I began my steps challenge last Friday right after the All-Star break. It was the first time I had participated in any steps tournament and in a 10 man tournament. My focus was to select a balanced team with players that have relatively high floors, as well as some contrarian plays. You’ll notice below that I built around DeMarcus Cousins. I’ll break down my lineup and explain why I chose this player. This should give you an idea of my thought process while creating a steps tournament lineup.
Here was my lineup:
PG- Deron Williams – I decided to go with Williams here because Jarrett Jack was not playing and Williams was going to the start. In addition, he was just 10 percent of the salary cap and had a favorable matchup against the Lakers. I wasn’t expecting 44.5 fantasy points, but I was definitely expecting him to hit value. I thought most wouldn’t play him, however that turned out to be incorrect as he was owned by 60 percent of the teams.
SG- Kyle Korver – He ended up being the last guy I slotted into my lineup and I took a chance on the fact that he can exceed value while providing a high enough floor against the Raptors. At the end of the day, he was my wild card.
SF- Andrew Wiggins – He was less than $6,000, had a favorable matchup, and there was a good chance he would be underutilized. He also provides a safe floor and has scored above his season average of 26 fantasy points in three of four games. I was content with that and thought his price was low enough to justify any risk. Not to mention the upside he offers.
PF- David West – Here’s my not flashy and good ol’ reliable pick. West had scored more than 30 fantasy points in six consecutive games heading into this game. He was also facing the Sixers who are horrendous on the defensive side. I felt that I needed a stable player that provided a high floor at a relatively good price. He ended up scoring less than I expected and didn’t hit value, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.
C- DeMarcus Cousins – This was my must-start player in this tournament because of his ceiling, floor, and to be quite honest, I expected more people to focus on Lebron that night rather than Cousins. It turned out that five other teams had the same idea and boogie was owned in 60 percent of the teams. The good news is that he had a huge game and provided me with 57.25 fantasy points.
G- Mario Chalmers – This was the first game back from the All-Star Break. The Heat traded for Goran Dragic who was not active for this game. In that trade, they lost four players including Norris Cole who would cut into Chalmers time. Lastly, the Heat were playing without Bosh as he’s out for the season. That only meant a higher usage rate for Chalmers and at a low price of $4,500. The matchup was also a good one as he faced the Knicks.
F – Ed Davis – Much like West, I felt that Davis was a consistent and reliable option. He had produced 30+ fantasy points in three of his prior five games, so a big game wasn’t out of the question. His price and matchup also had a lot of emphasis on this decision.
UTIL – Kyle Lowry – He was on a nice streak heading into this game and was priced reasonably at just $7,200, which is low for his standards. The matchup was also appealing to me as the played against the Hawks, a game I was expecting to be fast-paced, which favors him. I also felt he wasn’t on many people’s radars and could be a great value play.
What I learned: Making sure you have a balanced lineup is key. I didn’t really take any uncalculated risks. The only player that wasn’t heavily in my plans was Kyle Korver, but the situation was good enough for me to plug him in. Of course this was my first attempt so I have plenty to learn. One thing that I definitely picked up is how important picking contrarian plays can be in these tournaments. Granted, there may be times that several players on your team will possibly be owned in 40-60 percent of the teams and maybe more, but having a couple of lesser owned players could be the difference between winning and missing the cut. For example, in the lineup above there were four players that were owned just by me.
Result: Third place, which was good for another step 1 ticket.
I’m looking forward to the next steps tournament and sharing my experience with you. Until next time!