Fantasy basketball is here.

And you know what, for the first time… it’s hard to identify the best player of the bunch. I know, ESPN and Yahoo and some fantasy basketball helper will tell you that Anthony Davis, James Harden, Giannis Antetokoumnpo, Steph Curry, and others should be on your radar.

But here’s the thing –

It’s not the top stars you should be looking forward to.

It’s the mid-draft you need to check out.

So here are the Top 5 things you need to check out to succeed or have a somewhat respectable fantasy basketball season.


Fantasy basketball vets know this. Points leagues, Head-to-Head leagues and Rotisserie leagues are different animals altogether. Points league relies on the quantity of statistical categories while the latter two depend on quality. Meanwhile, H2H leagues can select a player to the IR list while in rotisserie this could spell early season doom.

I will always pick H2H – regardless of format because you can bench injured guys and wait for them to get healthy and still have the chance to get back in the game. As for daily versus weekly, I think Fantasy GMs with multiple leagues will love mixing up with different formats. It will also give them a bit of breathing room. Just imagine trying to change your lineup inside an office with an automatic block with every website that has the word “game” in it and trying to access your fantasy basketball site with slow and limited mobile internet access.


I am going to be very vague about this. Anywho, you need to be comfortable where you’re picking. In points leagues, I like picking late because you might have a top first pick but your second pick maybe a dud (especially in snake formats). You also need to identify what you need to own. ESPN gives away limited positions so you need to pick players with multiple positions and at the same time, you need to pick the players that would hit a lot of your categories. Yahoo is a bit easier (in one touch you can assign which players to use) but at times it’s kind of buggy. Unlike in previous seasons, a center can hit triples and have mediocre field goal selections. You need to watch this as well.

You also need to set parameters on the players you need to choose. If you will draft a point guard, what will be your ideal attribute? Usually, the first and second-round picks are PG or PF/C. The SG spot is the hardest position to get the best option but this is also the best place to grab a dual-positioned player. The worst thing a fantasy GM could do is select three top players of the same position without any dual attribute.

The fourth to sixth picks can be used to complete your lineup, to check out the best players that your draft has missed out, and to make a lineup flexible. Last season, I got flak for getting the services of Jordan Clarkson in the fourth round in a 20-team league. Sure, I drafted him extremely high… but I also like the fact that he plays a dual position in a team that needed depth in the PG/SG spot. 

Clarkson turned out to be a very integral player in my third-place squad. 

And one other thing – always check the injury history of the player as well as his games played. Anthony Davis is again a top fantasy pick candidate but for years he has been a letdown.


The best use for your free agency is by making it an extension of your bench. With that said, fantasy basketballers need to be on the lookout for potential signees and waiver acquisitions. If your acquisition counter has limits, you need to weigh your options on whether or not to select a fringe player or an injured player and keep him in your lineup. You also need to know if you can select a player to prevent the other teams of using him despite your abundance in that position. I am a fan of fantasy basketball sabotage but you need to disrupt your target without hurting yourself.

You also need to check out players that could give you something. Last season, I had Joe Harris coming in and out of my lineup. He is a good enough player to use and if you drop him, he could still be available in the future.


Like in the previous numbers, you really need to learn everything about your league rules. There are some leagues that veer away from playing the last week of regular season competition because this is usually the time playoff-bound teams rest their stars. You need to identify the possible handcuff options as well as the best possible free agents available. You also need to know which players to cling on up until the end because these players could make or break your squad.

Let me just give you an example. Last season, I have Andre Drummond, LaMarcus Aldridge, Julius Randle and Paul Millsap in my lineup. I played in a 20-man POINTS league and only the top twelve teams advance to the playoffs. I drafted the first three names and then I got Millsap from the waiver wire. Drummond is a C, Millsap is a PF, and Aldridge and Randle are good for both PF and C slots. My league only has six starters (PG, SG, SF, PF, C, UTIL) and I thought that in some ways I lost my chance to play in the finals because I have four studs battling for three slots. Sure, I still ended up in third place… but I would kill to exchange Millsap for an SG or SF but at the same time… am I willing to put him in free agency where he could potentially hurt me?


Lastly, you need to know the controversies that surrounded your fantasy basketball season. If an inactive fantasy player is ruining your road to the playoffs, call him out. If you see a bunch of teams conspiring, try your best to break their alliance. With that said, if you can use a fantasy GM for your bidding, then, by all means, get him. The thing about these leagues is that the League GM is also a Fantasy GM so he’ll probably exploit his power to get whatever he wants so you need a way to draw this to your favor.

In one of my leagues last season, the GMs agreed (I didn’t) to skip the last week of the fantasy season because this is usually the time where the stars rest. However, the teams that faced in the finals could have had a better match if they played this on the last week. For starters, the stars didn’t rest in the final week but instead, they chose to rest when their teams played the non-playoff squads (Giannis is an example of this). Also, the finalist lost the chance of reaping the benefits of Dwyane Wade’s 30-point last hurrah game and more importantly, Russell Westbrook’s 20 points, 20 rebounds, and 20 assists game (I know this isn’t the exact numbers but you get where I’m getting at). It’s understandable for a fantasy team to lose because of real-life DNPs but putting restrictions at the start of the draft is a different story.

So yeah, I am still going to pound on this point because this means some players play 78 games while others 76 games in total.

There you have it. Did I do well?

Did I miss anything?



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