Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fantasy Basketball - A New Take

I've played the standard fantasy basketball games, with and without little tweaks, and I've generally found it to be unexciting. I don't know if it's owed to the nature of basketball, where statistics are accumulated in great numbers every game, or if it's because I'm not a huge basketball fan, or some other explanation, but it seems like fantasy basketball is an unnecessary exercise.

So this year, I decided to go beyond the "little tweaks," and create a wholly original basketball league. The frame of the league will be a standard rotisserie head-to-head setup, where each owner plays against just one other owner each week. The teams accumulate statistics, and the team with more of each tracked statistic gains one win; the other team gets one loss. So, if in a league with standard settings team A has more points, rebounds, three-pointers, assists, steals, and blocks, team B has better cumulative field goal and free throw percentages, and they have exactly the same number of turnovers, team A will get 6-2-1 added to their season record, and team B will get 2-6-1 added to theirs. It's a little convoluted, and I'm generally not in favor of this system.

BUT, I've made wholesale changes from the standard scoring system, and I think it might just create a pretty fun fantasy basketball system. We keep the framework, as I said, where it's rotisserie head-to-head. However, we use only one category: points. Percentages don't matter, assists don't matter, turnovers don't matter. The only thing that matters is pure, bulk points. Chris Paul and Marcus Camby get dropped dramatically in this system, and pure scorers like Jamal Crawford and Richard Jefferson get a bump.

Certainly I don't have to explain that this system is simpler; it takes a nine-category system and changes it to a one-category system. It's easier to evaluate talent, because you're not looking at whether or not a player's scoring and rebounds will counteract a poor free throw percentage (Dwight Howard), or sacrificing scoring to pick up a spread of other statistics (Shane Battier). It's straightforward and unsophisticated.

Are there problems with a system like this? Of course. Its simplicity results in far fewer opportunities for strategy. And the default rankings will be somewhat useless when it comes to draft day. But the standard system, which has plenty of strategy integrated, hasn't been entertaining to me. So why the hell not try something else?

There are a couple of positives about this bizarre setup:
  • You don't find yourself rooting for strange things, like wanting your opponents' players to score, because you don't want him to get assists.
  • It's easy to track when your players are doing well, and easy to root for them when you're watching the games.
  • Likewise, it's easy to track/root against your opponents' performances.
  • People who show up for the draft have a decided advantage over those who skip out, as you're able to evaluate players solely based on their point production.
You want in, you say? Well, I'd be delighted to have you in my crazy league. Here's the information:

League ID: 115478
Password: points

Hoop it up!

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