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How to Play Fantasy Basketball

Fantasy Basketball is bigger than ever, with online fans shooting hoops in the virtual game all over the world. Its popularity is growing every single day, and nowhere more so than in India, so why not jump off the bench and get into the game? On this page you’ll find:

  • Fantasy basketball tips and strategies from the pros
  • The best fantasy basketball leagues for Indian gamers
  • How to enter a league and pick a winning team
Our fantasy basketball guide

What is Fantasy Basketball?

Fantasy basketball is an exciting virtual sports game, where you assemble a virtual team of existing basketball players, based on their real-life statistics. General managers (gamers) have a set budget to play with, and teams must be chosen according to that budget.

Each virtual player has a credit value, ensuring so no one person can pick all the top basketball players for their team. Meaning that the game is more about strategy.

Once you’ve chosen your team, you’ll enter your team in leagues against other users – sometimes for cash prizes which pay out in rupees in India.

Rules may vary from one fantasy basketball league to another, but below is a list of the most common found amongst all of them.

  • You will have to pick designated players in each specific position on the basketball court. That means choosing a point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, centre, guard, forward and three utility players.
  • Not all pro fantasy basketball games allow you to select a bench of three replacements and an injury reserve. This varies depending on the league and its rules.
  • Fantasy points are awarded to individual players within your fantasy basketball roster based on points scored, rebounds and assists. Only more complex leagues consider blocks, steals, field goal percentage, field throw percentages, three-point field goals and turnovers.
  • Like in real-life NBA, fantasy basketball draft leagues exist. These prevent multiple users from picking the same players.
  • Transfers in and out of your fantasy basketball team may be allowed depending on the league, but at the cost of penalty points.

NBA India Fantasy Basketball

If you want to play fantasy basketball in India, then chances are it’s going to be a game based on the NBA. As the world’s best league in the sport in real life, it’s the most popular fantasy league to date, and with a number of fantasy games available in the region and across the globe, it’s a great place to start.

With all-time greats including Michael Jordan and LeBron James regularly taking to the court, it’s no surprise that fantasy NBA is as popular as it is.

Away from the NBA, every four years the sport’s world governing body, FIBA, puts on the World Cup of Basketball, a tailor-made tournament for fantasy sport, like its counterparts in cricket and football.

The Best Fantasy Basketball Leagues in India

ESPN Fantasy Basketball

As the global broadcasters and sports website, ESPN, have a domain in India, you can play a number of fantasy sport games through their site. ESPN Fantasy Basketball is one of the most popular fantasy platforms, and allows regular users to reactivate leagues with friends for every NBA season.

You can play fantasy basketball games in both a regular season-long format and stage your own mock draft. ESPN fantasy basketball caters for all fans of the sport around the world.

Play On

PlayOn is the official daily fantasy partner of the NBA. They offer a fantasy basketball league different to those based on the entire season or a draft. Long-term commitments aren’t required on this platform, and players can dip in and out with daily prizes on offer.

Simply choose a league by match day, entry fee or the type of contest, then build your roster within budget. There’s even a deposit bonus for new users who sign up.

Dream 11

In India, Dream 11 cricket and basketball sit together on the same platform alongside other fantasy sports. What’s great about this is, if you love sport that makes for popular fantasy games, everything is all housed in one place.

You don’t have to spend time logging in and out of different websites or apps to tweak your fantasy sports teams. Dream 11 has made fantasy basketball exclusively available in India which is a nice touch.

Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball

Yahoo is another global sports website with fantasy games on it. Their offering has become more sophisticated than ever as the makers add extras every year.

Default waiver settings are now made fairer for all in Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball leagues - just one of the ways in which they’re enhancing the gaming experience.


Another big worldwide, daily fantasy basketball platform, FanDuel also offer opportunities to play NFL American football, Major League Baseball, NHL ice hockey, football, golf and the WNBA. A ground-breaking offer.

If you follow men’s and women’s basketball, you’ll be happy to know you can create fantasy teams for both. This includes making fantasy basketball predictions against other users and survivor leagues where you have to pick winners in order to stay alive.

Choosing a Fantasy Basketball Team

Unlike other fantasy sports games, basketball is one where you have to pick one player in each position. That makes choosing your roster tougher than say a fantasy football squad where you need multiple players in certain areas.

Picking an NBA superstar is going to impact the rest of your budget. While LeBron James or Kevin Durant are guaranteed sources of points, they also have large credit values attached.

The skill when you play fantasy basketball is to try and find value for money. Designers will make the game impossible to squeeze all the best players into your team as it will come in way over budget.

Fantasy Basketball Expert Tips & Strategies

In order to help you as a fantasy basketball manager, you should consider the following expert tips and strategies for playing the game:

  • Keep up to date with the sport and follow it closely.
  • Assess how the fantasy basketball league you’re playing in allots points. Some will use more recorded statistics to award individual players’ scores than others.
  • If you’re playing draft fantasy basketball, always have backups in mind. Your first, second and even third choice picks could be taken by other users.
  • Should transfers be permitted in and out of your fantasy team, consider carefully whether taking the penalty points is worthwhile. It may be short-term pain for long-term gain, that’s the gamble you take.
  • One of the top fantasy basketball tips is to look for up-and-coming players who could improve as the season goes on. They are more likely to have a smaller credit value at the start than established names.
  • The name of the game is to squeeze maximum value out of the budget allocated to you. If you find you have spare funds leftover when picking your fantasy basketball roster, then look again and see if it can be improved.

The Best Fantasy Basketball Apps in India

If you’re after a mobile fantasy basketball experience, you’ll be happy to know that the vast majority of Android Indian users are covered. As one of the most prevalent operating systems on smart phones and tablets the world over, the majority of fantasy basketball apps are Android compatible.

After going through the digital revolution, taking your fantasy sports gaming with you on that go is a given. In India, these include mobile platforms include, but are not limited to:

  • ESPN Fantasy Basketball
  • PlayOn
  • Dream 11
  • Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball
  • FanDuel

Gamers can download any of these fantasy basketball apps for free to their mobile device.

Many of the leading fantasy basketball game apps listed above have other virtual sports offerings on the apps. Which one is best hinges on whether you prefer daily fantasy basketball prediction leagues, draft competitions or season-long games.


Fantasy basketball is a virtual sports game where you pick a roster of real-life basketball players, and then enter it in a game against other users in leagues. The format varies between a season-long competition around an actual sports league (typically the NBA), a draft league or daily predictions. Each player you pick for your fantasy basketball team will have a credit value and the total of that must not exceed the allotted budget. Points are awarded based on players’ performances.