Rotisserie vs Points Based

Many of the default rankings and articles on Rotowire are geared a bit towards rotisserie basketball, but obviously there are other types of fantasy basketball games out there.  I'm in the process of comparing rotisserie to some of those other ways to play fantasy basketball, and how your draft strategy might need to change to adapt to that style.  Today I'll look at rotisserie vs the points based style.

Unlike the rotisserie vs roto head-to-head comparison I made before, rotisserie and points based leagues are entirely different animals.  In fact, the two types of play are so different that you almost need entirely different draft cheat sheets for them.  As we talked about before, roto style leagues track contributions in each of several (usually eight or nine) different categories and the owner's score is going to be reflective of his team's dominance of those separate categories.  In a points based league, though, a contribution in each category is worth a certain points value and the owner's score is going to be the sum of all of those points earned by his player REGARDLESS of what statistical category led to those points. 

A typical scoring system for a points based league might be that the team earns 1 fantasy point for every point scored, 2 points per assist, 1.5 points per rebound, 2.5 points per steal or block, 1 point per trey, -1 point per turnover, -.5 points per missed shot, and -1 point per missed free throw.  For each player in each game, those fantasy points are added up and give a final output that is often easier to understand and more intuitive than the results that you see in rotisserie.

For example, let's return to the story of Shaquille O'Neal.  In his prime he was a 28-point/12-rebound/3-assist/3-block/60% FG player, but he was also an awful (50%) free throw shooter who took a lot of free throws.  In a roto league that tracked each category separately, the bad free throw percentage was enough to derail Shaq from being a top player and instead dropped him far down the rankings.  In a points based league, on the other hand, Shaq was generally the best producer in the league because he earned big fantasy points for his points/rebounds/blocks/assists contributions and points based leagues generally don't subtract enough for missed free throws for his terrible percentage to completely ruin his value.  This matches better with the perception of Shaq at the time as the best player in the a points based league he was, whereas in a roto league you might have preferred to have an inferior real life player on your team that was more balanced across the board.

One thing to keep in mind is that points-based leagues can be either head-to-head or cumulative, just like roto leagues, so if you like the season-long stat accumulation of traditional rotisserie leagues, you may still find a points based league that offers you the same option.

A few more thoughts specifically on rotisserie vs roto head-to-head:

  • Emphasize overall production over lack of weakness.  As the Shaq example above illustrated, if you are good enough as a producer it does not matter if you have a huge weakness in any one category.  As such, all of the stud producers that generally get knocked back on roto cheat sheets get bumped back to the top of the league.  That means that Dwight Howard (free throws), Tim Duncan (free throws), Allen Iverson (field goal percentage), Baron Davis (all shooting percentages), and maybe Gilbert Arenas (field goal percentage) are all more valuable in points-based leagues vs roto leagues.  It also has an effect at the very top of the draft, where in many places Chris Paul is ranked over LeBron James in roto leagues but in a points based league LeBron is often in a class all his own.
  • Emphasize multi-faceted players over pure scorers.  In most points based leagues you get more fantasy points for an assist, rebound, block or steal than you do for points scored.  As such, it is much better for your fantasy score to have a player average 15 points, eight assists and four rebounds than 23 points, one assist and two rebounds.  Thus, a player like Shawn Marion is going to be a lot more valuable in general than a player like Ray Allen.  Or, closer to the top of the draft, players like Brandon Roy (all around), Deron Williams (points and assists) or Al Jefferson (points and rebounds) may get a slight bump in value whereas the elite young scorers who don't have a second dominant category like Kevin Durant or Danny Granger may get a slight downgrade.
  • De-emphasize Garbagemen.  I am a big proponent of the Garbageman in rotisserie leagues...the type of player that doesn't do any one thing extremely well but that contributes a little bit to every category.  Shane Battier used to be the epitome of the Garbageman, as he averaged about a trey, a steal and a block per game (all hard to fill roto categories) that made him disproportionately valuable as a roto player despite him only scoring about 10 points with about four boards per night.  In a points-based league, though Battier has versatility he didn't have enough oomph in that versatility to score enough points.  A player needs to find the sweet spot between versatility and production in order to be a viable points based producer.
  • De-emphasize single category role players In rotisserie leagues, it is sometimes advisable to start very limited players simply because they produce in certain categories.  For instance, sometimes you can get away with starting a center that doesn't score but averages almost ten boards and two blocks per game.  Or you can start a guard that does nothing but hit treys.  Or you can start a defensive stopper purely for his contributions to steals and blocks.  In a points based league, the single category role player is pretty much worthless because they can't produce enough points to battle with a more traditional starter.


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