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10 Fantasy NBA Terms You Need To Master To Rule Your Office League

Brief history—included!
by Aeus Reyes | Oct 26, 2016
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Basketball in the Philippines is an epidemic.

We mean that in the best of ways and, while that statement is not verifiable by any scientific means, it is regarded as fact. For a sport that isn’t even in the top five most popular sports in the world (a simple search on Google will get you 1.2 billion hits for “football” and 615 million for “soccer” but only 518 million for “basketball”), it’s a wonder why and how this particular sport has penetrated our culture so deeply.

We consume the sport almost daily and in countless ways—arcade machines, barangay ligas, corporate tournaments, collegiate championships, cheering on our very own Gilas Pilipinas team, and following professional leagues such as the PBA and the NBA. The advance of modern technology has only made basketball more accessible (and infinitely more fun) with the birth of super realistic console games and, for true sports geeks, the Fantasy Basketball League.

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What is a Fantasy League, anyway?

Fantasy Sports has reportedly been around since the 1950s when a man named Bill Winkenbach devised a way to bet on professional golf that had people select a team of professional golfers and the person who had the lowest total number of strokes won. Winkenbach also established the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prediction/Prognosticators, the first reported fantasy football league.

The modern fantasy league, though, is credited to Daniel Okrent, a magazine writer/editor, who created his own version of a fantasy league based on baseball called Rotisserie League Baseball in the 80s. Named after a New York City restaurant where Okrent and his friends would meet to play fantasy baseball, Rotisserie is now the most commonly used format in fantasy sports. But regardless of when it started, the concept of Fantasy Leagues remain the same: each participant drafts players from a list of active athletes and try to outdo each other based on the real-life statistics of those athletes. It puts you in the shoes of a sports team’s General Manager and is a fun and different way of following your favorite sports, which in our case is definitely basketball. And with the new NBA season about to begin, what better way to welcome it than creating your own Fantasy Basketball League?

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Rotisserie what?

For those signing up for their very first Fantasy Basketball League, we have compiled a list to help you stay afloat amidst all the jargon. More than FGs, FTs, STLs and ASTs (which any self-respecting basketball fan should already be familiar with), these are the things that you need to know.

Snake - Drafting is the most common way to select your players in a fantasy league. While the initial drafting is usually done via a lottery, most leagues tend to use the “snake” draft format where the last pick in any given round gets to pick first in the following round.

Auction - While drafting is the most common way to acquire players in your fantasy league, another way to do it is through an auction. In the auction format, each team has a budget that they use to bid on the individual players.

Categories - These are pre-determined categories that you will compete for during the fantasy league. Most leagues have eight or nine categories that might include points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, field goal percentage, three points made, free throws made, and turnovers.

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With the departure of Kevin Durant,
Russell Westbrook is expected to be a fantasy beast this season

Rotisserie - This is the most common format for fantasy leagues. In a Rotisserie (or Roto) league, everyone competes against each other for the entire season, trying to accumulate as much statistics as they can in a pre-determined set of categories. If you have ten teams in your league for example, the person with the most number of stats in a certain category will get ten points, the next will get nine, etc.

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Head-to-Head - In this format, you only compete against one other team in your league for a certain amount of time. At the end of each matchup, the player leading in the most number of categories wins. In some cases, matchups can end in a draw.

Keeper - Keeper leagues allow you to retain players you drafted for your team from the previous season to the current season. This is an excellent option if you plan on having an annual league.

Roster - This is the composition of your team. A typical fantasy basketball roster will consist of a point guard, a shooting guard, a small foward, a power forward, two centers, one guard (either point or shooting), a forward (either small or power), two utility players (which can be any position), and bench players. Bench players are inactive and their stats will not be counted unless you transfer them to any of the other roster positions available.


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Transactions - There are a few types of transactions in fantasy leagues. Trades are when you exchange players with a different team. Add is when you claim a player from the waivers or add one from the free agent list. Drop is when you remove a player from your team.

Waiver - Whenever a player is dropped from a team, that player is automatically placed on the waiver. While on the waiver, all the teams have an opportunity to stake a claim to that particular player. If more than one team wants to get a player from the waiver, the team with the higher waiver order will get that player. Waiver orders are usually determined by the weekly standings where the team in last place will get priority. If no one claims a player on the waivers after 24 hours, that player goes to the free agent list.

Free Agent List - A list of undrafted and dropped players that any team can get from. No priority order is in effect for claiming players in free agency.

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