Who Should I Start in Fantasy Basketball? (2023-2024)

Discover expert advice and insights on “Who Should I Start in Fantasy Basketball?” Get the best strategies for selecting your fantasy basketball lineup and optimizing your team’s performance. Read on to become a fantasy basketball champion!

Fantasy basketball has taken the sports world by storm, offering enthusiasts the chance to become virtual team owners and compete based on the performance of real-life NBA players. One of the most crucial decisions in fantasy basketball is selecting the right players to start in your lineup. Making the right choices can lead you to victory, while poor decisions can leave you at the bottom of the league table. In this comprehensive article, we’ll guide you through the process of determining “Who Should I Start in Fantasy Basketball?” We’ll share expert insights, strategies, and tips to help you build a winning fantasy basketball team.

Fantasy in Basketball

Understanding Fantasy Basketball

Before we dive into player selection, let’s lay the groundwork and understand the basics of fantasy basketball. Familiarize yourself with the scoring system, player positions, and league settings. This foundational knowledge will empower you to make informed decisions as you progress in the world of fantasy basketball.

Fantasy basketball leagues typically use one of three scoring systems: points-based, rotisserie, or head-to-head. Points-based leagues assign fantasy points to players based on their in-game statistical performance. Rotisserie leagues rank teams based on various statistical categories, and head-to-head leagues pit teams against each other in weekly matchups, with wins and losses determined by statistical performance.

In points-based leagues, players receive points for each statistical category (points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, etc.). The player with the highest total points wins the matchup. In rotisserie leagues, team rankings are based on cumulative stats over the entire season. The team leading in a specific category receives a certain number of points, and the team with the most cumulative points across all categories wins the league. In head-to-head leagues, teams compete against each other in weekly matchups, with the winner of each category (points, rebounds, etc.) earning a win for that week.

Assessing Player Performance

To make sound decisions on whom to start, you must analyze player performance metrics. Points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, and field goal percentage are some key stats that influence fantasy basketball scores. Look beyond the surface and delve into advanced metrics to gauge a player’s true impact on the court.

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Advanced metrics such as player efficiency rating (PER), true shooting percentage (TS%), and usage rate provide valuable insights into a player’s efficiency, scoring ability, and involvement in the team’s offense. Utilize these metrics to identify hidden gems and potential breakout stars.

The Art of Matchup Analysis

Matchups play a pivotal role in fantasy basketball success. Analyze upcoming games and consider factors such as the opposing team’s defensive strengths and weaknesses, pace of play, and recent performance trends. A favorable matchup can make a bench player a better start than a high-profile star facing a tough opponent.

Keep an eye on individual player vs. team statistics to determine how a player historically performs against specific opponents. Some players have “kryptonite” teams they struggle against, while others consistently shine against certain foes.

Balancing Risk and Consistency

A mix of risk and consistency is essential in fantasy basketball. High-risk players with the potential for explosive performances can be valuable, but they come with uncertainty. Combining them with consistent, reliable players can help stabilize your team’s overall performance.

Take calculated risks on players with high upside in favorable matchups, but avoid going all-in on risky options in crucial games. Balance your roster with reliable players who consistently deliver solid fantasy numbers.

Utilizing Waiver Wire and Free Agency

Throughout the season, injuries and unexpected events can create opportunities to add valuable players to your team. Master the art of using the waiver wire and free agency to strengthen your lineup when needed.

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Monitor injury reports and player updates regularly. When star players get injured, their backups often see increased playing time and fantasy value. Be quick to snatch up valuable players emerging from the waiver wire and free agency pool.

Strategies for Different Fantasy Basketball Formats

Different fantasy basketball formats require distinct approaches to player selection. In points-based leagues, prioritize players with high-scoring abilities and frequent double-doubles. In rotisserie leagues, target players who contribute across multiple statistical categories. In head-to-head leagues, analyze weekly matchups and adapt your lineup accordingly.

In points-based leagues, the emphasis is on accumulating points, so players who score consistently and contribute in multiple statistical categories are valuable. For example, players like LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo excel in points-based leagues due to their all-around production.

In rotisserie leagues, a balanced team across various statistical categories is key. Look for players who can contribute in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks, as well as solid free-throw and three-point shooting percentages. Players like Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic are coveted in rotisserie formats.

In head-to-head leagues, weekly matchups determine the winner in each statistical category. Strategically adjust your lineup based on which categories you want to target or protect. If you’re dominating in rebounds but trailing in three-pointers, consider benching a rebound-heavy player in favor of a sharpshooter.


How do I know which players to start in fantasy basketball?

Assess player performance metrics, analyze matchups, consider hot streaks, and be mindful of injuries and rest days to make informed decisions.

Should I prioritize consistent players or take risks with high-reward options?

A balanced approach is best. Combine consistent performers with high-risk, high-reward players to maximize your team’s potential.

Can rookies be reliable options in fantasy basketball?

Rookies can be unpredictable. Evaluate their preseason performances and potential impact before starting them.

How do I handle players going through slumps?

Monitor their performances closely. If a slump persists, consider temporarily replacing them to maintain your team’s competitiveness.

What are the essential tools for managing a fantasy basketball team?

Utilize fantasy basketball tools and apps to track player performances, analyze data, and gain valuable insights.

Is it wise to trade players mid-season?

Trading players mid-season can be a strategic move to strengthen specific positions or address weaknesses in your lineup. Carefully assess the trade offer and consider the long-term impact before making a decision.

How do I stay competitive in a fantasy basketball league with experienced players?

In competitive leagues, staying updated on player news and trends is crucial. Continuously research and adapt your strategy based on real-life player performances to gain a competitive edge.

What is the importance of team schedule analysis in fantasy basketball?

Analyzing team schedules can help you identify favorable matchups and plan your player rotations accordingly. Be aware of heavy game weeks and consider benching players with limited games.

Should I prioritize players from winning NBA teams in fantasy basketball?

While players from winning teams may have more opportunities for high-scoring games, talent, and individual performance are equally significant factors. Don’t overlook standout players from struggling teams.

How can I use historical player performance data to make better fantasy basketball decisions?

Historical data can offer insights into players’ consistency and performance trends over time. Use this data to gauge their reliability and potential impact on your fantasy team.

What is the significance of fantasy basketball playoffs?

Fantasy basketball playoffs are the pinnacle of the season, where teams compete head-to-head in knockout rounds. Ensure your lineup is in top form during this crucial period to advance and claim victory.

Can injuries significantly impact my fantasy basketball team’s performance?

Injuries can have a profound impact on your fantasy team. Be proactive in monitoring injury reports and adapt your lineup accordingly to minimize the impact of player absences.


Building a successful fantasy basketball lineup requires a combination of data-driven analysis, intuition, and a strategic approach. By understanding player metrics, analyzing matchups, and staying abreast of the latest updates, you can optimize your team’s performance. Embrace the excitement of fantasy basketball and remember that continuous learning and adaptability are the keys to becoming a champion in this thrilling virtual sport. May your journey to fantasy basketball glory be filled with triumphant victories and unforgettable moments on the court!

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