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Weekly Fantasy Basketball Mailbag: End of Season Series

Since the All-Star break is officially over, it is time to get to some of your pressing questions leading into the end of the season. This week’s mailbag will tackle topics like picking between players, end-of-season strategy, and dynasty questions. The post All-Star break gets tricky. It’s been a long season full of ups and downs, and plenty of injuries. If you are in the playoff push, you have been paying attention, but understandable if those of you who are at the bottom stop looking for advantages. We talked last week about how to keep those at the bottom involved, but let’s get going!

Weekly Fantasy Basketball Mailbag: End of Season Series

Which young player should I keep, if I had to pick now? Shaedon Sharpe or Jaden Ivey. – Abdel

I feel bad for Sharpe fantasy holders. Not every player has a perfect linear trajectory. In 2022-2023 Sharpe had a very promising rookie season. He demonstrated an incredible athletic ability, with some shooting ability mixed in. With a stat-line of 9.9 PPG/3.0 TRB/1.2 APG in 22.2 minutes on 47.2 FG%/36.0 3P%/71.4 FT%. This season has been completely different from what people could have expected. Even though Sharpe has been riddled with injuries, his efficiency numbers are lower than expected with a normal boost in counting numbers. Given the abundance of category leagues, it is tough to hold onto an oft-injured player shooting 40.6 FG%/33.3 3P%/82.4(!) FT%.

Without the inconsistency, and growth pains, Sharpe has some potential to mix the two shooting efficiencies up and be an effective SG/SF player for many leagues.

Ivey is also an example of an imperfect linear trajectory, so this decision is going to be hard. One would imagine that a PG/SG averaging 16.3 PPG/3.9 RPG/5.2 APG and making up for Cade Cunningham being out would automatically be the starter the following year. Right? RIGHT?

One of the hardest things for a fantasy manager to accomplish is guessing when a coach or team is going to completely zag and bench a quality rookie over a player who gets waived after the trade deadline. Enough about coaches trying to get fired, let’s talk about the numbers. In two seasons, the Indiana native has averaged 15.3 PPG/3.7 RPG/3.6 APG on 45.4 FG%/36.1 3P%/72.9 FT% in total MPG.

Both of these players contribute similarly, which makes this decision increasingly tougher. I would recommend from a pure potential perspective taking Sharpe. Even with the shooting woes this season, his athleticism, age, and position could carry him further than an undersized shooting guard like Ivey.

Is there anything nuanced to schedule setting this time of year? – Bill

It all depends on the league. If you have to maximize the games your players appear in, it will come down to pure matchup. Teams that are out of it are most likely going to start tanking and rest important players down the stretch. I’m talking about teams like the Washington Wizards (watch out for Bilal Coulibaly and Deni Avdija), the Portland Trailblazers (watch out for Scoot Henderson), the Memphis Grizzlies, and any other team that is vying for a lottery pick. On top of that, teams use those games to rest their star players for healthier playoff pushes. It is a frustrating process. Honestly, the playoff race for fantasy may as well just be luck as it is roster skill construction at this point. Just watch out for late scratches or players with Day-to-Days going into a back-to-back.

My 12-team league is standard head-to-head points without any keepers. We are talking about changing that moving forward, what would you recommend? – Isaac

I’ve been begging my own original basketball league to go to full dynasty for years, but that is not simply the wish of everyone involved. You can do it one of two ways. First, you can ease into the dynasty instead of starting it out as one, or go into keepers. I do not like the standard “your three keepers are at the top of the draft, and then everyone picks after that.” It only incentivizes keeping your best players, without any nuance. My league allows three keepers per year, but you only get each keeper for a maximum of four seasons.

The rule with keepers also comes down to the draft. Each keeper pick is one higher round than the one they were previously picked in. For example, if you chose Evan Mobley in the 8th round, you would get to keep him as your 7th-round keeper the next year. This incentivizes strategies, and in addition to trading draft picks, creates an incredible trade market. That is, if it weren’t full dynasty. For game mode, I am trying to find the best way to institute a weekly best ball format where it takes the top 20 best games by your players that week.

This is only if a full dynasty is fought against. If your league wants to go full dynasty, and they are open to new teams, add three more. Go full dynasty, 15 teams, 10-man lineups with three bench players. If you want to add contracts, make it realistic! Rookie contracts with the ability to extend, and a free agent auction would be a lot of fun. There are so many ways to mix and match your leagues. I would still recommend keeping it simple, as it would be the first time your league would have gone full dynasty.

Thank you for your questions this week! Enjoy the end of February basketball before the playoff push!

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