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NBA Punt Guide: The Degree of Difficulty of the Punt Strategies

With the 2018-2019 season approaching, we're ready to start rolling out NBA preview content for you guys, our readers. I believe that H2H Fantasy Basketball is right up there with Roto Baseball as the most skill-testing fantasy format and punting strategies are a huge reason why - they are simple to learn, hard to master, and are incredibly rewarding when you execute them properly.

Welcome to Part 3 of a large RotoBaller series on Punting in Head-to-Head fantasy basketball leagues. This is our most ambitious NBA project yet, a multi-part deep dive into every standard punt strategy in fantasy basketball with advanced punting strategies. Over the next little while (or long while!), we will look at how to approach first round picks, move on to separate guides for each of the eight standard punt strategies (FG%, FT%, 3PM, PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK), and get you ready to move into each and every one of these builds should the opportunity present itself. Before taking a deep dive into strategies for each individual build, we'll be presenting a primer and looking at the concept of punting from a more general angle for those inexperienced with the concepts, and hoping to create a solid landing point for newer fantasy basketball players, showing anyone new to the game how to begin effectively utilizing the defining strategy of the game we all love.

Now that we've covered some of the basics of punting as well as common pitfalls managers face when punting, let's look at the different categories of punting. Not all category punts are build alike - some are more difficult than others.

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Ranking The Degree of Difficulty of the Punt Strategies

When I was first exposed to punting, I had no idea where to begin. Moving from only knowing balanced teams to trying to master punting let's you see the game in a completely different light. It's like going from driving a car to finding yourself at the controls of a jet. Sure you know you're faster, but it'll take a while to figure out how to use that speed. That being said, not all punt strategies are equally difficult to navigate, and it may be better to roll with a strategy that is easier to start than jumping straight into the harder ones. Here's my take on the difficulty of each of the 8 main single punt strategies, and how likely I think a new player will be able to fly that plane.

Clear Skies, Let's Go For A Joy Ride - Punt Points

In my opinion, the easiest punt build to play for a couple of reasons. Firstly, points is the most overdrafted category in most leagues. I'm sure the majority of you don't play in super leagues full of experts so in most cases, your league will probably overdraft points, making the draft board chock full of value if you are punting that category. You'll naturally avoid some of the most overrated 8/9-cat players by going punt points (hello Andrew Wiggins and Harrison Barnes), and end up with some of the best value pickups out there because there's almost always mid-round value guys for the build just floating around on the waiver wire. Think about your own league, and how easy it is even in a 14-teamer to find someone like a Danny Green or P.J. Tucker for free to bolster certain cats in a week.

Your contrary stats (see the last part for more on contrary stats) are the easiest to find on the wire. For punt points, that would be 3s and steals, which you can get with guys like Green and Tucker really easily. The only contrary stat you need to go out of your way to draft is FT%, which will probably end up being your most volatile stat in this build.

Finally, by virtue of being in punt points, you end up really well positioned to hold lottery tickets early before they cash. For example, before someone like Rudy Gobert broke out, they would have been off most people's radars in balanced or other punt builds, but because you are punt points, he would have been providing enough value to roster even in very low minutes, and there's a much higher chance you would have picked up and held him to reap the benefits of his mid season breakout. Great punt point teams definitely end up with the most "your team looks like a bunch of randoms, how the heck are you first?!" reactions, and you know you've succeeded when you get that message.

A Little Turbulence But You'll Live - Punt FG%, Punt FT%, Punt 3s

I find the % builds very easy to pick up due to the fact that it's a bit more intuitive to build a team around counting stats when you can disregard one of the rates. They're also the easiest to steal weeks with your punted stat due to them being rate stats -you can just hit a super high roll for your % and have guys like Andre Drummond and Dwight Howard shoot 80% over a small sample size week, which is a lot more common than being punt points and having multiple Larry Nance type players pop off for multiple 20 point games or something.

Punt 3s is here because 3s is probably the second most overdrafted stat after points, and it's really easy to find 0 3PM centers that can contribute in a number of categories running around on your wire. Think John Henson types. You also end up naturally passing up on a long list of overrated players similar to in punt points.

These three strategies are fairly easy to draft and manage, and are all solid options to try for a first time punter.

Sharp Turns and Barrel Rolls - Punt Assists, Punt Rebounds

Punt assists is fairly intuitive to build but it forces you to get creative to cover your contraries, with 3s as the especially hard one to fill. You usually end up having to pay sticker price for a decent guard anyways, especially if there are multiple punt assist drafters in your league.

Punt rebounds is kind of in the same boat where your main contraries, blocks and FG% are pretty hard to cover since there is so much overlap between those 3 stats. It makes early pivots a lot more important, and this is one of the builds where your first round pick will matter a lot more as having a pivot for the contrary stats like Kevin Durant or Giannis Antetokounmpo is a huge part of drafting a successful team.

These two builds are both alright choices with just a small layer of difficulty added. I'd say punts assists is a decent bit easier than rebounds but definitely a tier above the first four options in terms of difficulty.

Houston, We Have A Problem (and it's not named Carmelo) - Punt Steals, Punt Blocks

These two builds are definitely the hardest because we have the opposite situation we had with points where these are probably the most under-drafted categories in the majority of leagues. I drafted punt blocks 3 times, and two of those times, I ended up just finding enough blocks on the waiver wire trying to steal the category some weeks and ending up with a team that finished as more of a balanced team than a true punt blocks team. The edge gained from drafting these strategies will not be as big in most leagues, and they should be reserved for high difficulty leagues where you know almost everyone will be punting and has a good sense of valuation.

Speaking of punt breakers, they are at their highest level of importance in these builds, especially dailies, because weekly totals for these two stats can be very low in any given week and there are going to be lots of opportunities to punt break against your opponents, many of who will be weaker in these stats than something like points or 3s.

I would recommend avoiding these builds for newer players, as well as those of you playing in relatively weaker leagues.


Next: First Round Picks in Punt Strategy

The RotoBaller Guide to Punting in Fantasy Basketball

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