What’s wrong with meat and potatoes? Nothing really. Actually it’s more than enjoyable if the meat is a thick, juicy 16 oz. steak (prime rib, no less!) accompanied by a huge baked potato that’s slathered in sour cream and crisp bacon bits. In fact, it sounds quite appetizing. Doesn’t it? So you say to yourself, “Heck, I can eat that everyday!” But picture having that for 5-6 seasons in a row… Still as appetizing? Perhaps.
Are you the adventurous type who likes to explore new cuisines that the world has to offer? Are you the type of person who craves for variety and new experiences? Always looking for new flavors to explode onto your palate to excite and tantalize you? Do you enjoy a variety of textures in your food as different gustatory stimuli dance with your taste buds in a way that makes you just want to get up and get jiggy with it?
Okay. Let’s not get carried away.
Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball has been the “meat and potatoes” of my fantasy basketball experience since 2003. Is there anything wrong with that? No. Actually, they’ve improved on the game, its interface and its drafting JAVA applet over the years to give its players a richer gaming experience of pretend basketball team manager.
For those of you out there who want a different experience of Fantasy Basketball or of drafting its players, there are alternatives out there for you to choose from.
No longer have a taste for SNAKE?
Want an alternative to the standard live snake drafts at Yahoo when assembling your team to go to statistical war against your friends? Well ESPN Fantasy has an auction draft option for you to try out and enjoy! I’ve tried the Mock Auction Draft, and boy was it a blast!
How does it work? Well each drafter is given a purse of $200 to use to bid on players he wants on his team. So yes, you can own both Kobe AND LeBron on your fantasy team. That combo would cost you an arm and a leg, but it is doable. It is through the unique mechanics of an auction draft that you can actually own 3 first rounders or even 4 second rounders on your team. – You won’t have many quality role-players to support your core of All-stars though.
In your draft interface you will see the list of available players with their average auction price.
When it is a drafter’s turn to pick, he nominates a player and effectively bids $1 for him in the process. Then the auction begins. People can bid in increments of $1 or set a specific price and use that bid on a player. There’s a timer that starts to run once a player has been nominated and resets to 8 or 10 seconds as long as a bid is placed. The auction continues until the “going, going, gone” recording finishes without being interrupted by a bid.
Why is it fun?
It’s another game within the game. The key is to optimize (yup, that’s the magic word that will get your competitive juices flowing, alright!) your money to get the best possible value for your team as a whole. As I mentioned earlier you can load up on talent if you so desire. Or you can also start nominating players that are generally liked by people but you don’t necessarily like yourself and watch as other teams use up their resources early. There are simply so many strategies and tactics that you can use at the auction to play around with in order to come up with a reasonably kick-ass team.
Check it out. If you don’t want to sign up for a free league, then simply try out the auction mock to whet your appetite. The draft results will be mailed to you so you can see how well or terribly you ended up executing your draft and auction strategies.
Ok the auction draft is for people who want a different drafting experience. But how about a different trading experience?
Ka-ching! or should I say “Ding! ding! ding! ding!”
NBA.com has another way for us to trade our beloved commodities, otherwise known as fantasy basketball players. It’s called the NBA Stock Exchange or NBASE.
How does it work? Well you start off with $300 to purchase players in for your team at a fixed price. Once the season begins, player prices begin to fluctuate based on supply and demand of the buyers and sellers. Yup! There are no direct trades between teams. Goodbye, collusion! You want to pick-up a guy, in this case buy him off the trading floor and your team has no more money… Well you’ll have to “sell” one of your guys and hope to get a good price for him. This kind of game is for the people who love to shuffle up their teams either through trades or waiver wire pick-ups over at Yahoo. Here you can literally speculate on players’ upsides, injury-risks, volatile values, etc. Mind you, this format is NOT for the faint of heart.
Oh yeah, I may have forgotten to mention that the winner at the end of the season is not the owner of the team with the highest effective monetary value, but which racks up the most points across statistical basketball categories – not much unlike Yahoo. Ha ha. So in this particular case, it’s not all about the Benjamins.
Is time of the essence?
Want to manage a fantasy team where you, as manager, can actually set your players’ playing times? Well HOOPS Avenue has got a system just for you. Check it out. They have a good system going. I personally haven’t tried signing up yet, so I can’t really do a good review. I’m in 7 Yahoo leagues and 2 NBASE leagues as it is. And my basketball I.Q. is already getting taxed to the point that its hovering several notches above the Eddy Curry level – well at least I hope not.
I just wanted to send these guys some linkage love for to thank them for trying to provide fantasy freaks like us with a fresh gaming experience alternative. Here’s the overview of Hoops Avenue Fantasy Basketball.
After all has been said and done… and pimped, I still like my meat and potatoes. I did not present these other formats to convince you to switch, but merely to offer a culinary respite from what you’re used to. Try them out and see if you have fun with your friends playing fantasy hoops in another way.