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NBA GPP Strategy

NBA GPP Strategy
by Ray of

There is risk involved in all formats of fantasy basketball. The format of the league and the prize might be different, but you cannot escape that risk. Granted, depending on those variables, and the amount of money that you put into the pot, the risk/reward relationship could differ.

Although the goal of any fantasy basketball player should always be to come in first, win all the money and dominate play, in some formats of daily leagues that is not necessary. For example, if you are doing a 100 team double-up type format, does it really matter if you finish 1st, 10th, or 45th? Regardless of your position, as long as you finish in the money, you are good and the place of finish in the standings isn't as relevant. That knowledge will clearly impact how you build your team. But then if you are playing in a Guaranteed Prize Pool Tournament, your strategy will be quite different. This is when you want to be the best.

In a GPP format, the risk is minimal (the entry fee is often $2) but because of the large player pool (1,000 players), the reward is large. For this reason, you cannot treat it as a normal daily league and your strategy must be adjusted accordingly. In this league, if you don't finish first (or maybe in the upper 5% of the league depending on its size and the payout structure), then you might as well be last. You are not going for respectable, you are playing to win. And based on the nature of the league, your ante is small, so there is not much risk involved. There is no benefit to essentially treading water and having an average team. So let's take a look at some tips for NBA GPP leagues.

I would go with the stars and scrubs strategy. Attempting to field a team of average to above average players will ultimately not prove to be feasible based on the salary cap. Also, you will end up leaving a lot of points on the table as in formats like this, the difference is magnified that much more from a superstar putting up 35 points and a very good player scoring 20 points.

Look at the games on the schedule for that night and pick out the two players that you think will score the most points that night. While doing this, also be aware that you are looking for players who often have better shooting percentages both from the field and from the foul line. Remember that you lose points for missed shots, so it could get to the point where you don't want players to be shooting. This is not good. You should feel great about these two players. Also look for a well rounded scorer here. Points are actually the least valuable commodity so you do not want the offense to come at the expense of a well rounded player. While you started this exercise by looking for the players you thought would score the most points, eventually you will work thru that list to find the best 2 scorers for that night that will also shoot a high percentage from the field and will help you in other categories. Again do this without thinking about dollar value. You need to have a backbone of your team that will carry you, and these will be your players.

Now, while being aware of the points system, stay away from the elite dollar values and make your next two selections based on what categories will give you the most points. Look for big men that can rebound and block shots, and guards that will get assists and steals. Do not pay attention to their point totals on the year as these categories are more valuable on a points basis. Again, try not to pay too much attention to dollar values here, but eliminate player's whose value is inflated by higher scoring totals as that will be covered next.

These next four players are where the heavy lifting comes in. At this point take a look at your remaining salary cap room and be efficient. You want upside and value here. You are willing to give up some stability for a higher reward. Look at matchups, guys coming off of injuries, guys filling in for an injured player, recent role changes, the hot hand etc. With your first four players you have established a nice base to your team, now is the time to add the value. The lower the salary and higher the reward, the better the option is.

As with all daily leagues, you are not trying to build a balanced team

If you are following the above theory and it points you to all high salary perimeter players, so be it. All you need to do is score the most points.

Be aware of the scoring system

Do not be enchanted by superstars that may score 30 points but shoot 40% from the field while doing it because you just lost a lot of the value you thought they were generating.

Know that assists are worth more than rebounds and that steals and blocks have the highest point values. Plan accordingly with your top picks and also be aware that most of the "scrubs" you find will mainly be able to help you by scoring points and they are no guarantee, so you will need to find your rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks first. Obviously finding them from a high scorer is that much better.

Pay attention to nagging injuries and scheduling

A player nursing a nagging injury or playing in a back to back will often have their minutes limited in that game. While that means less minutes and statistics for that player, it is also means that their backups (who would be a "scrub") could see more time and could be a good value.

Remember that in a GPP format, you are trying to knock it out of the park. You need to do something that will be different than your competitors. You will not win with the players that are on 60% of all teams, you will win because of players who are owned on 10% or less of the teams. That coupled with the stars and the steady contributors will lead you to victory. Here it is ok to take a chance. If you don't win, it doesn't matter how bad you lose.

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