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InsideHoops [FANTASY BASKETBALL] Nov. 8, 2003

Fantasy Basketball: Interruption




The Answerman is the unauthorized, unofficial, unrelenting, unruly, unlicensed, uncompromising, unpaid though highly successful fantasy advice columnist at He also dabbles in romance advice. He is here to answer all your questions.

My mailbox is busting at the seams but I interrupt my usual weekly letter-answering schedule to write about the first week of the season. For those of you looking for magic solutions to your first week in rebounding, scoring, etc. problems, this is not the place. Matt Satten is doing a great job breaking down various stats.

What I want to tell you all is NOT to panic or get over excited about the first week results. There is very little about fantasy sports that is directly reflective of real sports but Denver beating both San Antonio and Sacramento this week tells us something about the first week of the season. The lesson for this week: The first week is like no other week in the whole season."

The first week is like a first date. The first date is unlike any other date in a whole relationship. She only eats salad on a first date. You have your three interesting stories (as a side note, everyone should have three interesting stories on hand to tell that 1) are funny; 2) are mostly true; and 3) relate how great you are), which you cannot tell again on a second date. You are polite, in you best looking clothes and very well-planned.

Like both the first week and the first date, it's shorter. Usually teams play 3-4 games a week, in the first week they play 2-3. Huge difference. You should keep a first date down to an hour and a half. A guy can only maintain his polite/funny first date persona for so long until the full moon appears and the werewolf comes out.

The second reason is that teams have not found their rhythm/chemistry/conditioning/mojo - whatever you want to call it - yet. Similiarly after 5 dates or so, you find your rhythm. Restaurants you like, topics you talk about, movies/people you see. Things are still getting started and the results produced are not typical of what you will see all season/relationship long.

There are statement games in the first week (see Van Horn) which occur infrequently during the season. There are still-getting-my-legs games (see Kobe) which are also infrequent. There are I-understand-my-role games (see Francis). It takes a month for everything to settle in.

Rashard Lewis' scoring will go down. Tyson Chandler's rebounding will go down. S.Marion's scoring will come up. Pau Gasol's rebounding will come up. Donyell Marshall's blocks per game will go back down. Erick Dampier's rebounding will go back down. Don't overreact to injuries. Yes, Brand is out 4-6 weeks. The season is 25 weeks. That's like 24% of the season. He's still got plenty of value.

She will get more of your off-color jokes. You will be able to break out some more embarrassing/interesting stories. (For the ladies) You will be able to eat like a person. You will be able to wear more comfortable clothes. Just not yet.

All I ask of you - my loyal readers - is not to make a panic move. You did your draft. You prepared for it. You read magazines. You crunched numbers. You set lineups. You will be able to add/drop players and make trades and figure out who will be good and bad. You will be able to make moves. Just not yet. The best move now is to relax and watch for a full month before making any major moves.

Think like good defensive coaches - don't leave your feet on defense. By staying on your feet, you maintain balance and keep strong positioning. If you jump, the offensive player gets a free path to the basket or draws the foul.

Don't drop Antonio Davis. Don't trade Shawn Marion for Corey Maggette. Just relax. The best move right now is to watch and analyze. No jumping.

Similarly, always ask for and grant a second date. Why not? Gather more information before making a decision.

Good luck to all. Stay calm and focused. Its a long season. And, of course, if you have any questions, ask the

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