Evaluating the Contenders
These four teams have dominated the fantasy regular season this year.
|Pardeep Toor||Jan 25, 2019|
This league has never had four teams win over 60 percent of the categories during the regular season. In both 2012 and 2015, three teams were over 0.600 for the season. Currently the top four teams in the league are on pace to set a new standard this year.
Winning Percentages through 14 Weeks of the 2018-19 Regular Season:
- Flint Boozers: .627
- Back-Up All-Stars: 0.617
- A Team Has No Name: 0.610
- NK/UR 2020: 0.604
In the last six seasons, the championship has been won by a third seed or higher. Only in the innaugural 2011 season of the league did sixth-seeded Occupy The Playoffs rise to a championship from outside the top-three. It’s likely that one of these teams will win the championship this year. Let’s take a closer look at each of their chances.
NK/UR 2020 (9-5 overall, 2-2 vs. top four, 3.5 games back of first)
The defending champ has won this league three times (2010, 2012 and 2017) which ties him with Bay Area Boogie (2011, 2013 and 2015) for the most championships. Now, he’s built a conender again. Last year, NK/UR 2020 went big. This year they went small with a collection of point guards (Lowry, Smart, Payton, Dunn) and whatever Ben Simmons is supposed to be. The team is 10-4 in assists and 10-3-1 in steals as a result, yet oddly 4-10 in three-pointers made. I’m sure it’s all somehow Lowry’s fault. This team has been whining about Lowry all season. You don’t deserve him!
The bigs on this team are flawed but productive. The team is 12-1-1 in blocks, 10-4 in double-doubles and 11-3 in rebounds. They are going to be tough to beat.
The gap between the point guards and centers is tied together by Paul George’s monstrous season. George is the fourth ranked fantasy player this season. He’s averaging career-highs in points (26.9), rebounds (8.0), steals (2.3), free throw attempts (6.5) and field goal attempts (20.3). Nobody, not even NK/UR 2020, thought George was going to be this good.
A TEAM HAS NO NAME (9-5 overall, 1-2 vs. top four, 2.5 games back of first)
This is a fragile team. Very sensitive. Kawhi Leonard leads the league in “DNP-No Reason,” Embiid is begrudingly shooting 30.5 percent on 3.9 three-point attempts per game, and Luka Doncic’s shooting numbers have collapsed. Their most reliable player, Jrue Holiday, is fourth in the league at 36.8 minutes per game and has only played 80 or more games twice in his career (2010-11 and 2017-18). Now, Reke Havoc has arrived. He belongs here amidst the collection of uncertainty.
The question is simple: can you trust these players to be present in the playoffs? History would make you question their individual reliability. But A Team Has No Name’s own history suggests he’ll be ready to play. This franchise has been in the finals twice (2011 and 2017) as the number-one seed. They finished second both times.
If I had to guess, I would say he’s still upset about Robert Covington’s seven steals on the final Sunday of the playoffs last year. Disappointment is a great driver.
BACK-UP ALL-STARS (12-2 overall, 1-2 versus the top four, 1.5 games back of first)
This team isn’t as good as its record indicates. They’ve feasted on bottom-tier teams in the league and struggled against the elite. Other teams are built to get buckets while Back-Up All-Stars relies on low-usage utility players (Jerami Grant, JaMychal Green, Taureen Prince and Deandre’ Bembry) to shoot efficiently while making as little contact with the ball as possible.
The history is also daming. This franchise buckles under pressure in the playoffs every year. Despite a couple stellar regular seasons, Back-Up All-Stars has never won a championship. They are the Toronto Raptors of fantasy basketball — look great sometimes, but can’t be trusted under pressure.
Pressure for the team came early this year. Specifically, on draft day. They selected Jamal “Microwave Scorer” Murray in the third round (27th overall). Tobias Harris was taken with the next pick and Kyle Lowry and Jrue Holliday were taken later in the third round. Taking Murray over Lowry and Holliday was a collosal reach. High risk and minimal reward to-date.
Microwave Murray has been erractic at best this year. The raw averages are decent but the deviation is all over the place. On any given night, he’s either the next coming of Damian Lillard or the next Mo Williams. You never know what you’re gonna get.
Back-Up All-Stars went all in on Microwave Murray a year too early. If this team is going to make a championship run, they need Microwave Murray to get hot in the playoffs and sustain a stretch of impressive games.
FLINT BOOZERS (12-2 overall, 3-1 vs. top four, first place)
Flint Boozers’ 0.627 category winning percentage is a personal best but it still ranks fairly low all-time.
Highest All-Time Regular Season Winning Percentage
0.678 - SST (2012)
0.672 - Back-Up All-Stars (2014)
0.669 - The Long Run (2013)
0.671 - SteveNash_4_Prez (2011)
0.639 - Drinking Game Strong (2016)
0637 - PrimetimePlayas Club (2015)
0.630 - TJTS (2016)
0.628 - David and Billy (2011)
0.627 - FLINT BOOZERS (2018)
Since joining the league in 2014, Flint Boozers has finished with winning percentages of 0.375, 0.530, 0.405 and 0.441. They earned the sixth and last playoff spot in 2015 but were bounced 8-4 in the first round by The Long Run. That 2015 Flint Boozers team also had D’Angelo Russell. Lately, Russell is putting up Steph Curry numbers for this 2018 squad and unfortunately for the rest of the league, the team also has the real Steph Curry on the roster as well.
Flint Boozers has hit on every fantasy breakout star this year. In addition to Russell, they have Pascal Siakim, Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris. Even Andre Drummond’s fantasy value far exceeds his real-life basketball contributions.
The team is 14-0 in rebounds and 12-2 in three-pointers made. That’s unprecedented roster balance. They are 3-1 against the other top-four teams. The only loss was by 0.04 free-throw percentage points to NK/UR 2020.
Flint Boozers has been the most dominant team in the league through 14 weeks but lately they’ve been faced with tough decisions. How long can they keep winning while getting minimal production out of Gordon Hayward? How long are Jonas Valanciunas and Lonzo Ball worth stashing? What happens if Vucevic gets traded?
A great draft day has made Flint Boozers the favorite but the details going forward will determine if he can finish his dream season on top.