Fantasy basketball: Is a Points or Roto league right for you?

Jayson Tatum is a strong fantasy option in both points and roto leagues. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Management has asked me to provide you with counsel regarding your choice of format.

Points or Roto: it's not a decision to take lightly.

The ramifications will highly affect the future expenditure of your precious "me" time.

Not just in the short term. We're talking for the next seven months. (Roughly speaking: from Halloween to Earth Day.)

Let me ask you this: are you here because you are freaking love fantasy football?

The head-to-head competition. The smack talk. Declarative victory. We are measuring winning and losing not in the margins but in the aggregate.

And now you're ready to parlay that passion into a second sport.

Then a Points league will feel familiar. Welcoming. Instantaneously playable. A hoops Points dynamic is similar by design.

Our award-winning Points system boosts four dynamics:

1) Head-to-head gameplay
2) A robust championship playoff
3) A larger window of league-wide contention
4) In-game fantasy scoring that agreeably meshes with the NBA viewing experience.

In Points, you put together your team (Salary Cap vs. Snake Draft is another column... a much longer column). A la football, you will have a weekly matchup versus one of your fellow managers. You'll have 20 or so of those regular-season matchups. Then a few weeks of playoffs, driving towards a championship matchup. Then you take the kids to Disneyland (#companyman), recharge, take stock and prepare for the NBA Draft. And the cycle begins anew.

(NOTE: In Points, I recommend wrapping your season before the last week ofthe NBA regular season. Because Points scoring can be random enough without making your ultimate victor dependent on the maddening vicissitudes of endgame regular season stats.)

(PS: Why did I say "random?" Because when you're dealing with weekly matchups, you measure winning and losing by a smaller sample size of statistical results. As you know from football, there can be a great deal of variance in team-wide performance from week to week.)

(PPS: Basketball has more profound, more grounded stats, so the variance is less pronounced than football... but it's still there.)

Points scoring assigns point values to the traditional governing categories. The scarcity of statistical results weights the point values.

Every NBA point scored gives your team a fantasy point. A lowly rebound nets your team a single, solitary point. An assist delivers two points. And the rarified steal or block each net four points. But Points giveth and taketh away.

A field goal attempt or free throw attempt each deducts a point. Your team can cancel that out by successfully converting said attempt. A made free throw adds that point right back. A made field goal adds two points. If it's a 3-pointer, you get an extra point: meaning each successful 3 nets five total fantasy points.

A turnover docks your team two points. (So beware high-Usage stars that deliver gaudy numbers but aren't particularly devoted to protecting the basketball.)

In Points, over time, you may regard your box score the same way your average fan looks at an NBA box score. As in not at all.

Points scoring blends all of the intricacies of an NBA box score into a single net result. An aggregate fantasy game score for each player.

Your players' aggregate game scores are all you should care about. Not how the player got there. The little categorical percolations and shifts are needless distractions. Points scoring is natural selection in action: the result is The Result.

Which is fine.

If you're a busy person and don't want your fantasy life to be quite so all- consuming? If sifting through an NBA box score is not your idea of "me" time enjoyment?

Points is your jam.

Points scoring is simple to process. Easier to follow. It makes watching your players play more rewarding because it's easier to gauge the impact of what they're doing for your fantasy team. Points is a more social format. It encourages regular interaction between managers.

And IMO, most important of all: it keeps more managers in the hunt.

A team can tread water at .500 for most of the season, then put it all together right as their league's playoffs begin. That .500 team gets hot, stays hot, and stampedes to a fake championship.

If you play fantasy football? You're familiar with that script. It can be maddening if you had the best overall regular season. But it also means your league as a whole stays more engaged.

So if you're playing for social interaction as well as enhanced hoops enjoyment? As I said, points is your jam. And that doesn't mean you're a lesser NBA fan. That means you have other priorities.

I won't think any less of you. I get it. For my first assigned reading in seventh grade English, Mrs. Tinsley forced me to read The Yearling. Midway through chapter one, I realized: no one should be forced to read The Yearling.

Then I found out a large company called Cliffs Notes agreed with my assessment. I broke out some paper route mad money, and presto: no more Yearling.

Has my life suffered as a result? Would my off-hour literary exploits be enriched via a deeper understanding of the bond between Jody and Flag? We will never know.

But if you think of sifting through all the little ins and outs of an NBA box score as the fantasy equivalent to The Yearling?

Choose Points and don't look back.

But on the other hand... does this sound more like you?

You don't want the aggregate. You don't want to skip to the end. You want the process. The journey.

When you crave guacamole, you don't order it on your phone for home delivery. You go to the store and buy avocados, tomatoes, garlic salt, lemons -- and experiment.

You like studying box scores. Reading about the latest statistical trends. You want detective work. Deducing which players may be overvalued or undervalued. You enjoy developing your own systems. Your own philosophies. You're more of a chess player.

You tend to be boring at parties.

You crave a granular understanding of NBA statistics. To understand how the categories are interconnected. The deeper metrics behind the frontline stats. You believe that leading the NBA in points per game doesn't automatically mean you're the best player in the NBA.

You love that we are smack in the NBA analytic age.

You want to flex your inner John Hollinger.

Then Roto is your forte.

I liken Roto to deep-sea fishing. It requires more planning. More preparation. More time. More patience. But if you're into the process and have the time -- netting a single big fish is more rewarding than bringing home a bucket of salmon.

In Roto, success is measured in the longview. Your team doesn't compete week to week. It competes year to year.

Your team's net score isn't composed of a solitary weekly result. It is determined by how it does in the major categories over months and months.

NBA points scored. Rebounds. Assists. 3s. Field goal percentage. Free throw percentage Steals. Blocks. Turnovers. Any other exotic metrics your league wishes to add.

Your competitive portfolio is diversified. You find more little angles with which to gain an edge. Production by position becomes more important because certain positions tend to produce certain stats.

Conversely, out-of-position production becomes more important. Finding a center that generates assists becomes your idea of fun. (Sourcing players that subvert expectations that defy algorithms? That's pretty darn enjoyable too.)

Scarcity means more. Realizing there's a finite amount of production by category and by position. Leveraging the construction of your fake team to take advantage of those pools of scarcity.

Trades mean more. Every transaction means more. A transaction's worth isn't measured in one all-consuming number. You see how that transaction affects your team across multiple categories. Multiple numbers. Metrics.

You look at every move your team makes with a holistic eye. A new player may boost you in rebounds but kneecap your free throw percentage. You may decide to give up on a category altogether and punt it.

Roto involves more decision-making. Deeper decision-making. It rewards thinking more like Michael Corleone and less like Sonny.

Most of all? If you like knowing that the team that performed the best all season is the team that wins in the end?

Roto is your forte.

You like your fantasy to be fair. Because life is unfair enough on its own. You like that your champion is crowned by a Marianas Trench-deep reservoir of high- volume statistics.

So you probably don't get out as much. You prefer deep statistical dives to smack talking on a message board.

In the end? Here's the best part: you can't lose. Because in fantasy hoops, you have the power to decide what format best fits your gameplay needs.

There isn't one all-encompassing format. (Although Points is getting pretty darn popular.) No matter your inclination, you will find like-minded managers raring to go.

Points or Roto? If you made it this far?

You're already winning.