How to Play Fantasy Basketball: An Easy Intro To The Basics Of It
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How to Play Fantasy Basketball: An Easy Intro To The Basics Of It

How to Play Fantasy Basketball: An Easy Intro To The Basics Of It

Fantasy basketball is a type of online basketball game where you become a fantasy owner & choose a team of NBA players & the statistics of your players are matched against other fantasy owner’s teams. If you are familiar with fantasy leagues like NFL, you probably understand what we are saying.

Just like other fantasy games, the mission is- filling up the stats sheet. You have to choose players that frequently have high stats over a broad range of divisions. It is a game that you can play daily, weekly, or seasonally. Statistics scores are variable. They rely on the format you pick & also differ from one league to another. A league commissioner or team of fantasy players can also determine them.

Many people are a fan of basketball & want to know how to play fantasy basketball. In this article, we will try to shed some light on this topic. 

Categories Of Stats

In a fantasy league, you will generally find 9 classifications of stats that are used for gathering points. They are as follows:

  • Points
  • Field goal %
  • Free throw %
  • Rebounds
  • Blocks
  • Assists
  • Steals
  • Three-Pointers
  • Turnovers

You may find offensive rebounds, 2pt field goal percentage & 3pt field goal percentage in some leagues as extra. Then again, you will also find formats or leagues that may deduct categories such as field goal% or turnovers.


There are various ways of scoring & contending in fantasy basketball. Scoring formats are the determinants when stats are converted into fantasy points. Fantasy owners can select from three scoring systems:

Head to Head

The first & probably the most popular scoring format in fantasy basketball games. In this format, one fantasy owner will oppose another owner & their team’s stats will be counted against each other to decide a winner. And as you know about the players of other owners’ squad, this format allows you to strategize who you will play on your roster.

The mission is to outscore your opponent in at least 5 of the 9 stat categories if you want to win the weekly matchup. This format is intriguing because most leagues will take the top leading owners & match them off in playoff rounds before the start of the actual NBA playoffs.


It is different from head to head because the stats are not totaled weekly. Alternatively, they are counted throughout the whole season. Every owner will get a set number of points each category according to the number of teams in your league, typically 10 or 12.

These points conform to the number of teams in every league. Then again, an association who is ahead of everyone in rebounds or the league with 10 teams will be given 10 points. And the team that has the lowest number of bounces will receive 1 point. The winning rate is mediocre in roto format if your team scores badly in one category.

On the contrary, head to head requires you to be better in most of the stats, against another team every week. Those who are starters can try head to head format because of its week-to-week excitement & since you can stay competitive even if your team tanks are in a category.

Points leagues

Fantasy basketball games give points for each statistical category. The points or scoring system is given below:

  • Points= 1 point
  • Field goals made= 1 point
  • Field goals attempted= (-1) point
  • Free throws made= 1 point
  • Free throws attempted= (-1) point
  • Rebounds= 1 point
  • Blocks= 1 point
  • Assists= 1 point
  • Steals= 1 point
  • Turnovers= (-1) point

Please remember that all points leagues won’t assign the same points as we mentioned earlier or may even discount categories like turnovers, for example. But the point compilation & calculation system of points league is similar to that of Roto. ESPN & YAHOO, the two most popular online fantasy basketball apps, provide factory options that give differing points totals to every category.

The advantage of this league is- your league commissioner may have the power to set points for each category alongside deleting one altogether. And the disadvantage of this league is- it promotes specific kinds of players over others.

NBA Fantasy Leagues “Commissioners”

To be specific, commissioners can determine how each stat should be scored & design a good league pattern to you & your fellow owners. It is time-consuming, but the level of power a commissioner has is superb. A commissioner can regulate points, add & remove rosters, set the weekly time for head-to-head games & select the draft time & date.

It is not possible to be a commissioner by default, and you need to participate in a private league for that. If you are playing fantasy basketball with your colleagues or friends, we suggest you make a private league with your commissioner.


Well, that’s pretty much the very basics about fantasy basketball. The intention was to introduce fantasy basketball to absolute newbies who don’t know a thing about it. We hope we were able to do that.

There are some other topics like filling rosters & drafting that need to be discussed separately in detail. They are thus not included in this introductory article. We hope you enjoyed reading our article. If you have any thoughts, you can share them with us in the comment section below. Thank you for reading!

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