to be a FAAB genius, but I truly believe that patience is a huge part of that process for not only him but other great fantasy players we all know.

Patience of knowing it is a long season, rather than stressing themselves out on league placement in these first few months allows them to stay level-headed and think through the problem, knowing that time is on their side, rather than it needing to be fixed right away. This is one of the major key differences in winning players versus average players. To have the mindset that immediate gratification is not a trait that you should have in this season-long game we all know and love.

Ever notice your feelings or your effort when your team is doing well? Now think about how you feel and your effort when your team is not. What is the difference? You. One of the toughest battles we face each and every year is ourselves. We always care more about our better teams, when it is likely that we need to focus more on the teams that are not good, as they need more help.

From watching NFBC vets up close for the last 10+ years, and partnering with some of the best, they all seem to have a level mental head throughout the season. They never get too high when everything is going their way, knowing it will even out, and they never get to low when everything is going wrong, knowing it is a long season. We always talk about how we can gain an edge and what to look for in players in the off-season, but what about looking inward towards oneself? To measure the effort or more importantly, how patient we can be during the season during each of the scenarios listed above.

Mental health is becoming more and more talked about and is more important these days with all the normal day-to-day stresses of life. Fantasy sports is supposed to be an escape from those stresses, but in highly competitive leagues like the NFBC, it is hard not to put pressure on yourself knowing the money at stake. That is where the process of staying patient pays off. It helps your mental health to make better decisions and not make rash decisions in FAAB knowing that you have more time than you think you do to fix your team. Mental health may be an afterthought for those of us playing in these leagues, but the top players in the industry seem to share that calm, meticulous, patient persona when it comes to making moves with their teams.

One of the adjustments I made from past seasons, was to give myself more of a break during the winter. I love the researching players and diving into draft strategies like the best of them, along with drafting itself, but I found myself burning out and not being at my best come July/August since I had been at it hardcore since November. It was constantly a battle on not being able to focus due to the mental day to day grind of peering over statistics and trying to win each week. It was causing me to rush through the simple processes and the results showed in that those teams usually suffered down the stretch. Others may be different, but that is what is important, to figure out what is going right with YOU, as well as what is going wrong with YOU.

The other mental game we all play is not wanting to be wrong. Whether that be from ego or knowing it will cost us points in our leagues, we hate when we are wrong and usually only talk about the ones we got right. That leads to indecision most of the time, and in leagues like the NFBC when churning is a major part of the game, is a costly mistake. We all got GOMBERED this year, but who regrets dropping him after that two-start week?

I think everyone if they were being honest. But the part I want to focus on is how mentally that affects you the next time it happens? Every case is different, but for some it will lead to bad decisions in the future, because they fear being wrong again twice. Even the best of the best know they will make several wrong decisions during the year, it is just the mindset of trying to be right more times than not, that allows them to get over any decisions that did not go their way when they make their roster decisions. Making mistakes is better than faking perfections.

If you take anything away from this article, it is to focus on yourself, not only for fantasy baseball, but for your own personal health. We all take that for granted each and every year, and sometimes can put off bettering ourselves for whatever is going on in our lives. Stop being so hard on yourself for the mistakes you make and embrace them instead. As Elbert Hubbard once said, “The greatest mistake a man can ever make is to be afraid of making one.”





High Stakes NFBC Reg. Sits on the Board for the RedBull-Vodka Fanclub. Native Texan.

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Lucas Biery
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Lucas Biery

Great article Dusty, this is an area of fantasy sports I have never seen written on before and I loved your thoughts. Thanks!