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This is What You Want!

By Jon Loomer, NBA.com/Fantasy

The Games | Seasonal Games | The Content | The Stats | Get More

Iím like a lot of you out there. Iíve played fantasy basketball for a long time. The one thing I want in life more than anything else is the power of invisibility.

Get it all. The world is yours at NBA.com/Fantasy.
(Mitchell Layton/NBAE/Getty Images)
Wait, that didnít go as planned. Doesnít apply much to the discussion. Letís try this again.

The second thing I want more than anything else in life is to have all of my fantasy basketball tools, games and information all in one place. If Iím setting my lineup on Site A, I donít want to have to go to Site B to check and see if that player is healthy. Or to get the latest news on that playerís health. Or to read an expert opinion on whether I should start or sit him this week. Or to discuss this playerís ďstartabilityĒ in a public message forum. Or to purchase the latest Oprah Book Club recommendation.

Am I thinking aloud here? Point is that I want to be able to get everything all in one place. Itís been my goal to not only provide everything you need to dominate your fantasy leagues, but to make it all the highest quality possible. My friends, I invite you to test the results for yourselves.

The Games

There is no other place that provides a greater selection of fantasy basketball games. Period. If you want a regular season challenge, we have three very different options for the various types of fantasy players.

Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner
In its second year, Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner has come back BIG. The goal for this game from the beginning was to offer every feature and option that any other site offers, but make it 100 percent free. We aim to please.

In the event youíve never played a Commissioner or League Manager game before, the UFC is your typical draft-and-trade fantasy game with your not-so-typical list of free features. Yes, you can join a league with your friends, hold a draft, make trades, and add and drop players. Sure, you can choose from rotisserie, points-based, and three types of head-to-head scoring. And of course you determine the positions that make up a starting and reserve lineup as well as determining values of those categories as necessary.

Those are the basics. You can get the basics for free from a couple of sites out there. Unlike anyone else, however, weíll give you so much more that is either not available or is a premium feature elsewhere. Letís take a look at some of the advanced features of this game:

  • Free Keeper Leagues Ė Play in the same league for consecutive years
  • Fully customizable rosters and scoring categories
  • Co-owner option to share the responsibility of running a team
  • Six waiver types, including weekly auction
  • New community features include Smack Talk, league polls, ability to upload top story photo, and personalized logos
  • Draft options include live online, e-mail, single list auto-pick, and multi-list auto-pick
  • Limit your player pool to a single conference
  • Quick Links for easy access to everything you use
  • Update your leagueís customized constitution
  • Trade draft picks Ė either prior to current draft or future picks in keeper leagues
  • Perform a single trade involving two or more teams
  • Closely follow eligibility status so you will know how close players are from gaining new eligibility
  • Create a player for leagues that draft college, international, or other players not currently in the NBA
  • Commissioner ability to stop or start live draft, as well as make selections for other teams
  • Full commissioner ability to change rules and settings as well as control other rosters
  • Track salaries and contracts for keeper leagues that hold auction drafts
  • Customize position eligibility for your league

Thereís so much more, but only so much space to discuss it. Check it out!

NBA Stock Exchange
This is a new one, and itís like no other game youíve played before. Play the stock market with NBA players in this unique and exciting fantasy game.

Your draft is no longer all about the luck of the draw Ė your draft position. Now, enter a draft room with dozens or hundreds of people who may or may not be in your league. Each round lasts 90 seconds. You heard me right. Not each pick, but each round. Why? Because each player is available to each owner in the draft. That player is limited, however, the way stocks are limited. He can sell out. Donít forget that you also need to stay under a salary cap. Therefore, not everyone will be after the same player based on production. Itís all about maximizing your dollars. Do you take the best possible player in the first round, or do you take the most underpriced player? You decide!

Itís an awesome drafting experience, and I recommend it for any fantasy player. Instead of sitting around for several minutes waiting for your pick, you dive in and make your first pick while everyone else in your draft is doing the same. You have 90 seconds to make that pick. When that time expires, you get a quick 30-second break and then make your second pick. Your draft is done in a matter of 30 minutes or less.

Go ahead. Take them both!
(Tim Heitman/NBAE/Getty Images)
Your lineup behaves much like a typical Commissioner league lineup. You still start PG, SG, G, SF, PF, F, C, FC, UTL and have the luxury of a five-man bench. You still have a positional games limit. After that, itís a completely different game. The market opens every morning at 9:30 a.m. ET (a la the NYSE). At that point, you are able to buy and sell players at will. The biggest key is that player cost is determined entirely by supply and demand and is not necessarily reflected by the playerís fantasy production. It is the fantasy production, of course, that determines your success in the league. Letís say a player opens this morning at 9:30 a.m. and costs $35.00. Two hours later, itís announced that he has a sprained ankle and will miss at least the next two weeks. Immediately, the market reacts, and that playerís value drops while owners begin cutting away. Quite frankly, if you know how to play the stock market, you know how to play NBASE. Likewise, if you know how to play fantasy basketball, this will come naturally to you.

The biggest difference between this and a Commissioner game is the level of fairness. Everyone has the same opportunity to draft a player. Everyone has the same opportunity to add a player (the same player can be owned by multiple teams within a league). However, just like in a draft, a player can be sold out if he saturates the market. More than likely, a player like Kobe Bryant (with rabid fans) will sell regardless of his price. There will come a point when he will no longer be available. If that happens, you need to sit and wait for someone Ė anyone Ė within the NBASE universe to drop him. Even Kobe can be too costly for the biggest fan trying to build a competitive roster. You can also use the same team in multiple leagues, instead of having to draft four or five different teams for four or five different leagues.

As excited as I am about the redesigned Commissioner, NBASE takes a very close second for me. I canít wait for you to see it. In fact, join my league. I challenge you.

Pick One Challenge
Another fan favorite back for its second run is Pick One Challenge. Pick One is perfect for a new fantasy player or someone not willing to commit as much time as may be necessary to succeed at our other two regular season games. The premise is very simple. Pick one player per day that a game is played during the NBA regular season. Earn fantasy points based on the sum of that playerís points, rebounds and assists accrued during the game.

Too easy? There must be a catch? Oh, there is. You can only pick a player once all season long. That means you need to be careful, and there are times when you may want to plan your season carefully. Donít be intimidated, as itís more than possible. There are approximately 150 days in the NBA season, and any fantasy player knows that there are more than 150 players (five per NBA team) worthy of fantasy consideration. There are certainly, however, factors to consider. If a player is a notorious injury risk and is having a hot run, itís probably the perfect time to pick him. You should also pay very close attention to the schedule. There will be days on which only two or three games are played. Although this may not matter early in the season, youíll notice midway through that the best chance at success is by maximizing these days. Reserve the best players for these days and dominate everyone elseís leftover selections.

Oh, and one more thing. Rookies are worth double points. You probably wonít want to pick a rookie early, but will that young gun hit the fabled rookie wall? When do you cash in on those double points? Personally, I found that the second tier rookies were perfect picks for the very end of the season. Not only was I running dry on top players, but this was the time when young players on struggling teams received more minutes.

I encourage you to join my league, Beat the Bad Guy. Last year, I did pretty well and finished in the 99th percentile. This year, Iím winning. You heard me.

Seasonal Games

Like I mentioned in the beginning, every type of fantasy basketball game is here for you. Maybe you donít want the commitment of a full season. Maybe you want another challenge. There are many.

The first is the All-Star Fantasy Challenge. Itís simple. Pick the winners in each event as well as the top scorer in the All-Star Game itself. Do that, and earn a shot at prizes.

Once the regular season is over, fantasy basketball continues. Pick Ďn Roll is a bracket game that allows you to predict each round of the Playoffs through the NBA Finals.

Drive to the Finals presented by AutoTrader.com, however, is a unique daily fantasy game, and the inspiration for Pick One Challenge. Like Pick One, you pick one player per day, earn fantasy points based on that playerís points, rebounds and assists, and you canít pick that player twice. The biggest difference, however, is the strategy. In Pick One, it was all about when to use rookies and injury-prone players, hitting big on light scheduled days, and maximizing match-ups. For Drive to the Finals, the strategy is all about reserving players on the best teams for the Finals. For example, you probably wonít want to use any of the top-seeded teams in the first round, assuming youíll need them in the second and probably future rounds (unless itís last year and the Mavs). You see, with each round, the player pool shrinks. And if you already used a player from that pool, you did yourself a disservice. Plan appropriately, and youíll have a full player pool to pick from late in the Playoffs while everyone else is scraping the bottom of the barrel. Last year, the winner received $25,000 towards the purchase of a car on AutoTrader.com.

Finally, you need a game focused around the NBA Draft. Ladies and gentlemen, let me present you with NBA Draft Pick Ďem. Predict the lottery picks as accurately as possible for a shot at great prizes.

That was exhausting. So many games. So little space.

The Content

As Iíve been saying, you want a site that provides it all. The best games. The best content. The best stats. Oprah. Wait Ė back on track. Everything that a fantasy owner needs and for free.

No better tool for success than good, solid content. The following is what you have in store for this season:

Expert Articles
You will get at least one fantasy article written on a daily basis to help you dominate your fantasy league. Whether youíre playing the Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner, NBA Stock Exchange, Pick One Challenge, or a game on another site, weíll have an article to help you. In addition to my articles and others from NBA.com writers, weíll also have several from RotoWire.com, one of the most respected fantasy content sites on the web.

Fantasy Forums
Want to get some advice from other fantasy players? Post a question on our fantasy forums. Itís a great place for advice, finding a league, or just making friends. Additionally, our forums are home to our daily NBA.com expert blog as well as a fantasy fan blog. Fantasy basketball is made so much fun when you include community.

Information
You need an edge, and it needs to be up to the minute. Thatís why we are also working with RotoWire.com to provide the best Player News, Injury Reports and Depth Charts Ė all updated as news happens. If a player gets hurt, all three of these sources will help you make the best possible fantasy decisions. Which player is second on the depth chart? What is the injury, and how long will the player be out? What are the fantasy implications? Weíre here for you. No reason to go anywhere else.

A Little Fun
As mentioned elsewhere in this Draft Guide, we also feature the NBA Cares Celebrity Fantasy League and the Premier Fantasy Championship. The Celebrity League pits some of entertainmentís biggest names against one another in the name of charity. The PFC is also known as ďThe Worldís Most Exclusive Fantasy CompetitionĒ for a reason. Thirty of the finest fantasy players from across the globe battle it out to the death. Maybe not to the death, but scabs do form. The winner gets inducted into the NBA.com Fantasy Basketball Hall of Fame.

The Stats

What better place to get the stats than from the source, right? Itís our game, our court, and not surprisingly, they are our stats. No better way to analyze trends than through the use of splits. Oh, we have splits. More than a hundred of them. Pre All-Star, Post All-Star, last five games, last 10 games, last five days, last 10 days, individual months, week-to-date, home/road, games won/lost, as a starter/reserve, zero to three-plus days rest, specific days of the week, home or away against certain teams, on and on and onÖ

We donít stop there, of course. You also need the perfect fantasy rating system for your league. That would be the Fantasy Sports Performance Index, also known fondly as the FSPI. The best fantasy player performs well in multiple stats Ė as many as possible. No player is perfect, but the goal is to acquire players with the least flaws possible. Not to mention, those flaws should do minimal damage to your fantasy team. FSPI gives each player a score from 0.0 to 10.0 in each of the standard fantasy categories based on that playerís relation to the average and best fantasy player in that statistic. A 10.0 is the max. That doesnít mean the next best player has a 9.9. If the top player is dominant, the next best player may have an 8.8. And the average score also fluctuates from stat to stat depending on player dominance. Itís also important to remember that averages and totals both have importance when analyzing fantasy value. Although at the end of the day itís all about totals (ok, and FG% and FT%), you canít evaluate a player on totals alone. If Dwyane Wade goes down with an injury after the first week and wonít return for a month, his value will drop to the bottom of the pool if you consider totals alone. Everyone knows he still has value, which is why averages are also considered in the equation. Likewise, however, totals are important since they also reflect a playerís dependability.

In Conclusion

NBA.com/Fantasy is set up perfectly so that you can use this site as your one destination for everything fantasy basketball. As greedy as that sounds, I also understand that people have their preferences. If the best games and content all for free arenít enough for you, Iím still happy as long as youíre playing fantasy basketball somewhere. And if you need the best content, community or stats to help you win somewhere else, come check us out. Weíll keep the light on for ya.

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