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Article: Draft Strategy: Go Big, Go Early, Go Often

Discussion in 'Fantasy Sports Central' started by jdmiser, Sep 24, 2005.

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  1. jdmiser

    jdmiser Second Round Draft Pick

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    By David Kovsky, Freelance Writer at www.dimemag.com

    Well, I hope that you read the introductory article first, went and signed up for a fantasy basketball league and are already thinking about your draft strategy. October is quickly approaching and in four or five week's time, just about every league will have conducted its draft. With that in mind, I thought unwrapping some of the mysteries that shroud a fantasy draft right now would give you enough time to incorporate my suggestions into your strategy. For continuity reasons, the baseline that I will use all year are the following categories, FT%, FG%, 3PT%, points, rebounds, steals, blocks, assists, and turnovers as well as the following position setup, PG, G, SG, SF, F, PF, C, C and four bench spots. Even though your league might be slightly different, the knowledge will still be applicable.

    Ok, enough administrative stuff, let's get to the draft strategy. I want each and every one of you singing a song in your head while drafting your players. Although I have no empirical proof of this, "researchers" have found that singing is a great way of remembering important information while under stressful conditions. And, if you think that drafting your fantasy team is just a walk in the park, you clearly are a rookie. Instead, many of you will be cross-eyed with a beer haze or sweating through your shirt because your boss convinced you to wager more than you were comfortable with. Regardless of the reason, you need to be ready to face the draft stress and this song will definitely get you through the first two rounds successfully. Without further adieu, sing the following verse set to the tune of Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back,"

    I like big men and I cannot lie,
    You other players must be denied

    If a guard walks in with a little bit of grace
    Stick a big man in your face
    He gets DRAFTED.


    Seriously. Sing it, but remember one qualification and only one. If LeBron James is on the board when it's your turn to draft, I want you to pick him. Otherwise, go big for the first two rounds.

    Having a strong "C" on your team, let alone two, is probably the most valuable commodity to have. How many dominating centers can you name? I bet you can pick out many more serviceable guards and small forwards. You know what else I like about big men? They shoot from really close to the basket and that means a high FG%. Don't believe me? Consider the following fact. Of all players in the NBA last year that played at least 55 games, 12 of the top 15 field-goal percentages were recorded by players with center eligibility and all of them shot over 53% from the field.

    Need more proof? Of the top 25 rebounders last year, 11 of them had center eligibility, as did 15 of the top 25 blockers. Yet, there are only about 10-12 quality starting centers in the NBA. All of this translates into one really, really important consideration. In leagues with two "C" roster spots, there will be a serious premium on getting talent to fill those spots. But, despite that premium, the lure of Allen Iverson, Steve Nash and Tracy McGrady will distract the average GM from their team's most pressing need. Don't make the same mistake. At the very least, if you end up not wanting to pursue the blocks or rebounds category, you will have the most sought-after, tradable commodity in the league and it will allow you to acquire a top guard later, as your needs may dictate.

    Next up, round three. In the third round, I want you drafting a point guard. It's okay to wait this long to draft a point guard because when push comes to shove, you don't need Steve Nash. By round three, the GMs that were snatching up the AI's, Steve Nash's and Kobe Bryant's of the NBA will turn to big men (too bad you already took the good ones off the board). As they make that switch, you should be able to feast on the likes of Gilbert Arenas, Kirk Hinrich, Brevin Knight (who was 4th in the League in assists last year), Mike Bibby and a few others. In other words, you can still pull an All-Star or near All-Star caliber point guard in the third round.

    Rounds four-twelve. For the remainder of the draft, you need to focus on two very important things. First, you need to pick players that have multiple position eligibility such as G/F, G, F/C and F. The worst thing that can happen in the middle of a monster match-up with playoff implications is not being able to start players because of eligibility issues. The more players you can start in any given week, the better. Second, you need to pick players that you like. I know it sounds cheesy, but trust me; fantasy basketball is a lot more fun when you are following players that you like. I must confess, I made this mistake last year and paid dearly for it. I ended up trading my team away to acquire players that I liked following and got pennies on the dollar, so to speak.

    Lastly, prepare, prepare, prepare. Make a list of players you want, rank the top-200 players, try to guess who other people are going to draft and prepare your picks accordingly. Also, check out www.dimemag.com as the season gets closer. We'll be pre-ranking the League for your benefit and dissecting some of the more intricate issues related to fantasy drafting.
     
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