Fantasy basketball requires a basic understanding of mathematics.
Let's try some simple math: In a standard 12-team Yahoo! fantasy basketball league, each team has to roster 14 players. That gives you a total of 168 players who will be drafted in the league. Of those 168 players, you ideally want guys who do multiple things well. Collect enough of these multi-category producers, and you'll be in good shape.
Ideally, you'll want this type of production out of each position:
Point guards: 14 points, 5 assists, 1 three-pointer, 1 steal, 45% FG, 80% FT
Swingmen (small forwards, shooting guards): 17 points, 5 rebounds, 3-4 assists, 0.5 three pointers, 0.5 steals, 45% FG, 75-80% FT
Bigs (power forwards, centers): 12 points, 7-10 rebounds, 2-3 assists, 1 block, 48% FG
Now, these are just basic guidelines that should assist in your decision making when acquiring talent. The goal here is to collect players who do multiple things well.
Ideally, when you draft your point guards, you'd want someone who can excel in the assists category. However, assists aren't easy to come by.
Last season, only 28 players in the entire league averaged five or more assists per game. It doesn't take a brilliant person to understand that 28 players out of 168 is a small portion of the player population in your fantasy league. Those 28 players were:
LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, James Harden, Kemba Walker, Greivis Vasquez, Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson, Steph Curry, Monta Ellis, Goran Dragic, Brandon Jennings, Andre Miller, Jarrett Jack, Andre Iguodala, Jeff Teague, Mike Conley, Damian Lillard, Jameer Nelson, Ricky Rubio, Jose Calderon, Darren Collison, Jeremy Lin and Kyle Lowry.
We can safely make the assumption that assists in the fantasy basketball realm are rare commodities. However, you'll want to draft a player who can contribute in other areas as well.
Of those 28 players above, only 19 players averaged at least one three-pointer and one steal to go along with those five assists per game. That narrows us down to the following players:
LeBron James, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kobe Bryant, Monta Ellis, Steph Curry, Ty Lawson, Mike Conley, Goran Dragic, Jrue Holiday, Kemba Walker, Kyle Lowry, Brandon Jennings, Andre Iguodala, Jameer Nelson, Jeremy Lin and Jeff Teague.
This list of players isn't to be interpreted as scripture on draft day. Basically, you want to target guys who can contribute across the board. The more players you have who contribute in more than one area, the better chance you have to win.
That doesn't mean you should ignore top point guards like Tony Parker, who averaged 20.3 points per game on 52 percent shooting with 7.8 assists. Parker doesn't make the cut because he fails to shoot the three or contribute as a defensive stalwart. If you select Parker, taking a sharpshooter like Klay Thompson or Danny Green will more than make up for where Parker doesn't produce from beyond the arc.
Most of the after-mentioned players will be available within the first six to seven rounds in your draft and, investing a top few picks in these multi-category producers will yield a great return.
The same theory of targeting multi-category producers for your point guards can be used to select your big men. The category I place the most emphasis on is blocks. It's not as rare as assists, but they are still difficult to come by.
Your forwards and centers should be someone who is capable of scoring the ball, grabbing boards, blocking shots and supplying a field goal percentage around 50 percent. Not all big men are made the same, however. If you select Kevin Love or David Lee, players who excel in areas other than block shots, you should make it a point to supplement their abilities with a top shot-blocker. Players like JaVale McGee, Derrick Favors and Andre Drummond will be available in the mid to late rounds, and each should see increased minutes this season.
With these basic principals, whether you're drafting or looking to bolster your team, you can improve or create a dominate fantasy basketball team.
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