Fantasy Basketball Philosophy – Pre-Draft Pep Talk

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Whether in fantasy or real sports, people are always trying to figure out a magic formula for success.  Before the 1980’s Lakers, defense won championships.  Before the 1990’s Bulls, you had to have a dominant big man to win the championship.  The 2000’s ushered in extreme 3 point shooting volume.  Like everything else, the game evolves over time.  Theories and formulas are debunked.  When a commentator or so-called expert makes an inaccurate prediction, it is dismissed as an exception to the rule or some other lame excuse.

Fantasy basketball changes even greater every single year because there are so many variables at play.  Along with the natural evolution of NBA basketball, some of the ever-changing aspects of the fantasy game include: position shortages and surpluses, team schedules, key injuries, revolving starting opportunities, coaching changes, etc.  What is your point, Alpine?  All I am trying to say is that there is no magic formula!  Each team, whether real or fantasy, is a unique mix of individuals in that moment in time, and they are impossible to duplicate or replicate ever again.  Although there might be commonalities between successful teams, identically reproducing a model of success does not guarantee achievement.

I can read your mind from here, “Alpine, I agree with everything you are saying, but I haven’t learned anything yet.”  Here is the big takeaway.

1.  Draft the best player available.  This is a very tough concept to master.  Team chemistry cannot be forced on draft night.  There are very few occasions where your drafted team would win the fantasy crown.  You can develop team chemistry through trades and pickups.  For example, if your 9th round pick is playing great and can’t grace your lineup, you can deal him for a significant need.  However, if your 9th round pick was just an average position player, no one would be interested in acquiring him.  Things do not have to be perfectly balanced on draft night as long as your team talent level is high.

Helpful Hint:  Take a look at your present draft list.  If you anticipate a few players having about the same value, you can draft according to positional need on draft night.  Occasionally, you will be forced into taking a player based solely on their position.  To avoid that scenario, I believe in finely combing through every pick on my master list one by one.  If I would without a doubt pick someone over another, I’ll move him up my list to reflect my opinion.  Do not worry about last year’s statistics because too much has changed.  If a team has the same coach and same players, you can expect about the same production, but how often does that happen in the NBA unless you are the San Antonio Spurs?  Each year is very unique.  There will always be NBA players that come out of nowhere, but the best fantasy players (YOU!) are a step ahead of the action.  You should anticipate the big surges, draft with the end statistics in mind, and pay attention to details of the fantasy game.

2.  Have faith in your trading ability.  If you have no trading ability, stick with me throughout the season, and I will teach you.

In my previous articles, I have tried to instill that devotion to the fine specifics translates into fantasy basketball success.  That will continue to be my theme because it produces results.  I play in a highly competitive league, and the managers that consistently put in the most time and effort are continually rewarded.  They have turned an awful draft into a playoff team through pure diligence.  If you don’t have that kind of time or drive, I’ll arm you with enough information in order to thrive this season.  I apologize for the college-like lecture, but this game is more sophisticated than people realize.  Next time someone refers to fantasy sports as a waste of time, print this article for them.  Then, challenge them to a test of intellectual superiority.

Topics: Chemistry, Draft, Fantasy Basketball, Kobe Bryant, NBA, Pau Gasol, Philosophy

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