How to Take a Break from Fantasy Sports

Have you been spending too much time invested in daily fantasy sports (DFS)? Have you been told by friends, family, or even coworkers that you might have a fantasy football addiction? The signs and consequences are similar to that of problematic sports betting, which you can read about here, although we have a feeling that you’ve already experienced some of them. It’s what has motivated you to take a break from DFS and similar platforms.

This first step in taking a break is to self-exclude yourself from the websites/apps that you use to play fantasy sports. Reputable platforms such as DraftKings, FanDuel, and PrizePicks all offer members easy access to self-exclusion tools. However, this is just your opening move. You must now shift focus to alternatives that will fill the gaps you will feel by not being immersed in the world of DFS. Let’s have a look at some effective (and enjoyable) options.

3 Alternative Activities to Daily Fantasy Sports that will Help You Take a Break (or beat a potential addiction)

Reality Sports

What’s the opposite of fantasy sports? You guessed it.

Given that you have a passion for football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and/or soccer why not try your hand at the real thing? We’re sure that you’ve tossed around the pigskin, shot hoops at the local court, or knocked a few balls over the fence with buddies, but for this fantasy sports alternative to be effective greater commitment is required. Local city leagues offer everything from organized flag football and frolf (disc golf) to 3-on-3 basketball and softball and beyond. If competitive leagues aren’t your cup of tea, submerge yourself into an athletic activity that can consume numerous hours per week, such as hiking, mountain biking, or ocean sports (paddling, surfing, etc.) if you live in a coastal community.

It may seem like participation in reality sports is about distraction, but there’s science behind this strategy for those who may have a problematic relationship with DFS. Research suggests that there are distinct markers of players who might be at risk for problematic DFS play:

Fantasy Football Addiction
Fantasy Football Addiction
Fantasy Football Addiction

Cambridge Health Alliance | Harvard Medical School

Research has shown that risk takers (Group 2 in the graphic above) have more sensitive reward circuitry. Their brains get more of the neurotransmitter dopamine when habitually (or compulsively) engaged in their activity of choice. When an habitual DFS player attempts to take a break, they experience a dopamine crash, which lures them right back into the game. This is where actual sport comes into play. Over time, regular participation in athletics can remodel reward circuitry, leading to higher circulating levels of dopamine and more available dopamine receptors. Outdoor exercise provides a compounding effect as it promotes improved mood due to increased serotonin levels and regulated melatonin production.

Fantasy Sports Football Addiction Alternatives

As it turns out, you will likely enjoy the same or a greater rush from reality sports than you receive from fantasy sports, but in a healthier (mentally and physically) manner.

Sports Card Collecting

Many people who are deeply invested in playing DFS have a passion for data analysis as it relates to the sport/s they make their picks for. Those who particularly enjoy this part of it may consider an age-old sport-adjacent hobby; sports card collecting.

Fantasy Sports Football Addiction Alternatives

A major draw of sports card collecting is in fact the statistics associated with players. Baseball card collectors pour over ERAs, HRs, RBIs, and OBPs while football card collectors compare player SACKs, TACKs, TDs, and YDSs. You get the idea.

The point, is that sports card collecting can help fill the void left by taking a break from DFS and the athlete data comparisons that come along with it. But there’s more. As with reality sports being an effective DFS alternative (above) via reward circuit remodeling, the same is potentially true for this strategy. For a collector, the act of acquiring sought-after items triggers a rush of dopamine, rewarding one with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

Talk it Out

Has your relationship with DFS reached a point that you think of yourself as having a fantasy football (etc.) addiction? Then the best thing to do on your break is to speak with counselor who specializes in treating sports betting related compulsions.

A professional can identify whether or not you have a behavioral health disorder, and will help you break the hold that DFS has on your life. Kindbridge Behavioral Health offers online one-on-one therapy and group sessions to accommodate your preferences. Reach out via the contacts provided below to begin your daily journey of recovery.

Concerned About a DFS / Fantasy Football Addiction?

CALL +1 (877) 426-4258


Email [email protected]

Fantasy Sports Addiction Helpline