Luck Plays Out in Fantasy Sports More Than You Think

Fantasy sports rotator

With the AFC and NFC championships coming to television screens everywhere on Sunday, most fantasy players have thrown in the towel until the next season, and they’re wondering: What does it take to win?


Sorry if that’s not what you wanted to hear, but a new study from the University of Michigan found that fantasy sports players believe they have much more control over the outcome of games than they actually do.

“Building a winning fantasy team may involve a lot of strategic decisions, but control over team building does not necessarily increase control over athletes’ on-field performance,” said Dae Hee Kwak, assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology.

The researchers showed experienced fantasy players one of several mock advertisements for a fantasy baseball subscription service. After only one exposure to an ad promising players more control over things like team building or more expert analysis, players said they thought they had a better chance of winning. Players gave the fake subscription service high marks without even trying the actual service.

Who is that gullible? Hopefully not any of you guys.

Fantasy is, as much as any slot machine, a gamble, and this sense of control fantasy players have might strongly play into gambling psychology. “Throwing a dice on your own does not necessarily change the probability, but may make you believe that you are the ‘causal agent’ for a specific result,” Kwak said.

Best thing we can tell you is to not take out another mortgage over a fantasy game. It could pay off big, but it just as equally could bite you in the ass.

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