For most of those playing the National Basketball Association Fantasy League, this week marks the stretch that stakes have been raised with the start of the playoff rounds.
After 21 weeks of jockeying for position, it is now time to build on the “fruits” of one’s labor, for those advancing, and step up the play in a win-or-go home setup.
If you have been following this space, you know that for this season I chose to handle three teams in three different leagues among colleagues in sportswriting and here at the office.
I am happy to announce that out of three teams in the 2018-19 NBA Fantasy League season I am in the playoffs in two of them.
It could have been three but I just did not get the breaks down the stretch in one of the tournaments I was in with fellow sportswriters to finish ninth in the 20-team field, narrowly missing the playoffs as I was just one win down from the number seven and eight teams.
Talk about tough luck, right? But that is the beauty of the game. You just never know.
In the other league with sportswriters — under the “No Mercy League 2018-19” name — I had it good in “regulation” play, finishing second heading into the quarterfinals.
I take pride in the performance of my team (Nacho’s BW Posse) in the 20-team field and nine-category league, showing resilience as it made its way to the top.
Following the first week, Nacho’s BW Posse was in the middle of the pack but slowly clawed its way up, even holding momentarily the top spot, before settling at the number two position at the end of last week.
It banked largely on the play of Kevin Durant (Golden State), Tobias Harris (LA Clippers/Philadelphia 76ers), De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings), Andrew Wiggins (Minnesota Timberwolves), Ricky Rubio (Utah Jazz) and Jusuf Nurkic (Portland Trail Blazers).
Along the way I picked up some good contributors in Thomas Bryant (Washington Wizards), Reggie Bullock (Detroit Pistons/LA Lakers), Patrick Beverley (Clippers) and Kenrich Williams (New Orleans Pelicans).
Now in the playoffs, against Joey Villar (Sportsmaryosep) of the Philippine Star, I am going to be honest and say I am a bit concerned over how my team would fare.
Durant, Wiggins and Rubio are all banged up, leaving them wait-and-see for now.
Making it tougher is that in a 20-team field there are very few left on the free-agent wire to choose from.
I have since dropped Williams for Maxi Kleber (Dallas Mavericks) over a favorable schedule and I am hoping it pays off and compensate for the iffy situations of my old reliables.
As of this writing, I am trailing Sportsmaryosep, 2-7, oops, 1-8, leaving for much eyebrow burning on my part for the rest of the week if I want to advance. Oh well.
Meanwhile, my team in the office (Roadblock) is doing well at the moment.
Our 2018-19 BWorld League, a shallower league of 12 teams and nine categories, still has one week left of regulation play before the quarterfinal phase starts. But Roadblock is already assured of a playoff spot at number two at the moment, or worst case third.
Durant and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) banner my team with help from Milwaukee Bucks guards Malcolm Brogdon and Eric Bledsoe, Julius Randle (Pelicans), Otto Porter (Wizards/Chicago Bulls), Paul Millsap (Denver Nuggets), Dewayne Dedmon (Atlanta Hawks) and Javale McGee (Lakers).
Along the way I picked up Bryant, Kenneth Faried (Houston Rockets) and Darren Collison (Indiana Pacers).
Midway I traded for Khris Middleton (Bucks) in exchange for Serge Ibaka (Toronto Raptors) as I was angling for balance on my frontline. Admittedly I am looking at it now with some reservations in light of the underwhelming play of late of Dedmon, McGee and Bryant.
I dropped McGee yesterday in favor of his Laker teammate Moritz Wagner and I hope the latter makes a genius out of me.
I week still for Roadblock before the playoffs, I will try to sharpen my roster in anticipation of what I expect to be a tricky and interesting stretch.
NBA Fantasy League playoff time and it is sink or swim. How are your teams doing? Good luck the rest of the way, guys!
Michael Angelo S. Murillo has been a columnist since 2003. He is a BusinessWorld reporter covering the Sports beat.