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Sleeper NBA Lock-In Fantasy Basketball: What is Lock-In Mode?

Sleeper NBA Lock-In Fantasy Basketball: What is Lock-In Mode?

Welcome to Sleeper Lock-In Fantasy Basketball. Lock-In mode is an exciting and entertaining new way to play fantasy basketball and is one that all fantasy hoops fans, hardcore or casual, will want to give a try this season.

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Sleeper NBA Lock-In Fantasy Basketball 

What is Lock-In mode?

The above video broke it down beautifully, but let’s analyze the game and briefly examine potential strategies. Lock-In Mode is a new way to play fantasy basketball that allows fantasy managers to Lock-In a player’s fantasy points following a game or choose to take the risk that they will score more fantasy points in one of the remaining games that week. You can Lock-In just one game per week and cannot Lock-In bench players. 

This introduces a new layer of strategy to fantasy basketball while also making fantasy basketball more of a weekly endeavor with daily upkeep as opposed to daily management game that requires one to be on top of injuries and rest days to maximize output. This is great for those who are not available every evening or night to make lineup changes as needed and for those who just do not appreciate the daily grind that season-long fantasy basketball often requires. 


  1. Draft team
  2. Set starting lineup 
  3. Check-in following the games 
  4. Decide whether or not to lock-in a player’s fantasy points (pass or lock)
  5. Lock-In players desired
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 until you have a complete lineup locked in

Draft team

This one is self-explanatory. The first thing to do before getting to experience and enjoy Sleeper’s new Lock-In mode is to draft a team. Focusing on starters before depth seems to be the smartest path, but depth, like always, will likely be what makes or breaks a team over the grind that is the NBA season. 

Set starting lineup

Lineup decisions will come down not only to the upside and floors of potential options but also to the number of games played and matchups. This is true in most weekly formats, but here we are looking to Lock-In the highest fantasy output of the week per starting slot. If you have comparable options, you can rotate them in an effort to get the highest amount of fantasy points possible. 

Check in following the games

After the games are played, managers will want to check in and review their player’s performances. This is also a good time to review any potential injury updates. Checking in at a designated time after the final game or the following day will help reduce the amount of time more casual managers will need to spend managing their team. You will be good for the next step if you check in before the players’ next game. 

Lock or Pass (Decide whether or not to lock in a player’s fantasy points)

After reviewing the fantasy production of the players you had slotted into the starting lineup, you will need to decide whether to Lock-In a player’s production or pass and hope for better results in a subsequent game. It is important to note that you can only Lock-In players that you had in your starting lineup when the game was played. You can only lock in one game per week, and that is where the strategy comes into play. If you have Tyrese Haliburton on your roster, and he has a great 20 point and nine assist game on his first game of the week, we will probably all be tempted to lock him in. But what if he has even better matchups later in the week? This is where you have to weigh the risk of forgoing the fantasy points guaranteed for the potential fantasy points. 

Lock In 

The next step is to Lock-In the players you are comfortable with and to make lineup decisions for the slots that aren’t locked in. You may have slotted Jaden Ivey in at one of the flex spots because Cade Cunningham was set to sit out the second half of a back-to-back, but unhappy with his production, you may decide to send him back to the bench for someone like Josh Hart or Gary Trent Jr. 

Repeat steps 2-5 as needed

You will need to repeat steps two through five as needed until you have an entire lineup locked in. If you fail or forget to Lock-In a slot, Sleeper will use the last game of the week for the player in that slot. The last game will be used regardless of whether or not a player actually played, so be careful to avoid Sleeper locks as much as possible. 


For those creating their own league on Sleeper, Lock-In mode is the default mode. It is a far superior offering to the Game Pick mode that Sleeper went with when they launched their fantasy basketball product. Give your league members the opportunity to try this mode for the 2023 season if they are amenable, especially if you are running a redraft league. While Game Pick is more of a ‘set it and forget it’ weekly mode, Lock-In keeps you immersed throughout the week without the time demand of a daily lineup league. 

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Raju Byfield is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Raju, check out his profile and follow him @FantasyContext.

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