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Fantasy Hoops: Season Recap

4/19/2007
The 2006-07 NBA Fantasy season is in the books. The last week of the season couldn't have gone any worse for me than it did. I entered the final week of the season with 18 of my 44 leagues in the bag (up 8 points or more in the standings) and 10 leagues that were still up in the air and could go either way. So it looked like I was staring at least 22-23 wins depending how the week shook out.

If you had a bell curve on the expected number of wins going into the last week...it would range from 18-28, and my actual performance would be on the far left side of that bell curve. Out of those 10 leagues, I managed just one tie! That's it. It really just boils down to bad luck. I could've just as easily ended up on the opposite end of the curve and won 27.

I set my line-ups a week ago Monday and hoped for the best. My guys just didn't deliver. I tried to play close attention to the playoff races, tanking, guys getting shut down or rested and set-my line-ups accordingly. The last week is always going to be a down week on performance...on average fantasy teams performed about 18% worse than my initial projections of a 'normal' week. My guys performed 26% worse than projected. Guys like Jason Hart (7 games), Tim Thomas (7 games), Renaldo Balkman (New York out of it, David Lee injured) and DeShawn Stevenson (6 games, Arenas/Butler injured) looked like safe, smart starts. None of them delivered, and particularly frustrating was Balkman, who looked like a shoe-in to get some serious burn but didn't play a game all week due to a stomach virus (that must've been some virus).

Combine that with tanking/shut-down by a host of players, and it killed my week. Kevin Garnett and Andre Iguodala hurt me the most. Garnett was very frustrating...I was a little cautious about him given that he sat out the last few games last year, but I was misguided by some comments that he made to the effect of 'We've got 10 games left and I'm going to play 10 games like they are my last.' Sounded good at the time. To bad he did a 180 a week later, in an obvious tank move orchestrated by Kevin McHale, saying something like 'after talking to the doctors and GM, I've realized that this quad injury is far worse than I thought. I've been dealing with it for a couple months now.' Really? Garnett hadn't missed a game all year! In related news, Minnesota has a top 10 protected draft pick this year, otherwise they have to give it away. Let's hope for everybody's sake that Garnett gets traded to a contending team without a brain-dead GM during the offseason.

It really is amazing how razor thin the difference between winning and losing can be...check out these four leagues that I could've just as easily won, in order from least agonizing to most agonizing.

Spencers31 - 2 pts behind in the standings, ended up tied in 3PM, 1 block behind 2 teams, 7 assist behind, 16 rebounds behind and just behind in FGP. I had a 3-pt lead going into the final night and ended up 2 pts behind.

Spencers03 - finished 4 pts back, but 5 3PM would've gotten me a tie.

Spencers36 - The one league I tied...however just 1 3PM, 1 block or 7 assists and I win outright.

Spencers07 - finished 1 point back. The difference came down to ONE FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT. One more make or one less miss, and I earn a tie. And two makes or misses and I win outright. It was that close. Check it out:

Who's in First: 4503/9605 - 46.882%
Top Flight: 4058/8656 - 46.881%
Spencers 4539/9683 46.876%
9,683 field goal attempts and if it was 9,681 I would be $600 richer. Unbelievable. Tracking the games last night, I thought I was in good shape. Until Stephen Jackson (on Top Flight) decided to come into the game and score 3 garbage buckets last night to seal my fate. Stephen Jackson!!! Don't be surprised if you soon find ME outside a strip club shooting guns into the air.

Spencers30 - I don't even want to get into it again, but the 'powers that be' reversed one of my trades after the fact and after the trade deadline. It was Caron Butler for Tim Duncan. My buddy Ron from CBS couldn't grasp that Butler was actually a superior fantasy player at the time than Duncan, or that a roto-team with needs in FTP and STLS and surplus in REB and BLKS might actually value Butler over Duncan (despite hordes of evidence showing it was fair, and perhaps even most compelling, the SAME deal made in TWO other leagues). So I ended up winning FTP by like 3.5% lost out on some easy points in BLKS and REB and failed to win this league when I should've won it going it away. And in a cruel twist of fate, the season ended with Butler ranked 17th and Duncan 18th.

Like I said...I don't even want to go into it. Just thinking about it makes my blood boil. I could write a scathing post just on this topic alone, but I want to ensure that my check actually gets in the mail (in true Big Brother fashion, CBS could easily get away with not sending me a dime.) Instead, just go fantasybasketballcafe.com and check out the discussion about this deal and draw your own conclusions.

And at the end of the day, all I can say is 'Oh Well'. I don't play poker, but I think this is what they call a 'bad beat'. Everybody has them, and most people don't want to hear about it. Last year, the last night worked out perfectly in my favor and I won 5 out of 6 leagues, 4 of them were still up in the air. This year, it was the exact opposite.

And in the end, I will be getting a nice little check from CBS of over $12,000, which is 12 grand more than I had yesterday. So I guess I don't have much to complain about. I plan on putting hald of that into my (soon-to-be) three kids college 529 plans, meaning I could be the first person to fund his kids education through fantasy basketball.

And despite my bad luck this year, I firmly believe that I can win at least 60-70% of these leagues in the long run. 2006-07 was the year of the injury, and injuries are the great equalizer in fantasy hoops. Unique to this season was that most of the injuries were to the elite fantasy players (the same ones I work to compile), many of whom are traditionally very sturdy (Iguodala, Joe Johnson, etc). Not much you can do about that. But I do believe I can fold in some of the things I learned this year into next year.

Last year, I did a detailed analysis on the key drivers of fantasy success, looking at the role of drafting, trading, and roster/line-up moves in my 6 leagues. With 44 teams, it might be too burdensome to do the same level of analysis this time around. But if I can figure out some way to streamline it and still make it informative, I'll put it up here.

Only six months until the NBA live drafts for 2007-08 start!

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