By Jon Loomer

In desperate search of the greatest fantasy players on the planet, the Premier Fantasy Championship is back for a second season. Last year, we considered over 9,000 applications when putting together our field of 30 of the world's finest fantasy hoops minds. The winner became the first ever person inducted into the NBA.com Fantasy Basketball Hall of Fame. That person was Ruey Yen.

While the PFC had the spotlight, 360 people were battling it out in the PFC D-Leagues for a shot at the next (this) season. The winner of each of these 30 leagues would be considered for this year's league. I say "considered" because we also invited back the top four teams from last season. The winning D-League teams with the best records had first dibs, leaving us with a new field of 30. This year's group is again truly international. Countries represented include Australia (three), Belgium (two), Canada, China, Italy, Mexico, Philippines (four), Spain (two), Ukraine, and the United States (14).

How it Works

If you aren't familiar with the PFC, an explanation is in order. How this league works is unique before the season even begins. Each participant will run an NBA team, at least in name. The structure of the league will mimic the actual NBA, being broken down into the Eastern and Western Conferences and then individual divisions consisting of the 30 NBA teams. Each participant will choose a player from that team as their Franchise Player to build around in the seven round PFC draft.

All sounds pretty simple, right? Well, it's more complicated than this. There is strategy involved before the draft even begins. We need to have a "draft" before the draft so that participants can select teams. And although it may seem obvious that you should want the Lakers, Celtics, Suns, Wizards and Cavs in order to snag Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Gilbert Arenas or LeBron James, it's not that simple. I provided everyone a list (based on the NBA.com Cheat Sheet) to consider when deciding the best possible team to select. If they were to become the Celtics so that they could select Kevin Garnett as their Franchise Player, they would get the last pick in the draft (since Garnett is the top rated player). If they were to pick a team and a low-rated player, they would have a better shot at the first overall pick.

Two things to consider here. First, it's a straight draft, not snake. Again, we mimic the NBA, so the team with the first pick in the first round also has the first pick in all rounds. Significant for a 30-team league. Second, there will be elite players to select from early in the first round. Since the owner of the Suns is the only person who has access to Shawn Marion, Steve Nash or Amare Stoudemire as their Franchise Player, only one of those players can be removed from the player pool when the draft begins.

The order of the team draft was determined by last year's performance. The four returning PFC members picked first (in order of finish) followed by the D-League champions in order of winning percentage. When the team draft occurred, the Franchise Players were kept confidential until after the team draft was completed. Thus, you had to make a decision: Do you take a sure thing like Boston and Garnett but settle with the last pick in each round, or do you take a risk and pick a very low rated player in hopes of picking first overall? Each participant had to decide how much they were willing to risk since there was no way of knowing what others would do.

After the draft was complete, I gave all participants a few days to provide me (secretively, of course) their Franchise Player selection. Following is that final list, including the rank of the franchise player they selected and the corresponding draft position it will give them going forward:

Name Team Franchise Rank Draft #
1. Yung-Ruey Yen PHX Amare Stoudemire 9 27
2. Haiwei Wang NOH Morris Peterson 198 4
3. Carlos Arturo Jiménez Aguilar DEN Carmelo Anthony 43 16
4. Keith Wayland CHI Kirk Hinrich 47 15
5. Rogelio Escobedo HOU Yao Ming 15 24
6. Guoliang Xie BOS Paul Pierce 21 22
7. Mike Gonzalez-Mendez LAL Vladimir Radmanovic 221 2
8. Alex Greenberg ORL Dwight Howard 32 19
9. Maarten Mortier CHA Jason Richardson 64 12
10. Alberto Bruno SAS Tim Duncan 17 23
11. Abe Nissim ATL Shelden Williams 271 1
12. Michael Jones WAS Gilbert Arenas 3 30
13. Chris Dirckx IND Jermaine O'Neal 39 17
14. Alexis Beauchamp MEM Rudy Gay 77 10
15. TBD MIA Dwyane Wade 13 25
16. Alain Otaegi CLE LeBron James 4 29
17. Daniel Kay DAL Dirk Nowitzki 8 28
18. Daniel Jefferson DET Chauncey Billups 27 20
19. Eugene Chung SEA Chris Wilcox 127 7
20. David Le UTA Deron Williams 25 21
21. Minsky Lagarde MIL Andrew Bogut 69 11
22. Vlad Semenov POR Channing Frye 220 3
23. Jerson Santiago MIN Ricky Davis 63 13
24. Will Brinson NJN Richard Jefferson 95 8
25. Daniel Natividad NYK Quentin Richardson 158 5
26. Eduardo Ruiz Sanz TOR Jose Calderon 151 6
27. Michael McQuade PHI Andre Iguodala 12 26
28. Matt Stevens GSW Baron Davis 37 18
29. Oliver Walsh SAC Ron Artest 51 14
30. Krispin Koh LAC Chris Kaman 82 9

As you can see, different strategies were taken here. Ruey Yen went with Phoenix as his team and Amare Stoudemire as his franchise player, which netted him the 27th pick in each round. With the very next selection, Haiwei Wang went with the Hornets and Morris Peterson, which meant he'd be picking fourth in each round. Very interesting that we have two very successful PFC veterans leading the draft off with two completely different strategies.

The Draft

As mentioned above, this is a straight draft in which the team with the first pick will pick first in every round. That person is Abe Nissim, who runs the Atlanta Hawks and kept Shelden Williams as his franchise player. He will have free dibs on Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Shawn Marion. The draft will be seven rounds, covering a total of 240 players (after considering Franchise Players), and will be conducted on the Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner's e-mail draft. There is no way to hold a typical live draft with 90 second time limits in a league like this. You would somehow need to come to an agreed upon time for all 30 people, considering that 3:00 pm for one person could be 3:00 am for another. Not gonna happen. With our e-mail draft, we will provide a two hour time limit for each pick. After each selection is made, an e-mail is sent to all league members alerting them of the pick. This will take 10 days or so, and is scheduled to begin on October 15.

Participants also have the ability to trade picks prior to and during the draft. This could get interesting.

General Rules

This is a Head-to-Head league, each category is a win. We are utilizing all eight standard categories (no turnovers). The typical roster will look like this:

PG
SG
SF
PF
C
UTL
Bench
Bench

Rosters lock once a week five minutes prior to each NBA player's team's first game of the period. Waivers run once a week, and we'll again be utilizing an auction system with a $100 waiver pool.

The Firings

If you followed last season, you are well aware of the firings. We will again remove underperforming participants from the league, but with a few tweaks. There will be votes to fire a participant from November 27 - 29 and January 29-31. Unlike last season, there will not be a December firing. Those with a record of under .500 from October 30 - November 26 will be subject to the first vote; those with records under .500 from October 30 - January 28 will be subject to the second vote. This is a departure from last season in two ways: 1) There will only be two firings, and 2) the January firing considers the cumulative record during October through January as opposed to January only.

Votes will also be split among three groups: 1) NBA.com users - 33%, 2) Safe PFC GM's - 33%, and 3) NBA.com Staff - 34%. Results of all individual vote results will not be revealed. Each safe PFC GM will have the same three days to cast their vote. They have the option to abstain. If all GM's were to abstain, the final vote would be determined between the NBA.com users and NBA.com Staff. If there is a tie among any of the three groups, the individuals involved in the tie will split the percentage. For example, if Person A and Person B tie in the NBA.com User poll, each will receive 16.5% of the needed 51% to be fired.

The replacements will be the two top D-League champions remaining from last season. Based on last season's winning percentages, Jason Ng will be the November fired GM replacement, and Tom Oshiro will replace the January fired GM. Ng will only be subject to the January vote based on the performance of his team while under his control.

A New Twist

We always need to spice it up a little, right? Keep it fresh. Last year's PFC Final Four were not only invited to return this season, but they will be invited to return next season as well, regardless of their finish in PFC II. This year's top four will also be invited to participate in PFC III. If the four from the first PFC again round out the top four, they will be the only members to be invited back next season. That means a minimum of four and a maximum of eight members of the PFC II may also participate in the PFC III.

PFC Quick Facts
Global fantasy hoops contest
Thirty participants
Eight-player lineup
Standard eight categories
Head-to-head play
Sixteen teams make the playoffs
Participants subject to firing
Go: PFC Home
View: Draft Results

PFC II Participants
Yung-Ruey Yen - USA
Haiwei Wang - USA
Carlos Arturo Aguilar - Mexico
Keith Wayland - USA
Rogelio Escobedo - USA
Guoliang Xie - China
Mike Gonzalez-Mendez - USA
Alex Greenberg - USA
Maarten Mortier - Belgium
Alberto Bruno - Italy
Abe Nissim - USA
Michael Jones - USA
Chris Dirckx - Belgium
Alexis Beauchamp - Canada
TBD - USA
Alain Otaegi - Spain
Daniel Kay - USA
Daniel Jefferson - USA
Eugene Chung - USA
David Le - Australia
Minsky Lagarde - Philippines
Vlad Semenov - Ukraine
Jerson Santiago - Philippines
Will Brinson - USA
Daniel Natividad - Philippines
Eduardo Ruiz Sanz - Spain
Michael McQuade - USA
Matt Stevens - Australia
Oliver Walsh - Australia
Krispin Koh - Philippines