Yesterday I promised I would update you on how I’m doing in all 4 leagues I’m in this season and so here I am coming to you with Open Arms. Like Journey! Or is it With Arms Wide Open? Creed! Ok, enough of the musical references, sometimes I just can’t help myself. That Arnel is a cute kid but he’s no Steve Perry! Anyhoo! I figure it’s reasonable that you might wonder if I’m actually as good at playing fantasy basketball as I am at dishing out advice and insight. That’s assuming I am actually good at dishing out advice and insight in the first place. Presumptuous!
But seriously folks, since I’m a fantasy basketball writer I try to play in as many leagues as I can but this year I had to limit myself to four due to time constraints. I take all the leagues I play in seriously and don’t like to throw any away, it’s not fair to the other members of the league so I figured I could handle four without being neglectful. To the many readers who invited me into their league before the season started I thank you, I really wish I had the time to do more. As far as the types of leagues I do, I try to mix it up so I can better answer your questions from experience. With that in mind here are the four types of leagues I’m in this year:
1) 14 team ESPN Rotisserie Style Auction League (Private league)
2) 12 team ESPN Rotisserie Style FSWA Experts Auction League (Public league)
3) 14 team Yahoo! H2H Draft League (Private league)
4) 12 team Fantrax Dynasty H2H Points Draft League (Private league)
As you can see, I’m in 4 distinctly different leagues to get the flavor of different formats you guys play. I feel this helps me to understand you better. Like boyfriend-girlfriend, I want to be in touch with your feelings. I care! Sooo, how am I doing 65% through the season? Let’s take a look-gander with some strategy advice thrown in just because.
14 team ESPN Rotisserie Style Auction League.
Team Name: PapaFrogs (This is the only league where I use my private team name, not hecmanhoops)
Current Rank: 2nd place with 80 points, 2 points behind 1st place with 8 games in hand.
Standard 8 categories
11 Active – 4 G/4 F/2 C/ U
82 games cap per active roster spot
Core players: Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki and Goran Dragic were purchased at pretty much full value before I had to start searching for bargains due to spending most of my money on KD. Fortunately, I landed some of my pre-season sleepers on the cheap in Evan Turner, Michael Carter-Williams, Wilson Chandler and Miles Plumlee. I also added some solid veterans like Anderson Varejao, Carlos Boozer and Josh McRoberts for reasonable dollars. Guys I missed on were Greivis Vasquez and Steve Nash but I’m holding onto both, though I may lose Vasquez if Kyle Lowry isn’t dealt this week. I also grabbed Chris Kaman, Tony Wroten and Kelly Olynyk off the wire. Yes, I actually listen to my own advice sometimes!
Strategies to success: First, obviously having KD helps and I targeted him in both auction leagues I took part in this year. Buying him is the easy part, it’s the rest of the auction that you have to be prepared for. You need patience or you’ll end up with a bunch of $1 players and KD. That just isn’t a recipe for success no matter how great KD is. Second, don’t worry about playing from behind if you’re in a games cap league. Pick your spots on when you’re going to start players. If you own a guy like Marcus Thornton, for example, don’t play him just because he’s on your team, keep him benched until an injury occurs and he gets burn or until you see he’s getting hot even in a limited role. The biggest mistake I see owners making in a games cap league is playing guys who are getting no burn. If you’re doing that, you’re just wasting your games. Try to play players only getting quality minutes or sit them until they do. Pick your spots, it’s a long season. Don’t be afraid to play from behind the first 3 months or so. It matters where you end up in April when everything has evened out, not where you are in December or January.
Team Name: hecmanhoops
Current Rank: 2nd place with 68 points, 8 points behind 1st place with 82 games in hand.
Standard 8 categories
10 Active – 1 PG/1 SG/1 SF/1 PF/1 C/1 G/1 F/3 U
82 games cap per active roster spot
About this league: I actually wrote a post on this auction back on October 31, feel free to check it out. This is one half of a 24 team FSWA Experts Fantasy Basketball tournament. The leagues consist of fantasy basketball, um, experts from sites like ESPN, Rotowire, KFFL, FantasyAlarm (formerly Rotoinfo), FantasyTrade411 and other sites. The two leagues are combined using sophisticated software and a $3 calculator purchased from Staples to declare an overall champion. So basically winning your individual league is only half the battle. Last year, I finished second overall out of 24 which kind of blew since I was so close but I think maybe, just maybe I can do one better this year. It’s not going to be easy though since every, um, expert wants this coveted crown on their resume. Me included! It would look nice next to my finalist nomination for the 2013 FSWA Fantasy Basketball Writer of the Year Award. Didn’t win that either. Bah humbug! Whatevs.
Core players: Kevin Durant, Ty Lawson and Monta Ellis were guys I bought at full value before I again had to dip into the bargain bin due to blowing my load mostly on KD. Fortunately, I grabbed Wesley Matthews, Michael Carter-Williams, Evan Turner and Greg Monroe relatively cheap compared to their average draft position and made some nice free agent pick ups along the way in Anderson Varejao, John Henson and J.J. Hickson. Yes, each one of those guys was cut at some point by other teams, most likely due to injuries and the small reserves we are allowed. The league is on the shallow side so usually you can find some decent players floating out there in a pinch. I have cut guys like Enes Kanter and Joe Johnson along the way. I also traded Greg Monroe for Andrew Bogut which on paper sounds kind of silly but I needed the blocks and Monroe’s FT at over 5 FTA per was killing me so off he went.
Strategies to success: As I discussed in my October 31 post, the key to being aggressive or somewhat passive early in an auction is to know how deep your player pool is. In this particular league, the player pool for active players was only 120 players (12 teams times 10 active spots) plus another 36 reserves. That meant I was pretty sure I would have some decent $1-3 players out there to choose from if I was left with little money at the end. Soooo, I blew my wad on KD and relied on my experience and know how in the end game. So far it’s worked out. Let’s see how it goes the rest of the way. I’ll keep you posted! Pray for hecmanhoops. Thanks in advance. Now give me an Amen! Amen.
14 team Yahoo! H2H Draft League
Team Name: hecmanhoops
Current Rank: 1st Place
Standard 9 categories
11 Active – 1 PG/1 SG/2 G/1 SF/1 PF/1 C/2 F/2 U
4 Moves per week cap
Core Players: This is the only league I don’t own Kevin Durant in but I’m still managing first place out of 14. The team’s core is Chris Paul (1st round, I think 6th overall), Nicolas Batum (2nd round), Jeff Teague (Maybe like 4th round), Nikola Vucevic (3rd round), Ryan Anderson (5th round) and Kyle Lowry (maybe like 6th round). I rounded it out with guys like Taj Gibson, Channing Frye, Kyle Korver, Jared Sullinger, Miles Plumlee, Amir Johnson and Gerald Green (FA). I just recently launched Vince Carter for Kelly Olynyk hoping Kelly gets more 2nd half minutes.
Strategies for success: In short, you need healthy players to succeed in H2H. I was actually cruising at 10-0 winning consistently around 7-2 each week. This was due mostly to the team staying healthy but then it got hit with the Chris Paul and Ryan Anderson major injuries and Nikola Vucevic missed a couple of weeks. The result: I’ve been playing short since week 11 and have been sub-par. Moral of the story, you don’t want to sit with too many injured guys for too long or you’re going to most likely lose week to week. If it’s late in the season and you need to make the playoffs but are sitting with dead spots due to injury then I would not hesitate to make some tough cuts. If you don’t make the playoffs and hold onto hurt guys too long then what’s the point? In short, I try to win as many counting stats categories as I can, punt TOV and let FG and FT fall where they may. Having depth in H2H is the key IMO, especially in leagues that let you use daily moves.
12 team Fantrax Dynasty H2H Points Draft League
Team name: Hector Roman (I can’t figure out how to change the team name to hecmanhoops because I’m dumb)
Current Rank: 1st place in Magic Johnson Division
Standard Points League – Too many categories to list including fouls, ejections, etc.
12 Active: 2 PG/2 SG/2 SF/2 PF/2 C/2 U
Core players: Funny story, I drew the 3rd pick overall but the guy with the 2nd pick was hot to trade down so I figured, sure, I’ll take Lebron James and swapped picks with him in exchange for some swapping of picks in later rounds. Well, to my surprise the guy with the first pick took Lebron so I happily took Kevin Durant. I lost Brook Lopez for the year, my bad for counting on his pussy ass. Other players on the team are Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Damian Lillard, Rudy Gay, Wesley Matthews, Jamal Crawford, Joe Johnson and a few others.
Strategies to success: This league is a pure volume league with daily transactions. We have 8 reserves so, again, it’s important to have as many players playing as possible and not sit too long with injured guys. Unless a player is a core player, I won’t hesitate to lose a hurt guy for a marginal player getting minutes. It’s just so hard to win if your opponent gets, say, 10 more active games then you. Moral of the story is don’t leave your bench too short unless you really think you can survive the regular season and get into the playoffs anyway.
That’s it boys and girls. Don’t blame me, blame my Magic 8 Ball. It’s all his fault!