How to play fantasy basketball

by Justin "Fensty" Fensterman on October 9, 2012 @ 00:04:31 PDT


Are you new to the world of fantasy basketball? If so, you have come to the right place as this feature is designed to give you a 10,000-foot view of the sport and help you understand what you are getting yourself into before you head into your fantasy basketball draft.

Kobe Bryant, LakersAs in any fantasy sport, you should not make a commitment to a player or draft strategy until very close to your draft. You must stay open minded because depth charts will continue to change throughout preseason. This is just the beginning of your conquest to win a fantasy basketball championship.

Before we talk about draft strategies, we must look at fantasy basketball as a whole.

To win in a fantasy sport, naturally you need to know about the fantasy sport.

Fantasy basketball game play

The first rule we always preach at KFFL is that YOU NEED TO KNOW your league's scoring system. Different scoring systems make different sets of players more or less valuable, so you need to be 100 percent confident you understand the ins and outs of your league's setup before going into your draft - or even putting together your fantasy basketball rankings for the season.

The majority of fantasy basketball leagues play a head-to-head format per week, pitting your team's statistical production against that of an opponent.

Standard scoring would be gaining points by winning categories. A standard league's scoring includes:

  • Points
  • Rebounds
  • Assists
  • Blocks
  • Steals
  • Turnovers
  • Field goal percentage
  • Free throw percentage
  • Three pointers

Those nine scoring categories are typically what you will find in most standard fantasy basketball leagues.

In some leagues, fantasy basketball players choose to include three-point percentage and divide up the rebounds into two categories: Offensive and defensive rebounds.

The object of the game is to win more of the categories than your opponent per week.

In standard leagues, depending how much you win by, your weekly results will put the categories you won per week in the win column, the ones you lost per week in the loss column, and a third and final tied categories column. Ties, of course, are more valuable than loses. Your totals will determine your standing.

Fantasy basketball playoffs

Head-to-head leagues tend two include three weeks of playoffs for the top six or eight teams depending on league format and size.

Fantasy basketball lineups

The standard positional lineup in fantasy basketball leagues tend to feature three guard spots, three forward spots, two center spots and one or two utility spots.

You would start a point guard, a shooting guard, a small forward, a power forward and two centers. The third guard and forward spots are universal "flex" spots, meaning you can start any kind of guard or forward.

Your utility spot is an additional starting spot that you can start any player from any position in. You are given bench spots and possibly an Injured Reserve spot as well to stash additional players. The size of your bench and/or Injured Reserve will depend largely upon your league's number of teams. The smaller the league and the smaller the bench leads to more attractive options always being available in your league's waiver wire pool.

General fantasy basketball strategy

Knowing this information, you have to prepare yourself to draft certain players who can fulfill certain needs. Unlike in other fantasy sports when you can continuously draft the overall best available players available during the first handful of rounds, in fantasy basketball, you need to draft a balanced team.

Players who provide blocks and rebounds are just as important as players who provide points and assists. Do not always draft the guy averaging 25 points per game because you can find plenty of scorers on the waiver wire.

You need to build a foundation, and drafting a balanced lineup will provide the security and depth your team needs in order to win a championship. That is why we play!

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About Justin "Fensty" Fensterman

Fensterman covers fantasy basketball for KFFL and joined the team in 2012. He is a Sports Radio Producer on SiriusXM's Fantasy Sports Radio channel, the first channel dedicated solely to fantasy sports. An avid fantasy basketball player, Fensty's biggest accomplishment in the fantasy sports world was in 2004 when he had an undefeated season in a Yahoo! Sports Fantasy NBA league and was ranked in the top 30 among all players in the world.

A native from Oyster Bay, NY, Fensty left New York to study Broadcast Journalism at American University in Washington D.C. in 2005. Fensty has previously worked for MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, NBC Sports, Fox Sports, MTV and News 12: Long Island.

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