This was my first year participating in fantasy leagues for any sport, ever. I did fantasy baseball, and finished in about the middle of the pack. I'm doing fantasy football, and I'd really rather not talk about that (though I do currently sit in second place in the pick 'em league set up by Tremendous Upside Potential).
And so I decided to go ahead and give fantasy basketball a chance. TUP set up a league, and I joined. I watch professional basketball, and I know many of the players by name and sight (and not just the big guys). I know the game pretty well, and I would describe myself as whatever is a step or two up from "casual fan," but below "obsessive-to-the-point-of-buying-a-Fathead fan." But, I still didn't exactly know the best strategy when it came to our draft. No matter. I just went with what I thought worked in the beginning, and then took what I could get in the later rounds.
We have twelve teams, including teams managed by Depressed Fan and SML, among others. Five categories are used: points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. The league is head-to-head, on a weekly basis. So, each week a team has the potential to go 5-0, 0-5, or anything in between.
Here's who I drafted (I don't remember the order, and I'm not going to try to find that): Tim Duncan, Carmelo Anthony, Marcus Camby, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Chris Kaman, Stephon Marbury, Erick Dampier, Al Harrington and Peja Stojakovic.
Early on, I dropped Erick Dampier, and replaced him with Brendan Haywood. I dropped Stephon Marbury the day before he went crazy and left the Knicks when he wasn't getting enough playing time. I added Jamaal Tinsley in his place. Those are the only two moves I've made, and we are now in week five of the competition.
Now you're probably wondering how this team is doing. Well, I'll tell you. Pretty damn good. In fact, I have lost in only one category over the first four weeks (the assists category in week two). Every other week, I have gone 5-0, and it looks promising this week as well, since I think my competitor might have given up on his team, what with plenty of positions being open while his players sit on the bench because he hasn't moved them. And I haven't just squeaked by, either. In most categories every week, I just flat-out dominate.
It helps that on my team I have three members of the defending World Champion San Antonio Spurs, who just bring it with the fundamentals game after game. I also have the guy fifth in the league for ppg (Carmelo Anthony), another guy third on the list for rpg (Chris Kaman), and the guys who are second and fifth in the league in blocks per game (Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman, respectively). Hell, Jamaal Tinsley, who I had never heard of until I needed to replace Marbury, is sixth in the league in apg.
So, after this week I should be 24-1, but I'll be getting a big dose of reality, since I am heading into a much-anticipated (by me, anyway) match-up with Depressed Fan. We've tangled in the baseball world, what with our respective love of rival teams, and now we meet again in basketball, and I don't think I have to tell you all that honor is most assuredly at stake here.
And now we run into the problem of the NBA, at least when it comes to fantasy. Unlike MLB teams, NBA teams do not play everyday. In fact, you'll be lucky if any one team plays four times in a week. Certain match-ups in fantasy basketball can be directly affected by this; if your guys aren't playing, they can't get stats. And, if your competitor happens to have players who have more games that week, there's not a whole lot you can do. I mean, it doesn't make sense to drop guys just because other players who are inferior might be playing more games, right? I like my team, and I want to keep it the way it is.
Starting on Monday, I have 25 players going for me during the week. I'd be willing to bet that's my lowest total so far this season, and it comes at a bad time, since Depressed Fan currently sits in third place in the league. And he, conversely, has 35 players to work with in the same week. Ten more players going against my guys cannot help my stats in any way, so, barring unworldly performances by many of these players for several games, I'll be lucky to come out of the week winning even one category (if we had gone head-to-head last week instead of next week, I would have come out of the bloodbath 4-1; fate is a cruel mistress). At the end of the next week, I will probably see my record go to 24-6, while Depressed Fan moves to 25-5 (assuming he finishes this week where he is right now, ahead in all categories, and then sweeps me). This, my friends, could be a tough week in the Blue Thoughts household. I'll keep you updated (beginning Monday) as the week progresses. Place your bets now.
There will be a rematch in Week 17. I only hope it won't be too late.
UPDATE: I was wrong. Depressed Fan is actually down 5-0 this week, going into play on Saturday and Sunday. So, there is still a chance that, even if he sweeps me next week, I'll still be in good shape when all is said and done. Keep your fingers crossed.
AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 12/03/2007 08:59:18 AM
I've been a very successful Fantasy Basketball player in the past but I've had to give it up because the Yahoo! site isn't accessible here at work. That being said, here are my keys to success:
1) You have to know what the strenghts and weaknesses are of your team. In head to head matchups you only need enough rebounding to beat your opponent, so it doesn't make sense to have three guys averaging 15 boards a game on your team unless they are also averaging 20 points a game.
2) Check the waiver wire every day and check out all the box scores. Almost every player in the NBA can score 20 points a night if given the chance. So, keep an eye on injuries and who the replacements are...then pick them up.
3) Depth, depth, depth. This is going to be important going down the stretch as teams, and players, start to tank.
DATE: 12/03/2007 11:43:30 AM
Thanks for the advice, Jack. I've already resolved myself to getting my ass kicked this week, because there's just not a whole lot I can do about it. My team has been dominant in all categories, so I have to dance with the one who brought me. I can't drop people just because there aren't very many games this week. Next week will be better. That's what I keep telling myself.
DATE: 12/03/2007 12:01:08 PM
I wound up losing 2-3, mostly because of games played. I think your run in first is safe from me, but the GM may catch you.
AUTHOR: Jack Cobra
DATE: 12/03/2007 12:13:05 PM
Yeah, I'm against dropping players just because you have guys playing less games that week. I think it's good to stay with a consistent lineup. I meant more of later in the season when guys are getting hurt. If you watch the boxscores you can pick out the players that are taking their spot and pick them up early. If your players aren't injured....you're in really good shape
Ron Cey, Fleetwood Mac and a Lamp
15 hours ago