This past year I decided after much debate to dip my toe into the world of Dynasty Fantasy Sports, and more so fantasy basketball. My experience had only been with fantasy football, but I was knowledgeable about basketball as it pertains to the NBA and wanted to see if I could compete with more than just my old buddies from high school.
Getting into Dynasty Fantasy Basketball is relatively easy, but the first task you will have to decide is how you want to get into a league. There are two basic ways to get a team. The first is to form a league with all new owners, draft a new team from scratch. This way, you start your Dynasty team on the ground floor, with the team you decided to draft from the beginning. However, this is not always possible since there are not that many startup leagues available since most leagues have what are called “Orphan” teams available in established leagues that need to be filled before new leagues sprout up. So, for the rest of us, picking up an “Orphaned” team is the option we have.
Picking up an orphaned team means you take over a team a previous owner decided to give up for whatever reason, some might have given them up because they didn’t have the time to dedicate to running the team, didn’t have the money to have a team, or just plain lost interest. Regardless of why the team is orphaned, it would be best to look at the teams and answer a few questions.
- What is the team’s current standing in the league? Is it a playoff team, a “tweener” team, or a rebuilding team?
- What is the makeup of the current roster?
The answer to the first question will dictate what I look for in my answers to the second question, and those two combined answers will lead me to what the answer would be for the third and final question. So, let’s look at each of the three questions and see if I can maybe help you navigate the process of buying an orphaned team and getting started as a Dynasty Sports Empire (DSE) owner.
What is the team’s current standing in the league?
Some leagues will give you information about the team you are looking at purchasing; other times, you will have to try and figure that out yourself. This is important information to have because if you are considering a team with a late 1st round draft pick (Picks 9-12), you might be able to assume that your potential team was a playoff team that was close to winning it all. This will mean you might not have much to do to contend right away for a title. If your team had a middle 1st round draft pick (Picks 4-8), you might be looking at the team as a possible playoff team, or possibly a teardown and rebuilding team, depending on a few other factors. The last option is a team with an early 1st round draft pick (Picks 1-3); that team most likely is a rebuilding team.
Having the answers to this question will help you decide what kind of roster you’d expect your potential team to have and what you might want to do with it.
What is the makeup of the current roster?
Potential Playoff Teams: If the orphaned team you are considering has a late 1st round draft pick (Picks 9-12), you would expect a team that is well balanced as far as positional flexibility, with a few high scoring players (30+ fantasy points per game), a decent number of mid-range scoring players (18-29 fantasy points per game), and some fill-in players (10-17 fantasy points per game). In my option, the goal is to avoid any rostered players below 10 points per game. By rostered, I am referring to players who are not rookies or developmental players, but simply players who have been in the league awhile but are not producers at a level you would like them to take up a roster spot.
Positional flexibility, to me, means players who can be played at multiple positions. I prefer these types of players for a few reasons, but the main one is that it allows me to have better lineup coverage on nights where they are playing. I will explain this a bit more later.
Tweener Team: This is the team that has fewer high-scoring players and more mid-range players. These teams are the toughest to take over because they are usually close enough to be good and usually lack enough firepower to get them to be a serious championship contender. Oftentimes these teams have more players without position flexibility and might be more reliant on older players that have moved past their prime and, instead of producing 30+ points per game like they have in the past, are now in the 18-29 points per game category.
Tear Down, Rebuilding Team: Much like the first type of team we talked about, this is an easier team to know what to do with because, well, there is only one direction to go, up. These teams have very few high-scoring players, a few mid-range scoring players, but most have the fill-in players scoring 10-17 points per game; many of the teams’ players might be older as well. This team will need the most work to rebuild them, but if they have the right assets to rebuild, it can be the most rewarding.
So, with the first two questions answered, the next step is to answer the third question. This is where you get to decide what excites you the most about taking on a team. Everyone wants to win a championship, but those teams are not as available as other teams. Hence, if you do not have the good fortune of having a chance to get a championship-ready team, you have to make more choices and decisions about how you want to operate your team.
What would my plan be for this team with me being the owner of moving forward?
Potential Playoff Teams: Since we know this team is already a quality team, let us look at somethings that I feel are important to have a successful championship team.
For me, I want a team with “Positional Flexibility.” Positional flexibility is important because my goal is to have a complete 12 man, active roster each day. In most leagues, that means you are starting two point guards (PG), two shooting guards (SG), two small forwards (SF), two power forwards (PF), one center (C), and two flex players (FLX). Have positional flexibility means limiting the number of players you can only start at one position. By limiting the number of these players, you can maximize your potential to having a complete roster for every lineup you submit. The reason this is important leads me to my next point when evaluating potential playoff teams.
If your team can average 1700 points per week in the league that I am in, you will win most of your games. So, what does it take to reach 1700 points over a week of games? Here is the math for you….
1700 points over 7 days amount to approximately 243 points per day; for simplicity purposes, let us say 240 points per day. To get 240 points per day, I need 12 active players, each scoring 20 points per day. By doing this, you would be more likely to win each week, and thus, a possible championship.
When I look at a potential playoff team, I am looking at how many players the team has that are averaging at least 20 points per fantasy game and have positional flexibility. If that number is 16 or more players, I feel good about that team and their chances. (Currently, my best orphaned (one I just took over this season) team has 21 of these players. So, if I can consistently score 240 points per day, I should win most of my games. The team I just mentioned has scored 13,708 points through 8 plus weeks of games, averaging 236.34 points per day, and is 8-0. So, the math works; achieving it is the goal.
Tweener Team: To me, these teams are tougher to figure out. My goal is to start and look at the team and figure out how many players are at that 20 plus points per game status, the positional flexibility, the age of the players, how close they were to making the playoffs, and what it has for minor league, developing players, and draft picks.
If the team is fairly young (most players under 30), have the majority of their players with positional flexibility, at least 12-13 players averaging more than 20 points per game, and of those 12-13 players, at least 9-10 of them are under 30. I will view this as a team to move towards competing for a championship. If the team is lacking in one or two areas, particularly with scoring, I will look to improve those areas during the offseason. If, in my opinion, I cannot improve those areas before the season starts, I will then take the position that I will do nothing until the season is at the trade deadline and see where things stand for the team. This is the point for me that dictates if I chose to move and rebuild, make deadline trades for draft picks, or work to fix those lacking and make a run for the playoffs and a possible championship.
Tear Down, Rebuilding Team: These teams are much easier; they have too many holes that need to be filled and not enough high-powered players to make them relevant for the current season. For those teams, I immediately look at how many players do I have that are 28 and older, that have mid-range or higher scoring numbers, and lack positional flexibility. These players will immediately be offered up via trades to teams that do have visions of championships. My goal is to accumulate players 25, and younger and draft picks. Remember, we are tearing down and rebuilding here. If I am taking a player on, I will almost always require that player to have positional flexibility. I will resist moving players younger than 25 unless I can get an excellent package back for them. Remember, this is the core you are looking at building around and should be a priority for keeping together. I will continue to do this until all the older players have been traded away to trade possibly. The rest will remain on the team if there are no other options for replacing them or getting cut and replaced with minor league players that have been passed over during the draft but might have some potential to turn into something.
To end this long-winded article, I will say this. Once the season gets underway, adjusting to the seasons’ ups and downs as they make their marks on the team will be about adjusting to the seasons’ ups and downs. If I have positional flexibility, I should navigate injuries, players sitting out for rest, and any other things that will come up during the season. The rest of the team’s expectations will depend on what category of the team I have and my goals: one last key point and one I often have to caution myself against. Don’t try to make your team something. It is not. If you are rebuilding and off to a better than anticipated start, don’t trade away all the draft capital you earned during the offseason with the hope you can catch lightning in a bottle and win the championship sooner than you thought. This will rarely work, and even if it does, you will leave your team without the resources it will really need to build a long-term Dynasty team.
Feel free to reach out to me via Twitter @ItsInTheStats.