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InsideHoops NBA [HOME] Nov. 3, 2003

Fantasy Basketball: Focus on the Positive




The Answerman is the unauthorized, unofficial, uncompromising, unpaid though highly successful fantasy advice columnist at - he also dabbles in romance advice. He is here to Answer all your questions.

Let's talk about post-draft strategy. This week's question deals with head to head categorical leagues.

Steve writes:

What is the best strategy for a head to head to league? We play a different team each week, and based on how many categories we win from our opponent, that goes towards or win and loss category. We have a total of 9 categories and 6 spots that count and a total of 12 players for a roster. The league is with a couple of buddies of mine who play basketball and are very informed about what's going on.

Dear Steve:

Every guy is good at one thing. This is the secret to both strategizing your team and planning a second date. I take the second part first.

The key to planning any second date is to show your date the one thing you are good at and make it work. This can be anything, pool, tennis, cooking, writing, basketball, exercising, playing with kids...whatever it is, now is the time. You want her to think "He's so good at ______, maybe he's as good at _______". Stupid & immature? Yes. Effective? Absolutely.

The trick is to make it work. You don't want to approach it like Shaq - dominating the game. This will lead to rolled eyes and disinterest. You also don't want to go at it like J.Kidd. Helping her improve her game. If she wanted to be great, she would be. You want to channel T.Duncan. Your attitude "Yeah, I guess I'm good, but I am just playing and having are really good also". Casual humility is huge.

The point I'm trying to get across is to accentuate your positives. Play to your strengths.

As you look through your fantasy team you will notice a strength. This is due to one or two players being specifically good at something beyond their positional categories. What is a positional category?

Centers = blocks, rebounds, fg%
Power Forwards = rebounds, fg%, points
Small forwards = a few rebounds, some assists, a three, a steal
Shooting Guards = less rebounds, more assists, threes, more steals
Point guards = most assists, most steals, threes

Your lineup should feature the occasional freak who goes beyond his "positional category". A player who is good at something else: A point who can rebound (S.Francis), a power forward who can pass (Webber), a Center who shoots threes (Nowitzki).

Once you recognize your freakish player who goes beyond, you can make it work by specializing your team. For example, if you have Garnett, who is a specifically good passer, you can add Malone, who is also a good passer. Couple that with a passing point guard and assists are yours.

If you can count on a few categories on a weekly basis, you can pick up a few cheap categories along the way.

A cheap category is like lifting things on dates. You must find a way to lift something heavy early in a relationship. Its a cheap thrill - we can all lift a table - but girls likes to see it. Again, immature but effective.

Unlike points or rebounds, there are always two or three cheap categories that no one looks at, like threes. It takes very few blocks or threes to win those categories. There always a handful of perennial free agents that can add enough on a weekly basis to win those categories. I'm talking about Foyle and J.Barry, specifically, but generally, there are always 1.5 threes or blocks guys just hanging around. They are cheap category gold.

In sum...know your strength, play to it, and make it work.

Good luck and remember, if you have any questions write the

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