WNBA Pick One Challenge: Strategy Guide


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by Jon Loomer, NBA.com

Season 4 of WNBA Pick One Challenge is here for the 2010 season. The format is tested and true, the NBA version having finished a wildly successful season for 2009-10. If you're playing fantasy during the NBA Playoffs, it is also a format similar to what is utilized in the NBA Drive to the Finals playoff fantasy game. Pick one player for each day that a game is being played, but you can't pick that player twice throughout the entire season.

Not so easy anymore, right? Love it.

Let me step you through the roadblocks you could possibly run into with such a system, and the strategy you should employ to navigate unscathed.

One Game Days

Many will be tempted to pick the best player each day of the season, from start to finish. That strategy will work -- for a while. Right around a month into the season, you will quickly realize that more planning is needed.

Pick One Challenge Notes
How to Play
> Pick one player per day
> Fantasy Points for Points + Rebounds + Assists
> Pick same player only once all season
> Rookies worth Double Fantasy Points

Prizes
> Grand Prize: Choice the following: 1) One autographed authentic WNBA jersey and 2) One unsigned authentic WNBA jersey
> Weekly Prize: $50 Gift Certificate to WNBAStore.com

League Play
> Join a league with friends or fans from around the world
> Or, join Matt Brennan's public league, "Beat the Guru"

Public Message Forum
> Check out the Pick One Forum for strategy tips and league openings

Why? An explanation is in order. Let's say that you picked Nicky Anosike on May 15 and Lauren Jackson on May 16; reasonable selections as each ranked in the top 15 in average PRA (Points + Rebounds + Assists) last season.

Now we come to May 19. On that day, there is only one game being played -- between the Lynx and Storm. You have already used two of your top options. Your best remaining option for that day is Charde Houston (29th last year) or Sue Bird (25th).

Now, Houston and Bird are good options, don't get me wrong. Ideally, you'd have Anosike or Jackson available on this day, to differentiate your score from others.

This example is for the first week of the season. Now, try to imagine a similar scenario in which you've already picked through 30+ players without regard to timing and run into another one-game day. You'll need to dig deep.

Rookies: Double Up!

The biggest twist is that rookies are worth double fantasy points. This means that a player like Angel McCoughtry last year averaged a 36.0 PRA while the highest scoring non-rookie, Diana Taurasi, averaged a 29.6. It also means that rookies who may not typically be considered as an option will get enough points to keep you happy. Do not ignore the rookies -- they can win this game for you.

That said, I'd suggest saving the rookies until at least the second half of the season. Most take a while to get into the flow of their teams' game plan, and minutes should increase as the season progresses. Trust me, you'll be happy you have those double points available late in the season when you are running out of star non-rookie players.

Match-ups

Although I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to match-ups when going through my calendar, you should definitely pay attention to match-ups. Since personnel and coaching is different, defensive PRA will also change this season, depending on the team. Last season, whenever possible I took players who were facing the Mercury, since they gave up the highest number of points and play at such a fast pace that there are more opportunities for points, rebounds and assists. The Mercury may not be the hot choice this year, but certainly keep them in mind when making selections.

Also, try to pick players when playing at home whenever possible. The difference isn't huge (about 5%), but a point here and there piles up by the end of the season.

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