Building a fantasy team can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but we’ve also all been on the other end of the experience spectrum. You know what I’m talking about. Forgetting to set your lineup. Not paying attention to the waiver wire. Spending time with your loved ones, instead of researching. Any elite GM knows that these transgressions are unforgivable, and we want to prevent you from reaching that point. Fantasy sports should be fun. Make sure you follow these rules to keep it that way!
The Five Fantasy Basketball Commandments
Know Your Scoring System:
What kind of league you’re playing in, will determine which players are more or less valuable. If you’re playing in a points league, that means each player will accrue points based on their stats for each game. Each statistic has a different point value. For instance, if you get 1 fantasy point for every real-life point scored, 1.5 for every assist, and 1.2 for every rebound, a player with 10 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds in real life, scores 37 fantasy points for you. Your goal is to beat your opponent by drafting the combination of players that scores more fantasy points than your opponent each week. In a categories league, the same is true, but instead of assigning a point value to each category, you’re trying to roster players that accrue the most amount of the relevant statistical categories in order to beat your opponent each week. Depending on the scoring system, I may be more inclined to roster a player that can average 10 points and 10 rebounds, as opposed to a player that averages 25 points and 5 assists.
Understand Where There’s Scarcity:
To use fantasy football as an example, the running back position is one where only a handful of teams rely on a single individual player for their entire rushing production. In those situations, that single player will have better stats than 90% of his peers. If you have that player in fantasy, you have an advantage against your opponent who has to rely on a running back that is part of a committee for rushing production. The same is true in basketball. More teams tend to rely on smaller lineups to emphasize shooting and speed. That means the Center position is fairly top-heavy, with less value at the bottom. If you want an advantage against your opponent, it may be wise to strategize with that scarcity in mind.
Don’t Underestimate The Waiver Wire:
Just like in fantasy football, injuries happen. When injuries happen, teams don’t just waive the white flag. The other players on the team have to backfill the production of the injured player. Sometimes that means players that are already rostered become more valuable. Sometimes it means that players that none of your competitors rostered become more valuable. The players that are unclaimed by any team can be found on the waiver wire. It’s important to be vigilant, and understand where responsibility for production lies on each team, in the event of injuries or trades.
Sell High and Buy Low:
In the long run, career averages tend to be what you should expect from a player. For instance, if you roster a player that’s averaging 30 points per game, ten games into the season. But that same player averages 10 points per game for their career, it’s more likely they will come back down to Earth than continue to average 30 points per game for the rest of the season. When you have a player that’s exceeding expectations, recognize there could be a market for that player, and entertain trades to improve weaknesses on your own team.
Diversification Is Key:
Diversification is the key to minimizing risk. Don’t draft a bunch of players from the same team, because sometimes that team only plays a couple of games for the week. So no matter how good those players are, you can’t beat your opponent because they’ll have more opportunities to compound stats than you. Don’t draft a bunch of rookies, because you won’t have enough history to project how they’ll perform. Don’t draft veterans only because they may not play enough minutes to push you over the edge. It’s all about balance.
For more great analysis check out all of our 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Team Previews!