Fantasy Doctor, NBA / Jul 18, 2011 / 11:00 am

5 Fantasy Basketball Mistakes You Made This Season And Lessons To Learn For Next

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant (photo. Rob Hammer)

Chances are you lost your fantasy basketball league this past season. That’s not an insult – them’s just the breaks (and the odds). There are many possible levels of depression for you to fall into as you look back on your failed campaign, ranging from shoulder-shrugging apathy to something akin to the razor-sharp despair I felt upon hearing that my long-time crush Natalie Portman was knocked up by some French dancer.

If you’re in that “Portman Zone” of sorrow, I have good news for you: you’re already closer to taking a step in the right direction next season. This shows that you actually care and are probably open to learning from your mistakes to get some delicious vengeance in 2011-12.

Here’s a look at five of the more common blunders fantasy basketball owners made, and lessons to take away from each of them.

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Mistake No. 1: You were too late on pickups
Like Craig Sager before the second and fourth quarters of games on TNT, sometimes life just gets in the way. Everyday responsibilities and occurrences prevent you from keeping tabs on every single NBA player making a blip on the fantasy radar. There are just too many things to monitor – too many games, too many injuries and too many battles for minutes. So it’s understandable if you missed out on the likes of Dorell Wright, Kyle Lowry and Wesley Matthews this past season. Just know that there are ways to streamline the process of keeping up on which players you should consider adding each morning. Forget about monitoring the nightly box scores on your own, and look for the digested recaps and waiver-wire recommendations that various websites, blogs and Twitter users offer for free. Also, the site that hosts your fantasy league probably has a research feature that shows you which players are the hot adds (and drops) of the day.

Mistake No. 2: You were too quick/late to drop players
One of the drawbacks of being on top of each night’s box scores is that you become hyper-sensitive to the daily rise and fall of players’ values, especially if there are other owners in your league who somehow manage to make the best pickups in the wee hours of the night when normal people are asleep. If you were diligent with your NBA tracking last season, there’s a good chance you prematurely cut a valuable player loose after he turned in a clunker. This grief is compounded when an opponent (especially one that is vying with you in your league’s standings, or one who you personally know and dislike) reaps the benefits of your hastiness and scoops that player up just in time for his resurgence. On the other hand, if you’re extremely risk averse, you probably held onto struggling players (especially those with recognizable names) a tad too long – maybe until the very end of the season. The two-fold lesson to be learned here is pretty simple: 1) If you’re too quick with your virtual scissors, exercise a bit more patience. Factor in a player’s history of consistency, the fluidity of his team’s rotation, his health status and hold/drop recommendations from fantasy basketball “experts,” among other things, to determine his value beyond that one bad game or injury. Once you’ve acquired a broader perspective on that player, you’re ready to make a wiser decision. Also, putting in the extra few minutes to do this research could give you just enough time to cool off from your initial judgment. 2) If you’re usually too slow to cut ties with one of your struggling players, know where to draw the line. Understand the ramifications of holding dead weight in the name of patience, a seemingly virtuous undertaking that can spell death in daily-update leagues. Monitor each day’s news for quotes from coaches about detrimental plans for how he’ll distribute minutes, for example. As with impatient owners, too-tolerant owners should do all they can to make a better-informed decision by looking at the bigger picture, with the help of accessible updates and tidbits of news.

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  • http://www.dimemag.com Dylan Murphy

    Basketball Monster is awesome. It always saves me from fantasy basketball ruin.

  • Scott

    Mistake No. 6: You didn’t draft Kevin Love

  • http://www.dimemag.com/author/kevin Kevin Zimmerman

    Let me just say that I nearly got to the finals of my fantasy playoffs all because of Dorell Wright

  • SWAT

    haha-i will co-sign with these mistakes. being the commish i will tell u what i hear the most is “i accidently hit the accept trade button”-nvr understood tht one.
    but i can say i dont make many of those-bk to bk champs over here. lol. my best piece of advice FOLLOW THE FANTASY DOCTOR!!

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    Mistake #7: I joined a league that had a pre-existing set of friends in it. I was in this 14 cat league, DOMINATING (thanks Dorell Wright/pretty good decisions on my part), regularly floating in the 140 point realm. In other words, I was in first or second in just about every category all year long.

    Until the last couple weeks of the season. Mysteriously, the add/drop patterns of every team shifted radically. No one would return my messages. No one team made any big strides – they all just coincidentally made an attack on whichever category they were closest to me in.

    Then (and this was the capper), the last day of the season came. The day before, I had surrendered my season-long stranglehold on first place. Everyone had already said their congratulations to the new leader. I stayed quiet, because I knew that if I had just lost the lead the day before, all I needed were strong games from my team.

    Yet the commissioner closed the roster settings, or something. I was unable to set my roster for ONLY that league.

    Has anyone else ever faced collusion in their fantasy career?!

  • First & Foremost

    @Dagwaller – Looks like you need to make some more friends.

  • http://dimemag.com/author/the-fantasy-doctor/ The Fantasy Doctor

    @Dylan Murphy: Truth. It’s one of those sites I don’t want to share, but can’t help but to.

    @Scott: Good one.

    @Kevin Zimmerman: He was key for a few of my teams last season.

    @SWAT: I’m sure there are those that would say that should be a mistake — but thanks for the kind words.

    @dagwaller: Yikes. I haven’t seen anything to this extent. That’s first-degree wackery, and I hope you avoid anything like this going forward. It might not be a bad idea to cry foul in these situations — at least let them know you’re awake.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    @ F/F – lol I hadn’t looked at it that way.

    Ironically, I did start a league with a few random friends, and only ended up with 4 random players (out of 10). I wasn’t going to mess around too much, just show some friends the ropes of fantasy bball. Figured I’d crush it.

    That didn’t go so well. Let’s just say I had a lot more confidence in Aaron Brooks than I should have.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    @ doc – crazy, right?!?! I’m going to wait til one of them invites me back, then cut/paste what I wrote on this page. I haven’t even thought about fantasy since then, I was so pissed.

  • goattree

    when you’re considering add/drops be sure to check the upcoming games schedule too….avoid top defensive teams, road games, and target those bucket towns like Toronto, Golden State and New York!

  • First & Foremost

    Another mistake is downplaying injuries. 1) I drafted Greg Oden. 2) & 3) Held on to Rudy Gay and Eric Gordon. Memphis shut down Gay like 2 weeks before the season ended. Gordon bounced in and out of the line up.

    4) Don’t overload on Rookies. Nothin worst than having Turner, Cousins, & Monroe all start off slow. As soon as you go to drop one, they have a good/decent game.

    The worst part of this lockout is delaying the fantasy season.

  • First & Foremost

    And Splitter…