Fantasy basketball

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Fantasy basketball is a fantasy sport for basketball that was popularized during the 1990s after the advent of the Internet. Players take the role of general managers (GMs) of the fantasy teams they create from drafting actual National Basketball Association (NBA) players based primarily on their basketball statistics. The statistics can be computed by the GM, or more commonly by the gaming software. The online format of the game has been popularized by websites, such as ESPN Fantasy Sports,, Yahoo! Fantasy Sports and Dunkest Fantasy Basketball.


The following websites provide the season long fantasy basketball experience for users.

The following websites provide daily fantasy basketball experience for users.

League settings[edit]

There are many rule variations when playing fantasy basketball. The rules used in a particular league are determined by the rule settings. Some common rule variations are discussed below.


Commonly, fantasy basketball leagues may track as few as three or as many as eleven categories. Three-category leagues usually account for only points, rebounds, and assists. Five-category leagues generally add blocks and steals. Eight-category leagues usually add field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and either three-point field goals made or three-point field goal percentage. Nine-category leagues usually add turnovers. Rarely, other statistics such as fouls are counted. Some leagues also prefer to break down the rebounds category into two categories: offensive and defensive rebounds.

Some leagues allow the league "commissioner" to determine which categories will be tracked. If these categories are chosen poorly, the league may be unfairly weighted for or against certain positions. For example, a league that tracks points, assists, steals, free throw percentage and three-point field goals would be weighted toward guards, who typically have higher numbers in many of those categories, and against power forwards and centers, who typically have higher numbers in the rebound, block and field goal percentage categories, which are not counted.

Team Creation[edit]

For a standard 12-team league, the manager will usually draft 13 players. The roster considers to draft the following:

  • Point Guard (PG) 1
  • Shooting Guard (SG) 1
  • Small Forward (SF) 1
  • Power Forward (PF) 1
  • Center (C) 1
  • Guard (G) 1
  • Forward (F) 1
  • Utility (UTIL) 3
  • Bench (BE) 3

Some leagues include an IR (Injury Reserve) roster spot pushing the count of the roster to 14. The IR is an extra spot on the roster that is used for players who suffer a prolonged injury or are out indefinitely.

Some leagues also have a limit on the number of positions you can draft. For example; ESPN allows only a maximum of 4 centers on a roster. This is to prevent a manager from drafting a majority of centers, leaving no centers for other managers.

Number of teams[edit]

In public leagues, the typical number of teams in a league is typically ten or twelve. Though, the number of teams allowed are (8 to 12). A Public League is a league where anyone can join. The league does not require an invitation from a commissioner, rather it is open publicly on the websites, ESPN Fantasy Basketball, Yahoo Fantasy Basketball, etc. In private leagues, which are invitation-only and usually utilized by players who want to compete against a group of people they know, the number of teams will vary substantially (4 to 20).[10]

Fantasy drafts[edit]

There are two types of drafting used to select players: the snake draft and the auction draft. In a snake draft, the first round is drafted in order. In the second round, the draft order is reversed so that the manager who made the last pick in the first round gets the first pick in the second round. The order is reversed at the end of each round so that the manager with the first overall pick does not maintain this advantage in every round. In an auction draft, each manager has a set budget (commonly $260, an amount borrowed from fantasy baseball) that he or she must use to fill out the team's roster. Players are put up for auction by managers, and the manager willing to pay the most for the player "drafts" that player. The advantage of an auction is that all managers have equal access to all players (not the case in a snake draft). The disadvantages are that it typically takes longer than a snake draft, and can be intimidating for newer or inexperienced managers who may be relying on ranking.

Draft Settings[edit]

A draft date and time, seconds per pick, draft order and allow draft pick trading are settings that may be edited by the commissioner.[11]

  • Draft date: The date that is selected by the commissioner of the league.
  • Draft time(EST): The time that is selected by the commissioner for when the draft begins.
  • Seconds per pick: Amount of time that is given to each owner to select a player to draft.
  • Draft order: The order in which each manager will draft.
  • Allow draft pick trading: Allowing other owners to exchange their draft position before the draft begins.

Keeper/Dynasty Leagues[edit]

In a keeper/dynasty league, the season does not finish at the end of the year. A manager's team is carried over in the following season and players can be kept between seasons. A commissioner can decide:

  • Player Tenure: How long a player can be kept before he is released back into the pool of draft-able players.
  • Team Tenure: The longer a player is kept the more that player costs to that manager's team.
  • Draft Position: Where a player is drafted determines how much the player will cost.
  • Player Salary: The value associated with each player and how much that value increases and decreases each season.[12]

Rankings for keeper/dynasty leagues differ from regular season-by-season rankings, and factor in a player's age, future development potential, and long-term status with their team. Also considered are their initial fantasy draft position or auction value as players can often be kept the following year as the selection in the same draft position or for the same auction price.[13] Trading between teams also differs significantly between keeper/dynasty leagues and regular season-by-season leagues.[14]

Waiver Wire[edit]

Waiver Wire is specifically used for player transactions. The waiver wire consists of a list of available players that were not drafted and/or players that were dropped from a manager's roster. Managers can also drop a player(s), which inserts the dropped player into the waiver wire. Waiver wire is accessible to all players in a league. Waiver wire may have restrictions / specific rules depending on commissioner's preferred settings. Commissioners can set a bidding system when picking the un-drafted players as more than 1 person will want this specific player, where the winning bid will get the desired player.


Some leagues have a feature whereby players can communicate through the site. Many sites have "Smack Talk" features which allow players to communicate with one another whenever they want. They can trash-talk their opponents during the game or before the games start.[citation needed]

Draft Kit[edit]

A draft kit on any Fantasy Basketball website usually contains articles with advice from their staff. The staff consists of basketball analysts, writers, and experts where they give their input about players, games and trades that happen before or after the season. Though, most of the advice contains information about NBA players and their statistics. While some of the article are free to read, some articles require a paid subscription to access the information.[15]

Draft Tools[edit]

There are advanced draft tools which based on data are suggesting which players you should pick to increase your chance of winning in any given moment of the draft.

Scoring types[edit]

Rotisserie (ROTO)[edit]

In rotisserie scoring, the real-life statistics accumulated by the players on a team are aggregated and ranked against the same statistics for the other teams in the league. Fantasy points are earned based on these rankings. For example, in a twelve-team league, the team with the most rebounds over the course of the season to date would be awarded twelve fantasy points. The team with the next-highest number of rebounds would be awarded eleven fantasy points, and so on, with the team with the fewest rebounds being awarded a single fantasy point. For negative categories like fouls or turnovers, the team with the fewest statistics is awarded the most fantasy points. This is done for all categories counted by the particular league. The team with the highest number of fantasy points at the end of the season is the winner.

Rotisserie scoring encourages balance on the team's roster. Winning the rebounds category by one rebound or by one thousand rebounds counts the same, while winning the steals category by one steal and the assists category by one assist is worth twice as many points as winning the single rebounding category by one thousand rebounds. Successful teams must fare well in several categories to win in rotisserie leagues. Some teams may elect to "punt" one or several categories by being intentionally poor in that category to optimize their roster for the other categories.

Head-to-head (H2H)[edit]

In head-to-head scoring, teams compete against a single other team over the course of a week. During that week, the real-life statistics of the players on each team are accumulated, and at the end of the week the team with the most points over the week wins.

There are two styles of head-to-head scoring:

  • Most categories is a win—whichever team has the more favorable statistics in the categories chosen (most points, fewest turnovers, highest free throw percentage, etc.) is awarded a point for that category. One can also weight each category, for example: winning scoring earns a player three points, winning rebounds wins two points, winning steals wins one point. The team with the most points wins that game.
  • Each category is a win—whichever team has the more favorable statistics in a category (most points, fewest turnovers, highest free throw percentage, etc.) is awarded a "win" for that category. The other team is tagged with a "loss". The results of these weekly match-ups are accumulated to provide a seasonal win–loss record.

Head-to-head leagues often employ a "playoff" system, with seeding based on the seasonal win–loss record. Matchups are determined via a bracket, with the winners of each matchup advancing and the losers being eliminated until a winner is determined.

In head-to-head leagues, schedules can be changed in the time until the first game of that match-up.

Fantasy points[edit]

In fantasy point scoring, the commissioner determines the number of fantasy points that a particular statistic is worth. For example, the commissioner may determine that a steal is worth two fantasy points, where a rebound is only worth one, and a turnover is worth negative one. Fantasy points are accumulated nightly based on the real-life performance of the players on each team, and the team with the most fantasy points at the end of the season wins.

As when choosing categories, care must be paid in assigning fantasy point values to categories. Failure to achieve balance will result in weighting the league for or against players at certain positions.

Daily fantasy basketball[edit]

Like traditional fantasy basketball, in daily fantasy basketball, players draft a team of NBA players who then score fantasy points according to set scoring rules. However, instead of being stuck with the same team through a whole season, daily fantasy sports contests last just one day. Many sites offer data and strategies to build lineups; some of these sites are free, while others charge a fee.

Some other daily basketball contests incorporate a few of the traditional settings combined with daily fantasy basketball settings to create a new experience for users.[16]


  1. ^ "Fantasy Basketball - Leagues, Rankings, News, Picks & More - ESPN".
  2. ^ "Sleeper". Retrieved 2021-02-01.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Fantasy Basketball News, Stats and Analysis".
  5. ^ "Dunkest - The NBA Fantasy Basketball".
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Fantasy Basketball: Play NBA DFS for FREE on DraftKings".
  8. ^ "Daily Fantasy Basketball & NBA Fantasy | Play DFS on FanDuel". 4 August 2012.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Fantasy Basketball - Leagues, Rankings, News, Picks & More - ESPN".
  11. ^ "Fantasy Basketball - Leagues, Rankings, News, Picks & More - ESPN".
  12. ^ "Starting a Keeper League | Fantasy Basketball | Yahoo! Sports".
  13. ^ "Fantasy Basketball Dynasty Rankings".
  14. ^ "Dynasty Trade Tool".
  15. ^ "Fantasy Basketball | Hashtag Basketball".
  16. ^

External links[edit]