Points in the Paint

Fantasy Basketball Opinions, Strategy & Tips

Draft Strategy: Pre-Ranking Your Guys

Posted by Erik on September 12, 2008

I enjoyed  GMTR’s Draft Tip #6: Queue It Up. So I decided to pick up the ball and run with it. Thanks for the dish guys. Let’s see if I can drive to the hoop and score some points in the paint with it.

I wanted to write something for the new/rookie Fantasy Basketball players…

So you may have heard from around the net or from your buddies that they either don’t like Yahoo’s O-Rankings or at least don’t follow it blindly. So you want to be a smart fantasy player and decide to Pre-Rank the NBA players before the draft day.

Here’s a list of 20 (and ONE Bonus) questions  that you can ask yourself to help you with that task.

  1. Do you think Kobe’s decision NOT to undergo surgery on his pinkie will affect his fantasy performance this year?
  2. Was Dwyane Wade’s Olympic performance enough to convince you that he’s physically ready to return to TOP 10 form?
  3. Will Dallas’ new up-tempo offense orientation be good for Dirk’s already consistent stats?
  4. Do you see Elton Brand returning to his old 20-10-2 ways? Will playing in the 76ers affect the said production?
  5. How much of the old Phoenix-Shawn Marion do you expect to see in a potentially full season with the Heat?
  6. Is Gilbert Arenas healthy enough to contribute sick fantasy numbers for your team this year… and for how many games?
  7. Is Baron Davis capable of repeating last year’s 82 game performance now that he’s in LA?
  8. Are you willing to gamble that this year may be the year Yao Ming plays 75+ games?
  9. Can coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. keep Marcus Camby away from injury as well as George Karl did back in Denver?
  10. Do you expect Deron Williams to exceed Steve Nash’s fantasy value this season?
  11. Is Danny Granger over hyped coming into this fantasy season?
  12. How is Kevin Martin’s groin? I’m kidding! Don’t check it personally, I think he showed it’s fully healed even before the end of last season.
  13. Does Caron Butler’s history of DNPs bother you enough to rank him lower than his contributions merit?
  14. With Andrew Bynum returning to the Laker lineup, do you foresee Pau Gasol’s stats taking a hit?
  15. Do you see Vince Carter as a good Fantasy contributor now that both Kidd and Rich-Jeff are gone?
  16. How well do you figure Rudy Gay will perform now that Mike Miller’s been traded away?
  17. What do you expect Monta Ellis to do at point for GSW once he recovers from his injury?
  18. Do you expect to see enough of Jose Calderon’s Ford-less games from last year to warrant him a big bump this year?
  19. Will playing alongside LBJ be good or bad for Mo Williams’ stats?
  20. Can Andrew Bynum pick up where he left off from last year’s break out season before his season abruptly ended due to injury?

Bonus: If/When Zach Randolph gets traded away, how much more fantasy impact do figure David Lee will have?

The Infamous Yahoo! O-Rankings

Whether you like it, hate it, or diss it; the O-rankings shouldn’t be ignored. Why? Well, because they can actually be used as a tool to help predict how absentee managers will pick during your live draft – well at least for the first 4 maybe 5 rounds. One of the things I keep on hand during a live draft is a spreadsheet of Yahoo’s O-ranked players designed in such a way that I can see based on the number of teams, which player(s) the computer will choose. I then adjust my drafting strategy and am able to reach for players better. How can you tell an absentee manager from someone who’s just drafting quietly and not joining in the side commentary of “oohs”, “ahs”, “nice pick”, or my fave: “dammit I wanted him!”? Well teams of absentee managers pick their players at a fixed time, like say every 25 secs a team is always done with its pick. That’s auto-draft right there.

I personally like to Pre-rank and not rely on the O-Rankings. However, from past experience, I’ve been in leagues where auto-drafted teams made the podium. So the O-Rankings are probably aren’t as completely stupid as some of your friends would like you to believe.

Case in point would be my last season’s experience from a 14-man, 9 CAT, Roto league I played in. In the end my visionary, almost Nostradamus-like play from 13th draft position to do a Camby-Chris Paul bounce + quality trades over the season (traded for Amare in Jan) were not enough for me to steal the 1st spot from an auto-drafted team. So like Spain in this year’s Olympics, I had to be contented with a silver medal – well trophy in Yahoo Fantasy Basketball’s case.

The computer drafted him something like Marion, Billups, Al-Jeff*, Manu*, Odom, Peja, Mike Dunleavy* – I forget the rest… trauma has a way of blurring the memory. 😦

You might say he locked down the win with ankle-breaking moves throughout the course of the season?

Well he made ONE trade: An early (very early) exchange of his auto-drafted Tim Thomas trash pick in exchange for the rookie Al Horford. He also only made a total 4, yes just 4 moves. The only one of real significance was that of picking Jose Calderon from the wires when Ford went down. – THAT, I must admit was a good move.

But was Calderon and Horford’s additions to the winning team game breaking? Their presence in his lineup helped but it was his core of auto-drafted guys like Manu and Mike D who really helped lock down the victory.

So he lucked out on Al-Jeff, Manu, and Mike D’s good seasons? Or did the computer’s basing its choices on O-rank play a role? Just some food for thought.

Draft Advice: When you’re somewhere midway into your live draft and you are stumped and can’t make up your mind on who to pick. And you find yourself desperate and thinking to yourself: “What would Jesus do?” – Well unless you’ve got a direct line to the guy, you probably will not get an answer before your 2 minute pick time limit is up. My tip would be to click on that little button near the bottom of the player queue called “Suggest” or was it “Recommend” – I forget. It may not tell you who Jesus would pick, but more like who Yahoo would. You don’t have to take the recommendation, but it at least may give you an idea and get you out of your mental block. It can’t hurt to at least look. No harm, no foul.

I am by no means pimping the O-rankings. I am just saying that as players of Fantasy Basketball we shouldn’t just arbitrarily throw them out the window.

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3 Responses to “Draft Strategy: Pre-Ranking Your Guys”

  1. […] With an assist from Draft Tip #6: On The Importance of Pre-Ranking Players, Points in the Paint has Twenty Questions (Plus One) to help you decide how to Pre-Rank your players for your fantasy basketb…. […]

  2. zach said

    For head to head leagues, I do not recommend the o-ranks at all! I like to plan my team around 5 or 6 of the categories before the draft even begins. Then, I rerank the players based on those categories. This takes lots of volatility out of it, especially in the playoffs, and helps to ensure weekly wins in head to head leagues. Please see my blog for all the details, here’s the first post in the series: http://fantasysportsconsultant.blogspot.com/2007/09/fantasy-basketball-introduction.html

  3. Erik said

    There’s nothing wrong with wanting to pre-rank in that way at all. Good for you! That’s one way to do it. Sounds interesting. I will look forward to what your blog has to say in the future.

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