Are you already struggling to keep your fantasy team afloat in just the second month of the NBA season? Are you joining late but aren’t sure about your draft strategy? Don’t go into the realm of fantasy basketball blindfolded. Yahoo fantasy basketball expert Andy Behrens is here to help cut through the clutter and come out on the other side with a fantasy team that will rival the Chicago Bulls of the 1990s.
1. Don’t Sacrifice Any Category
It’s tempting to draft a guy like Carmelo Anthony with your first pick, because, as the New York Knicks’ only option on offense, he’s sure to put up a slew of points every night—and he gets to the free-throw line on a regular basis. But be cautious. Although Melo might fill up one or two categories for your team, the rest will be looking awfully bare.
“I’m always surprised to see Melo go ahead of someone like DeMarcus Cousins, who has a very high volume of rebounds,” Behrens says. “He gives you more than a steal per game, a block per game, etc. It’s all there. Don’t forgo any categories with your first two picks.”
Instead of snatching up someone like Melo early, look for someone in the mold of John Wall, the Washington Wizards point guard, who fills up the stat sheet with points, assists, steals and even blocks. Your team will be better for it.
2. Know Your League Settings
There is no worse position to be in than that of the guy who doesn’t draft in accordance with his league settings. Know exactly what type of league you’re in. Is it head-to-head? If so, Behrens recommends taking guys who play their hardest in the last few months of the season so you can make a charge for the playoffs and a possible championship. You can still draft Kevin Durant early, knowing that he’ll return to the court when you need him most.
But if you’re in a rotisserie league, stay away from Durant. Each month holds the same weight, so taking Durant with a high pick and shelving him for a few months is not a smart move.
3. Watch Out for the Category Killers
On the surface, Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard looks like a solid early round pick. He’ll score a bunch of points, snatch a boatload of rebounds and block a ton of shots. But if you take a deeper look, you’ll see that most of Howard’s time is spent on the free-throw line—and this is not a good thing. Howard is fouled a lot because his free-throw percentage is ridiculously low, usually hovering between 45 and 50 percent. His woes at the charity stripe will almost certainly ensure that you’ll lose the free-throw percentage category every week.
“There is no way to overcome it,” Behrens says. “You can try to draft to offset it, but you end up paying so much attention to free throws that you’re going to let a whole bunch of other categories go to waste.”
Watch out for players who will kill your categories. They can end up weighing your team down like a poor-shooting anchor.
4. Be Wary of “Potential”
Taking Andrew Wiggins with the idea that once he adjusts to the NBA game, he’ll morph into an All-Star midway through the season is a novel move, but one that rarely pans out, according to Behrens.
“The reason guys are sleepers is because we don’t know what they will be,” Behrens says. “And a lot of them fail.”
It’s OK to take rookies and sleepers in the later rounds, but try to stash just one or two of them. Stocking your roster with “potential” superstars never pans out can spell disaster for your fantasy team.
Create a league or join a pre-existing one today at basketball.yahoosports.fantasy.com.