Taking a break from my series of posts on how to pick up a free agent (first, second), today I’m going to talk about a lesser known aspect of the Yahoo Fantasy Game–the Games Played Restriction.
The Maximum Games Played rule
In standard Yahoo Fantasy Basketball Rotisserie leagues, a manager is constrained by the number of games (82) he or she is allowed to play in each spot on his or her roster. This rule was designed to prevent managers from employing the well-known tactic of adding players when they are scheduled to play a lot of games and dropping them when they are not.
This means that if a manager exceeds the number of games played in a certain roster position–the PG position, for example–he or she stops accumulating stats for that position. Fortunately, a manager need not keep a running tally of how many games he plays because Yahoo Fantasy Basketball has a tool that summarizes this. A screenshot of this tool is shown below from one of my team’s. To get to this tool, simply look below your roster and find the series of links that begin with “Legend”. The “Maximum Games” link is the fourth in that row of links.
As you can see above, my team is projected to overshoot the allotted number of games in many categories, with the sole exceptions being the SG position and the C position. I am in particularly grave trouble in the Util category, where I am on pace to overshoot the allowed number of games by thirty-seven! Fantasy Basketblog has pointed out the “utility” (pun-intended) of keeping as many utility spots open as possible, as this will offer more flexibility for a manager at the end of the year.
What does this all mean?
Rarely will a Yahoo Fantasy Basketball manager plan for the very long-run. However, given this rule, those who do plan for the future will be handsomely rewarded. Given this rule, I have 3 theories on what ends up happening in most leagues.
- A manager plays too few games
An unexperienced fantasy player will typically play too few games to be competitive in an league. This may happen because the manager does not drop injured players or does not rotate in eligible players from his bench. For instance, if a manger’s only SG is Kobe Bryant, and he goes down with a season-ending injury, and the manager does not drop him, this manager risks falling behind because he or she isn’t earning enough stats to compensate for the loss of Kobe.
- A manager plays too many games, maxes out all his positions, but still wins.
This has happened to me quite a few times. Even in a “competitive” Yahoo Rotisserie league, opposing manager’s can get distraught by huge deficits and end up not updating their roster’s toward the end of the season. In my experience, a manager with a team ranked 6 through 12 in a league will stop playing that league altogether once the league has reached around 75% completion–especially if facing large deficits. Thus, if you are able to build a large lead and discourage others from playing early on, you stand a good chance at being able to win the league even if you do run out of games in certain–or all–positions.
- A manager plays too many games, maxes out all his positions, and gets screwed.
This, too, has happened to me before. I’ll be coasting in a league for the entirety of the season–due in part to playing more games than my opposition–but when it comes down to the final two week stretch, I am overtaken because I haven’t probably budgeted my games. For example, in one Rotisserie league, I was up at least 5 points the entire season, but in the final week I was overtaken by two teams and ended up placing third, because for the final week, I played no games. This is the extreme example of a situation where a manager plays too many games early on and it ends up coming back to haunt him or her later.
- Play those players on your bench, yes, but do not acquire players simply to play games.
By this I mean it is OK to put in your bench players when starters aren’t playing–but do not solely employ the strategy I described earlier and begin picking up players who are actively playing in a week to keep your game count up. This will propel you to the top at the beginning, but will most likely end up hurting you in the long-run.
- Keep an eye on your projected games played.
Yes, it is difficult to forecast the future. But Yahoo makes our lives easier by giving us the tool that I described above. Use it. A manager need not check it daily, but once in a while a manager should get an idea of what positions it needs to cut back on, and act accordingly.
- Be patient.
This is key, as good managers should be able to win a league through strategic acquisitions, trades, etc.–not through games played alone.
- Fantasy Basketblog also recommends not saving up unused games for the last few weeks of the season, reminding us that injured or banged up players, as well as superstars that have been overexerted throughout the season, are often times not played.
- Here is Yahoo’s official explanation of Maximum Games Played.