Proper fantasy basketball drafting strategy is the difference between winning and losing players!
It sounds easy, right? Draft a team of players who have good matchups, kick back, and watch the fantasy points roll in.
If only that were so.
There is a technique to fantasy basketball drafting strategy that seasoned veterans employ regularly — and to great effect I might add! The key lies in learning the differences between tournament plays and cash games plays, and while not as relevant in daily fantasy basketball as in other sports, it’s still a topic that demands a discussion.
First off, let’s tackle what a “cash game play” and a “tournament play” are. You might be thinking, “I pay cash for every contest I enter, does that mean they’re all cash games?” This is a fair assumption, but truth is the term cash game is a phrase borrowed from the poker community to describe a game where the chip denominations are real dollars as opposed to tournaments, where you buy-in and receive the same amount of tournament chips as everyone else. This is obviously a bit different in the daily fantasy world, but the term “cash game” is generally used to describe head-to-head, double-up, and triple-up type games. Large-field guaranteed prize pool contests are referred to as “tournaments.”
In these contests it is sound fantasy basketball drafting strategy to select “safer” players for your team. For instance, when given the choice between a player whose projected point total is between 20-50 fantasy points, and a player whose projected total is between 30-40, it would be wiser to select the player who is more likely to land between 30-40 fantasy points.
This is because in a cash game you only need to beat a single opponent, or finish higher than a certain percentage of the field. You are not rewarded for beating your opponent(s) by 30 fantasy points any more than you are by defeating them with a 10 point margin, and that means you must assemble your fantasy points in the safest method possible.
In a large tournament you must employ a counter-intuitive fantasy basketball drafting strategy. Since you will be playing for the large prizes at the top of the standings, there is not much of a difference between finishing in 300th place or 1,000th. In these instances you want the players who could potentially score a large amount of fantasy points on your roster.
Rostering different players in large tournaments as opposed to cash games isn’t as vital with fantasy basketball drafting strategy as it is with other daily fantasy sports though, and this lies in exactly how fantasy points are accumulated. In baseball, for instance, a home run scores a minimum of seven fantasy points. Football’s largest point scorer, the touchdown, is a minimum of six fantasy points. Both of these occurrences are much more random from game to game than a player making a few three-pointers or snagging a couple extra rebounds. Because of this fact there is more overlap between solid cash game plays and tournaments plays when it comes to fantasy basketball drafting strategy. It still helps to think outside the box, but the the payoff is less dynamic than a player hitting two home runs or scoring a pair of touchdowns when no one else has them on their rosters.