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How to Play Fantasy Basketball

December 2, 2019 3793 0
How to Play Fantasy Basketball

Most of us dream about being huge basketball stars, mimicking the lives of our idols on the court. While some fulfill their dreams of playing in the big league, others are not so. In Vietnam, only a few people manage to bring their talents to the court. Basketball players of Vietnam, unlike their US counterparts, rarely make ends meet. Some of them have to work part-time just to make a living, and this the reason why most young basketball talents just resorted to learning about how to play fantasy basketball. 

If you are keen on learning how to play fantasy basketball, read on below. 

What is Fantasy Basketball?

Fantasy basketball involves building a team of players from different basketball leagues. They earn points depending on the real-life stats. The points earned by each player is the determining factor for winners and losers for a particular game, week, or season. To earn points, you have to study each player’s performance on the court. 


Of all the fantasy sports, basketball is the easiest to learn because only a few players undergo drafts in regular formats. 

Know Your Format

The league format is crucial for determining the value of each player. The game is usually scored: 


For the categorical league format, you will get a unit for each time a player in your roster does a contributory activity for a game event. For instance, if your player makes a rebound, then you will get +1 in your rebound category. A comparison with all the other team’s rebound total will occur before awarding the points. Say, if there are ten teams in your league, then the team with the best performance in that particular category (in this case, rebounds) gets 10 points. Then the second-best team gets 9 points, and so on until the worst-performing team gets 1 point. The team standings depend on the total of points in all categories. 


This type of scoring means that you are playing against another league member each week. This means that you can either win or lose. A tie may happen if the commissioner deems necessary. The weekly wins and losses are used to identify who will make it tot he playoffs – just like in real basketball. Winners are often those that have impressive stats in points, assists, rebounds, steals, etc.) Say your team has 400 points, 150 rebounds, 200 assists. You compare it with another league member’s team points of 450 points, 100 rebounds, and 150 assists. In this case, your team wins in two categories. 

Head-to-Head Points

This point system is not very different from the Head-to-Head method. However, the winner is determined by who has the most fantasy points in total depending on the preset value of each stat. In most cases, these values apply: 

  • Points (+1)
  • Rebounds (+1.2 or 1.25)
  • Assists (+1.5)
  • Steals/Blocks (+3)
  • Turnovers (-1)

So for this point method, you have to know how your commissioner will assign values. 


This is the most straightforward of all since the team with the most points (based on the scoring system given above). In most cases, points leagues present a weekly lineup that shows the teams with the most number of points. 

While there are subtle differences in the four league formats, the scoring is quite significant when it comes to building player’s fantasy stats. 


Season-Long Leagues vs. Keeper Leagues

Some fantasy basketball leagues end when the season ends. Others extend for several years and let you keep your players from season to season (Keeper Leagues). 

A Dynasty League is also a thing in fantasy basketball. While it has similarities with Keeper leagues, Dynasty leagues usually allow you to hold on to your players for an unlimited period and sometimes allow you even to acquire high school and college basketball players.

You have to know which one you are playing on, so you can adjust your strategy mainly during the draft. In a typical Season-Long league, you should only take into account your player’s existing season. However, for a Keeper’s league, you still have to consider their future production. For this, you have to draft a developing player more than a much older and experienced one. 

Preparing for Standard Drafts

Now that you have an idea of your format, you have to now learn how to prepare for standard drafts. For this, it is important to note how many players you can have for each position, as this will affect your drafting strategy. The same is true for bench slots. For instance, in an ESPN Head-to-Head Categorical league format, you can have one player each for the point guard, guard, shooting guard, power forward, forward, small forward, and two centers. You also get two utility and three bench spots. However, some leagues may have different rulings, such as allowing only one player for all the traditional positions and the utility and bench. Confirm with your league commissioner. 

Preparing for Auction Drafts

Unlike standards drafts that follow a snake format, wherein the owner that gets the first pick in Round 1 gets the last pick for Round 2, auction drafts allow each owner to get a set amount of money that they can spend on players. Auctioned players undergo a bidding process. The ultimate goal is to build the best team using all the money allotted. This type of auction is often challenging for beginners, so it might be best to stay away from it in the meantime. But, make sure to learn it later on as it can allow you to mimic real-life team management. 

Trading in Fantasy Basketball

As you learn how to play fantasy basketball, you also have to consider the trading part of this addictive game. In trading, you will work with a different team to trade your assets to improve your team’s performance in the league. Often, it might be necessary to trade if you want to balance your team. For instance, your team dominates three of seven categories. It might be best to undergo a trade to strengthen your remaining four categories or some part of it.

Building a Dream Team

They used to say that it is impossible ever to build a dream team. But, for fantasy basketball, everything is possible. Play fantasy basketball now and build your dream team. 


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