As fantasy basketball drafts ramp up over the next week and a bit, we are going to be posting a series of articles on our favorite draft strategies – or as they’re more commonly known in the fantasy basketball circle, “punting” strategies.

Part of what makes head-to-head (H2H) fantasy basketball interesting (and different from fantasy football) is that you are competing across various categories instead of as a whole. This allows fantasy basketball and baseball to be part gambling, part skill evaluation, and part science – the latter which is not the case with fantasy football (though still exciting for its own reasons).

While there are certainly balanced strategies that work – choosing the best players available and trying to get the best value in each round – creating a team that is strong in all nine categories is a very tall task. On the other hand, a team whose strengths and weaknesses are well-aligned can beat a team that is better overall. In our experience, well-crafted punting strategies work more often than not – while you’ll still be trying to find good value throughout the draft, aligning your weaknesses and sacrificing a category (or even two) opens up a whole new group of value picks in each round.

Disclaimer: DP&R does not take any responsibility for any potential monetary loss if you elect to use one of our guides and are not ultimately successful in your league.

Though the rationale above seems straightforward, effectively executing a punt strategy in your fantasy draft is not always easy. Should you choose to go with one, it usually requires some prior draft preparation beyond looking at which players you think will improve the most (a step that we can hopefully help you save time on). It also requires flexibility – instead of choosing a strategy prior to the draft and drafting to fit that build, it is best executed by waiting to see who is available with your first pick and then building upon that. You may not always get to draft all your favorite players, but sacrifices are often required to build a championship team.

And as one final note: the most common mistake of punters in general is solely focusing on the punted category to create value. Equally as important is to complement your strategy’s main players with the right pieces who can help you secure the categories that the main ones cannot. We’ll elaborate more on this in each individual article, but this note should help to explain a lot of our recommendations.

To put this in an example: punt strategies often tend to be either big men or guard-heavy; in the case of a FT% punt, you’ll have no problem finding big men with strong FG%, REB, BLK and low TO’s. Overload on those and you’ll find yourself consistently winning exactly four categories and losing the remainder – therefore, you’ll want to complement them with players that can secure at least two, if not three, of 3PTM, PTS, STL, and AST. So while Steph Curry and Chris Paul may seem odd in a FT% punt, their elite production in the aforementioned categories (especially STL, which is usually your fifth target category in this build) make them great first round building blocks for a successful FT% punt.

Check back later this week (or even better, subscribe) for our draft strategy series, including all our favorite punting builds and the players we recommend for each. Read them, use them in mock or actual drafts, and let us know how it goes.

Written by DP&R Editors