The vast majority of fantasy sports action is currently concentrating on fantasy football but I am most excited about a full fantasy basketball season that will be approaching for 2012-13. Some feel that the NBA season is too long but for those of us that are true basketball fans there is no such thing.
This will be my first article as a guest writer for fantasyteamadvice.com and I thought some members who want to get involved with fantasy basketball would like a draft guide on how to approach this years draft. Make sure to sign up for the forums after reading the article so we can talk fantasy basketball during the season and help each other win our leagues.
This site also offers pre draft rankings for players 1 to 250. To view those rankings you will want to click here.
How to draft for fantasy basketball:
So the first round is where you set the tone for the rest of your draft, and this pick will be what you build your team around. All managers would obviously love to have the first second or third pick in round 1, but the chips won’t always fall your way.
First 3 picks
If you do get the first few picks in the draft you obviously don’t want to blow it, you want to take a player who will contribute to your team in nearly every area. There are very few players in the NBA that help in all categories, the main ones I consider when preparing for my draft are PTS, REB, AST, ST, BLK, and FT%. I personally don’t worry too much about 3 pointers and don’t consider that category key to winning my league. If possible you want your first pick to average 20+ PTS, 7+ REB, 5 + AST, 1 + ST, 1+ BLK, and .750%+ in free throw percentage. Guys like Lebron, Durant, and Love obviously come to mind while a pick like Chris Paul will fall short in rebounds but make up for it in steals and assists.
After the first 3
If you pick in the middle of the first round it will be hard to locate a guy that provides the averages I just laid out, and I think it is very important to get a guy who averages around double digit assists. Assists are currently the hardest category to provide in fantasy basketball so a guy like Deron Williams who scores a lot but also gets a lot of assists is very high on my list. Don’t worry there will be high rebound guys available in the second and third rounds.
Rounds 2 – 4
I think that the next few rounds are largely dependent on two factors. 1) who is available and 2) who you took with your first pick. Lets say for the sake of argument that you got Lebron or Kevin Durant in the first round, they won’t affect your next pick too much because they contribute in all categories, but if you took Chris Paul or Deron Williams you will want to take a PF/C that records a lot of rebounds. Guys like LaMarcus Aldridge , DeMarcus Cousins, Marc Gasol, or even Dwight Howard should be there in the second round this year. Just make sure you get a guy who averages a double-double in the second round. For the third and fourth rounds it will be more of the same, keep drafting superstars that will fill up the stat sheet in the main categories I pointed out. My personal plan for this years draft is round 1 – PG, round 2 – PF/C, round 3 – PG, round 4 – PG. I know it might seem like a bit much, but I want to dominate in points, assists, steals, and free throws. All the point guards I draft will have a high free throw percentage. After round 4, I will start filling out the rest of my roster. The obvious exception to my plan is a guy like Kobe Bryant, he gets a lot of assists but is a SG. If he or another SG is available that can get me over 5+ assists per game in the 3rd round I will draft them.
Rounds 5 – 10
I think these are the rounds where owners win or lose their league. A lot of times injured players are taken in these rounds. Even if you buy a magazine to draft with, or print the rankings here that KJ/Allen have provided, you will want to make sure you take a second before making the pick to type their name in and make sure the player isn’t injured. I suggest rotoworld if you need up to date injury report, and they have a nice search engine feature where you can type in the players last name and get their page immediately. If you use my assist plan through the first 4 picks, you will want to continue to draft players with high FT% through these rounds so you can dominate that category, then go for the guys who average double doubles in points and rebounds. Guys like Anderson Varejao come to mind after round 5. Don’t forget about Derrick Rose this year either. If you like your picks and think you have a chance at the playoffs Derrick Rose will probably go around rounds 6-8. He won’t come back til March but when he does he will help whoever drafted him in a big way.
Rounds 11 – ?
So my league drafts 13 players but I have seen some that go to 15 players or beyond. I don’t look for sleeper picks until round 11. In basketball it is pretty easy to look at a guys stats and know what you are getting in the first 10 rounds. If I draft Chris Paul I know he won’t average 11 rebounds per game, because he isn’t a rebounder. In some sports like fantasy baseball a guy will come along and suddenly start hitting home runs. That hardly ever happens in the NBA. Dwight Howard will not become an elite three point shooter, but I appreciate that because I can draft him knowing I am filling up my rebound category. Most of my sleeper picks in 2012 will be guys who have starting jobs like Jonas V for the Raptors, who is their center, or sixth men. Guys who will come off the bench but will see 23+ minutes per game.
That is it for my draft guide it is the first time I have ever written anything so let me know what you thought of my article. I would like to find some more fantasy basketball guys like me to talk with in the forums. There are tons of fantasy football guys talking in there, but just me thinking about basketball lol.