Fantasy basketball is extremely polarizing — you either get it or you don’t. Most people simply cannot rationalize the amount of time individuals choose to invest in fine-tuning their daily dream team. While the majority of fantasy enthusiasts will at least grudgingly agree with this sentiment, they will never deny their sheer love of the game.
Whether you’re just getting started in the world of fantasy sports or you’re a seasoned pro, we could all use an edge to stay at the top of our league standings. From all-encompassing league apps designed to start your friendly rivalry to some of the most sophisticated metrics available, there are plenty of apps to choose from. Here are our six of our favorite fantasy basketball apps to help you better waste your own time.
If you’re more of a fantasy football aficionado, you may also like to peruse our roundup of the best fantasy football apps.
Best league app
Yahoo Fantasy Sports (free)
To get the fantasy (basket)ball rolling, you’ll need to start a league. Fortunately, one league fantasy app stands out from the rest. For a few years now, the Yahoo Fantasy Sports app has been the basketball app for fantasy enthusiasts. While many fantasy apps on the market work just fine as rudimentary tools, most people will still prefer to log-in with their computers for a more enhanced experience.
The Yahoo Fantasy Sports app, on the other hand, works seamlessly in-app. From the live draft process to looking up player statistics on the fly, the user interface is second to none. One of the app’s best features is the trending add/drop tool, which allows you to see which players are being conspicuously gobbled up or dropped at any given time.
You can quickly add or drop players, making it easy to pad those stats (with a player) in a tight contest just seconds before the roster deadline. All is fair in love and fantasy war, after all. You can use this in tandem with the latest injury updates to keep your team from hobbling into the playoffs, or to simply grab that up-and-coming star from free agency. There’s even a mock draft feature to help you exercise your draft skills and strategy beforehand, because nothing says sports addiction like pretending to draft your professional fantasy team in advance.
Now that you’ve assembled your fantasy squad, it’s time to to stay up to date on the latest news, scores, and speculation. You’ll need to log in with your television provider — and potentially your internet service provider — to access the premium WatchESPN streaming features, so not all aspects of the app are free. Thankfully, there are plenty of free features to keep the app relevant, such as scores, highlights, and expert analysis.
Available for both Android and iOS, the WatchESPN app grants users full access to live feeds from a host of ESPN networks — i.e. ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, SEC Network. Many ESPN shows, including SportsCenter and SportsNation, also offer helpful insights to keep you privy to the latest fantasy news.
Best app for the obsessive enthusiast
NBA G-League App (free)
Yes, for the most part, the NBA G-League is irrelevant and you’ll never need to know the names of the majority of the players in this perennial, transitional purgatory. However, taking note of the daily statistical leaders could land you a solid rotation player over the course of a season. Roughly one-third of current NBA players have played in the G-League at some point during their careers, showing just how much the tier has progressed over the past decade. In deeper fantasy leagues, it’s important to know the full range of NBA and G-League talents.
If a player on your roster goes down midseason, for instance, knowing the cream of G-League crop could be quite handy. Similarly, at the end of the season, many teams who no longer have a shot at the playoffs will bench their star players to prevent unnecessary injuries. In these situations, some teams have called up promising G-League talents to fill out their rosters in the twilight of the season.
The rise of players such as Danny Green and Jeremy Lin may have come as a surprise to some however, those who paid close attention to G-League statistics knew the two had potential. Hassan Whiteside’s short 2014-2015 stint in the G-League speaks for itself. Owners who didn’t steal him from free agency are still kicking themselves to this day. The NBA G-League app is full of useful live (and archived) games, scores, news, and video content to help you overanalyze even the most irrelevant player metrics.
Best app for metrics
Twenty Four (Free)
While most people cringe at the mere notion of sports metrics, fantasy fans know just how important these statistics can be. Understanding the behavior of an opponent or player going into a game may help you better predict which of your team stats may increase or drop on a weekly basis. If your league allows daily or weekly player adds — including an injury reserve spot — you can scoop a player from free agency who may be facing an inferior defense or primary defender.
The app also includes story-telling graphs and analysis, and the box scores automatically list players in order of game efficiency as well. Twenty Four is also your fantasy stop for the dankest NBA memes, if that’s your kind of thing. Sadly, the app is currently exclusive to the iPhone and iPad.
Best app for live-streaming
Like the WatchESPN app, you’ll need to have a subscription to access the premium benefits of this app. That said, if you have NBA League Pass, you probably already have the NBA app on all of your streaming devices. The app allows you to access live and on-demand events, so you’ll never miss a regular season or playoff game again (blackouts may apply).
Even if you don’t want to purchase the full season pass, you can still buy single game passes directly within the NBA App. This is super handy if you need to catch a certain game in particular. This isn’t entirely a pay-to-play app, however, and there are plenty of free features to help you with your fantasy conquests. Live scoring, injury updates, team schedules, and daily video clips make this app a must-have for fantasy ballers.
Best app for opinion
Pocket Casts ($4)
Look, you can stream every NBA and G-League game and stew over in-depth sports metrics for hours, but sometimes it’s helpful to just hear an informed outside opinion on the matter. That said, the internet is brimming with a regular panoply of sports-centric podcasts to keep you up to date on the latest basketball brouhaha. The Pocket Casts app brings the ever-expanding world of podcasts straight to your smart device, including popular offerings like the Lowe Post, Dunc’d On, The Bill Simmons Podcast, and dozens of others.
Update: We added Pocket Casts to the list.