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Fantasy Basketball and Fantasy Football: Preparing for the playoffs

by ja on 10/24/2008 12:45:10 PM

In fantasy sports, the idea is to win a championship. Getting to the playoffs is the first step and a good draft gets you more mileage than anything else towards that end. However, winning the fantasy playoffs may come down to your ability to plan ahead even more so than your ability to spot talent.

There are several factors that should be taken into account as the playoffs approach. A few of them are listed in this article.

1) We will start with the obvious. Review your team. Do you have any "sleepers" that just have not performed as well as you had hoped they might? Do not carry sleepers into the playoffs unless there are extenuating circumstances - replace the player with an average player rather than take a chance on getting nothing.  A circumstance I might keep an underperforming sleeper on my team is if the player is on a professional team that will be "investing time in their younger players" due to the professional team's own inability to make the playoffs.

2) Is your league a "keeper" league or maybe a long-term contract league? If yes, then you can probably trade some of your pretty good players who are eligible to be kept for next year. Maybe even one of those up and coming sleepers would be a good candidate. Why would you do that? Well, you want to trade them for players that are GREAT TODAY to give you an edge. You can trade with a team that will not make the playoffs this year and who is not going to be able to keep their great player anyway. It's is a win / win. They rebuild for the future and you increase your chances of winning it all this year.

3) If your league is not a "keeper" or long-term contract league then you can still try trading up. Sometimes a team has too many players at one position or too many players on the same team. You might be able to work a win / win trade in that situation as well. They might take a lesser, but still good player, in order to spread out their players across more professional teams.

4) How does the schedule look for your players during the fantasy playoffs? This one is a little more basketball related than football. Knowing how many games each player plays during a given week can give you an idea about whether you would be better served to exchange some players. As a rule, if two players are close to providing the same fantasy value per game, then you want the one that plays the most games - no matter the difference in game number. For example, you might have a player that averages 10 fantpts (Player A) per game and will play 11 total games in the playoffs. There might be a player that can be picked up off of waivers who averages only 9 fantpts (Player B), but will play 14 games. All else being equal Player A will contribute 110 fantpts while Player B will contribute 126 fantpts. The difference they could give you will actually probably be larger because Player B will have more opportunities to fill a gap for you than Player A. There are websites that have tables already created with this type of fantasy sports game schedule density information.

Hint: 14 games is the most played for any NBA team over the last 3 fantasy weeks of the current 2008-2009 season. Which teams play 14 games? Philadelphia is the only team that does so.  10 games is the least played during that same time period. That honor goes to the Houston Rockets.

Winning the regular season in fantasy sports is often all about the draft and early free agency. Winning the playoffs typically takes a little more craft. Follow the above simple guidelines and you will be well prepared for the playoffs when the time comes.

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