A comprehensive guide to Category Leagues in Fantasy Basketball

Fantasy basketball has been around for quite some time now. According to Wikipedia, the fantasy sport became popular back in the 1990s. Similar to other forms of fantasy sport, Fantasy Basketball also follows similar fundamental postulates and principles. The game includes creating an entire team of players and earning points depending on how the players included in the team perform in real-life games. The points earned by a player determine whether they win or lose.

In this article, we will take an in-depth look at what a category league is, different types of category leagues, punting, and many more aspects of the format.If you wish to start your fantasy basketball journey or get better at the game, you can download one of the best basketball fantasy apps in India and begin your journey.

  • Different Category Leagues

The majority of the category leagues are either ‘8-cat” or “9-cat”.

The list of 8 categories includes:

  • Points: The marking system based on which the scores are calculated.
  • Rebounds: Results of missed shot attempts made by offense players
  • Assists: Inbound passes from one player to another that facilitates scoring shots
  • Steals: Successful Interception attempts made by defense players
  • Blocks: Successful deflection attempts made by defense players
  • Threes: Goals scored from beyond the three-point mark
  • Field-Goal Percentage: The ratio of scored field goals to attempted ones. 
  • Free-Throw Percentage: The ratio of successful free throws to attempted ones.

The only difference between eight default and nine default categories is “Turnovers”. Over the years, the community has exhibited more deviation towards 8-cat leagues over 9-cat ones.

How the System of Scoring Works in Category Leagues

Most aspects such as drafting players, making trades, adjusting the lineup are identical in all leagues. However, the point-scoring system is one of the most significant differences between Category leagues and others. In category leagues, you play matches against other teams over seven days and make efforts to clinch victory in more categories than them. For instance, if you have won in five categories and your opponent has only won in four, you will beat your opponent.

  • Punting in Category Leagues

Punting refers to intentionally ignoring specific categories to build an exceptionally strong team in the other categories. Here are two categories that are common targets for punting in category leagues:

  • Field-Goal Percentage and Free-Throw Percentage

These two categories are the most common targets by players for punting. Good picks often turn into great ones if you ignore their weaknesses in a specific category. Moreover, both the FG% and FT% are very non-sticky, i.e., these values of players are very variable, which makes them significantly less predictable compared to other categories. However, there are specific arguments that recommend not punting these categories. The primary one is that another fantasy manager may try doing the same thing.

  • Points

Punting this category can be a tricky affair. All top performers are likely to get drafted at the earliest. Therefore, to stay competitive, you would need to draft one high scorer in the beginning to keep your hopes of winning alive. On the other hand, however, managers often overestimate this category. Thus, it would be best to be very sensible regarding punting Points. 

  • Why is it Difficult to Win Category Leagues While Punting?

It is more challenging to punt in Roto leagues than in Head-to-Head Leagues. Let’s consider an example, for instance – If there are twelve teams in a 9-cat league, the winner would need to secure at least 85 points. Therefore, if you are beginning the season by considering one point in any specific category, you would require at least ten and a half points in each of the remaining ones to close in on 85 points. If you tie with another team for a second position in the category, ten and a half points will be awarded to you. Therefore, even though it is not impossible, winning a category league while punting is extremely hard. 

  • Determining Categories Based on Their Scarcity

Two specific categories that are very scarce are blocks & assists. They are very hard to find, especially after the draft. The majority of the non-point-guard players will probably get drafted in the first few rounds. On the other end of the spectrum lie rebounds and three-pointers. Even though the top-performing rebounders do not change their position in the rankings after seasons, there are usually numerous big men who emerge as reliable sources at the beginning of the season.

  • Things to Keep in Mind While Playing in Category Leagues:

If you are playing in a category league, especially a 9-category league, ensure to keep the following tips in mind:

  • New players tend to be prone to turnovers.
  • The shortest players on the field (Guards) often exhibit higher chances of turnovers.
  • The most significant boosts are seen in players who do not pass the ball around much and in shooting specialists.

These are just a few common tips that can create a massive difference in your fantasy basketball run. However, the authentic sources of learning are articles, news, tweets, and podcasts. Using the information obtained from these sources regarding players or teams can significantly help you better your chances of winning.

Playing in a category league is an exciting affair. However, if it is the first time you are playing in the league, ensure that you analyze every aspect of the previous season’s final ranks. Doing so will give you a clearer idea about which fantasy picks would be worth investing in. Take risks but be calculative to emerge triumphantly.

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