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Drafting Early for Fantasy Basketball: Risk and Opportunity

NBA season is drawing near, and all of us fantasy nuts in re-draft leagues are wandering the same thing. When do we draft!?

A few of my friends and I were "arguing" about just this a few days back and I thought it would be interesting to bring to you some of my conclusions from that debate. It seemed as though the more experienced fantasy owners were for the early draft, while the "newbies" with only a year or two under their belt, were strongly supporting the late draft theory.

Why is that? What are the "experts" hiding? What are the rookies afraid of? Which option are we going for this year in my league?  Find out in the next episode of Dragon Ball Z... Well, actually, in the article below.

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The Case for a late draft

Injury stress and relief

This is the most obvious, and the most common reason for drafting late. If you schedule your league's draft for like a week before the regular season starts, you leave little room for injuries to happen. One of the most hated feelings in fantasy sports is when your star player goes down with an injury. We feel their pain on so many levels.

We feel for them on a personal level. It's always difficult to see another human being suffer.

We feel for their family and kids. It's a collective effort for them to keep dad's hopes and dreams up and help him get back to full health.

You feel for their NBA team. They're even more screwed than you.

But of course, what affects ourselves makes the strongest impression. Please Lord, touch and heal Jimmy Butler's knee in time for my fantasy playoffs!

More time to prepare

I was quite surprised to learn that not all 19 other guys in my league, which I play for fun with my friends, obsess over fantasy NBA for the whole 12 months. They take a break from basketball come May and don't even think about it much until September (barring a FIBA World Championship or the Olympics during the summer). Not really sure why I'm friends with them, come to think about it.

A late draft helps those who slowly start their engines in late summer to catch up with the offseason moves, roster changes and get up to speed with the rookies and what to expect from them in their first season. This is one of two reasons more casual players prefer a late draft to an early one.

More information and advice available

This is the other one. And it's a big one! Well, actually, this is more the reason why the sly foxes, fantasy NBA veterans, push for an early draft. To try and keep an edge and as much advantage as possible over those who don't follow the NBA world that closely during the whole year.

In August there's not too much content at a regular fantasy player's disposal. He could have difficulty finding good NBA fantasy rankings, as most specialized websites that do those have only just punched out an "early draft" - pun intended.

Fantasy sleepers and undervalued guys at this point are a total mystery to most of the casual players. They will learn more about them when they read the sleeper pieces which usually come out late September. Also, draft strategies, player's average draft positions, and other useful information become easier to come by as the start of the regular season approaches.

Heck, this is only my 2nd article in anticipation of the new season. By the time regular season rolls around, I will have written at least 10.


The Case for an early draft

Lack of advice for inexperienced owners

September and early October are filled with fantasy advice and other articles which can help players prepare for their drafts. Those who don't need that help and trust their own knowledge and information are keen on using that to their advantage.

Therefore, they always vote for the draft to be held before those articles are written. They hope that their opponents with less experience, who don't follow the league as closely during the offseason, won't be able to catch up with them by reading up on the subject a few weeks before the season starts.

Even though a draft in August allows room for injuries to happen, veterans are willing to take that risk.

The chance of an injury is the same for everyone - no one gains an advantage.

Veteran knowledge is theirs and theirs alone - only they profit from it.

Another month of fantasy basketball? Yes, please!!!

As soon as we draft the fun starts! The teasing. The taunting. The shameless trade offers. The long and exhausting trade negotiations. The excitement when you pull the trigger on a deal. Highs and lows. Good decisions and regrets. Every shalala, every whoa whoa.

Who doesn't want another month of that!? I know I do!!!

So, when does your league draft, Miloš?

As an acknowledged fantasy addict, of course, I was up for an early draft! But alas, the fairness and equality prevailed, unfortunately. We're drafting early October.

All my friends will read a boatload of articles. They will prepare for the draft meticulously. Damn, they'll probably even read some of my stuff. And they will try to get in my way. They'll try to take what's rightfully mine! They will try to take my crown.

They failed last year! They failed the year before! They will fail again!!!

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