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Imagine this: the pre-season is over. It’s mid-November and the smell of pumpkin pie is in the air. Your draft has long come and passed and you now have a real life fantasy team with a roster you set every week. You stay on top of player news and even watch a game every so often. This fantasy basketball thing doesn’t seem so hard, HECK, you’re even in the top half of your league thanks to all the great advice you’ve gotten from RotoBaller. Everyone is impressed and your fellow managers extol you as a talented rookie rather than a hapless n00b. You’re on top of the world as you head to your grandma’s house in Jersey for her unbeatable turducken.

Record scratch, it’s now January 8th, there’s a feeling that’s been nagging at you for weeks that you can’t quite figure out. Suddenly, it hits you: WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SET YOUR ROSTER? You panic. Do you dare brave the harsh reality of viewing your standing? Do you ghost on the league? HOW DO YOU FIX THIS? Simple solution… By never finding yourself there in the first place!

The biggest struggle I see with new fantasy players is maintaining their standings throughout the season. Often the excitement and competition is easy to maintain the first month or so, but when the hustle and bustle of the holiday season starts to hit hard, that’s when a lot of beginners start to go MIA. It’s all too easy to let our commitment to a new hobby wane as we’re still learning to budget our time with this new aspect of our life. If you’ve never understood the concept, “Ball is Life”, this is when you’ll learn.

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SET YOUR ROSTER IN ADVANCE

The Number One thing you can do to help yourself. Why not, just as a precaution to yourself, set your roster in advance, at least a month or so? Although this can be a tedious process, it can be a real life saver if you find yourself distracted by your “real life” or whatever, for a week or so. It’s not ideal to play for long periods of time this way, as injuries are bound to happen, but also, you should stay aware of your roster’s performance. Which brings me to my next point…

MONITOR YOUR STATS

If you’re not down to obsess over numbers, you’re in the wrong business, kid. I get that you’re new at this, so it’s about making it a habit. I generally set my lineup for the week every Sunday evening then fine tune things as needed each morning on my commute to work (I take public transportation so I’m not breaking any laws. I recommend you do the same). Sitting down to review your roster’s performance every Sunday or Monday will give you insight into who’s delivering, but also makes you aware of categories that might be getting neglected, indicating a void in your roster.

PAY ATTENTION TO FREE AGENTS

There’s a lot of players in the NBA and if you’re new to the sport as well as to fantasy play, it can all be so understandably overwhelming. You don’t have to learn every last player’s name and career highlights, but watch post-game round ups at least a couple of times a week. If you have a car and a long commute, turn on sports radio.

TALK TO PEOPLE IN OTHER LEAGUES

You can't bounce ideas or concerns off people in your own league, obviously. But if you can find someone who plays fantasy basketball in another league, it can be an invaluable resource. The best way to find someone is to just ask literally anyone you meet that expresses even a vague interest in the sport. I shouldn't have to give you tips on how to talk to people, this is a fantasy sports advice site, you awkward nerd. The good news is, most people will jump at the opportunity to commiserate. It’s always useful to bounce ideas off of someone if you’re having some performance concerns and at the very least, it’s entertaining to hear people complain about what they hate in their own leagues.

Forgetting to set your roster is a mistake you're bound to make at least once in your rookie season (if not every season you play); don't beat yourself up when it happens. Instead, try to minimize the damage and set yourself up for success in case it does. As soon as you realize your mistake, dive right in and start damage control. It's easy to dismiss the ability to recover and write the whole season off after a few absent weeks but unlike some other fantasy sports (you know, the one where you drafted Odell Beckham Jr.), your season is always salvageable.

 

In closing, remember:

“No matter how badly you screw up your roster, it's still not as bad as how how much you've screwed up your own life” -Ancient Peruvian Proverb

 

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