Part I: The Basics

By Jon Loomer

Part I | Part II | Part III | | START YOUR LEAGUE NOW!

It seems as though we've been telling you about this game for months. And now, it is here.

Welcome to the wonderful world of fantasy. Whether you've played before or not, our new Commissioner game is the ultimate fantasy experience. Classic draft-and-trade game with more customizable features than you would ever need. And it's free.

This game has some serious depth. And in order to explain the layers of this game, we could have a five-part series. I'll keep it as short as possible. We'll keep it to three parts.

The Basics
Commissioner Highlights
Free Keeper Leagues
Trade Draft Picks
Co-Owner Option
Execute a trade involving more than two teams
Full Commissioner Control
Track contracts and salaries
Auction waiver option
Customizable position eligibility
Create a Player option
Fully Customizable Rosters and Scoring
Five draft types including Live and E-mail
Rotisserie, Points-Based or Head-to-Head

If you're a newbie, let's break it down. You join a league with friends or strangers. Typically 10 or 12 people. Prior to the start of the season, you hold a draft to determine which teams own which players. Each player can only be owned by one team, though the owner of that player can choose to drop or trade him at any time. The standard lineup starts players at the following positions: PG, SG, G, GF, SF, PF, F, FC, C, UTIL. Different players are eligible at different positions, so you cannot for example start Shaq at PG because he has never played that position. The "G" position is a hybrid for either point guards or shooting guards; "F" for small forwards or power forwards; "GF" for shooting guards or small forwards; "FC" for power forwards or centers.

Your players only accumulate fantasy points when they are in your starting lineup. You can adjust your starting lineup throughout the season at designated times, depending on your league rules. The fantasy points your players score depends on your scoring system. The standard league uses the following statistical categories: Field Goal Percentage, Free Throw Percentage, Points, Rebounds, Assists, Steals, Blocks and 3-Pointers. When your players accumulate these stats in real life, they accumulate stats for you -- assuming they are in your starting lineup.

Public or Private Leagues

If you like power, you can create a league and have full control of league rules and settings. You can adjust scoring system, categories used, lineups, number of teams, player universe, draft type, waiver type, trade review, and much, much more. Once you set up the league, you invite your friends and battle to the death.

If you like the power but not the complexity of worrying about details, we have a private standard league option. Default settings for league size, waiver type, roster positions, scoring categories and general rules. You can also create keeper leagues, which we'll get to later.

If you don't have a group of friends interested in creating a league and you still want to play, join or create a public league. If you're creating a league, call it something specific so that people with like interests will want to join. Likewise, if you simply want to join a league, look for one called "Bucks Fans" if your loyalties lie there. Or join one randomly. Your choice.

Whether it's private standard or public, your league will be eligible for prizes. Since settings are essentially identical (outside of a couple of minor quirks), we can compare the performance of one league to another across all private standard and public leagues. For other games, you'll find prizes offered to the top individual, but that is impossible to do for this type of game given that one person's performance depends largely on the strength of their league. Instead, we will find the league with the most fantasy points in each scoring system (five total) across private standard and public leagues. The winner of that league will be the grand prize winner, second place gets -- well, second place -- and all other league members (even the last place team) will get a runner-up prize. In the end, all teams contributed to your league's success.

The Standard Settings

League Size: 10 Teams
Player Pool: All NBA Teams
Starting Positions: PG, SG, G, GF, SF, PF, F, FC, UTIL (one at each position)
Bench Positions: Five from any position
Transactions Frequency: Daily for Points-Based or Roto; Weekly every Monday for H2H; no maximum
Rosters Lock: Five minutes prior to first game for each player of that period (weekly or daily)
Waiver System: Waiver Priority List
Waivers: No waiver deadline; on waivers for two days prior to becoming a free agent
Trade Review: Reviewed and approved/vetoed by owners (six votes needed for a veto)
Can't Cut List: Utilize list managed by NBA.com
Scoring Categories (H2H Points or Points-Based): Points, Rebounds, Assists, Steals, Blocks, 3-Pointers
Scoring Categories (Rotisserie or H2H Categories): Same as above plus FG% and FT%
Playoffs (H2H): Four teams advancing

Scoring Systems

Different leagues prefer different competitions. Therefore, we've established five different scoring options to choose from.

Rotisserie: Each team earns points based on their ranking in each category compared to the rest of the league. If your team is first in Rebounds year-to-date in a 10-team league, you get a 10 for that category. If you have the least rebounds, you get a 1. The sum of all category scores gives you your total fantasy points. Most total fantasy points at the end of the season equals first place and a championship. The key to a Roto league is balance. You want to be as good as possible in each category without having any glaring weaknesses. If you get a 1 in any category, that greatly affects your ability to win the league.

Points-Based: Players accumulate fantasy points based on weighted values for each statistical category. Categorical values in a standard private or public league are as follows:

3-Pointers Made = 5
Assists = 2
Blocked Shots = 5
Points Scored = .5
Steals = 5
Total Rebounds = 1

So, if your starting point guard goes out and scores 10 points with 5 assists, 0 blocks, 2 steals, 3 rebounds, and a 3-pointer, that is worth 33 fantasy points to your team. Balance isn't as necessary here since you're more concerned about scoring the most fantasy points, however you can get them. Team with the most fantasy points at the end of the season is the champion.

Head-to-Head (Most Points is a Win): Same scoring as with Points-Based but you play against one team in your league per week. League is separated into two different divisions (can use more in larger, non-standard leagues) and the team in each week's match-up earns a win. Two weeks from the end of the season, the two division winners and two teams with next best records will face off in the playoffs. The playoff winner is the league champion.

Head-to-Head (Most Categories is a Win): A rotisserie version of H2H. In your weekly match-up, the goal is to beat your opposition in the most categories. The team with the most categories in each weekly match-up earns a win. Balance is not important since the goal is to win the most categories each week -- you do not get bonus points for shutting out the opposition as opposed to winning five categories. Playoff system for all H2H leagues.

Head-to-Head (Each Category is a Win): Only difference between this and the system above is that you get one point for each category you win. Therefore, balance again is important. If you shutout the opposition for a week, you earn eight points.

This is the end of Part I.

Part I | Part II | Part III | | START YOUR LEAGUE NOW!