There are certain things any fantasy basketball manager should do before picking up a free agent. This is the third of five installments. Here are the other two: one | two.
(3) Pick up free agent’s that will add value to your team
This is an important point that is often overlooked in the face of player rankings and the such. The job of a fantasy manager is similar to the job of a general manager in the sense that a fantasy manager should only add a player that will make his team better. This means that a fantasy owner should analyze his current team (read: look at the standings) and figure out what his team is weak in and what he needs to improve in. A skilled fantasy manager will not only win
a league, but score consistently across all categories.
You should pick up a free agent if he is:
- A free agent strong in categories that your team is weak in.
- A free agent strong in categories that an injured player on your team was strong in.
- A free agent exceptionally strong across many categories (not necessarily one’s you need).
- A free agent strong in categories that your opponent is strong in (only applicable to H2H leagues).
A free agent strong in categories that your team is weak in.
This should be an owner’s rationale for about 75% of his moves in a Rotisserie-scored league. Over time, a manager will notice weaknesses in his teams and it is his or her job to correct them. Here’s a simple example. About a month ago, I noticed in one of my Rotisserie-scored league’s that I was heavily trailing in rebounds and blocks. I also noticed I had a plethora of 3PTM and steals. Therefore, I made two strategic acquisitions–picking up free agent big men that were strong in rebounding and blocks–and two strategic drops–letting go two of my lesser-known reserves that had been supplementing my 3PTM and steals stats all year long. Simple pick-ups like this will vastly improve your team of the long run if you make it your goal as a manger to constantly be evaluating your team and its performance in all categories.
A free agent strong in categories that an injured player on your team was strong in.
Inevitably, throughout the course of a season, a player on your team will become injured. If your fortunate, this will only be for a short duration. If you are less fortunate, a player of yours might be out for a long stretch of time. As a fantasy manager, you don’t have time to sit around and mourn the loss of a fantasy player–especially a star fantasy player. In fact, you must act quickly to offset the loss felt by the injury by making a strategic free agent pickup. Ideally, a manager should attempt to replicate the player who was injured as best as possible so as to continue the stream of stats flowing into certain categories. For example, if Kevin Durant ends up being out for a while with his sprained left index finger, I will certainly need to compensate for his loss by picking up a player that is strong in points, blocks, steals and three-pointers. Obviously, this will be very hard to replicate completely, but by picking up a similar player, I at least ensure that my team–currently 2nd–will not fall drastically behind in any of the categories that Durant was single-handily carrying me in.
A free agent exceptionally strong across many categories (not necessarily one’s you need).
This is a no-brainer. If a good player happens to be on waivers or just collecting dust as a free agent, by all means, pick him up. The only reason I can imagine an exceptionally strong player being a free agent in the first place is if he is (i) coming off an injury or (ii) was dropped by an unexperienced fantasy manager. If this so happens, a fantasy manager should jump at the opportunity to pick him up. I like to make sure I am close to the top of the waiver list so that if a player like this does fall onto waivers, I have a better shot at picking him up.
A free agent strong in categories that your opponent is strong in (only applicable to H2H leagues).
In head to head Yahoo Fantasy Basketball leagues you have to pay closer attention to your roster, your performances and your future opponents on a week-to-week basis. Each week, on Sunday night, I like to evaluate my opponent for the next week by checking out that opponent’s stats, what that opponent is strong in, and how that opponent has been fairing as of recently. I typically do this by accessing the “head-to-head stats” tab on my league’s main page and then look at my opponents “win-loss” standings across each category, and sometimes even his totals. If you’re looking for a way to convert H2H league totals into Rotisserie-style standings: check out this tool here. After doing some research into my opponent, I then like to see where I may be at a disadvantage. If I see my opponent is strong in 3s and I’m average in 3s, and I believe that the addition of 1 free agent specializing in 3s would put me over the top, I typically make a move. At the same time, I must warn manager’s out there not to be greedy. If you are playing an opponent that you should beat 7-2 naturally, don’t compromise that very strong standing by making a move that will bring you down in crucial categories. Thus, the rule for H2H week-to-week pickups might be summarized as follows: make strategic acquisitions when you’ve done your research and you are positive the acquisition will help you win a category that week, but do not make superfluous changes that will only compromise your position in crucial categories.
If a fantasy manager cannot place his or her potential free agent into one of the four player categories listed above, the manager should really reconsider his or her rationale and whether the player being added is actually offering value to the team.
Share your thoughts with me below in the comments!