Basketball Categories Options?

I’m wondering if there is any consideration to altering the categories for basketball categories leagues future years or is there or will there be an option to customize the categories for leagues? Another option might be having standings determined by each category won each week. That is, if I win 7 out of 9 categories in a given week, my record is 7-2, instead of 1-0.

Here’s why I’m asking. I think it would be helpful if we changed 3pt% to 3pt made and/or FT made to FT%. The reason is that I’m thinking the current categories cut too heavily in favor of one type of player: traditional big men. Traditional big men, thinking like Rudy Gobert, Clint Capela, Jakob Poeltl, Steven Adams, Mason Plumlee, etc., are very strong in four categories: rebounds, blocks, FG%, and turnovers. They can’t hurt you in 3pt% if they barely shoot any and they don’t hurt you as much in FT made as they would if it were FT%, where big men are traditionally worse.

So it is a sound strategy to load up on those types of players at all your F and C eligible slots and Util and then try to win just one other category every week. If you can dominate those four categories, you win the week if you win just one other category. Probably the easiest option is 3pt%, if you filled your guard slots with 3pt specialists, e.g. Joe Harris, Duncan Robinson. There’s one team in my league that is following this plan, currently. I don’t begrudge that they’re doing that. It’s well within the rules and it’s something I figured out before the draft but just didn’t want to do myself.

I just think I would prefer if this is not an option in the future. Personally, I did a $20 league to test it out this year since I haven’t done a basketball league in at least 10 years. Next year, I’d like to do a bigger money league and I don’t really want to deal with this strategy, because frankly, it’s probably a real good one and I don’t want to feel like I need play that way to place in the money.

The thing I like about category leagues, as opposed to points, is that it incentivizes building a well rounded team that more closely resembles a real life basketball team that requires diverse skill sets.

I think this issue could be alleviated really easily by doing some or all of the following things:

  1. Going to 3pt Made instead of 3pt%
  2. Going to FT% instead of FT Made
  3. Having each category count for a win or loss like I mentioned above, so that winning many categories is better than just winning 5-4
  4. Eliminating TOV as a category

Will it be an option to have different category scoring systems in the future, to change the current default categories, or to have a second category scoring system to address this?


@walt526 guessed at why these categories specifically here:

I’m not super interested in adding a ton of scoring options to Ottoneu and I don’t think these categories are bad or broken 3 days into the season, but I’ll review at the end of the year.

1 Like

Was wondering if it made sense to review this. I’m not sure if I’m exaggerating, but it feels like this format makes big men pretty superior whereas FT% and 3PTM help balance it out and make guards more equal. i’d love the option moving forward of FT% and 3PTM.

1 Like

I agree with that feedback 100% in terms of the proposed changes to category B ball leagues

Granted if you know what it is going into it then it’s up to you to try and put the best strategy together to optimize the league storing but I think it would balance things out better to consider some of those proposed changes in the upcoming year if possible

1 Like

This would not be a change to the existing scoring format, but instead a new scoring option, so it would be optional for any league to choose if and when to change formats.

I’m still not particularly interested in adding a bunch of scoring options and I think the fact that the stats force trade-offs is a good thing and I am not 100% sure that big men are overpowered in this format, just worth more than they would be in other formats, but maybe after this season we can see how retroactive values play out.

I think the main thing right now is there are some really good NBA big men.


FWIW, I definitely agree* that starting lots of big men plus G with high 3P% is a better model (or team build) in this format than it would be if the categories were different. However, Ottoneu features a dynamic economy where 11 other teams are constantly reacting to the market. For example, if Mitchell Robinson is “overpowered” in Ottoneu categories (compared to other formats), then his market price will adjust to a new equilibrium via the currents of supply and demand. Likewise, if Jrue Holiday is “underpowered,” then his value will also adjust in the opposite direction. What really matters is acquisition of surplus value (i.e., value minus salary) rather than just value, so if all 12 teams are paying attention there shouldn’t be a strictly dominant strategy (aka, a META).

*-Full disclosure: max F/C in the lineup with (3) G who have high 3P% is basically my model (again) for 2022-23. It worked well for me last year because I was one of only one or two teams trying to build a team that way. This year, I have no idea whether it will work because I suspect more teams in my league will be trying to do the same thing. If so, then I’ll likely find the players that I need to fill out my roster will be going for a premium at auction.

Moreover, if my team model is to go all in on 5-6 categories while punting the rest and I’m facing an opponent who is doing the same thing, then this approach is less likely to be successful and I’ll lose some matchups that I might have won with a more conventional team build. So there’s another check against dominant strategies or METAs that seek to “exploit” the particulars of the format.

1 Like

yea this totally makes sense, I just find the meta to be less clear in a league with 3PTM and FT%. In past fantasy basketball leagues, I’ve felt that it opens up more strategies to victory which I find compelling and enjoyable.

1 Like

Maybe I’ll put together some values from last year’s stats with these other options to see how it might impact things. I do think that a lot of this is a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to first year values where none of us really knew what we were doing and so we paid for players, especially in categories, based on name moreso than how valuable they are for this setup.

Another thing I’ll say is that a lurking factor here is the position designations from Sportradar, which can really warp the values for some players. Brandon Clarke, in particularly, is insanely valuable right now in categories because he is classified as a G/F for some reason. For all the reasons discussed above, having a guard who can dominate in the “big man” categories is pretty helpful, especially for Clarke since he forgot how to shoot 3s after a promising rookie season in that regard and basically stopped doing that last year. Of course this issue is out of Niv and Ottoneu’s hands, but it’s also a factor here, IMO.

1 Like

I don’t know if it’s a knee jerk. I made the first post on this before the season even started last year. And yeah, the players who benefit the most are guards/wings who don’t shoot 3s: Ben Simmons, Clarke, Derozan, Draymond, Zion (to the extent he’s a “wing”), etc.

It’s fine to keep as is. As someone noted, you just play within the rules and do your best with whatever incentives they create. I would still like to see the option to change one or both of 3pt% to 3pt made and FT made to FT%, though. The ability to shoot and space the floor is like, THE premium skill in the nba right now, and the current incentives in Ottoneu categories are favoring non-shooters. I tend to like my scoring to be as close a reflection of real life value as practical.

1 Like

This is a fair point, but categories might be the worst of the three scoring systems to pick if you care about real-life value. @walt526 wrote a bit about how Traditional Points might actually be the best way to have your scoring be “as close a reflection of real life value as practical”.

Categories is more like a logic puzzle I think, or at least that is what it is meant to be relative to the more linear points formats.


That’s some excellent research by @walt526. I still tend to feel categories is good for getting something close to real life value because it requires you to make diverse team. Just like in real life where you need some bigs, some ball handlers, some wings. I play FGpts in baseball because I think it does the best job of getting close to real life value, whereas baseball roto categories mean you have to focus on stuff like steals that don’t really equate well to real life value and contextual stats like RBI and runs. In Basketball, the categories make more sense because the context of the team is a lot different than baseball (where you could make up a good team just by having a bunch of similar masher types).

1 Like

Sorry I didn’t pay attention to the dates on the posts so yeah, knee jerk probably wasn’t the best characterization.

Anyway, here are the values I got using different variations on the categories for the 2021-22 season. Note that this is using z-scores and not standings gain points. Some interesting differences but just from glancing at them it seems like the current setup is most friendly to “traditional” bigs, as expected.