Wednesday, December 07, 2005

FBB Seeks Your Input

Not a lot of free time over here at FBB headquarters today, so we’ll take a break from the usual fascinating insights with the hope that you can offer some insight of your own. So here it is upfront – what type of league do you play in? We can offer player analysis until we’re blue in the face, but fantasy leagues are won and lost just as much on roster management and knowing the intricacies of your league’s scoring system and roster types.

I’ve always played the same type of league – 8 category (FG%, FT%, PTS, REB, AST, 3PM, STL, BLK), roto scoring, 82 game maximum per position. To me, this is certainly the best way to do things. You always want to have your best players in the lineup, regardless of how many games they play each week (more on that in a bit). There’s a good amount of strategy involved because you have to account for eight categories. I should mention that I hate having turnovers as a category. I just don’t like negative categories in fantasy sports. It’s supposed to be fun. We don’t need turnovers dragging us down. The league leaders in turnovers include Steve Nash, Gilbert Arenas, Dwyane Wade and Baron Davis. Should we punish them just because they are playmakers and happen to have the ball more than others? I don’t think so.

I’ve never really understood the appeal of weekly lineup leagues, but it seems they are rather popular. My fundamental problem with weekly lineup leagues, and I’m obviously not the first person to bring this up, is that they reward quantity, not quality. Now some might say that it invites more strategy, trying to find guys that will be playing more games, but I won’t agree with this. If Speedy Claxton is playing four games and Baron Davis is playing two games in a given week, that means there’s a very good chance Claxton will put up better total numbers, theoretically making him the better play. But who wants to play in a league where the “right” move is to bench your best player just because of a scheduling quirk?

Weekly head-to-head leagues are pretty much in the same boat. I don’t really see the appeal of H2H leagues outside of fantasy football. In football it makes sense, because it’s sort of a reflection of actual football. But in basketball, I can’t find the logic. You invariably end up with situations that easyMarksman finds himself in, where he’s 2-2 in his league yet has accrued the second most points. It just doesn’t seem to be the best representation of who actually has the best team. An interesting thing about H2H leagues is that it makes one-category killers a lot easier to deal with. If you punt a category in a traditional roto league it’s nearly impossible to win your league, but that’s not the case at all in H2H.

Then there are points leagues, which are usually some variation on assigning values to the five main categories (points, boards, assists, block, steals) and simply adding it all up. This has always been a little to straightforward and simple for me, and it obviously places a high value on players who score lots of points. There’s nothing wrong with that, but a lot of the strategy seems to be lost, and guys like Boris Diaw, Ben Wallace even Marcus Camby, who are roto monsters and some of most enjoyable players to own, have decreased value. I mean, anyone can look at the points and rebounds leaders and pick good players.

So basically the questions are:

1) What type of league do you play in?
2) If you have played in many types of leagues, which is your favorite and why?
3) What can FBB do with its coverage to best cover all types of leagues?

Thanks in advance for your comments – it’s something I’ve been curious about for a while.


Anonymous Carl said...

I play in a 10 team, 9 cat (FG%, FT%, 3pt made, Pts,Reb, Asst, Stl, Blck, TO) H2H league with daily lineups.

I actually like H2H better than Roto because the shit talking potential is so much higher. Much funner to actually beat one of your friends within a defined time frame than say "Oooh, I've got 15% more rebounds than you"


12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right about roto vs. weekly/h2h formats - roto is the way to go. Our roto style league plays unlimited daily moves/trades. Maximum games played is 82.

We have 10 cats - fg%, ft%, 3ptm, pts,oreb,dreb,ast, stl, blk, to. We implemented the unorthodox oreb cat b/c we felt the the 3 "big man" cats(oreb,dreb,blk) balanced out the 3 "small" cats (ast,stl,3ptm). I have to disagree with your assessment of the turnover category. Turnovers are a part of the game that has a great effect/impact on a real life team, so it is more realistic to include this stat.

We play 9 positions - pg, sg, g, sf,pf,f,c,util,util. Because we have 13 teams we felt having 2 center positions would dilute the talent at that position too much, and the 2 util slots provide greater flexibility. Due to the elimination
of the IL we also have 5 bench spots
so there is usually not much talent available on the waiver wire.

We've found this format to work very well. For five years running we've had very competetive leagues that usually come down to the final days of the season for the winner to be decided.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Matt G. said...

1) H2H regular season with 8 categories, average stats (so total games don't matter!!!) and H2H playoffs. We require 24 games minimum so people can't hide their scrubs on the bench to boost averages.

2) This is our first year going with H2H regular season. We had been using roto reg season and H2H playoffs to keep people interested throughout the year. I prefer our new format. Since we have average stats, unbalanced schedules don't matter too much. The lineup strategy is tons of fun. Roto leagues lost their fun in March when 80% of the league was out of the running. Roto combined with H2H playoffs was fun but I had to do a lot of stat tracking by hand.

3) Discussion of the best league sites and setups available. It's hard to find a site that does exactly what you need.

12:27 PM  
Anonymous bublitchki said...

I play in an H2H, 11 category (FG%, FT%, FTM, Pts, 3PM, Off Reb, Tot Reb, Ast, Stl, Blk, TO) league. We play nine active players (PG, SG, G, SF, PF, F, C, C, Util) and set our lineups weekly.

The league switched this year. Last year we started two utility players and only one center. This year, the commish changed it to two centers, causing me no end of headaches. Here's how bad it's been: Zaza has been a mainstay in the #1 spot, while the #2 spot has been filled by a rotating "Bum of the Week" club: Stromile Swift, Tyson Chandler, Raef LaFrentz have all shuttled between my #2 center spot and the waiver wire this year. This week, it's Magloire who promptly rewarded my faith in him with a stunning 7 point, 4 rebound performance last night.

The two center thing has resulted in decent center options being ridiculously overvalued in our league. Here's an example: Very early in the year, I was able to trade Tony Parker for Rasheed, who is center eligible. My center problem's solved, right? Uh, not so fast. Within days of pulling off that deal, I get an offer of Tracy McGrady and Magloire for Chris Paul and Rasheed!

Now, in any other year, such a deal would appear to be absurdly one-sided. I mean, I'm offered a top five fantasy player and a serviceable #2 center for a solid rookie PG and a good- but not great- PF who happens to be center eligible? Even this year, that's just too tempting an offer to pass up. But, believe it or not, I had to think about this one for a few hours before I went ahead and pulled the trigger. That's how nutso this whole two center thing has made me.

My hope is that my other players are strong enough to mask my deficiencies at center. McGrady, for example, averages seven boards a game at a guard spot and I've got Kirilenko as one of my forwards, so I feel pretty safe in the blocks dept. But what do you all think? Anyone else out there with experience in two center H2H leagues? Is it possible to win starting two mediocre centers week in and week out if the rest of your lineup is solid? Or, am I doomed to a season of frustrating near misses in the critical big man categories?

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) I'm in a 12 team, 9 category roto league, with lineups set daily, unlimited moves (I love that feature), 82 max games per position. You have 10 starters (pg,sg,g,sf,pf,f,cc,util,util) and 3 bench spots. The cats are FG%,FT%, 3pt made,pts,reb,assts,stls,blk,TO.

2)This is my first time doing fantasy hoops, but I totally agree with you about Roto vs H2H/weekly for all the reasons you mentioned. I definitely wouldn't want to play in a league that the # of games played in a week is what you're concerned about.
And, I agree that the turnover category is annoying and unfairly punishes players who touch the ball (i.e. point guards) more than others. Maybe I'm just mad because it's my worst category. (thanks to Arenas,Pierce,ridnour,m.james,Pachulia)

One complaint about my league is that there's no injured list. (which is actually the NBA's fault) It really awards those lucky enough not to get hit by injuries. I really wish I could test out more waiver wire guys when I lose a starter. Also, I hate the fact that Yahoo doesn't give you the option of seeing the standings by averages instead of just totals. It's hard to figure out exactly how you're doing given the fact that everyone's played a different amount of games. You kinda have to guess/estimate your 'real' position.

To respond to the 2nd person who commented, I don't think you needed to add Off.reb as a cat to balance out big man vs guard stas, since TOs disproportionately hurt the guards.

As for your site, I think it's been doing a great job thus far. You obviously can't please everyone using every format. I'd say just keep turnovers in mind, since a lot of leagues seem to use it (even though yours doesn't).

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Chase said...

I am in a 12 team, 11 cat (FG%,FT%,FTM,3PT%,3PTM, PTS,AST,STL,REB,BLK,TO), weekly H2H league. Positions are (PG,SG,G,PF,SF,F,C,C,Util,Util).

I am a big fan of the H2H (makes each day meaningful and of course makes for smack talkt) but not the weekly. However, for keeping everybody involved without quitting our jobs, the weekly lineups were voted in. For our group, it's probably not how long it takes to set weekly lineups, but the severity of the penalty for not setting them up. In daily, you can rotate and get a game for every position, every night, so neglecting your lineup for even a couple of days is a big penalty.

The big league is great (12 teams with 10 starters and 5 bench guys), because it forces you to be resourceful and make use of players outside of the top 100.

I am enjoying the blog -- I look long-term for any changes I am going to make, so I am thinking about the same kind of things roto players are. I almost never pick up a player because of how many games he's playing in a week.

3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i play in a 10 team, weekly lineup league, h2h, 9 scoring categories, 6 starting positions (pg-sg-sf-pf-c-util)

i like the weekly lineup format because it's easy to manage. it takes too much time and effort to do daily lineups. i also do fantasy football so i already spend more time then i should be looking at fantasy stats

Roto may award the team that's best overall and eliminates the chance of luck but it's very boring. the other GM's in my league are my friends so of course we do head to head- much more exciting having a different opponent each week, leaving the possibility of endless trash talking. and just like the NBA, normally the team that's playing well down the stretch is the team that wins

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

First and foremost, mad props to this website. It's hard to find the quality analysis that you find right here.

I am in two H2H leagues right now on Yahoo Fantasy. Much like others have posted, I think H2H is the best type of league. You have much more ability to talk shit and go H2H against buddies. Plus I think that you have to have more strategy, especially with weekly set-ups, because you have to see who has the most games AND what type of team you are competing against. If you know there's a category that you will not be winning, you load up on the other categories to balance out the scoring. Depth is important.

League Setup:
Both are H2H 9-category: FG%, FT%, 3PM, PTS, AST, REB, STL, BLK, TO. There are 10 spots on a given night/week: PG, SG, G, SF, PF, F, C, C, UTIL, UTIL with 4 bench spots.

10 Teams - League 1: Nightly Set-up
5th Place....with valid excuses

PG: Gilbert Arenas
SG: Luol Deng
G: Chauncey Billups
SF: Shawn Marion
PF: Jermaine O'Neal
F: Pau Gasol
C: Brad Miller
C: Channing Frye
Util: Mo Williams
Util: David West
Bench: Hedu Turkoglu
Bench: Mike Miller
Bench: Donyell Marshall

Question to FBB and All Readers: Last night I trade Jason Terry, Joe Johnson, and Samuel Dalembert for Chauncey Billups and Jermaine O'Neal. Was that a good trade? Also, with my team who would you like better Turkoglu or James Posey?

14 Teams - League 2: Weekly Set-up
1st Place

PG: Chauncey Billups
SG: Raja Bell
G: Jason Williams
SF: Kevin Garnett
PF: Chris Bosh
F: Lamar Odom
C: Marcus Camby
C: Samuel Dalembert
Util: Sarunas Jasikevicius
Util: David West
Bench: Bobby Simmons
Bench: Andres Nocioni
Bench: John Salmons
Bench: Kendrick Perkins

Who is a better back-up C to have Perkins or Kwame Brown?

8:09 PM  
Blogger DM said...

Man, so I guess there's no such thing as a "standard" league set up. I don't think there were any in there that were exactly the same. I guess I assumed that most people played with the 8 categories that ESPN uses on its player rater, but that's clearly not the case.

And I guess maybe I should re-think some of the "strategy" articles I was going to do about how to pace yourself over an 82 game season. Or maybe try to at least have some more H2H stuff to balance it out.

I must say that I like having two centers. For the same reason I like having two catchers in AL or NL-only baseball leagues. It's an easy way to have an advantage over people who might not pay attention.

As for Kevin's questions ... I think that's a pretty solid trade. For both teams, actually. Billups and O'Neal should both be top 25 players, while Terry and Johnson should both be top 50 players and Dalembert is showing the goods. James Posey looks pretty lost with the Heat so far. He's always someone to keep an eye on because he can hit 3s and get steals. I'd probably go with Hedo for now, but if/when Grant Hill comes back, Hedo will probably head to tbe bench and be even more inconsistent than usual.

And I know that other league is deeeeeep, but both Perkins and Kwame are worthless.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Biggs said...

First off, thanks for the shoutout. The marksmen's luck will be a turnin - I can feel it in my bones.

My opinions on the subject - if I'm playing for cash - I'd rather be playing in a roto league. It takes a lot of the random luck out of equation, which is a good idea when . Playing for fun, I'll take H2H, for the talking trash factor.

But categories as a whole are the only way to go in fantasy basketball. Arbitrarily assigning points to stats? Might as well go play football.

Most of the leagues I've played in (excluding the Jedi one, of course) are the typical 8 cats. I'm not a big fan of turnovers as a category myself (I get a warm feeling inside from the positive counting categories as well) but I can see that they could work for some people.

I've done both weekly changes and daily ones and I like daily slightly better, but I could go either way. Although the frustration of having someone like a pre-2005 Marcus Camby on your weekly changes team might be enough for you to swear off weekly.

Here's an idea that might sound sacrilegious to everyone out there, but I’ll throw it out there because it really does work in a category league. I've been playing in an 11 team league with no positions. Basically, it's 10 Util spots. The great thing about it is that it mimics the NBA better than any other system I've seen. If I want to throw out a team of guards - I'm more than free to do that. That team is not going to win the league - but I can do it. At the same time, if the Suns want to throw out Boris Diaw at center, why can't I do the same thing? Why force me to play Kendrick Perkins? Bottom line is that I’m still going to need some big men to get rebounds and blocks to win the league.

It might sound crazy to you guys, but you should try it just once. It’s great and it’ll make trading a little easier.

11:06 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Well, after all these different league setups, you'll think mine is crazy, but I didnt' set it. I play in a league with 11 of my fraternity brothers, all of whom are competitive and smart/aware, so the league is bone dry of anything good. My team has made quite the move from the 3point shooting team to a more balanced one (drafted James Jones, Damon Jones and Mike Miller and have dropped them all)

The league is H2H and is 12 Categories: Minutes, Points, 3Pointers, FG%, FT%, Off. Rebounds, Tot.Rebounds, Assists, Blocks, Steals, Turnovers, and Technicals.

I'm currently sitting in fourth place with the following team:

Kobe Bryant
Boris Diaw
Lamar Odom
Brad Miller
Raef LaFrentz
Troy Murphy
Joe Johnson
Damon Stoudamire
Andre Miller
Gerald Wallace
Samuel Dalembert
Nedad Krstic
Sarunas Jaskfajiadfjkl
Ron Artest

I just picked up SJ for Luther Head, whom I picked up when Alston and McGrady went down. My main use from this spot is threes or whatever I need. I picked up Troy Hudson for today's game, but it doesn't look like he's playing. Likewise, Troy Murphy doesn't appear to be playing. Must be Troy's day off.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I have essentially "punted" FG% and Turnovers every week. Oh, btw, there is no limit to the number of games and there are 10 roster spots open and playable every day (PG, G, G, F, F, PF, C, C, Util, Util).

Any more opinions about what I should do with Raef. I was loving the three pointers and blocks, despite not getting any rebounds. Now he's only playing 20 minutes a game adn I think hasn't made a field goal in like 4 games. He's too good to necessarily drop, but there aren't any decent centers out there (except Pachulia who's on waivers), not to mention the variety of center that will get me 11/6 with a block and a three. Oh darn..

11:21 PM  
Blogger PR said...

12 team Roto is definitely the way to go. 8 or 9 categories are good (I don't like TOs either but you can definitely make an argument for them). H2H should really be reserved for football because all the games are played on a weekend and it just makes sense. The 16 game NFL season was tailored for weekly H2H fantasy matchups. Basketball and baseball on the otherhand with their abundance of games and categories really fit into the roto mold a lot better. Yes, smack talk is always fun, but the concept of starting Derek Fisher because he is playing 4 games instead of Jason Kidd who is playing 2 is just downright silly.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous chars said...

My main (and favorite) league is a 12-team H2H league w/ 10-cat: FG%, FTM, 3PTM, PTS, OREB, REB, AST, ST, BLK, TO.

The two categories that seem to differ from the average league are FTM and OREB.

FTM: The commish strongly believes in rewarding agressiveness and not allowing a team to get away w/ a player who shoots (and makes) 2 FTs a game.

OREB: I absolutely love this category and don't really understand why it isn't more widely used. Offensive rebounding is such an empowering stat because while any dope can grab a board, OREBs mean so much more to a team. And it's interesting because often some guard s excel (at their relative position on the court) in this stat.

Two other things that make this league interesting and competitive:

1) Positions: PG, SG, G, SF, PF, F, C, C, and 4 bench. No utility position requires decent depth at all the positions. 2 Cs counter the glut of Gs and Fs in the NBA. Having quality big men to take advantage of that 2nd C spot is significant in terms of production/output.

2) Limiting the number of free agent pickups: Ours is set to 35. The benefits are: a) it makes one really weigh whether the scrub w/ the hot hand is worth a transaction; b) it encourages trading.

The league has been going on for several years and is stronger than ever.

Great site. Go Bullets!!

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have a pretty odd setup, but we like it.

We're an 8-category league with 5 positive categories (pts, rb, st, ast, blk) and three negative ones (mfg, mft, to). So basically what that does is to make a player like Shaq (who misses a lot of FT) or Iverson (who misses a lot of FG) less attractive. Duncan is a god in our league when he is hitting his free throws.

We're a 12-team h2h league with weekly lineups. You start a C, 2Fs, and 2Gs, and 3 "reserve" players, who get half their points. So the challenge is to figure out whether 2 games from Baron is better than 4 from Ridnour. It's not always that easy.

Another good thing about our league is that it's so utterly wierd that you have to REALLY do your homework on waiver wire and draft stuff. You can't just run ESPN's player rater and pick from that. It takes a good 3-5 years to figure out the system.

But once you figure it out, it's golden.

5:33 PM  

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