Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be a general manager of an NBA team? While becoming a GM is a privilege that is reserved only for the most qualified people, us casual NBA fans have the opportunity to step into the shoes of these GMs through fantasy basketball.
Fantasy basketball simulates the GM experience and pits you against other fantasy GMs to see who has the best team. Apart from being a great way to pass the time and bond with your friends, some fantasy leagues also have money involved, so if you’re confident in your GM skills, you can potentially make some quick cash through fantasy basketball.
What is Fantasy Basketball?
To put it simply, fantasy basketball is a simulation game which allows players to build teams and compete against each other to see who has the best team, stats-wise. The statistics used in fantasy basketball are the same real-life statistics of each player on each team, and players are free to build their team according to their own liking, provided that a player is still available.
Fantasy Basketball Rules
A fantasy basketball league is commenced through a draft. The draft is similar to how the NBA does it, in that each team gets to pick in order although who gets to pick first is randomized. Furthermore, the players in the draft pool are basically all the players in the entire NBA, so you have the freedom to choose whoever you want so long as another GM hasn’t picked that player yet.
Once the teams are built, scoring is dependent on the type of league you’re in. The most common ways of scoring are rotisserie and head-to-head. In rotisserie, the teams are ranked according to each respective stat, and the points are based on these rankings. The higher your team ranks in more stats, the higher your score, and vice versa.
On the other hand, a head-to-head league is where the teams are pitted against each other weekly, and your points are based on the statistical categories where you beat the player you’re matched up against each week. Every week matches you up with a different GM until the end of the season when the winner is determined based on who has the most wins.
Throughout the season, it’s also possible to make trades with other GMs in order for some of your other stats to get a boost. Similar to the NBA, it’s essential that the trades you propose will entice other GMs to agree, and in some leagues, it’s also necessary to get the vote of the other GMs before a trade is allowed to push through.
Drafting is the most crucial part in fantasy basketball. If you draft poorly, it’s almost impossible to bounce back since you’ll be at a tremendous disadvantage and the opportunities for viable trades are scarce. There are however some things you could take into account when drafting, which will definitely give you an advantage over other GMs.
Strike Hard at Point Guard
The point guard is perhaps the most important position in the game today. Point guards are no longer expected to just be facilitators and to rack up assists. The best point guards are great floor generals but are also deadly scorers, and the competition at the point guard position is as tight as it’s ever been, with nearly every team having an all-star caliber point guard at their disposal.
Your initial picks should always be invested in a high-quality point guard that can do it all. One of the things to remember when picking points guards is to pick an efficient point guard with a low turnover percentage, as turnovers not only kill real games, but can also kill your fantasy team.
Have an All-Around Player
While some may think that the best way to construct a fantasy team is to just fill the team up with specialists who excel at a particular stat, fantasy GMs should not neglect having a player that can stuff the stat sheet in more than one category. This can provide you with a host of advantages over the other GMs, and is the best way to spend your early picks.
The NBA is now filled with players who do more than what their position demands of them, and the teams with these types of players are often the teams who succeed. The same thing goes for fantasy basketball.
Pay Attention to Sleepers
When drafting players, especially in leagues with many GMs, the all-stars tend to dry up quickly. However, fantasy basketball is more than just having the most star-studded team. In fact, the game changers in fantasy basketball are often those underrated players who are fantasy powerhouses. Remember to take into account players outside the All-NBA and All-Star teams, and to pay attention to those who play for bad teams but nonetheless put up amazing stats every night.
Collect Covetable Assets
In the NBA, and in fantasy basketball, the team you start the season with is not always the team you end it with. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. In the late stages of the draft, when you feel like the players you need have already been taken by other GMs, do the same thing to them and pick players who you feel like other GMs would need. Although these players won’t necessarily contribute to your team at the outset, they can be great trade chips for you to get the players you really need.
Tips for Success
Know the Rules of the League
There are different types of fantasy leagues with varying rules, and these rules must influence the way you build your team. Know the rules of the league you’re playing in before you draft, so that you know which stats you need to focus on.
Some leagues just take into account the basic stats while other leagues like to pay attention to advanced statistics. Use this knowledge to figure out which players excel at the basic stats and which ones are much better at tallying great advanced stats.
Pay Attention to Events in the NBA
The NBA is filled with drama. The numerous storylines that occur throughout a season not only provide for great entertainment, but also play a role in a player’s performance. You could probably expect a player that just got traded by a team that he’s trying to get away from to perform better when he’s in a new environment, for example.
Keep Track of Statistics Religiously
To get ahead of the competition and to know which moves to make in fantasy basketball, you should be keeping track of the statistics of your players and of other players around the league regularly. Having this information will help you make informed decisions such as whether or not you should pick up a player or if there are any possible trade opportunities for a player that could help your team tremendously.