Fantasy Sports Madness contacted me about its fantasy college basketball game that takes shape during the NCAA Tournament. The game is called "March Madness One and Done." For complete rules on the game, check out the previous link.
The game is a pretty simple idea. You pick a new team of players for each weekend of the NCAA Tournament (rounds one and two in the first weekend, rounds three and four in the second weekend, and the Final Four in the final weekend). The catch is, once you've picked a player for one weekend, you cannot use him again.
Instead of picking the best players, you have to work in strategy in order to figure out when to use the best players to maximize your roster.
Before I continue on how to final this fantasy college basketball game...
Quick Shameless Plug: If you sign up for the game, I receive a portion of the entry fee if and only if you reference Bleacher Report or my name in the "how I heard about Fantasy Sports Madness" space. If you play the version with the registration fee, you can win a 42-inch HD LCD TV. If you register before March 1, you receive five dollars off the registration fee.
Now that I got that out of the way, it's time to talk strategy. This will be a three-part series of how to win March Madness One and Done. Today, I will focus on what to do in the first round.
When picking your team, you must consider what teams have the best chance to play two games in the weekend, but have a poor chance to make it out of the first weekend.
a) The best way to maximize your future rosters is to figure out which teams are a lock to win the opening round, but lose in the second round. This way you have 16 teams' worth of players to pick from for round two.
For the most part, you are going to want to pick a team composed entirely of players from that group of teams you deem to be locks to win on Thursday or Friday, but lose over of the weekend.
Your most likely targets will come teams seed five through 10. Players from teams seeded as a six or seven are ideal, as a first round win is very likely, but a second round victory is unlikely. If you select a player from a nine or 10, you have be to very confident that the team will pull an upset, or that player must be an outstanding producer.
Some players from teams that could easily end up as a six or seven seed that will be great all-around producers are Jonathan Brockman of Washington, Jonny Flynn and Eric Devendorf from Syracuse, Toney Douglas of Florida State, and Marcus Thornton of LSU.
Other safe picks from teams that will likely will be seed an eight through 10 include South Carolina's Devan Downey, West Virginia's Da'Sean Butler, Utah center Luke Nevill, Boston College's Tyrese Rice, and Arizona's duo of Jordan Hill and Chase Budinger.
b) There are a few players across the country on teams that will likely go one and done that will be just as valuable if not more valuable than players on teams who will play two games.
The player who sticks out the most to fit this bill is Stephen Curry. As long as the Davidson guard doesn't go up against an extremely strong defensive team, Curry should be good for about 30 points, a handful of assists, and several three-pointers, which all score points in March Madness One and Done.
Plus with Curry you get a guy who could easily lead his team to an upset on any given night. If Davidson does pull an upset, having Curry on your roster will set your team apart by a lot.
Do not save Curry for the second weekend if you plan on picking him at some point. He's too talented to waste if he doesn't make it through the first weekend.
Other players that can make enough noise in the first round to be worth picking: Robert Morris guard Jeremy Chappell, VCU guard Eric Maynor, Kentucky's Jodie Meeks, UT-Martin's Lester Hudson, Notre Dame's Luke Harangody, and Virginia Military Institute's Holmes twins. Being able to pick those players will depend on whether their teams can actually make the tournament.
c) For your first weekend picks, generally stay away from players on teams that receive a top four seed.
There are a few expectations to this rule. There are a few teams that are so stacked with multiple high production players that they'd be a waste to not use at least one player per weekend.
The first team that fits this bill is North Carolina. UNC plays a very up-tempo style of basketball, so naturally the team's statistics are inflated by about 10 to 15 percent.
Tyler Hansbrough would be a great first weekend pick because of the depth of the center position when looking at the top teams in the country. Oklahoma's Blake Griffin, UConn's Hasheem Thabeet, and Pittsburgh's DeJuan Blair will likely all be available late in the tournament.
Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington are decent picks for the first round, but the top contenders aren't as deep at the guard spot, so saving Lawson and Ellington is probably a good idea.
There is also a second team that's not very deep, but very talented. Marquette gets the majority of its production from just four players: Jerel McNeal, Wesley Matthews, Lazar Hayward, and Dominic James. McNeal and Matthews are your best bets to grab a player from the Golden Eagles for the first weekend. They will score a bunch of points, grab a few boards, and create steals, as well as drill several three-pointers.