Points in the Paint

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Archive for the ‘Strategy’ Category

NBASE Strategy

Posted by Erik on December 18, 2008

Well this is the first year I’ve tried the NBA Stock Exchange (NBASE for short) over at NBA.COM.

It’s actually quite entertaining and a lot of  fun.

I don’t need to fret over not being able to have drafted the likes of LeBron, Paul, and Wade. I can pretty much own anyone I want or like, well as long as I have the NBASE dollars to spend on them, that is.

As most people who are in Yahoo leagues with me probably already know, I enjoy mixing things up when it comes to my teams. Whether it’s through free agent pick ups or through trades. I like playing a balancing act of sorts. Give a little here to gain a little there… This habit or preference of mine has both worked out for me and at times burned me in the past. And because of my proclivity for variety, I feel that the flexibility that NBASE provides in terms of ease of dropping (selling) and picking up (buying) players, is something that’s right up my alley.

I am currently 7th out of 44 in the League the people at StinkyTee.com invited me to join. At this point, I do not consider myself as an NBASE-expert by any close definition of the term thus far. On the other hand, I do feel pretty proud of my position in that league considering that this is my first crack at the game.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far in the couple of months I’ve been playing the game.

  1.  Have some roster mainstay “blue chips” for their consistent fantasy point contributions. About 3-4 guys seems good. For a time, I had Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as my anchors. I recently did some tweaking and now I am anchored on Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Paul and Kevin Garnett.
  2. With the rest of your roster spots, micro-manage your team and get the most of hot streaks and favorable weekly schedules. 
  3. Slowly but surely try to make some money every now and then. Then you can upgrade your guys to more consistent guys as the season progresses. I feel this is the best way to maximize the trading mechanics and system of the game. 

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Dirkie-poo Takes Me to #1

Posted by Erik on December 2, 2008

Dirkie-poo?” Yeah, we’re close like that. Well in a fantasy basketball kind of way…

I’ve been a big fan of 7-footers who can shoot treys like guards. Yes, Andrea Bargnani’s growing on me with every Raptor game that rolls on by.

Back to Dirk.

I love how he’s such a quietly underrated multi-cat kind of guy. Fine, he isn’t as donkalicious like say Dwyane Wade or LeBron James or Chris Paul, but man can he fill up those cats nicely! He blows away opponents on the FT% cat among others and he’s a fantastic big man core player for small ball – one of the few. I have him at number five on my recently updated Top 72 players for Head to Head Page.

I recently reached the top spot over at the 20-man Give Me The Monster League of Give  Me The Rock, with a sweet record of 27-16-2. I’m only a game ahead of like 4 other teams so this moment might be short lived. So I plan to savor it as long as I can milk it. 🙂

It’s nice to beam with pride about this league as I am skimming the scum, close to the bottom in the GMTR Reader’s League. Scraping victories only against injury-ridden teams. – but that rant is for another post.

I owe my success to my first round pick, Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks, PF).

I don’t know exactly happened to the post I had on queue that highlighted my pride on a team-well-drafted for the Monster League. Oh well, now seems like a more auspicious time anyway.

I was 5th to pick and chose him over the likes of Dwyane Wade (yeah, I didn’t see this season coming either) and Elton Brand, KG, Matrix – thank goodness! Anyway, in a nutshell, here’s how my draft went.

  1. Dirk Nowitzki  PF (5th)
  2. Paul Pierce SG/SF (36th)
  3. Hedo Turkoglu SG/SF (45th)
  4. T.J. Ford PG (76th)
  5. Al Harrington PF/C (85th)
  6. Ricky Davis SG/SF (116th)
  7. Luke Ridnour PG (126th)
  8. Daniel Gibson SG (156th)
  9. Linas Kleiza SG/SF (165th)
  10. Chris Quinn PG/SG (196th)

Of course, I wouldn’t be hitting the top of the heap on that draft alone. Over the course of the first month I made a few moves here and there. The most recent was to burn my waiver position to pick up Raja Bell who was thrown to the wires by another team. Raja is gold among trash in the pool, especially in a 20-man league. Believe you me! I’m now extra glad I didn’t throw away Al Harrington to the wires during the heat of his retarded tantrum over at GSW.

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Posted in Draft Analysis, Fantasy Basketball, Rave, Strategy, Upside | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Warning: Draft with Caution!

Posted by Erik on October 21, 2008

They’re out there! Landmines! Players who are O-ranked pretty high over at Yahoo! but are considerable risky picks. Draft them with caution and only at the safest of distances (rounds). Bust material waiting to come to fruition… Watch your step or as the case may be, your reaches!

  • Baron Davis – Yes he had a great season last year. And yes, he DID play all 82 regular season games. He even produced numbers that were statistically superior to Allen Iverson’s. Mildly, but superior nonetheless. But he’s now devoid of Nellie-ball and has to adjust to playing with newer and not as run-and-gun-oriented teammates. Prior to last season’s fluke (?) shortage of DNPs, he was actually one of the poster boys for GP-unreliability. He finished last season in the TOP 10 (7th) of Yahoo! rankings and is currently O-ranked at 13th. Personally, I would prefer to bump him down around 10 spots.
  • Yao Ming – Speaking of poster boys for DNPs… Do I even have to really discuss this one? He’s O-ranked at 23 despite finishing the season at 56th. 23rd pick is waaay too high for anyone to even consider picking Yao. That being said, if you do decide to be cautious about him, odds are the Autopick of the absentee live drafter will snatch him away and conveniently remove him from the draft pool and keep you away from any misguided temptation. Stay away from any “What if this IS finally his 80+ game year?” kind of self-talk. If it is indeed the case by season’s end, then congratulate Yao’s owner for an autopick well done and consider him for the year after. Jeez, he’s even the inspiration for this De-Motivational Poster:

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GMTR Mock Draft: Final Analysis

Posted by Erik on October 14, 2008

Here are all the teams in the GMTR Mock draft with their complete rosters and a few comments. Remember that we agreed to play out the draft in Yahoo league with no trades or free agent pick ups. We also agreed to play out ALL the players we drafted, so there will be no bench spots and in the end 5 Util slots instead.

For those of you who just found this post, I did a round by round, pick by pick analysis of the first 8 rounds of the draft. Here they are:


If you want to read comments made the drafters regarding their picks, check out the Mock Draft Board.

TEAM 1: Epicte

PG: Chris Paul

SG: Jamal Crawford

G: Randy Foye

SF: Ron Artest

PF: Rashard Lewis

F: Corey Maggette

C: Andrew Bynum

C: Chris Kaman

Util: John Salmons

Util: Kenyon Martin

Util: Ryan Gomes

Util: Jordan Farmar

Util: Ronny Turiaf


It looks like a small ball team. But aside from Chris Paul, its talent lies in its 3 forward slots with 3 pseudo-specialists: Artest (Stls), Lewis (3s), Maggette (FT%). Kaman and Bynum have decent FT percentages for big men and that’s a good thing for small ball teams. Epicte also can win in the rebounds category against some more focused small ball teams. Among his later picks, I like Crawford and Salmons.

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Posted in Draft Analysis, Draft Resource, Fantasy Basketball, Strategy | Tagged: , | 11 Comments »

Head to Head Draft Strategies

Posted by Erik on October 11, 2008

Know Your CATS!

Not all cats go together.

Not all cats go together.

After participating in GMTR’s Mock Draft, I got exposed to various Head to Head drafting strategies. Some I was familiar with, while others not so much. I learned a lot in the process of participating in it and I would like to share some of the knowledge I gained with some aspiring drafters out there.

For those who are not indoctrinated or even those who are slightly lost or confused with the Head to Head format, this one’s for you.

To be a winner in H2H, it is imperative to draft with a strategy. And generally, the basic strategy is to focus on 5-6 CATS or Categories (total of 9 is standard) and draft players that should help you win in those during your team’s weekly matchups.

Due to the way players generally produce stats, there are certain groups of categories that are easier to synergistically (yes it really is a word) go for. These groupings of categories are what nominally form the plethora of Head to Head drafting strategies.

Big Ball or Big Man Strategy

This strategy revolves around the categories that Big Men (Centers and Power Forwards) are generally good at contributing in.

Cats to Dominate: FG%, Rebounds, Blocks

Cats Dumped/Ignored: FT%, Assists, Steals, 3 Point Shots Made

Cats Contested: Points, Turnovers

As you may have noticed there are only 3 categories that big men can truly call their own. So the plan is to go for your big men early, where the “quality” big men are also big scorers. Thus attempting to be competitive in the Points cat as well as the primary 3 cats. Since guards and swingmen generally have higher TOs per game than big men, the TO cat is also a viable target to be competitive in. So, that’s 5. Since you HAVE to pick small guys to fill up your roster positions it is best to also remain focused and target players that contribute solidly in either Steals or 3 Point shots made. Big men generally kill the FT% cat so don’t bother. And assists will come few and far between as the “True passing PGs” are normally gone by the 2nd round.

This is an effective strategy. If you decide to draft 4 consecutive big men from rounds 1-4, then it will be quite difficult for many teams to handle your big man cat dominance.

Reasonable Early Draft Targets:

Amare Stoudemire, Elton Brand, Kevin Garnett, Al Jefferson, Marcus Camby, Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard, Josh Smith

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Posted in Fantasy Basketball, Strategy | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

GMTR Mock Draft Analysis: Round 8

Posted by Erik on October 5, 2008

This will be the final installment of the GMTR Mock Draft on a round by round basis. I will be doing a round up of the Mock as a whole, with all of the teams’ complete rosters. Why? Well because the draft is over and done with and it seems moot to give my 2 cents on not-as-critical draft choices.


Pick Round Fantasy Team Player Position
85 8-1 Alpha_Terrance T.J. Ford PG
86 8-2 Points in the Paint Al Harrington PF/C
87 8-3 SA Spurscasters Richard Hamilton SG
88 8-4 Sexy Time Luol Deng SF
89 8-5 OKC Thunder Zach Randolph PF
90 8-6 GiveMeTheRock Anthony Parker G/F
91 8-7 Doneycat Richard Jefferson SF
92 8-8 Bucko Rajon Rondo PG
93 8-9 REAL Batman Raja Bell SG
94 8-10 Jeff’s Jawai-nots Leandro Barbosa PG
95 8-11 2nd Round Reach Ronnie Brewer SG
96 8-12 Epicte Randy Foye PG/SG

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Posted in Draft Analysis, Draft Resource, Fantasy Basketball, Strategy | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

10 Commandments of Drafting

Posted by Erik on October 4, 2008

I. Thou Shall Prepare

Before going to your draft, make sure you’ve done your homework. Make sure you know the rules of the format you’re playing, update yourself on the most recent news on player injuries and transactions, read as many of the great fantasy basketball blogs that are out there. These guys have done THEIR homework and browsing through their blogs can sometimes make it easier to do yours. Make your own “cheat sheets” or depth charts. Make sure all the key information you need is handy when you go to a live draft.

II. Thou Shall Pre-Rank

Translate all the research you’ve done into a categorization of the players in to your guage of what their value is. All your preparation and hard work won’t mean diddly if for some reason an act of GOD keeps you from being on time for your live draft. Pre-Rank your players. It makes things run more smoothly during a draft knowing that you have already filtered through Yahoo!’s O-rankings and also so that you can be sure to target players whose end-of-season value you are “sure” will exceed their expected draft positions.

III. Thou Shall Have A Strategy

Make sure that you come into the draft with a plan. Whether it is making sure you get the best value player available with the least drawbacks in a roto draft; or it is a pre-draft decision to go big ball or small ball depending on who you end up with in the first round in a head to head draft; or perhaps it could be that you plan to jack up the bidding on particular players during an auction draft. It pays to have some kind of direction or at least a philosophy of some kind when coming into a Live Draft.

IV. Thou Shall Not Underestimate The Enemy

So you’ve done your research and you think some guys will be this year’s “keys to success” and you personally think they are sleepers. Think again. They may not be sleepers. Don’t assume that the guys in your live draft are idiots or morons even if they are trash talking like they are over the live draft chat box. If you are considering a player for a pick a round or two from now then there is a good chance that other drafters are too! That being said, temper your enthusiasm with the next commandment.

V. Thou Shall Not Reach (too far)

Avoid overvaluing players. Temper your biases and favoritism. Even if you REALLY want to own a player, know when to grab him. Drafting is about optimizing the timing at which you get the best possible guys. Say there’s a lot of hype about a player’s returning to action this year, don’t go out and draft Andrew Bynum in the 2nd round just to make sure he gets a comfortable seat on your fantasy team. On the other hand, in head to head, a reach may not necessarily be a reach if the player is the BEST fit for your strategy or the categories you are targeting. Just be sure to ask yourself “Will he still be on the block when my next pick comes around?” – Remember to be honest in answering that.

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Draft Strategy: Hedge Picks

Posted by Erik on September 17, 2008

Fantasy Basketball is a stock picking and trading game. Fine we don’t deal in companies, stocks, and futures but instead we deal in the annual performances (statistical productions) of NBA players. We value, rate, and rank them based on past production – their track record if you will. When we draft players, we are investing in what we perceive to be their potential contributions to our fantasy team’s success over other managers’ portfolios.

In the market we play in, our stocks (players) go through the financial concept of volatility as our players’ values go up and down based on their performances, lack thereof, and/or injuries. That’s why a lot of people in the fantasy blog world borrow the financial strategy concepts of “buy low” and “sell high”. Yes it applies. Yes it works. These concepts and their application are already widely accepted by the people who understand the depth and intricacies involved in playing the game.

I now want to discuss another financial strategy and explore its applications in fantasy basketball. It’s called Hedging. What is hedging? How does it apply to me and my fantasy basketball game?

“In finance, a HEDGE is an investment taken out specifically to reduce or cancel out risks in another investment.”

Hedge (finance), Wikipedia

Hedging in Fantasy Basketball

Without some of you knowing it, you probably already practice the concept.

NBA player’s productions are not absolutely consistent. They go through “off nights” or even slumps. When this happens, normally another player on the same NBA team steps up and compensates. A way to reduce the risk of a player’s production slipping for your fantasy basketball team is to pick players on the same NBA team.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you picked Danny Granger somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd round of this year’s draft. You can hedge his expected nightly production by targeting Mike Dunleavy in the 4th or 5th round. Mike now has additional value for YOUR fantasy team that’s not on paper compared to other manager’s teams. Because if either Mike or Danny has an off night, you can expect or hope the other guy will compensate by increasing his contributions. You will odds are feel the hedging benefit more on the categories of points and treys. This hedging move is still a good investment as it does not necessarily sacrifice player draft value since Mike is a reasonable target at the above mentioned rounds.

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Draft Strategy: The First Bounce

Posted by Erik on September 15, 2008

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
“Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy”
“The clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy’s will imposed on him.”
“Let your plans be dark and as impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War

“I love it when a plan comes together.”

~ Col. John “Hannibal” Smith, The A-Team

It’s always good to have a “battle plan”. An idea on how you want to approach picking the players for your fantasy basketball team. The first two to three players in your Fantasy Basketball draft will invariably be the core of your fantasy basketball team. I wanted to zoom in and focus on the strategy of picking the first two; “the first bounce” in your fantasy draft. These 2 picks can set the tone for the strategy you intend to follow for the remaining rounds.

Strategy #1: Drafting for Value

Some experts would say that is how you should draft for the first 3 rounds.  Get the best guy available to you once it gets to your turn and balance out the positions needed in later rounds. This is especially easier if you’re in early (top 5) draft position. Things are pretty much straightforward as you draft for value and have your pick of the cream of the crop. The first 5 players represent the hands down tier 1 players of their position.  This is where names like Chris Paul (PG), Kobe Bryant (SG), LeBron James (SF), Amare Stoudemire (PF/C) come to mind. So you now you’ve gotten your hands on one of Fantasy NBA’s finest, come second round what do you do? You can proceed and get the “best” player that lands on your lap. You can consider particulars like position played and stats contributed. You can then start your “reaching” for guys in the 3rd round as you have the initiative to do so.

Middle to late position: In the first round the hands-down best guys are taken. You’re now left making to value judgements as to who you feel is the BEST player to pick. Values begin to get more debatable, but if you’ve done your homework this shouldn’t be too much of a problem for you. The second round should be as easy as the first as you still have a decent selection of players to choose from. In fact if you’re in the last two positions, you have the initiative to get 2 of the best quality second rounders whose combined value can be arguably comparable to the team who may have an early 1st round choice but will be left with the lesser quality 2nd round options.

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Draft Strategy: Pre-Ranking Your Guys

Posted by Erik on September 12, 2008

I enjoyed  GMTR’s Draft Tip #6: Queue It Up. So I decided to pick up the ball and run with it. Thanks for the dish guys. Let’s see if I can drive to the hoop and score some points in the paint with it.

I wanted to write something for the new/rookie Fantasy Basketball players…

So you may have heard from around the net or from your buddies that they either don’t like Yahoo’s O-Rankings or at least don’t follow it blindly. So you want to be a smart fantasy player and decide to Pre-Rank the NBA players before the draft day.

Here’s a list of 20 (and ONE Bonus) questions  that you can ask yourself to help you with that task.

  1. Do you think Kobe’s decision NOT to undergo surgery on his pinkie will affect his fantasy performance this year?
  2. Was Dwyane Wade’s Olympic performance enough to convince you that he’s physically ready to return to TOP 10 form?
  3. Will Dallas’ new up-tempo offense orientation be good for Dirk’s already consistent stats?
  4. Do you see Elton Brand returning to his old 20-10-2 ways? Will playing in the 76ers affect the said production?
  5. How much of the old Phoenix-Shawn Marion do you expect to see in a potentially full season with the Heat?
  6. Is Gilbert Arenas healthy enough to contribute sick fantasy numbers for your team this year… and for how many games?
  7. Is Baron Davis capable of repeating last year’s 82 game performance now that he’s in LA?
  8. Are you willing to gamble that this year may be the year Yao Ming plays 75+ games?
  9. Can coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. keep Marcus Camby away from injury as well as George Karl did back in Denver?
  10. Do you expect Deron Williams to exceed Steve Nash’s fantasy value this season?
  11. Is Danny Granger over hyped coming into this fantasy season?
  12. How is Kevin Martin’s groin? I’m kidding! Don’t check it personally, I think he showed it’s fully healed even before the end of last season.
  13. Does Caron Butler’s history of DNPs bother you enough to rank him lower than his contributions merit?
  14. With Andrew Bynum returning to the Laker lineup, do you foresee Pau Gasol’s stats taking a hit?
  15. Do you see Vince Carter as a good Fantasy contributor now that both Kidd and Rich-Jeff are gone?
  16. How well do you figure Rudy Gay will perform now that Mike Miller’s been traded away?
  17. What do you expect Monta Ellis to do at point for GSW once he recovers from his injury?
  18. Do you expect to see enough of Jose Calderon’s Ford-less games from last year to warrant him a big bump this year?
  19. Will playing alongside LBJ be good or bad for Mo Williams’ stats?
  20. Can Andrew Bynum pick up where he left off from last year’s break out season before his season abruptly ended due to injury?

Bonus: If/When Zach Randolph gets traded away, how much more fantasy impact do figure David Lee will have?

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