The anatomy of a fantasy basketball draft

We take part in one specific fantasy basketball league – have been for a few years now. The league is pretty competitive, with some teams managers being more so than others. But most, if not all, of the managers in the league are very knowledgeable about basketball and the NBA. We play head-to-head, with 10 teams this year – down from 12 last year – and we just recently had our draft.

So, for all you fantasy basketball heads out there, we thought we would recap how our league draft went, who went where, which manager got the best bargains and what players could have the biggest fantasy impact.

Round 1 – 3:

Who we picked: Yao Ming (9th), Chris Bosh (12th) and Deron Williams (29th). The elite fantasy wing players like Kobe and LeBron are usually gone by the middle to late first round, so drafting 9th in a 10-team league we knew we had to target a big man – thus the Yao Ming pick. In the second round we could have, and probably should have, picked point guard, but couldn’t pass up on the rebounds, blocks and FG% of Bosh – we essentially shored up those categories and the C position with the two big men. And fortunately for us, the gamble paid off as Deron Williams fell to us late in the 3rd, 17 picks later.

The best (or worst) of the rest: Among the rest of the managers, value picks were Dirk Nowitzski at 7th overall, Dwayne Wade at 16th overall (his stock dropped quite a bit in our league, because of the injury issues), Josh Smith at 18th overall, and Dwight Howard at 28th overall. The reach picks were Jason Kidd at 10 and Kirk Hinrich at 26th.

Rounds 4-6:

Who we picked: Michael Redd (32nd), Antawn Jamison (49th) and Kevin Martin (52nd). These three picks may win us the league. Not only did we pick up three more potential 20 points per game scorers, we also continued to shore up our free-throw percentage, and added 3 huge contributors to the 3-pointers made column. Our scoring categories and the rebounding cat should be rock solid. Now to address steals, blocks and assists.

The best (or worst) of the rest: Other value picks in rounds 4-6 included Al Jefferson (47th), Joe Johnson (51st), Lamar Odom (57th) and Ron Artest (54th). As you can see there was a lot of great talent to be had in rounds 4-6. The reach picks in these rounds were Emeka Okafor (37th), Stephon Marbury (42nd) and Kevin Durant (44th).

Rounds 7-10:

Who we picked: Andre Miller (69th), Tony Parker (72nd) and Raja Bell (89th). We had to address assists and we did just that with Miller. With Deron and Miller in the backcourt, we should be pretty solid in that category. Raja Bell helped shore up the 3-pointers made category, while Tony Parker at one of the guard positions will help in scoring, assists and with the percentages.

The best (or worst) of the rest: We probably took a little bit of a hit in rounds 7-10, as we missed out on potential studs like LaMarcus Aldridge (70th), Richard Jefferson (85th), Monta Ellis (87th) and Peja Stojakovic (88th). In general the other managers in the league took chances on high-potential players with some questions marks, while we chose the conservative route and addressed weak categories with stable, but not so stellar players. We’ll see if that strategy works out as the season progresses.

Rounds 11-14:

Who we picked: With our final 4 picks we selected Brad Miller (109th), Cuttino Mobley (112th), Udonis Haslem (129th) and Jamaal Tinsley (132nd). Again, we really didn’t take many risks on potential in the late rounds, and we may end up regretting that strategic decision. More often than not the late round gems win managers the championship – we really didn’t gamble on one of these diamonds in the rough.

The best (or worst) of the rest: Again, the other teams got good talent late, including Jameer Nelson (114th), Andres Nocioni (117th), Channing Frye (118th) and Louis Scola (130th). Picks in the last couple of rounds should be spent on specialists, who can help put your team over the top in a particular category, and some of the other managers in the league did that a little better than we did.

So, from a high-level, that’s how our fantasy basketball draft went this year. We are very happy with the top-half of our draft, and hope that the stud players we picked up early can stay healthy and carry the lion’s share of the load in multiple categories, particularly the offensive ones.

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