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What is punting in fantasy basketball?
If you play in head-to-head leagues and you’re not punting, you’re not doing it right. Trying to build a team that is competitive in every category may seem like a genius idea on the surface. It is a very tempting strategy to attempt. We all dream about finding that fantasy basketball nirvana. That team that is strong in all nine categories and doesn’t give its opponents an inch. It is a lovely dream. Dream being the keyword. The fantasy basketball world is a cold, dark place and if it was that easy to build a juggernaut, you wouldn’t be coming to this page. Winning all nine categories is not a realistic expectation assuming you play in league with semi-competent players, so why waste your time trying.
The idea behind punting is to sacrifice a category to make yourself stronger in the remaining categories. The same logic applies to punting multiple categories. If you sacrifice multiple categories and build your team correctly, then you should be stronger in the remaining categories than you would have been if you only punted a single category. It’s a strategy that makes a lot of sense, but it is not something that I would recommend for fantasy players new to punting. It has a higher chance of backfiring than strategies that involve punting only a single category. The biggest downside to punting more than one category is that it limits your flexibility. Changing strategies mid-season, or close to the fantasy playoffs, is very common and often the right move. Quality free-agent pickups can change your team’s makeup and sometimes the build that you have chosen doesn’t match up well with a likely playoff opponent. As a rule, unless I play in a league with more than nine categories, I try not to punt more than two categories at the beginning of the season. That sometimes changes as the fantasy playoffs get closer, but at the beginning of the season, I like to maintain some flexibility.
One strategy that you absolutely need to stay away from is punting four categories. I cannot stress this enough. If you punt four categories, your season will not be fun. I know some are tempted by the thought of locking up five categories and squeezing out 5-4 victories every week. Resist that temptation. This strategy is better in theory than it is in practice. You have zero room for error if you try to pull off the quadruple-punt. If you don’t draft properly, or an injury puts one of your chosen five categories at risk, you can sink to the bottom of the standings quickly. Even if you do pull off this strategy relatively well, you can still find yourself in trouble. I played in a league a few years back where a team employing this strategy finished in the top-three in matchup victories and missed the playoffs. The team pulled off 5-4 wins after 5-4 wins, but a couple of tough 7-2 losses in the middle of the season when the team was missing a couple of its stars was all it took to end the team’s championship aspirations.
Punting can work in Rotisserie leagues. I know some will disagree with me on that one, but it’s the truth. That being said, it’s not something that I recommend. It is hard. Very hard. In Rotisserie leagues, even punting one category leaves very little room for error. Often when punting, a second category ends up being weaker than expected. If that happens in a Rotisserie setting, there goes your championship. Punting in Rotisseries leagues is only for experts. If you do decide to live dangerously and punt in Rotisserie, make punt assists your punting strategy. It is the only punting strategy that does not come with a naturally weak second category. Why is this? Well, you’ll have to subscribe to my site to find out.
18/19 First/Second-Round Pairings: Part 1
The first round is hard to screw up, but things get tricky after that. Not every second-round pick fits well with every first-round pick and a less than ideal pairing can get you into trouble. Below are some first- and second-round pairings that compliment each other well. I've broken them…Read More
18/19 First/Second-Round Pairings: Part 2
Things get a little trickier in the second half of the first round. You can pair Anthony Davis with just about any second-round pick and come away above average in most categories. That's not the case with the players likely to be drafted at the end of the first. Finding…Read More
18/19 Punt Blocks
The unpredictability of fantasy basketball drafts makes flexibility one of the most important traits that a manager can have. When I say flexibility, I’m not just talking about having a list of three or four acceptable players in each round. Sometimes your best option is to completely change your team…Read More
18/19 Punt FG%
This is a punting strategy that is going to show up in almost every competitive league. It is the go-to punting strategy for those fortunate enough to have a top-two pick and the opportunity to select James Harden. This should also be the punting build of choice for those who…Read More
18/19 Punt FT%
No punting strategy is loved more by the fantasy community than punt FT%. This build has been fantasy basketball’s most popular punting strategy for decades and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. Is it fantasy basketball’s most effective punting strategy? Not in my opinion. Punt assists has a similar…Read More
18/19 Punt Points & Punt Points/FT%
No build changes your draft board more than punt points does. Borderline first-round options become top-30 players and players struggling to crack the top-100 when points are included become mid-round assets. Last season, Kyle Anderson was a top-40 player without points and Russell Westbrook was not. Robert Covington was as…Read More
18/19 Punt Threes
The NBA's full embrace of basic math has increased the attractiveness of the punt threes strategy. In 2012-2013, a player only had to produce 1.0 3PG to be an average contributor in the threes category. Today, that kind of production from deep is laughed at. In 2017-2018, average production from…Read More