Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Roster Management: Using Those Games

It’s sad, but true – there’s less than one month left in the NBA regular season, and that less than one month to make your big run to the top of the standings. With this in mind, let’s take a look at one of the real taboos of fantasy sports: not using all of your available games. Leaving games on the board at the end of the year can be killer when you’re left 4 rebounds shy of an extra point in the standings. So let’s see if I can’t help you get the most out of your remaining games, with a few tips:

Stop Stocking Games
I’ve mentioned this before, probably on numerous occasions, but if you wait until the last week of the season to use those extra two games you’ve got at PF, you’re making a mistake. It’s much easier to find a reliable option right now than it will be in mid-April, when lots of coaches go into Larry Brown mode. Right now, playing rotations are still pretty stable, and you have a pretty good idea what you’re going to get from guys on a night-to-night basis. By the end of the year, rotations are in flux, starters are sitting with stubbed toes, and the backups are losing time to THEIR backups. This week will be better than next week, which will be better than the week after that. It all goes downhill from here.

Get Flexible
An extra game in a, um, “multi-position” position is far more valuable than those in a single-position position. For example, it’s much better to have 3 games left at your F spot than at your SF spot, because the F spot can be filled by many more guys than the SF spot. So what you need to do is start consolidating your extra games in spots where you’re more flexible. If you’ve got a choice between filling a game at PG or at G, then fill it at PG. If you have a choice between G or Utility (the most valuable position at this time of year), then by all means put the guy at the Guard spot. You’re much better off going into the last week of the season with 3 extra games to use at Utility than at a traditional spot.

Eyes on the Prize
The extra games you’ve got now need to be used – but that doesn’t mean you should use them recklessly. Pick a target category, and use those extra games as much as you can to move up in that one category. Just because you’ve got a spot available at C doesn’t mean that you need to use that spot for typical C categories like blocks or boards. If you need threes, for example, take a flyer on a Clifford Robinson or Matt Bonner for that position. This late in the year, it’s very easy to find those positions that you can really make a move in, and those which you’re pretty stuck. Use that to your advantage.

Don’t Sabotage Yourself
In the cumulative categories, it can never hurt to have a guy play one more game. Looking for steals? The more games you use, the more steals you’ll have. With the percentages, though, more is not necessarily better. You’ve got to be very careful that you’re not hurting yourself more than you’re helping yourself. For example, if you’re going after blocks, that means you’re going to be playing a lot of big men. Unfortunately, big men can be pretty damaging from a FT% perspective. So keep a close watch on your percentages when you’re using up these games.

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