10 Commandments of Drafting
Posted by Erik on October 4, 2008
I. Thou Shall Prepare
Before going to your draft, make sure you’ve done your homework. Make sure you know the rules of the format you’re playing, update yourself on the most recent news on player injuries and transactions, read as many of the great fantasy basketball blogs that are out there. These guys have done THEIR homework and browsing through their blogs can sometimes make it easier to do yours. Make your own “cheat sheets” or depth charts. Make sure all the key information you need is handy when you go to a live draft.
II. Thou Shall Pre-Rank
Translate all the research you’ve done into a categorization of the players in to your guage of what their value is. All your preparation and hard work won’t mean diddly if for some reason an act of GOD keeps you from being on time for your live draft. Pre-Rank your players. It makes things run more smoothly during a draft knowing that you have already filtered through Yahoo!’s O-rankings and also so that you can be sure to target players whose end-of-season value you are “sure” will exceed their expected draft positions.
III. Thou Shall Have A Strategy
Make sure that you come into the draft with a plan. Whether it is making sure you get the best value player available with the least drawbacks in a roto draft; or it is a pre-draft decision to go big ball or small ball depending on who you end up with in the first round in a head to head draft; or perhaps it could be that you plan to jack up the bidding on particular players during an auction draft. It pays to have some kind of direction or at least a philosophy of some kind when coming into a Live Draft.
IV. Thou Shall Not Underestimate The Enemy
So you’ve done your research and you think some guys will be this year’s “keys to success” and you personally think they are sleepers. Think again. They may not be sleepers. Don’t assume that the guys in your live draft are idiots or morons even if they are trash talking like they are over the live draft chat box. If you are considering a player for a pick a round or two from now then there is a good chance that other drafters are too! That being said, temper your enthusiasm with the next commandment.
V. Thou Shall Not Reach (too far)
Avoid overvaluing players. Temper your biases and favoritism. Even if you REALLY want to own a player, know when to grab him. Drafting is about optimizing the timing at which you get the best possible guys. Say there’s a lot of hype about a player’s returning to action this year, don’t go out and draft Andrew Bynum in the 2nd round just to make sure he gets a comfortable seat on your fantasy team. On the other hand, in head to head, a reach may not necessarily be a reach if the player is the BEST fit for your strategy or the categories you are targeting. Just be sure to ask yourself “Will he still be on the block when my next pick comes around?” – Remember to be honest in answering that.
VI. Thou Shall Not Covet Rookies
Yahoo! does have a tendency to overvalue rookies, and most of them finish their rookie season at a lower ranking than they were originally valued at. Unless the rookie is in an unworldly class like LBJ, be wary of picking them too early if at all. The NBA draft happens before the season starts and its fantasy fall out is filled with hype and anticipation for fresh blood. Remember that you have no true historical nor statistical basis to value them in the milieu of their play in an NBA team for a full NBA season.
VII. Know Thy Neighbor
This is most applicable for a head to head draft. As early as the 3rd round you will have an idea of what the strategy of the guy drafting next to you is. Whether he’s going for a big or small ball strategy, or whether he values the percentages categories; you will be able to tell by the common denominator-cats of the players he’s picked. If he’s playing big man you can potentially be flexible and go small ball as to not have to compete with the guy picking immediately before and after you (depending on the round). It gives you a smidge of additional control in your picks. Also pay attention to the positions he’s filling out. If by the 4th round the guy after you hasn’t picked up a PG, then expect him to do so within the next round or so. So if you want to pick up a particular PG then do so as your neighbor may get him to fill up his required position within his next two picks before your next one.
VIII. Though Shall Not Take The Last Picks For Granted
Some drafters may have the habit of getting “experimental” or funky in their last picks. Even though that it is best to “play around” in the last round, don’t get carried away. There is still value out there. The remaining players may not seem to inspire you or even keep your drafting juices flowing, and they just filling up your bench spots; but bear in mind that these guys may eventually be playing in your starting line ups due to either your stars getting injured or your bench guys’ upside coming to fruition. Solidy your team. They are back-ups for a reason.
IX. Though Shall Have Fun
We play fantasy hoops to have fun. Drafting your team is arguably half of that. Rules, shmules! Commandments, shummandments! Sometimes all of this preparation can get in the way of simply having a good time at your live draft. It’s just a game. (I can’t believe I just wrote that!). If the winning and pwning make you happy, then go hardcore! If you’re playing to be in a fun environment with your buddies for some laughs, then don’t take the draft too seriously or too personally. Remember to have fun and enjoy the ride.
X. Thou Shall Subscribe to or Follow Points in the Paint because frankly, it’s one HELL of a great blog!
REALLY! It is! 😛