From Deep: 3 fantasy basketball lessons from the 2023-24 NBA season

The three-ball has become arguably the staple of scoring in the NBA — so we figured we'd take some shots from way downtown, too. Here, fantasy basketball analyst Dan Titus will break down three things fantasy managers need to know. Or, he'll break down multiple three-point pieces of advice, analysis and more — it just depends on how open he is From Deep.

At the end of each fantasy basketball season, I engross myself in understanding the specific players and decisions that worked (or didn't) throughout the season — all in an effort to evolve my strategy heading into next year. But rather than go too deep into the weeds, here are three high-level takeaways from the 2023-2024 NBA campaign.

(And I had some regrets too — check 'em out here)

Fantasy basketball is a 20-plus week grind, and if you make it to the playoffs, you'll need some bread to carry you the rest of the way. I consciously decided to save about $20 for the start of the postseason, and it wasn't nearly enough. When I reached the championship, my opponent had $65 to my $10. I was outbid on almost every transaction attempt during the season's final week and got crushed.

Having money during silly season is critical to executing your end-of-season strategy. Saving your FAB puts you in a favorable position to pick up high-valued assets dropped in desperation or scoop up the players who can increase the quality of games on the days with lighter slates.

If you're like me, you probably regretted spending big on some of the guys who hit waivers. I recall spending $29 on Bennedict Mathurin — thinking he would turn it around, and he most definitely did not. That was far too much for any player, so I will be more selective and frugal with my expenditures next season.

Lesson learned: I'm saving at least $60 heading into the Playoffs next season.

What was formally introduced as the Player Participation Policy (PPP), there was a lot of discussion around whether it would work (for the record, I wasn't a fan). According to Sportico, "between the 2017-18 and 2022-23 seasons, the number of instances in which a star player played one game of a back-to-back but not the other (excluding multi-game injuries and Game 82) nearly doubled (from 47 to 88)." These are very discouraging numbers when star players are essential to fantasy basketball.

This year, Adam Silver reported that the number of missed games from star players was reduced by 15%. So, while I initially hated the PPP agenda, it ultimately worked.

Fantasy managers saw a noticeable shift in veteran participation. Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, Paul George, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, LeBron James and Zion Williamson played over 65 games this season. While some labored through injuries to meet the 65-game requirement, fantasy managers saw a stark difference in the values of many players above because of their availability.

There will always be a place for load management because, with players being the primary revenue generators for the league, putting their health first is paramount. Still, increased injury reporting and transparency can make for a more reliable product, and we're inching closer to that becoming the new norm.

Drafting oft-injured guys like AD, Kawhi and Embiid will always carry some risk, but the 65-game threshold at least adds some motivation for stars seeking All-NBA recognition and player awards.

Lesson learned: A games-played threshold instituted at the league level is good for the league, especially for fantasy basketball players.

Pulling the load management thread further, fantasy managers in daily leagues must comb through too many injury reports to compete. With so many sporadic and random absences across the NBA every night, utilizing the IL+ function allows fantasy managers to readily swap out players with any injury designation (questionable, doubtful, probable) or short-term absence. Flexibility in this era of fantasy basketball is a game-changer. I implore all fantasy basketball commissioners and the higher powers (wink, wink) to make IL+ a default setting ahead of next season.

Lesson learned: Make IL+ a part of your league's settings. How many spots? Well, that's still up for debate.