I’d like to start this article off by commending Ryan Knaus at rotoworld for tackling a crucial and misunderstood aspect of fantasy basketball. If you have not read The Numbers Game and The Numbers Game Part 2, set aside 20 minutes, and enjoy yourself. He made this information accessible and easier to understand for everyone. I’m going to expand upon a few ideas that Ryan eloquently illustrated.
Blocks (PF’s and C’s) and assists (PG’s) are the rarest categories because of their high concentration from players with these specialized positions. Therefore, we can assume that anyone who thrives in these categories will receive an elevated ranking on Basketball Monster’s Player Rater. If you have read my work, you know that I love their site and visit it quite regularly. Let’s take a look at the block king, Serge Ibaka. At the conclusion of the 2012-2013 NBA season, Serge ranked #11 overall on the ranking list in a 9 category league. However, when tossing out the block category, Serge ranked a dismal #101. Virtually all of his value was contained in one category. What does this mean, and how can we use this to our advantage? Many people would initially think that they should stock up on players that produce blocks and assists because of the scarcity. I take a rather contrarian approach. I ask, “Why would you waste a 1st or 2nd round pick on a player to basically win one category each week?” To put things in perspective, if Dorell Wright would have averaged 3 blocks per game last year, he would have been ranked #16 overall slightly edging out Russell Westbrook.
I am generally not a fan of punting categories, but a related idea can be implemented with sophistication and fidelity to offer you a significant advantage while trading in your league. I’ll use my present team as an example. My guards and forwards steal the ball very well. I have Bledsoe, Jimmy Buter, Iguodala, Reggie Jackson, Lowry, and Kawhi Leonard. In addition, Anthony Davis provides a nice source of steals from the PF/C slots. Therefore, when hunting a potential trade target, I would want a player that gets hardly any steals because I believe I will win that category 90% of the time anyway. Starting caliber players whose values increase greatly when punting the steals category include Roy Hibbert, Serge Ibaka, Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Love, Carmelo Anthony, Brook Lopez, Jonas Valanciunas, and Tim Duncan. I actually own K-Love and Jonas Valanciunas, so this strategy works in my favor. If I owned a power forward or center that stole the ball frequently like Paul Millsap, Thaddeus Young, Josh Smith, or DeMarcus Cousins, I’d be better off dealing them for a valuable player that does not produce steals such as K-Love because his high value is built upon other statistical categories. If you haven’t read The Fantasy Basketball Trading Bible, Chapter 2, or Chapter 3, try to digest all of the basic trading information. Then, incorporate some of the advanced strategies that I am recommending in articles like this one.
I’ve always loved manipulating numbers. That is one of the reasons I am attracted to fantasy sports. In my next article, we will discuss another strategy that is closely connected to the one mentioned above. I haven’t read anything related to the idea I am going to propose, so I believe it is completely original. Keep coming back your fantasy basketball source (FantasyCPR.com), and let me hear from you at [email protected]