Whether you want to prove that you would be an awesome GM, or you’re just in it for the money, here’s how to improve your odds of winning a fantasy basketball league.
Step 1: Do your research Read all the professional and amateur basketball analysis you can, and keep an eye out for promising under-the-radar sleeper picks.
Step 2: Name your team Come up with a witty team name, ideally a play on words related to a disgraced sports figure, like 'Shawn Kemp’s Day Care.'
Step 3: Draft well Draft your players carefully. NBA rosters are smaller than those of any other pro sports league, meaning fewer players left over as free agents after a fantasy draft. A strong roster is essential to your success.
TIP: During the draft, insult everyone else’s picks relentlessly. The less confident your competitors feel, the more likely they are to make bad decisions.
Step 4: Use your head Use your head, not your heart. Don’t reject great fantasy players just because you hate them in real life, and avoid drafting sentimental favorites if that’s all they have going for them. There are no points for 'loyalty' in basketball pools.
Step 5: Stay informed Watch as many games as you can, and use your computer to stay updated on injury reports.
TIP: If your online league lets you buy a live-scoring application, get it. Fantasy sports are dorky enough as it is—manually adding up your stat totals all night makes things much, much worse.
Step 6: Be bold Be bold. Fortune favors the brave, so don’t back away from a blockbuster trade. Very seldom do you win with the exact team you drafted, so be prepared to make well-considered transactions.
Step 7: Play it cool If someone instigates a trade, never accept it outright; try to work in an extra piece for yourself.
Step 8: Talk trash Don’t abandon the abuse on draft day—keep up the chatter all season! And don’t worry about offending friends. If they know what they’re doing, they’ll be busting your chops, too.
Step 9: Be lucky Be lucky. No matter how smart you play or how much effort you put into managing your team, there’s no safeguard against injuries—or players simply having an off year.
FACT: A 2006 study claimed that employees checking fantasy leagues during work hours cost businesses up to $1 billion a week in lost productivity.