One more day and the season is finally starting! For fantasy junkies like you and I, it’s probably going to be the only thing you’re going to talk about to your friends, girlfriends/boyfriends and family members. The fantasy season lasts for a little bit over 5 months but it goes by in a flash. Every single day matters and the slightest win could potentially help you win your league. Here’s a list of tips and tricks that you should keep in mind of during the season for you to win.
1. Sub your players
This may be obvious but it still happens and I can’t stress this enough! Set an alarm or something for every Sunday to sub your players for the entire week. Yahoo!’s integrated a “Start Active Players” button a couple of years ago and there’s no excuse why people would have players on their bench on game night. Unless you’re trying to win in some percentages or turnovers, you should always sub your players.
2. Every little bit matters
This is more specifically targeted to H2H leagues where there’s no game limits. You’re trying to make playoffs and every little win in each category counts. If you have the chance to win 8-1 to 9-0 by benching your players to win in turnovers, I would do it. Not because 9-0 looks cool but because that extra win could help you have a better seed or just barely make the playoffs. In contrast to that, if you have a feeling of getting blown out 2-7 or 1-8, why not try and play the players that have good percentages. This could help you win in FG%, FT% and turnovers. It looks ugly, but in the long run, a 3-6 loss could potentially save you from bouncing out of the playoffs. Trust me, I’ve had some sort of personal experience going through this stuff. So like I said, every little bit matters.
3. Keep up to date with player news
You need to be up-to-date with the news on players. If a player receives a suspension or unfortunately gets injured and would need to miss a chunk of games, typically there would be a player to gain from that situation. The person who reacts the quickest could be the biggest winner out of the situation. You could download some apps like Rotoworld or follow fantasy basketball relevant twitter accounts like Basketball Monster or Hashtag Basketball. You could set push notifications to your phone so you can get live notifications. It’s a lot of spam but that’s the cost you might want to pay.
4. Keep an eye on the Waiver Wire
This point is linked with my previous point. Typically bench players who have no fantasy value are on the waiver wire but if an injury on their team occurs, the understudy would need to be called on to the stage to replace the injured player. That means a bench/role player who averages 8-15 minutes per game suddenly increases to maybe nearly 30 minutes per game and could bring in some short term fantasy value for your team. For example, Darren Collison is suspended for 8 games to start the season. Now there’s news for Ty Lawson playing 30-40 minutes per game. That’s 2 weeks worth of Ty Lawson that you could gain something from.
Apart from that, there are usually some gems at the start of the season where every fantasy basketball site couldn’t predict. These players are usually like looking for needles in a haystack and would usually take a game or two for them to surface. If you find them, they could prove useful for your team. You can use them for as a trade chip or just solid contributions. I found Kent Bazemore and Marvin Williams on my team last year and they really helped me out.
5. Count how many games you have each week
If you play in a league where you change your line up on a weekly basis then this is extra crucial. For example, if player A averages 15 points per game but only has 2 games, and player B averages 10 points per game but has 4 games that week, you should probably start player B right? Obviously, you don’t only take points into consideration but you get the gist.
If you can change your line up on a daily basis then you should probably count the games you have and the team your playing at the start of the week. More games = more stats so you would want to have more games than your opposition. Which brings me to my next point.
6. Stream your players
If you have an extra spot on your roster for a free agent, you might want to consider streaming that spot. What that means is you use that spot to pick up a player who has the most games played during that week. They may not have much fantasy value but because they have more games that week, their contribution could be more than other free agents. For example, on opening week Spurs is one of the team that plays the most with four games. That means you could have Patty Mills or Kyle Anderson for four games worth of stats for this week. You’re maximising your games so you can have more games than your opposition which could potentially increase your chance of winning a category.
7. Buy Low/Sell High
Throughout the season, players are going to have their highs and lows, meaning that fluctuation could boost or drop their value. If a player is going through a cold stretch and you’re expecting them to bounce back, you could low-ball the owner with a trade that won’t cost you a lot to see if they still have the patience of waiting for the get hot. An example of this was Victor Oladipo when he was in the doghouse of Scott Skiles last year. He was on the bench for a couple of months and really tested an owner’s patience. You may want to be careful of who you have an eye on because that cold stretch might last for an entire season (e.g. 2015-16 Danny Green). Vice versa, if you have a player who’s been really hot and you don’t think it’ll last, you could offer him up to trade while their value is at their highest. You could gain maximum return for their value before it diminishes.
The season’s starting in a day and many players are going to be shaking off the rust since preseason isn’t really competitive. They could be under performing and some owners have a habit of making an impulse decision of selling them while their value is low. I’m saying be patient and wait it out for a bit. It’s especially tricky to make the judgement call since there are many players in new situations this season. You could always ask me on Twitter or anybody else you trust for some advice.
8. Take advantage of your IL spot
If your league has an IL spot, take advantage of it while it’s there. If you don’t have any injuries on your team, take a look at the free agent pool to see if there are any. Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton or Ben Simmons to name a few are examples of injured players right now. The chance of them returning this season isn’t high but why the heck not just stash them for a bit if you are lucky enough to not have any injuries for the season. It’s a free extra player slot on your roster and you’re keeping this player away from other owners who could stash them as well.
9. Be aware of the fantasy playoff schedule
When you’re about two and a half months in to your season, you might want to take a look at how your team is doing and whether you’ll make it to the playoffs or not. For example, if you’re comfortably sitting up top in your league, you could trade for an injured player who’s out for a bit by low balling the owner. Since you could take a hit in the short term, when they return your team could be stronger for a playoff run.
Also take a look at whether your players have an ideal playoff schedule. You could take a look at the schedule grid on many sites that I’ll mention later on. Again, the point of this is to maximise your games during the playoff run. If you’re playing until week 23 of the regular season, a team like Brooklyn and Milwaukee has 12 games during the playoffs whilst Orlando and Oklahoma City only has 10 games. You could look for some trades or stream players that have good schedule to help you have more games
10. Use the free tools provided by fantasy basketball websites
Lastly, you have many sites on the interweb that provides free tools for you to help make better decisions for your team. It’s free! You have team analysers that could look at your strengths and weaknesses of your team, schedule grids and waiver wire recommendations to name a few. You can check it out on Reddit by clicking here.
You could always ask me questions on Twitter if you’re stuck and I wish you all the best of luck! Stay tuned here once the season starts for more content!