New Fantasy Basketball Game Changing the Landscape? | Saquan Barkley Draft Update
Get ready to build your Fantasy Basketball portfolio
A gulf lies between traditional Fantasy Sports and the ever-changing DFS world, one that Yoav Yechiam is attempting to bridge.
The Israeli-based Yechiam and his partner, Idan Eilat recently launched FanEx (https://www.fanex.live/), a Fantasy Sports site that combines the strategy of Fantasy play and financial trading with real money staked on the performance of players. The price of acquiring James Harden or LeBron James is strictly set on the free market foundation of supply and demand as actual production and future expectations ultimately determine the player’s value.
“We made the connection with Fantasy sports because we both understood how huge it is in the States,” said Yechiam. “Fantasy Sports players are like stockbrokers, because not only are they seeking preferred stock but also are in search for bargains who can turn into money makers.”
Yechiam’s assessment isn’t accidental. A former stockbroker himself, he and Eliat originally launched the concept a decade ago by using a platform much like the popular computer game Second Life. After a pair of attempts proved unsuccessful (“way too complicated,” admitted Yechiam), the two finally discovered a winning formula that allowed them to launch in time for the start of the NBA season.
“We don’t set the market,” Yechiam said. “The market determines the price.”
FanEx’s scoring formula isn’t complex. Each NBA player is rewarded a point for each one they score and receive three points for every rebound and blocked shot. Assists produce 1.5 points, with a steal delivering 1.2 points while losing a point for each turnover.
Traders must decide if the price of a player card is either too high or low, leading them to buy up when they feel the player’s value is rising, or buying down if they believe the value of the player card is on the decline.
“This is not a DFS-style game, nor is it like traditional Fantasy Sports play,” Yechiam said. “We want to take things another direction. Ultimately, we’d like to take away the routine that season-long traditional Fantasy sports can become and give Fantasy players something different that will challenge them in an entirely different manner.”
“The idea is to offer an alternative to what is already out there in Fantasy sports,” added Yechiam.
The strength of FanEx is the precise correlation between the price of a player and their actual performance on the court. While the game is open to all, be warned: novice Fantasy Hoops players will feel as overmatched as I would stopping Nikola Jokic on a fast break.
“Our game is not just about getting the best players,” said Yechiam. “You have to diversify your player portfolio in a similar manner as an investor would. Just like an astute investor would know how to play the stock market, a smart Fantasy Basketball player would be able to build a winning portfolio.
FanEx is slowly developing a following despite limited marketing in social media and word of mouth. Plans for a limited version for baseball season is in motion while the duo is intent to have the platform in place in time for Fantasy Football season.
“We’re at the beginning of this, so we want to do things slow,” said Yechiam.
Although Yechiam and Eliat said their formula can translate to almost any sport, the intent -- at least in the initial stages of FanEx -- will be on sports in the States. “Fantasy sports does not interest a lot of people in Europe and the Middle East,” said Yechiam. “As big as soccer is across most of the world, the game does not translate well into Fantasy sports. A soccer player can have a great game, but if he isn’t involved with the actual goal being scored, it’s hard to correlate that.”
For now, playing FanEx is limited to desktop and laptops, although Eliat said a mobile app is currently in progress.
“We always thought this could work,” said Yechiam. “In time, I think it will.”
“He’s Tyreek Hill-Fast With His Controller...”
Robert Wiber doesn’t run the 40 in 4.29 seconds nor does the high school senior possess Deandre Ayton-like skills on the court. However, few can match his prowess in “League of Legends,” a trait that has made Wiber one of the most sought-after esports players in the nation.
More than 70 colleges currently offer esports scholarships, according to the National Association of Collegiate eSports. Elite players like Wiber will be among those signing letters of intent that could reach a combined $18 million this year, double the total from 2017. Like five-star athletes, esports players are recruited in the same manner while coaches have no restrictions on contacting players since the NCAA does not govern esports.
Funny it may sound now, but no one should be shocked if some sports outlet is one day giving us wall-to-wall coverage of the esports version of National Signing Day.
Lightning Strikes (x5)
Steven Stamkos’ monster five-point game against the Flyers on Saturday rewarded FanDuel players who invested $8,700 on the Lightning center. Stamkos has been on a tear, recording double-digit Fantasy points in seven of his last nine games. DFSers should have no fear playing Stamkos during his torrid run, especially since Nikita Kucherov ($9,100/FanDuel) returned to the lineup on Saturday following a two-game absence and tallied three assists to give him a league-high 82 points.
Having both Kucherov and Stamkos in your lineup would be hard to pull off without sacrificing your other positions, but either one is a heck of a foundation for a successful lineup.
Saquondering Where Barkley Fits in ADP
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 3, 2018
Penn State running back Saquon Barkley redefined the phrase “freak show” at the NFL Rookie Combine, running the 40 in 4.40 seconds, recording 29 reps on the bench press and leaping 41 inches in the vertical jump. Oh, did I mention he’s 6’0, 233 pounds?
Barkley is a lock to be selected in the Top 5 picks of next month’s draft, with the Browns and Giants -- picking first and second overall, respectively -- now forced to think longer and harder about adding him. At the same time, Fantasy football players are now wondering how to properly slot him among the top backs once draft season commences.
As of now, I think Barkley is a strong mid-second round pick, putting him between 16th and 21st overall. According to fantasyfootballcalculator.com, Barkley would be a coin toss with (at least for now) Jordan Howard at 15.5 while sitting just ahead of Christian McCaffrey (20.7) and Mark Ingram (23.6). An exceptional receiver out of the backfield, Barkley’s value in PPR formats could be higher.
If At First....
Yuli Gurriel’s hand surgery has made the race for at-bats an intriguing subplot for the Astros. Uber-utility player (and my spirit animal) Marwin Gonzalez is the top option, yet Tyler White and the initial pairing of J.D. Davis and A.J. Reed will see enough plate appearances to be factors.
Gurriel (who also has a five-game suspension once he returns) shouldn’t be out longer than mid-April, so whoever wins the Opening Day job will have a limited shelf life. Still, especially in AL-only leagues, the winner should be good for above-average production during the first 2-3 weeks of the season.
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