Fantasy Basketball Strategy: Managing Games Played Pace in the Early Season
The fantasy basketball season is well underway. Without a doubt some teams have jumped out to early leads while others are bogged down in early season slumps. This article will focus specifically on rotisserie style leagues where there is a cap on games played at each position. We will explore whether or not it is worth it to shuffle players in and out of your lineup.
I see a number of positives to following a shuffle player strategy. First, you never know when injury is going to strike. It is essential to max out your games played at every position and it is easy to fall behind pace when injuries occur. Also, I am now a big fan of playing the match-ups. A few weeks ago we explored playing the match ups for big men and pulled together numerous statistics that make a strong case for doing so (click here to read the article). In addition, I am starting to think benching players against defensive studs like Ron Artest may be a good idea as well – just ask Luol Deng owners as he was completely shutdown by RonRon the other night in Los Angeles. The two main advantages to shuffling are that it ensures you max out games played and gives you the ability to play match ups.
Lets now take a look at the negatives. Following a shuffle strategy will certainly put you ahead in games played pace. As result you may have a skewed outlook on your teams actual performance, which in turn can result in poor decision-making as you think you are ahead in all categories, but are actually really just ahead in games played. Furthermore, if your team happens to have a number of slumping star players you may miss out on big second half production as your slots for games played becomes maxed out. Another negative to shuffling players is that you may not have the flexibility to capitalize on a second half of season opportunity created by injury or trade. It happens every year, a key player gets injured/traded and someone steps up to fill the void. If you are too far ahead in games played you will miss out on this opportunity.
At the end of the day it all comes personal preference. We feel shuffling players provides an advantage mainly because it ensures that you will max out in games played at every position. The risk of not maxing out seems to be greater than missing out on second half production. While this article was more of a qualitative analysis than our traditional strategy articles we felt it was an important point to bring up in the early fantasy basketball season.