Don’t Stop Believing: Fantasy Basketball Edition

We’re back with the ongoing series of guest posts from members of the Irrational Confidence Fantasy Basketball league! This one comes from friend of the site (yes, they’re all friends of the site. That’s how this is going to work.) Rebekah Spaulding who gets to the heart of the pain of dropping your favorite players. She also answers the question I’d been wondering, “I wonder if I could swing a deal for Ibaka?” Thanks for your insight, Beka!  -Jeff

It was inevitable that this day would come. This day being the unavoidable realization that not all players are created equal. It is also the day I fully accept that defense may win championships, but it doesn’t do squat in fantasy basketball. This is the day I accept the differences between college and professional basketball. This is the day I sadly cut ties with Thunder players in my line up.

I watch basketball with my heart. I am the girl that always picks Oklahoma State to win the National Championship, even if they have no business making it out of the second round. I am the girl that wanted to draft only players I knew from their college careers, including many OSU players who currently play at less than stellar levels. I drafted using my heart, not my head, ending up with four Thunder players, three of which barely contribute consistently. I picked them because I like them as players, not because I thought they were good. Recognizing that I have been emotionally compromised for the past three and a half weeks, it was time to cut my hometown players.

Yes, welcome to fantasy basketball, where the intangibles mean absolutely nothing.

I am a college basketball girl. This is my first ever fantasy basketball experience, and I have little to no idea what I am doing nearly 100% of the time. It has been a struggle to recognize the player who plays good defense, hustles, and builds up the team when he plays doesn’t actually matter. The type of game I am used to, the type of basketball I really like to watch, essentially college style of playing, has no business dictating my fantasy team. I knew this going in, but it didn’t keep me from selecting players without using my whole head. As I watch the numbers tick by, the growing margins separating my stats and their stats only show me that I’ve been doing something wrong. The players I picked are not producing the numbers I need to even be a contender each week. I had to make a change.

I don’t really understand fantasy basketball, but I do understand releasing players and adding new ones. I took the plunge, and made the emotionally horrible decision to release three of my four OKC players, local players, players I’ve spent time loving and cheering for. It makes me feel like a bad fan to even think about releasing these players. It makes me feel like a disloyal fan, and to me, there is nothing worse than a disloyal fan. I didn’t feel good doing this, but I knew it had to be done.

Jeff, one of the authors of this blog, the league manager, and one of my good friends, expressed an understanding of my circumstances when I tweeted about my crisis of conscience. I asked him if the pain ever goes away, and he answered honestly. “Nope. Because you always want to believe.” When it comes to me and basketball, I’m not sure there are truer words in existence. I’ll gladly take the pain, take it for my team, because in fantasy basketball, the intangibles are simply not enough, This is a competition, and ‘m in it to win it.

Along with the release of three Thunder players, I also cut a non-contributing Center and Jimmer Fredette, who I’ll probably regret releasing, but you have an example of the kind of player I drafted. I did my research, and I looked for bigs that actually contribute because I feel pretty confident in my smalls, especially when Derrick Rose finally, finally, gets back on the court. While I love the hustle and strength of Kendrick Perkins, he was basically a fantasy waste. I need a team of guys who can put up stats that matter.

I have yet to see if this particular combination will help me or hurt me, but in any case, my team has a new look:

Meet Cry Me A. Rivers:

PG: Mario Chalmers

SG: Manu Ginobili

G: Jamal Crawford

SF: Carmelo Anthony

PF: Serge Ibaka

F: Paul Pierce

C: Tyson Chandler

C: Byron Mullens

Util: Tristan Thompson

Util: Carl Landry

Util: Jeff Green

My bench players are Derrick Rose, who I’m saving for a rainy day, Derrick Williams, a big-ish guy who can fill in on the Utility, Austin Rivers, the rookie and namesake of my team, and Gerald Green, who I’m holding hostage because he committed to Oklahoma State then left us in the lurch.

As I said, releasing my Thunder players hurt more than it should, but it’s the way the game must be played. We will just have to see what this new team will bring. To Thabo Sefolosha, Kendrick Perkins, and my dear, dear Nick Collison, my decision to release you was not personal. It’s just fantasy basketball. I will always believe in you. I promise.

Until next time, does anyone want to explain “waivers” to me?

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