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Types of Players to Target in Categories and Points Leagues (2020-21 Fantasy Basketball)

Dec 16, 2020

Our featured experts recently dished on some strategy tips for playing in points and categories leagues, but this group is back for more! We asked our experts which types of players they like to target in categories and points leagues. Brad Camara,  Alex BurnsAaron LarsonDave Kluge, and Zak Hanshew weigh in.

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In a points league, I want to target usage hogs. I don’t care about shooting percentage or efficiency, I just want the players that will put up the most stats. Take Giannis Antetokounmpo for example. He led the league in usage last year and was the second-highest fantasy points scorer in the NBA, but his below-average three-point and free-throw shooting dinged him in category leagues. When it comes to categories leagues I still target the best players available in the early rounds but switch my focus to targeting role players like Brook Lopez or Seth Curry in the mid to late rounds to boost specific categories.  -Larson


In category scoring, I rarely care about scorers. Most people are looking at a gaudy point totals and it causes them to reach for players that don’t offer as much value in that format. In category leagues, I prefer to draft bigs early that can rack up a lot of those tough-to-accumulate rebounds and blocks. That will put me at an immediate advantage in those categories weekly and then I can fill out the rest of my roster with guards and forwards that can defend well, adding to my team’s ability to compile rebounds, blocks, and steals. It makes for a risky strategy by punting on your scoring categories but if you can lock in a weekly advantage in rebounds, blocks, steals, field goal percentage, and turnovers in a nine-category formats you should finish on top of your league. I always try to build a team that can absolutely dominate five specific categories. In point format leagues, you want to draft guys with high usage while avoiding rookies and players that turn the ball over often.  -Kluge


I pointed this out in the points vs categories articles, but in points leagues, it’s all about scoring and usage, I am looking to draft elite scorers and players who stuff the stat sheet (especially players who rack up double-doubles and triple doubles, as most league award bonus points for these) while ignoring shooting percentages. Someone like RJ Barrett holds more value in points leagues as he can light up the scoreboard in any given night, but his woeful shooting percentages make him less valuable in roto. Coby White, Zion Williamson, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Terrence Ross are other examples of players I am targeting more in point league formats. While in category formats, it can be a balancing act. I am not believer in punting specific categories as I feel you just need to be within striking distance of each commodity if you want to take down your league. Fantasy managers are looking to draft versatile players as opposed to elite scorers. For example, Joe Ingles has a ton value in rotisserie leagues as he contributes in most categories and has decent shooting percentages. Lonzo Ball (mainly for racking up categories), Myles Turner, and Jrue Holiday are players I would prefer in category formats.  -Camara


In points leagues, I’m chasing pure statistical fury in any form. High-usage scorers who offer little else in the box score suit me just fine, while assist mavens, glass crashers, and defensive stalwarts are also great targets. If I can land a guy who is head-and-shoulders above the competition in scoring or can out-produce his peers in any of the other important categories previously mentioned, I’m in. For categories leagues, I’m looking at guys who can do a little bit of everything or guys who can excel in one area and put up respectable numbers elsewhere.  -Hanshew


When playing in a points league, I am looking for high-usage players who have a knack for getting buckets. I tend to worry less about efficiency, or lack thereof, and focus more on the total fantasy points per game. In category league’s, however, I target players who have a more well-rounded game. Take Zach LaVine for example – he is a gifted scorer who averaged 25.5 points per game last season but typically requires high-volume and often lacks efficiency. At the same time he doesn’t offer much outside of scoring, as he has averaged only 4.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.3 blocks per game on 44.7 percent shooting throughout his career. Lavine serves as a fine fantasy option in points leagues, but his value takes a slight hit in category leagues due to his top-heavy production. While he currently has an ADP of 36, I would much rather prefer drafting someone like De’Aaron Fox (ADP of 41). Even though he averaged less points per game than Lavine last season (21.1ppg), Fox shot at a higher percentage (48%) and offers more assists (6.8) per game while contributing elite defensive stats. It’s vital to find out what whether you are in a points league or a category league and develop a sound strategy ahead of your draft.  -Burns

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