Basketball is one of the most popular fantasy sports there is, rivaling the popularity of baseball and slowly creeping up on football. It only stands to reason that daily fantasy basketball leagues are growing in popularity, too. These are two very different games though, and being good at one doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be good at the other right away. The transition from season long leagues to daily leagues isn’t tough, and we’re here to help you on the way to success.
How to Play
Just like baseball and football, one day basketball leagues use a salary cap structure to allow you to choose your team. You have a set cap, and need to draft all of your players within this cap. And like every other sport, this poses a certain challenge because you can’t just draft whoever you want. Drafting a star like Russell Westbrook means that you will have to make concessions in other places in your lineup. The players that can do this balancing act the best are the ones that have the most long term success. That’s what you should be aiming for.
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Ideally, you want to score as many points as possible with the roster you assemble. Points come from baskets, passes, steals, and assists. At some daily fantasy sports sites, you are docked points when your player commits a turnover.
The Best Way to Win Daily Fantasy Basketball
If you’re playing in a one day league, you are playing to win. And that means you need to draft to win as this is the part of fantasy sports where you have an influence on what happens. It doesn’t matter if it’s a free entry tournament, or there’s thousands of dollars on the line. The goal is to win. To do that, you need to have a solid strategy. Here are the top 5 things to consider if you want to dominate your one day fantasy league.
#1: Is the player worth it? In fantasy NBA leagues, there’s more to scoring points than just baskets. If a player has a big price tag, you need to make sure that you are getting your money’s worth from them. Even then, if money spent in other ways can get you more points in other areas, that’s the better approach. Different positions have different point expectations, so focus your cash where it stands the highest chances of earning you points. In other positions, look for supplemental points through passing, rebounds, steals, and assists. The more points a player can contribute to your score, the more they are worth and the more you should consider spending on them.
#2: Look for consistency Perhaps more so than any other sport, the players in the NBA are consistent. You can see a star hitter in MLB go a couple weeks without a homerun, and you can see a star NFL receiver not make a single completion over a weekend. But, in the NBA, seeing a star underperform for an extended period of time is rare. Everyone has slumps once in a while, but they are not as pronounced here. For this reason, there will be, on average, fewer surprises in your league and consistency is rewarded more heavily.
#3: Measure value Value is a vital concept to master if you want to do well in one day fantasy leagues. Value is basically the amount of points you can get per player versus the amount that you spend on them. It’s an easy thing to explain, and a difficult thing to employ. If you have two players that are projected to contribute similar points to your roster, and one is more expensive, the cheaper player has more value for you. You get the same amount of points, but for less of your salary.
#4: Apply value Measuring the value of a bunch of players is great, but unless you know how to use that effectively to put together a winning team, value means nothing. This is true of any sport, but it doesn’t matter if you use all of your salary, or have $10,000 leftover when you finalize your roster. What wins cash for you is having the most amount of points at the end of the night. Value is just a tool that’s designed to help that goal become easier to realize.
#5: Adjust This is a concept that is ignored by many of the other fantasy expert sites. But, it is an easy thing to understand. LeBron James might have been scoring an average of 28 fantasy points per game, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he will score 28 points in his next game. Perhaps he’s going up against an easier than average team. And maybe a player that’s been scoring 30 points per average that has a heftier price tag is going up against a team with a strong defense where scoring 30–or even 25–points is nearly impossible. James suddenly goes from looking like he’s the inferior player for the night to becoming the best choice. This isn’t something that you would figure out just by looking at your daily fantasy site’s page, even if they do include point projections on their drafting platform. You would need to know the sport and the players well enough to be able to make this call on your own.
Playing in a daily fantasy basketball league is fun, but if your goal is to win money, you need to choose the right stakes level for your expertise to be successful. There are free tournaments, tournaments and leagues that cost a few thousand dollars to enter, and many stakes in between. The higher up you go, the stiffer the competition becomes, but the bigger the payday when you have a winning roster, too. If in doubt, start small and work your way up slowly.
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Remember, fantasy sports of any kind are about having fun. Winning money makes it even more fun. And when you’re able to do this consistently, the combination of daily fantasy sports plus watching the games on TV is enhanced all around.