Fantasy Basketball Scoring 101

Written by - Team Sentitrac

Fantasy basketball is a great avenue to get to know the game inside and out. But if you are familiar with the play of fantasy football, get ready because fantasy basketball is a different beast.

Casual fantasy football players make picks based on which teams and players they think will score that week. It’s straightforward and event-based. But, in fantasy basketball scoring is everything, but it can take some getting used to.

If you have questions about fantasy basketball points, this article will cover fantasy basketball scoring and where to look for edges when putting a lineup on the virtual floor.

How Does Fantasy Basketball Scoring Work?

At the beginning of the fantasy basketball season, participants draft or select NBA players to form their fantasy team. Fantasy basketball leagues typically have weekly matchups, where teams compete based on fantasy basketball scoring accumulated by their players during that week's games. Each statistical category has a corresponding point value assigned to it.

For example, a field goal might be worth 1 point, a rebound might be worth 1.2 points, and so on. The total fantasy points for a player are calculated by adding up the points they earn in each category.

Fantasy basketball leagues are generally structured as head-to-head matchups, where teams compete against each other weekly. Many variations in scoring formats add challenge and strategy to how your team accumulates fantasy basketball points.

What Does Fantasy Points per Game (FPPG) in Basketball Mean?

Fantasy points per game (FPPG) refers to the average number of fantasy points a player scores during games over a specified period. This metric is used to evaluate a player's consistent performance throughout the season.

To calculate FPPG, divide a player's total fantasy points by the number of games they have played. For example, if a player has scored a total of 300 fantasy points over 20 games, their FPPG would be calculated as:

FPPG = Total Fantasy Points / Number of Games

FPPG = 300 / 20

FPPG = 15

Players with higher FPPG are typically more consistent and reliable fantasy options than those with lower FPPG.

FPPG is not a perfect catch-all statistic. It’s a metric that should be looked at in context, like any other metric. Managers should take into account context like number of games played and injuries and use FPPG within that context. For example, a player with a low FPPG over the season because they’re sitting on the bench could have a much higher short-term FPPG if someone in front of him in the rotation goes down with an injury.

As managers adjust their lineups on a week-to-week basis, it’s important to consider these factors alongside a player’s schedule for the upcoming week. More games and more opportunities will yield a higher FPPG, so take that into account when making your lineups each week.

How Does ESPN Fantasy NBA Scoring Work?


ESPN Fantasy NBA scoring uses a default points system to calculate fantasy scores based on players' real-life performance. Here's how it works:

ESPN's default scoring settings assign the following point values:

  • Points scored: 1 point
  • Rebounds: 1.2 points
  • Assists: 1.5 points
  • Steals: 2 points
  • Blocks: 2 points
  • Turnovers: -1 point
  • Additional points: Players can also earn additional points for making three-pointers, with the exact value depending on the league settings.

Teams in fantasy basketball leagues compete against each other in weekly matchups. The team with the most total fantasy points at the end of the week wins the matchup.

What Are Some Alternative Scoring Systems for Fantasy Basketball?

ESPN offers several variations on the traditional head-to-head format. The table below highlights some of these formats and how each strategic variation challenges fantasy basketball scoring.

Category-based Scoring:

Instead of assigning point values to individual statistics, this system awards teams a win, loss, or tie in each statistical category. For example, a team might win the "points scored" category if its players collectively score more points than the opponent's players. Strategic Wrinkle: Offers flexibility to tailor scoring to preferences.

Points League with Customized Settings:

Leagues can customize point values for different statistical categories to reflect their preferences. For example, rebounds might be worth more points than assists in one league, while steals and blocks could be worth more in another.

Strategic Wrinkle: Adds strategy with bonus points for specific achievements.

Head-to-Head Points with Bonuses:

In addition to standard point values for statistical categories, this system offers bonus points for certain achievements, such as a double-double or triple-double.

Strategic Wrinkle: Adds strategy with bonus points for specific achievements.

Points League with Efficiency Metrics:

Some leagues incorporate advanced metrics like Player Efficiency Rating (PER) or True Shooting Percentage (TS%) into their scoring system to reward players for efficiency on the court.

Strategic Wrinkle: Rewards efficient players with advanced metrics.

Auction Draft Salary Cap:

Instead of a traditional draft, teams have a budget to "purchase" players through an auction, with player values determined by their expected fantasy performance.

Strategic Wrinkle: Adds strategy with budgeting for player acquisition.

Dynasty League:

In dynasty leagues, managers retain most or all of their players from one season to the next, with only a limited number of new players entering the league each year. This format emphasizes long-term team building and player development strategies.

Strategic Wrinkle: Rewards long-term planning and player development.

Fantasy Basketball Scoring: A Look Behind the Numbers

While the many metrics involved with fantasy basketball scoring can seem intimidating to new players, it represents one of the truest tests in fantasy sports since so much of a player’s value can be distilled down to numbers.

While the learning curve can appear steep, fantasy basketball players will find the fantasy basketball scoring more true to the games they’re watching on TV. It makes watching basketball—and playing fantasy basketball—that much more engrossing.