Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Pickups (11/4/09)

I usually wait until teams have played at least 5 games to start working the waiver wire and it is about that time.  I always give it some time just to make sure I don’t make any rash, panic transactions.  I have already made a few moves, but I limited it to cutting last round draft trash.  I try and keep the waiver wire list strictly to players who are owned in less than a third of all Yahoo leagues.  This week’s waiver wire pickups:

Hakim Warrick (23%) - Warrick has won the starting PF spot in Milwaukee and will get good minutes.  He is a scorer and rebounds pretty well from the PF spot.  He isn’t  much of a shot blocker.

Corey Brewer (21%) – Still owned in only 21% of leagues.  Brewer has the starting SG spot in Minnesota and can fill the stat sheet.  His only glaring weakness is FG%. 

Delonte West (31%) – Delonte is back with the team, but his situation, and personality, is still unstable.  If you have a late round bust and an open bench spot, give him a flier and see what develops.

Ryan Gomes (33%) – Gomes has a starting spot until Kevin Love gets back, and maybe longer if he can perform.  He has averaged 36 minutes in his last two games.

Julian Wright (11%) – Wright still has the starting SF spot but he needs to really pick it up to keep the job.  He is strictly a speculative pickup and can be easily dumped if he loses the starting job.

Rasual Butler (14%) – Butler is in a timeshare with Al Thornton, however that timeshare has been slanting more and more in favor of Butler.  If you need three’s, he makes a great pickup.

Erick Dampier (13%) – Drew Gooden is out with an injury and Dampier is the only option for Dallas at Center.  He isn’t going to put up huge numbers, but if you need rebounds give him a shot.

Martell  Webster (17%) – Webster can’t seem to wrestle the job completely away from Travis Outlaw but he is getting good solid minutes.  If you need threes, give Webster a look.

Thabo Sefolosha (4%) - Thabo has the starting SG spot in Oklahoma City and has averaged about 32 minutes a game.  He is a good source of steals and can help in just about every category.

Ben Wallace (21%) – If you need boards and a few blocks, Wallace is a great pickup.  He doesn’t score much and only has to compete with Kwame Brown for minutes.

Chris Douglas-Roberts (29%) – CDR has been getting better as the season progresses.  Those owners in keeper leagues definitely want to keep an eye on him and give him a flier if you have an open spot.

Earl Watson (4%) – Probably not a pickup just yet, but if TJ Ford doesn’t turn things around Watson will start seeing more minutes.

Chuck Hayes (9%) – Hayes has been starting at Center for Houston and has put up nice steals and rebounds in 26 minutes of action per game.  He makes a great emergency center if your starter goes down.

JJ Redick (21%) – Be aware that Redick has received minutes due the injury to Vince Carter.  Redick will probably lose those minutes when Vince is healthy, but he could still be useful if he keeps shooting well.

Dahntay Jones (3%) – Jones is close to working his way into the starting lineup.   He has averaged 28 minutes a game over the last three, putting up an average of 11 shots in those games.

Will Bynum (3%) – Rip Hamilton has been out for a few games and Bynum has been the beneficiary of extra minutes.  He will still have some value as instant offense off the bench when Hamilton returns.  Nice source of points and assists.

Etan Thomas (1%) – Keep an eye on Thomas.  He had that heart problem a couple of seasons ago and has been forgotten about.  He has been getting about 25 minutes a game in OKC and does a much better job rebounding than Nenad Krstic.

Omri Casspi (4%) – Casspi is trying to win the starting SF job in Sacramento and has been getting some good minutes.  He can score.

Website Review: 365FantasySports.com (10/15/09)

Today I’m continuing my series of reviews for the daily fantasy sports contest sites by taking a look at 365FantasySports.com.  As with the others, we will examine payouts, registration, funding, cashouts, software, game selection, game types, player base, draft options, free games, bonuses and features.

As with the other sites we have reviewed, the most important factor is payouts.  365FantasySports.com  provides a bet 11 to win 9 proposition for all bets over $10.00.  To clarify, in a typical Head to Head contest each participant would post $22 to win a $40 pot, or $11 to win a $20 pot.  The win rate required to break even at the site is 55.0%.  The payout rate and win rate match the best in the industry. 

Signing up for the site was quick and easy and once you are registered an email will be sent for verification.  Simply click the email link to verify your account and you are ready to go.  Funding is done with your checking account and all major credit cards including American Express, Visa, Mastercard, Discover through Paypal.  I funded my account with Paypal and the money showed in the account immediately.

Customer support is very quick and friendly on the site.  I emailed support to get the settings for basketball season and was promptly contacted with a return email.  I have also had the opportunity to speak with management on the telephone and they were nice enough to answer every question I had about the site.  After talking with them, it is clear that they are willing to do whatever it takes to make their players happy.

The software is simple and the draft procedure is pretty straightforward.  One quirk about the site though is that  it works better in Firefox than it does in Internet Explorer.  In fact, if you notice on the homepage, you will see that the site was developed for Firefox.  It still runs fine on Internet Explorer though, so don’t worry if you only have IE.

The best feature of the site, and the feature that really distinguishes 365 from other daily sites is their huge variety of contests.  There is pretty much any type of game you would want, and if there isn’t, they will accommodate any reasonable request!  I haven’t completely explored all the various football games, but there is something for everyone.  You will find football contests like “Run, Forrest, Run!”, The Quarterback Challenge, All Pro Challenge, Threesome, and more.  Many of these are no cap contests but they also have salary cap games as well.   The other sports also offer a wide variety of contests.  I’d recommend trying several to find the ones that you enjoy the most. 

They offer H2H games, three team, four team and 6 team games.   The buy-ins on the posted games range from $6.00 to $110.00, however management will offer a larger game if you request it. 

365FantasySports.com covers NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and NASCAR.  They are also the only site that I have seen that offers weekly fantasy NCAA Football games.  There are even games that focus on your favorite college football BCS conference.  NCAA Basketball games will be offered when the season begins.

Once you make the tough decision of what game you want to play, simply sign up and go to the draft room.   The draft is a little different than the first two sites I reviewed.   The draft options are a little more limited, but they are large enough to provide a challenge.  At each position, you are offered a choice from a preset group.  Sometimes you may not find your favorite player available in that group.   For example, when selecting your quarterback, you could be presented with only 20 choices rather than unlimited choice like some other sites.   It still requires a good bit of skill to choose the best player out of each group.  The draft software is easy to use and you can quickly draft your team in a couple of minutes.  As with some of the other sites, don’t try to draft right at the deadline because sometimes the server may slow due to heavy traffic.   If you want to try out the drafting software before risking real money, they have play money games that work just like the real money games. 

One of the cool features of the site allows website owners to structure personal games for their own sites.  Simply contact management and they will open a private game for you and issue you a password which you in turn give to your readers so they can sign up.  It is an awesome advertising tool for websites.  I plan on doing a private tournament for Fantasy Basketball Daily once basketball gets going.

365FantasySports.com has a great rewards program.  Each time you register for a real money game your account is awarded points.  Points are also awarded when you sign up and when you make your deposit.  Referral of other players to the site is another method that players can use to earn points.  The points can be used to enter any of their free contests.  When you win a free contest you win “tokens” which you will be able to use to get gifts from their store (still being developed).  It is a nice touch to give something back to the players.

Because of its wide variety of contests, ease of use and great customer service, 365FantasySports.com is definitely going to be one of my favorite daily game sites and I look forward to playing with and against you guys on the site.  If you have any questions about the site, please feel free to email me.

Fantasy Basketball Bloggers Open League Invitation (10/8/09)

I’ve created a Yahoo League for Fantasy Basketball Bloggers if any of you blog writers or site owners are interested.  Standard 8 category H2H, 12 teams.  Use the name of your blog for your team name.   The draft is scheduled for Monday, October 19 at 8:00 pm.   Stat categories will be basic FG%, FT%, 3PT, PTS, REB, AST, STL and BLK.    I figured it would be fun to have a league where all the owners were friendly hardcore basketball fans who like to discuss the game, news and ideas year round, as well as blog about it.  Please, only join if you have an active blog or site.  If you have any ideas or suggestions for the league or settings, please post on the League message board and I’ll let all the teams vote on any changes.

The Yahoo League name is:  Fantasy Basketball Bloggers.  League ID is:  220695.  League Password is:  blogger.   The quick link is:   

http://basketball.fantasysports.yahoo.com/league/fantasybloggers

Website Review: Fanduel.com (9/24/09)

I’ve been playing on a few of the newer sites lately and I’m going to take a look at Fanduel.com today and give you my opinion on some of the pros and cons of the site. 

As we discussed in the last website review, payout  and commissions are one of the most important things to me when playing daily fantasy cash games.  The payout at Fanduel is a bet 10 to win 8 proposition which equates to a 55.5% winning percentage needed to break even.  I have seen a few sites offer bet 11 to win 9, which is just a little better requiring only a 55.0% winning percentage to break even.  As a comparison, Vegas odds usually require players to bet 11 to win 10, which equates to a 52.4% winning percentage needed to break even.   I have been finding that the bet 10 to win 8 setup is pretty much becoming the standard online.  Overall, the payout structure is good and in line with most of the other daily cash game sites.

The software is easy to use and setting up an account is simple and quick.  Funding is through MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express and Paypal.  I funded through my Paypal account and had no problems.  I requested a small cashout  just to see how fast it was executed and received an instant email from support requesting my Paypal info for the transfer.  The transfer was completed within 10 minutes of my initial request.  That kind of speed is very impressive and a good indication of the great customer support that Fanduel has.

I have played about 35 baseball contests at Fanduel (I play under ‘Tippy’ on Fanduel) and so far I have run into the same opponents several times.   All of the contests are heads up games.  Fanduel is a relatively new site and like most of the newer gaming sites, the player base is growing.  They do have a very cool feature that allows you to sign up for a game and then send out a challenge to anyone else on the site inviting that player to play against you.  It’s definitely a great way to settle things out with those guys who are always talking smack about how they are the greatest fantasy players ever!  There are also several social interaction features on the way that will allow players to talk with each other and develop a community for fantasy fans.

Currently the site offers only one type of draft option which is very similar to the Yahoo autopick system.  The owners of the site were kind enough to speak with me and they informed me that they are considering adding additional draft types in order to provide their player base with several popular  options when it comes to drafting.   I know alot of you like the salary cap games and I think Fanduel may offer those in the near future.  The site currently offers contests for NFL, MLB and the NBA.  NHL is also coming soon.

The present drafting procedure is a little different than many of the other sites and can best be described as a completely preset draft in which you pre-rank all of your starters and your backup picks prior to the actual draft.  It is very similar to Yahoo autopick drafts which I’m sure most of you have played.  You and your opponents pre-rank the players and then 5 minutes before the actual professional games start the computer randomly matches you against an opponent who signed up to play the same priced game (or matches you with the player you invited).  Once matched, the draft is automatically conducted by the computer.  Immediately upon completion of the draft you are sent an email with your team or you can just click on your account and go to your games to see your roster.  It is a very simple setup and only takes a few minutes to pick your team (although if you are obsessed like me, you could spend an hour trying to figure out whether to pre-rank Kobe or Wade higher).  You can play as many games as you want, just as long as there are enough other players in your selected price range for the computer to match you up against.  Fanduel also has a cool feature that allows you to use the same roster for multiple games, which saves the the trouble of having to perform multiple pre-rankings .  There is also another great feature that keeps track of your win-loss record for all the games you have played on the site.

Fanduel.com has free games so you can try out the software before depositing money, which is a great help so you don’t waste any money in your first couple of practice drafts.  There is also a LiveChat function where you can ask for help if you get stuck (although I’m guessing they don’t offer advice on ranking Kobe and Wade).  They also have  a first time deposit bonus of $10 on any deposit.  For you guys who have your own websites, Fanduel has an affiliate program for referrals.  Fanduel also offers $5 for every friend that you refer who signs up and deposits.

Overall I think the site is very good and has the managment to grow it properly.  Their commissions are competitive, the software is simple and dependable and customer service is excellent.  Put Fanduel on your list of sites for the upcoming basketball season and if your ever want to play a game, send me an invitation to my player name,  ’Tippy’.

Website Review: Fantasy Sports Live (9/6/09)

Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to review each of the daily fantasy sports cash game sites that I play on.  I’m going to try and keep it focused on basketball games at each of the sites.  The main things that will be reviewed are fees/costs, website software, ease of  site use, number of players on the site, customer support, account funding and types of games.

I figured I might as well start at the top with the best site out there right now:   FantasySportsLive.com.  I have played on the site for over a year and have had a great experience with them.  I play under the name ‘Tippy’ and you can find me at #21 on the all time leaderboard.  I will probably play a majority of my daily basketball cash games at FSL this season.

The best thing about Fantasy Sports Live (FSL) are the payouts.  They pay out somewhere around 92% on all their contests.  If you are going to play daily fantasy games for money, you have to keep an eye on the juice.   There are only a few sites that have as small a fee as FSL.   Betting a real game in Vegas requires laying out $11 to win $10.  On FSL you are laying out $11 to win $9.  Yes, the odds still suck overall, but FSL is the lowest you will find anywhere on the web.  As a comparison, Snapdraft.com makes you lay $10 to win $6, which requires you to have greater than 60% winners to break even.  I have no idea why anyone would choose to play at Snapdraft.com, since 60% winners isn’t realistically possible for 99% of the players out there.   Players only need around 55% winners  to break even at  FSL.  In Vegas it takes 52.4% to break even sportsbetting.   This may not seem like a big difference, but over the long run it is huge. 

The software platform at FSL is it’s second best feature.  All the games are salary cap and the setup is self explanatory.   Navigating to the draft room, account, game results, leaderboard, etc. is very clear and simple.  Selecting players for each of your games is straightforward and quick.  You can probably sign up and draft your team in less than 3 minutes.  Sometimes the server will slow on the site just before game time, so make sure you always get your rosters set at least 10 minutes before start.

Game selection is pretty good on FSL.  They offer games for pretty much any size from $1 to $500.  I have seen traffic over the past year really grow and there are always games with players waiting to play.  All the games are salary cap type games, but they offer different types of salary cap games and different salary cap amounts.   FSL covers Baseball, Football, Basketball and Hockey.  They have discontinued their NASCAR games. 

Customer support is excellent on the site.  I have never had an issue that they weren’t able to quickly fix.  They also have the Fantasy Sports Live Blog where they provide information on site updates, strategy and special game offers.

Funding for accounts can be done quickly and easily through Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Paypal.  Paypal is the only cashout option I have used on the site and FSL quickly processes those transactions.

If you guys have any specific questions, or just want to talk some smack if you play me on FSL, you can email me through the ‘email envelope’ icon on the top of the FBD Homepage.