Introduction to Fantasy Basketball
Welcome to the glorious world of fantasy basketball. Whether you’re a fantasy first-timer or a grizzled veteran, reading through all of the content in the NBA.com Draft Center was a first good move as you prepare for your fantasy drafts. If you want to play fantasy, research statistics or need strategy advice and information, we got it all.
If you’re a first-timer, introductions are in order. Fantasy First-Timer, meet Fantasy Basketball. Although there are several different types of fantasy games available, all have a common thread. As a fantasy GM, you “own” NBA players and accumulate points based on their real-life performances. Beyond that, there are several variations of fantasy basketball, so let’s jump into the fantasy pool and take a swim.
League Manager vs. Commissioner
League Size and Player Pool
An e-mail draft is similar to a live draft in that it is performed “live” and online, but it occurs during a much longer period of time. Whereas a live draft will last approximately one and a half to two hours, an e-mail draft can take a week or longer. When a team is on the clock, it is sent an e-mail to alert them that their turn is up. That individual then signs into the league to pick their player. The deadline for an e-mail draft is often 24 hours. This draft type is most beneficial to those wanting to draft live, but not being able to coordinate schedules to meet at the same time.
For single and multi-list drafts, the user pre-ranks the players prior to the draft in order of preference and the draft then occurs automatically at a set time based on those rankings. Multi-list drafts allow the user to determine when they’d like to draft particular positions, whereas the single-list draft picks in order of your one list of rankings. The problem with these draft types is that you cannot react to the picks made by other teams and change your strategy mid-draft. In live drafts, you may notice a run on Point Guards, as one after another goes off of the board. Whereas you may have ranked a Power Forward higher, it may be best at this point to take a top Point Guard while they are still available. In a live draft, you can make this adjustment, whereas you cannot in a list draft.
The most common order is a snake draft, where the user with the last pick in the first round receives the first pick in the second round; likewise, the user with the first pick in the first round will receive the last pick in the second round.
The draft is possibly the most exciting part of the fantasy season. A strong is an important part to a team’s success so make sure you’re on top of your game at draft time.
Rotisserie leagues rank each of the teams in the league from first to last in a number of statistical categories. Points are then awarded according to the order of finish in each category, and are totaled to determine an overall score and place. So, the team with the most Blocks in a 10-team league will receive 10 points, the team with the second most will receive nine points, etc. This is the most common type of format used and is the best fit for those interested in a deeper statistical fantasy experience. Strategy abounds as each GM looks to balance their roster, avoiding weaknesses in any categories.
Points-based leagues simply use a number of statistical categories with a point value assigned to each to determine each team's score. The least common of the three scoring formats, Points-Based may be the easiest for newbies to play given your ultimate goal is to score as many points possible, regardless of the method. Whereas in Rotisserie you need to do well in each category, there is no penalty in Points-Based for having a team that doesn’t, for example, rebound.
Head-to-Head leagues award wins and losses per weekly match-ups to each team based on a points-based or rotisserie style scoring system. Head-to-Head leagues are best known for their playoff format, which allows a designated number of teams to advance to the fantasy post-season at a time prior to the end of the NBA regular season. If you’re looking for a format that promotes weekly trash-talk with your competitors, this is the format for you. The one drawback of Head-to-Head is the luck factor: Your wins and losses are significantly impacted by the performance of your opposition for that week. You may have the second best performance in your league for a given week, but if you face off against the team with the best performance, you will still pick up a loss.
Any player eligible to play Point Guard or Shooting Guard can play at the Guard position; same goes for Power Forwards and Small Forwards at Forward. In addition, a Power Forward or Center can play at the Forward/Center position. You are allowed to use any player at the one Utility position. As you can see, there are five bench slots. Those players on your bench will not accumulate fantasy points. Therefore, it is important that you track the hot players so that you constantly have the best combination of players in your starting lineup.
We also offer NBA.com Pick One Challenge, which is the easiest of the games to master and play. Simply pick one player for every day of the season, and earn fantasy points for that player’s performance (points + rebounds + assists). The twist is that you can only use the same player once, so you have to pay close attention to the schedule as well as peaks and valleys of player performance.