Sometimes it’s not enough just to bet on brackets in the spring. Fans can enhance their excitement and engagement with the game all season by playing fantasy basketball. In the fantasy game, players built imaginary teams selected from players across the league. Participants follow and bet on the performance of their “team,” which is based on the statistics of individual players, across the season.
It is a kind of math puzzle which would be difficult without the help of computers. Both major broadcasters and independent sites offer fantasy basketball websites that can organize and track these dream teams. ESPN has a robust online application that can be played for free, with “premium” features available for, well, a premium (http://games.espn.go.com/frontpage/basketball). The NBA partners with Yahoo! for its fantasy league (http://basketball.fantasysports.yahoo.com/nba/signup). Also, some networks host fantasy basketball sites: CBS Sports (http://fantasynews.cbssports.com/fantasybasketball) and FOX Hot Streak (http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/basketball/hotstreak/).
The NBC-affiliated site Rotoworld features a “season pass” for $14.99 (http://www.rotoworld.com/premium/seasonpass/basketball/main_page.aspx). This provides “everything you need to DOMINATE your league!”
There are also blogs and stat sites that can help fantasy coaches choose their imaginary teams. Among these are Fantasy Pros (http://www.fantasypros.com/nba/), which aggregates advice from other sites and ranks the historical accuracy of each, and John Fortney’s excellent “hecmanhoops blog” (http://www.hecmanhoops.com).