From the backrooms of bars to your buddies’ living room, fantasy draft sports are going strong. Every year it seems another friend of yours has become obsessed, spending more time on their phone checking their stats than watching the game. What started as a niche hobby has spread all over the world and isn’t slowing down. Drafting the best fantasy team possible, just to stick it to your buddies, is a fantastic feeling.
Fantasy sports have truly taken on a life of their own, with over 60 million participants across the US and Canada alone. In Europe, you’ll find that football fans are obsessive about fantasy football. In the US, fantasy basketball has an equally dedicated following.
Dedicated fans spend hours putting together their team, predicting which players will perform the best, and trying to weigh the matchups before game day. If you’re going to compete in this arena, you’re going to need some tips for putting together the best fantasy basketball team you can.
Tips for Best Fantasy Team
The Most Important Pick is the First One
Simplicity is key to winning big in fantasy sports. Your strategy early on should be to get the best player available upfront. Everyone is going to pick a top-ranked player first, so make sure that you have your ideal player in mind and some backups ready.
It can certainly be a challenge to deduce who would be best for your team, as every player has a different skill set, but overall always consider value first and take the best player available. Don’t overthink it trying to outsmart your competition at this point. Consider the long term value of the prospects in front of you.
The basketball season is a lot longer than football. Keep this in mind when your team has a bad week. Players can have off games or nagging injuries, but in the end, they are rated appropriately for their skill level.
We’ve all been there, constantly over-analyzing our team’s performance for the week, watching as our competitors climb the ranks ahead of us. Too much analytics can get in the way of a solid team structure. If you did the proper research and felt confident with your team after the draft, don’t jump to making changes based on one poor performance.
Don’t Forget Veteran Players
The keyword here is value. Like most sports, the NBA world is obsessed with the young and flashy prospects, and the all-stars of the league. There is a lot of value in the overlooked veteran players that can be picked up cheaply. These are players who are consistent. Throughout the season, they will guarantee you a certain amount of points per game. Over time this adds up. Every once in awhile, they will have a breakout game and remind the NBA what they’re capable of. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking veterans.
Great Players on Bad Teams Can Still Help
In the same mindset, don’t forget about the talented players that ended up getting traded to poor teams. When your competition is scanning the league looking for the best players to draft, they first go to the top teams. There are many valuable players who you don’t hear as much about because their teams aren’t the best around. Keep this in mind and look for the value in the lower echelons of the NBA.
Beware of the Rookie Wall and the Sophomore Slump
The NBA is an entirely different world, and every year we are reminded of this fact. Some of the top college prospects end up coming into the league and getting decimated by the veterans. For many young athletes, there is a transitional period where they learn to play at the NBA level. This can be frustrating if you took a gamble on a young prospect, but by the end of the season they might end up being the standout player you hoped for.
On the other side of things is the dreaded sophomore slump. Players that were phenomenal in their rookie year come back and just fall flat in their second season. The league is unpredictable, so don’t base your entire offense around one young and unproven player… this is a classic mistake.
Overall, if you follow these easy tips when you are strategizing and planning your team out, you have a great chance of coming out ahead in your fantasy league.
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