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How Fantasy Basketball Helped Me (Re)Discover My Inner Competitive/OCD Self

February 17, 2011

About two months ago, my good friend Alex sent an email that was short:

“Yep – ROVE’S LAST HOPE has moved into first place. Bow down.”

He was, of course, referring to a basketball fantasy league that both of us joined last fall.  For those who know me, I’m not a hypercompetitive person by nature but there was something about this email that spurred my competitive juices (maybe my Asian American side didn’t like being told to bow down?  Or maybe it was my female side that doesn’t like the idea of submitting to a man?  Or maybe it was simply because I bow down to no one….).

So how did I respond to Alex’s email?  Simply:

“I’m only bowing down to whoever is standing at the end of the season.”

Now we’re going into the All-Star break and it’s probably a good time to do a fantasy team status update. It’s a head-to-head league, which means that each week, I match up against one of the other 11 other teams and at the end of the week, the computer tallies which team’s starters won which of the following categories:

  • Field Goal Percentage
  • Free Throw Percentage
  • 3-pointers Made
  • Total Points
  • Rebounds
  • Assists
  • Steals
  • Blocks
  • Turnovers

Obviously, the key is to make sure that you start the right players each night, as you don’t get any credit for players who are benched for the evening.  Like any other basketball fan, there is often temptation to start or grab a player who you might want on your own team for those situations where “what-if-Michael-Jordan-challenged-me-to-a-scrimmage” (oh wait, I’m not the Charlotte Bobkittens).  However, I’m also torn by the diversification issue – how many players from your favorite team should you have on your fantasy team?  After all, your night’s fortunes could rise and fall with the team’s performance and if you’re playing an opponent with particularly stingy defense, that could adversely affect several starters.   Then again, as an avid follower of the team, you would know the weaknesses and strengths of each of its players and therefore know when to start/bench someone.

My team, Smellin’ Like Roses, consists of:


D. Rose midway through as he confesses his undying love for my sister, Joyce. (Photo Credit:

  • Derrick Rose (PG; Bulls) – stud.  My sister would marry him if he asked. (It’s true, I would. -Joyce)
  • Dorell Wright (SG, SF; Warriors) – in an offense where he gets a chance to shoot and shoot a lot (of 3-pointers, at a league-leading clip).
  • Lamar Odom (SF, PF; Lakers) – add a Kardashian = stats go up.  Add an Andrew Bynum = stats go down.
  • Pau Gasol (PF, C; Lakers) – after starting the year on a tear, has cooled down, but I’ll gladly take any Lakers loss (to the Cavs, of all teams) if it means that he’ll give me another 30 and 20 night.
  • Tyson Chandler (C; Mavericks) – a former Bull now shooting a crazy high percentage and contributing the occasional double-double.
  • Jose Calderon (PG; Raptors) – a true pass-first point guard who benefited when the Raptors traded Jarrett Jack, who helps me when D.Rose needs to score first, pass later.
  • Andre Iguodala (SG, SF; Sixers) – the classic streaky shooter.  On some nights, he’s a production machine, adding a little something in each category.  On other nights, he’ll shoot 2-for-14 and give me 4 turnovers.  He also happens to be one of my un-cut-able players, which means in order to get rid of him, I’d have to convince another team in the fantasy league that he’s worth the gamble (probably not going to happen).
  • Luol Deng (SF, Bulls) – oh Lu.  A third option on offense now, whose great games have probably flown under the radar of many fantasy folks but also has the uncanny knack to have terrible games when I start him on my starting 5 ahead of someone like Lamar.
  • David West (PF, Hornets) – woke up from his sleepy season last year and has been a double-double machine.  Helps when you have Chris Paul as your point guard.
  • Joakim Noah (PF, C; Bulls) – I didn’t draft JoNo but he got dropped to the waivers when he went down in December with his injury so I picked him up for my team.  He’ll be back soon and I can’t wait.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with my team.  I don’t really have anyone who will go off for 50 points like Dwyane Wade, but most of the team consists of steady producers.  The only thing that annoys me is that I consistently get beat in the steals category but it doesn’t annoy me enough to go out looking for a steals specialist (and they’re probably all taken, like Rajon Rondo, and do I really want Rajon on my team?  It means I’d have to cheer for his production).  I have to admit that I might want a better SG option (much like the Bulls in real life) and if someone offers me someone for Iguodala, I might be inclined to listen.  Meanwhile, what have I learned in the process?

1.    I’m one of those annoying people who will check the status of games more than once during the course of a night.

2.    I’m not sure if I’ll do it again next year – I like winning but I definitely don’t like losing.

I’ll keep readers updated as we move into fantasy playoffs in a month.  At the risk of jinxing myself, I’ve been in first place for over the past month.  Alex, you’re going to have to wrestle that (imaginary) trophy from my cold, dead hands.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 17, 2011 9:57 pm

    You have to play again next year! FBB is all time. You are not alone with checking your roster repeatedly. I spent the last evening of last year’s league finals staring at the box score screen (don’t laugh). You’ve got a solid roster too. If you’re looking for steals, Ariza seems to be finding a consistent groove in all the other categories which would make him a great look for a roster looking for steals now.

    • jyin4 permalink*
      February 18, 2011 10:02 pm

      It’s funny – I actually looked at Trevor Ariza but because I have Iguodala, who I can’t just drop to the waivers, I couldn’t make it happen (the league I’m in does not have folks who are active traders, mostly folks combing the waiver wire to see who’s available to replace the latest injured player). Btw, I drafted Baron Davis and should’ve realized that I needed to hold onto him but I’m excited to see Blake in person next month…

  2. February 19, 2011 1:47 am

    Bummer you can’t work out a trade, but not simply dropping Iggy is the smartest move…Baron will do that to you. Mr. I-Need-To-Be-Motivated.
    …Looks like Blake saved his energy for the dunk contest and the all-star game. He did have some absolutely ridiculous alley oops! Wall & Cousins were ridiculous tonight! I’m absurdly jealous you will be seeing Blake live next month. When and where?

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