Fantasy basketball is, at a high-level, a very simple game.
- Draft a team of NBA players
- Watch as their statistics accumulate over time
- The team with the best aggregated statistics wins
Types of LeaguesThere are as many configurations as there are leagues, but most fantasy NBA games fall into one of the following groups:
- Draft vs. Auction: In a "draft" league, owners simply take turns selecting players. Most leagues tend to use a "snake" draft format - the player who picks first in the first round picks last in the second, etc. In an auction, each team has a budget used to acquire players, and owners fill their teams by "bidding" on individual players.
- Rotisserie vs. Fantasy Points: In Rotisserie scoring, player stats are totaled up, then each team gets points according to its rank in a given category. For example, in an eight-team league, the team in first place in assists would get eight points, the second-place team gets seven, and the last-place team gets one. A "points" league assigns fantasy points to different statistics… a basket might be worth one point, a rebound one point, a turnover -1, etc. Rotisserie scoring is the most commonly-used format. Most fantasy NFL games use fantasy point scoring.
- Head to Head vs. Cumulative Scoring: In a head-to-head league, you compete against a single team for a set period of time - usually a week. Head-to-head leagues typically use fantasy point scoring systems. Cumulative leagues have scoring based on stats accumulated over the entire season - the team in first place when the season ends wins. The head-to-head format is more common in fantasy football.
- Daily vs. Weekly Transactions: This is a particularly important factor to consider in basketball, because game schedules aren't balanced… a given team might play two games one week and five the next. In a weekly transaction league, you could wind up with your five-game guy stuck on the bench while a two-game player enjoys his time off.
The typical default setting for a league hosted on one of the big providers - ESPN.com, Yahoo!, CBS or NBA.com - is a draft-style with rotisserie scoring and daily transactions.
Roster CompositionA typical NBA fantasy roster includes:
- One Point Guard
- One Shooting Guard
- One Guard (Either point or shooting guard)
- One Small Forward
- One Power Forward
- One Forward (Either small or power)
- Two Centers
- One or two Utility players, who can play any position
Trades and WaiversMost leagues allow players to be traded between teams. Some might have a "trade approval" or "trade protest" option to prevent trades that are unbalanced or otherwise unfair.
Players that don't get drafted are considered "free agents" and can be picked up by teams during the season, usually on a first-come, first-served basis.
Fantasy StatisticsThe statistical categories used in most fantasy basketball leagues are:
- Three-pointers Made
- Field Goal Percentage
- Free Throw Percentage
To figure your team's percentage in either category, divide the total number of shots made by the total number of attempts.
Some leagues substitute assist-to-turnover ratio for assists, while others add turnovers, three-point percentage or other categories to the mix.