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Thursday November 19, 2009 10:37 pm

NBA Fantasy Basketball Early Season Guide

Posted by Phil Partington Categories: Editorial, Fantasy, NBA,

At this early point of the NBA fantasy season, it’s tough to know what to do. Whether to have a fire sale and completely rearrange a team, whether to make a few bold moves, or whether to sit tight. It all depends on the fantasy owner, but there are some rules of thumb to follow. Here are some suggested approaches to various rotisserie fantasy basketball situations. In some cases, the same might be applied to head-to-head.

Getting Crushed in One, Two, or Three Statistical Categories (“Stat Cats”)

At this point in the season, it’s important not to panic. Remember, it’s a long season and fantasy basketball is a marathon, not a sprint. However, if at this point, your team is getting crushed in one to three stat cats, without possibility of remedy (perhaps a player who might help in that category is due back from an injury soon), it might be prudent to try to balance out the team with a trade.  In head-to-head, balance isn’t as important as it is in rotisserie.

Assess the situation. If your team is dominating in one or two categories, identify players on the team who perform well in those categories and make trade offers to teams who struggle in that stat cat. Be persistent. Trades can be tough to pull off, so don’t give up after one or two tries. Also, ensure your team can afford to be without that player. For instance, if a manager tries to trade Chris Bosh because his rebounding isn’t needed, keep in mind that he also scores points and shoots well from the field. 

Getting Crushed

It’s an easy mistake to panic early in the NBA season if a fantasy team isn’t performing well overall. Keep in mind, however, that with so few games under a team’s belt, fantasy scores can fluctuate daily. It might just be a matter of waiting a day or two. Assess the situation. Are the players simply in a slump? Does your team have an unusual amount of injured players? Are those injured players due back relatively soon? Are those injured players worth keeping? Is the team behind in overall games used? These are factors that can significantly affect a fantasy team’s performance. Have a long-term plan. Don’t bail on players who are struggling just because they are struggling. Do that too often, and the team ends up with lesser valued players. Most of those players will probably heat up at some point. Players who haven’t shown much in the past, and are not in good situations (for instance, Kevin Love may rebound well, but he’s never shown consistent scoring ability, and shot poorly from the field last season). Don’t forget to play the wire. Pick up certain players as they get hot, looking to drop them when they cool off, another player returns from injury, etc. Remember, don’t panic.

Smooth Sailing

Just because things are going well for your fantasy team, doesn’t mean they can’t falter at any point. While these managers are currently in the drivers seat in their leagues, it might be a good opportunity to take advantage of their position. Remember to buy low and sell high. If your fantasy team is doing well, but has a lot of flavors of the month, meaning it has several players who are red hot now, but may fizzle soon, it might be beneficial to trade those players while they still have high value. Such players include Louis Williams, Philadelphia 76ers, who is typically streaky; Carlos Boozer, Utah Jazz, who tends to get injured a lot; Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers, who’s also injury prone; Aaron Brooks, Houston Rockets, who may eventually lose more minutes to Kyle Lowry, and who might be affected when (if) Tracy McGrady ever returns from injury; Erick Dampier, Dallas Mavericks, who is historically inconsistent; Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies, who’s early hot streak is unprecedented; Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum, LA Lakers, whose role will be reduced as Pau Gasol returned from injury; Anthony Randolph, Golden State Warriors, who probably won’t be getting many minutes once Andris Biedrins’ back heals; Channing Frye, Phoenix Suns, who’s taking advantage of Amare Stoudemire struggling; Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey, Detroit Pistons, who are playing well in Richard Hamilton’s absence; and Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers, who may be affected when Troy Murphy returns.



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