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Fantasy Basketball Draft Recap: Part One


Because we can't get enough fantasy basketball here at RotoBaller, our NBA crew put together a new league this year and just finished our draft.

A few of us wanted to write about that draft and give our readers their thoughts on what they did during the draft, so decided to pull all those voices together into a few articles. Below, you'll find a recap of our draft, plus commentary from our writers on why they made the choices they made.

Read on to see what we were thinking during the first three rounds of our draft.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NBA and DFS Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive Preseason Draft Kit, 10 In-Season Lineup/DFS tools, and daily Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

Fantasy Draft Recap: Round One

Round Pick Overall Pick Pos Player
1 1 1 PF Anthony Davis
1 2 2 SG James Harden
1 3 3 C Karl-Anthony Towns
1 4 4 PF Giannis Antetokounmpo
1 5 5 SF Kevin Durant
1 6 6 SF LeBron James
1 7 7 C Nikola Jokic
1 8 8 PG Stephen Curry
1 9 9 SF Kawhi Leonard
1 10 10 SG Victor Oladipo
1 11 11 PG Russell Westbrook
1 12 12 SF Paul George

1.01 - Anthony Davis - Dale Johnson
Once I found out I had the first overall pick here, there was no doubt in my mind I would take Anthony Davis. James Harden is definitely appealing as the first pick and you really can’t go wrong with either, but Davis seemed like the better pick. After losing former teammate DeMarcus Cousins to a season-ending injury last season, Davis proceeded to become the number one fantasy player in the league without Cousins. Now, Cousins is out in Golden State and Davis is surrounded by great complementary players who don’t take up too much usage like newly acquired Julius Randle. I see another big year from Davis as long as, of course, he stays healthy.

1.02 - James Harden - Matt Sparkington

I would've drafted James Harden if I had the first overall pick but I got him with the second overall selection. Harden has the second best ADP from FantasyPros. In projections going into the season, Harden is below average in just two categories: turnovers and FG%. The positives for Harden is that he is elite in free throws, three-pointers made, points and assists. For a categories league, being elite in four categories is very beneficial. Also, point guard can be a shallow position so getting a good one early is imperative, and Harden qualifies as a point guard on many platforms.

1.03 - Karl-Anthony Towns - Trevor Crippen

Giannis, Curry, and Durant are more popular picks here, but I selected Towns for three reasons.  First, there’s a chance for continued growth from his already dominant stats from last season -- he ranked 2nd in total value and 5th in per game value last season, per Basketball Monster.  Second, he has a well-rounded stat line aside, and I feel a little less pigeon-holed into specific punts like I do with Giannis. Finally, there’s likelihood that he’ll play more games than the Warriors dup -- who I might prefer more on a per game basis, given the borderline playoff status of the Wolves and the taskmaster tendencies of coach Tom Thibodeau.

1.05 - Kevin Durant - Dicky Fung

This was simply going after the best player available to me, in my opinion. Kevin Durant finished third in last season’s 9-category rankings, and I cannot be more pleased that he fell to me at pick five. Although, I was really considering Stephen Curry, simply because he’s more fun to own. The narrative of the Warriors resting their starters is a bit blown out of proportion, where I believe they’ll understand that they will be walking on thin ice should they try and cruise through the season. I do believe teams will have a more formulated plan on how to slow down the Warriors, giving Steve Kerr a slightly higher incentive to play his stars more this season.

1.07 - Nikola Jokic - Justin Carter

Picking Jokic over Stephen Curry was...well, it was a decision. I like Jokic's ability to provide good numbers across the board, but his lack of top-end scoring basically put me on an early path toward not caring about points. Was that a good choice? I don't know, but Jokic is such a fun player to watch and root for that I don't feel bad about taking him here. The Nuggets need him to take another step forward this year to ensure they finally make it back to the playoffs, and I'm betting on Jokic making that step.

1.08 - Stephen Curry - Gianni Costantiello

I cannot complain about getting Stephen Curry with the eighth pick as I was hoping for him to actually drop to here. Even with the stacked Golden State Warriors lineup, Curry still manages to do what he does best, be the best three-point shooter in the league and a high-volume scorer with excellent efficiencies. There is always the injury risks and chances of him resting as the season develops, but overall, I am quite happy with this selection in the first round.

1.10 - Victor Oladipo - Kent Shen

Pick 10 is not where I really want to be, as I think this is a year where you really want a top eight pick. Unfortunately, I was at 10 and could only hope for Jokic or Leonard to drop to me, but it wasn’t meant to be. With those two off the board, I stuck with my usual philosophy of taking the most versatile player available, letting me defer my choice of punt builds until later in the draft, which led me to Victor Oladipo. Dipo is excellent in a multitude of builds, providing out of position FG% and blocks from a point guard eligible player, as well as elite points and steals for guard-centric builds like punt assists.

1.11 - Russell Westbrook - Milos Zvekic

I was delighted when Russell Westbrook fell to me at eleven. Even though he is in doubt for the start of the season, and his style of play doesn’t bode well for his age, Westy is one of the best players in the league and a constant MVP candidate. Nobody else can get you points, rebounds and assists at that rate and he is great for punting so I will have several options and flexibility throughout the draft.

 

Fantasy Draft Recap: Round Two

Round Pick Overall Pick Pos Player
2 1 13 PG Damian Lillard
2 2 14 C Joel Embiid
2 3 15 SG Jimmy Butler
2 4 16 PG Ben Simmons
2 5 17 C Rudy Gobert
2 6 18 PG Kyrie Irving
2 7 19 PG John Wall
2 8 20 PG Chris Paul
2 9 21 PG Donovan Mitchell
2 10 22 PF Kevin Love
2 11 23 C Andre Drummons
2 12 24 PG Kemba Walker

2.02 - Joel Embiid - Milos Zvekic

Took Embiid at #14 as he is perfect to compensate Westbrook’s lack of blocks. Embiid is a top-10 player when healthy so I took a bit of a gamble here as well. I have now effectively ruined any chance of winning turnovers ever and I’m pretty close to punting FG% as well.

2.03 - Jimmy Butler - Kent Shen

For round two, I stayed with best player available, as I don’t like to commit to a punt build early without knowing what my opponents are up to. I still believe Jimmy Butler is going for a discount where he's going, as he’s the only guy available on the board at this point who has a realistic path to return first round value depending on the situation he ends up in, so I’ll happily buy more shares of the disgruntled wing.

2.05 - Rudy Gobert - Gianni Costantiello

Taking Rudy Gobert with the 17th pick may seem like a bit of a reach to some, but I was 100% taking him after grabbing Stephen Curry in the first round. I like the thought of grabbing two players that are the best at what they do and with Gobert that is rebounding, excellent FG% and shot blocking. I feel Gobert’s skill set could not complement Curry’s any better.

2.06 - Kyrie Irving - Justin Carter

Irving's scoring upside helped me to not have to fully lock into a strategy yet after taking Jokic first, but his three-pointers and good percentages are useful to go along with what Jokic does well. Irving's passing ability on a team that has a ton of offensive weapons has me expecting a slight bump in his assist numbers this season as well. Really excited to see him with a healthy Gordon Hayward.

2.07 - John Wall - Andre Liu

Wall is a steal at pick 19; owners may still be wary of his injury plagued season, but selecting him for his potential as a strong defensive point guard and high assist generator is why I added him to my team. After selecting Lebron James in the first round, I was looking to punt turnovers, and strengthen scoring and assists. Reaching Wall’s fantasy potential is contingent on the Wizards’ overall health, but the addition of a more athletic pick and roll partner in Dwight Howard makes Wall have increased potential.

2.08 - Chris Paul - Dicky Fung

I was fully invested in grabbing John Wall because I expected Andre to grab Chris Paul at pick 19. However, Andre blessed me with the point god in CP3. Yes, there are huge injury flags, but I cannot ignore that Paul is an absolutely general when it comes to fantasy basketball. Paul has finished in the top-10 rankings in every single season since the 2006-2007 NBA season. The Rockets will likely keep the minutes lower this season, but he doesn’t need 35 minutes per night to carve out elite value. He’s that good and I would be absolutely thrilled if he can somehow pull off 72 games for me this season.

2.10 - Kevin Love - Trevor Crippen

After picking Towns first partly on the basis of his likelihood to play games, here I am picking Kevin Love in the second round despite his history of missing games. At this point, I looked at my options and decided I didn’t like the options at PG, so I decided to aim KAT’s most natural punt, which is in assists. Love is a dominant force in assist punts, allowing me to grab high impact in points, 3PM, and FT% from a non-guard spot.

2.11 - Andre Drummond - Matt Sparkington

With the 23rd selection in the draft, I went with a player that would complement my first pick in Harden. Drummond's two biggest weaknesses are three-pointers and free throws. With Harden, those two weaknesses are mitigated, But Drummond is elite in rebounds and should produce well in field goal percentage, steals and blocks. With Drummond and Harden as my first two picks I have set a foundation where my only true weakness is at turnovers.

2.12 - Kemba Walker - Dale Johnson

Entering into back-to-back picks, I had a couple of tough decisions here. I was hoping to grab one of either Andre Drummond or Kevin Love in this sequence, but both left the board in the two picks leading up to mine. I debated a good amount between the guards at this spot. Kyle Lowry, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal and Khris Middleton all caught my eye here to pair with my star center. However, I had decided to go with my gut feeling in Kemba Walker. I am a firm believer in the contract year breakouts and Walker will be void of former teammate Dwight Howard’s 24.1 percent usage rate. Walker seems like he will be a pleasant surprise this year.

 

Fantasy Draft Recap: Round Three

Round Pick Overall Pick Pos Player
3 1 25 PF Draymond Green
3 2 26 SG Devin Booker
3 3 27 SG Khris Middleton
3 4 28 PG Jrue Holiday
3 5 29 SG Bradley Beal
3 6 30 PG Kyle Lowry
3 7 31 PF LaMarcus Aldridge
3 8 32 SG DeMar DeRozan
3 9 33 C Clint Capela
3 10 34 C Marc Gasol
3 11 35 C Myles Turner
3 12 36 SF Otto Porter Jr.

3.01 - Draymond Green - Dale Johnson

Now I’ve paired up my superstar center with an all-star point guard and I don’t have any particular punts in place. I entered the same debate among the guards, but decided to cover my bases and go for an all-around multi-category player in Draymond Green. Davis and Walker both score enough to take the hit here from Green and I loved Green’s defensive presence on the stat sheet. Green just made sense to me if I was going to compete in multiple categories without a clear punt strategy.

3.02 - Devin Booker - Matt Sparkington

My next pick in the draft was Booker. Even if Booker isn't ready for the start of the season, he should be healthy for the majority of it. In Booker you get elite free throws and above-average production in points, three-pointers and assists. So far in the draft I have gotten two of the 12 players that are projected to lead the league in points and three-pointers. The categories that Booker hurt me in are field goal percentage, turnovers and blocks. I still haven't punted a category yet, but turnovers look like a rough category for me right now.

3.03 - Khris Middleton - Trevor Crippen

After Towns and Love, I made this pick fully with punt assists in mind. I wanted a guard eligible player this time, who would further push my strengths in points/3PM/FT% even higher. I also wanted to begin shoring up steals, where I was looking particularly weak after Towns and Love. Middleton was a safe value pick who fit the bill perfectly in all respects.

3.05 - Bradley Beal - Dicky Fung

Another value pick at pick 29 lands me Bradley Beal, who has top-20 upside. I was debating if I should load up on point guards to secure assists since I grabbed Paul, but Jrue Holiday was grabbed already and I wanted no part of Kyle Lowry this season. Bradley Beal will look to continue his strong 2017-2018 campaign, where he played all 82 games. The stress leg fracture seems to be behind him and the fact he’s entering his prime at the age of 25 has me very intrigued and excited this season. It’s worth noting that the Wizards want to run faster to catch up with today’s NBA as well, so it’s just more fantasy goodies at DC.

3.06 - Kyle Lowry - Andre Liu

Lost in the shuffle of the Raptors’ offseason is veteran All Star Kyle Lowry. Lowry still has high value as a dependable two way point guard with comparatively low turnover numbers. I was looking for another elite guard to pair with Lebron and Wall. I was aiming at Jrue Holiday, and would have been intrigued if Devin Booker fell to me, but, in hindsight, Lowry might fit my team best. Lowry is now matched with a MVP caliber player who is less inclined for isolation possessions than Demar Derozan. Kawhi Leonard (and Danny Green) is also a much better defender and can stretch the floor more on offense. Just having Leonard in the starting line up opens the window for Lowry to really increase his fantasy stock. Don’t try to beat me in assists this season, boys…

3.07 - LaMarcus Aldridge - Justin Carter

I wanted Kyle Lowry here, but with him off the board I settled for LaMarcus Aldridge, who I think complements by current core fairly well. I know he brings me rebounding and great shooting percentages, but last year's 23.1 points per game could be an illusion, especially with DeMar DeRozan in town, which is why I decided around this point to go ahead and ignore points. If Aldridge keeps the scoring up, great! If he doesn't, I like the help he brings to the rest of my roster.

3.08 - DeMar DeRozan - Gianni Costantiello

I have always shied away from DeMar DeRozan in previous seasons in drafts but the development he showed last season with being a much-improved distributor and upping his makes from three, I felt I had to take him with my third pick. With his move to San Antonio, I can only see him improving even more under the watchful eye of Gregg Popovich, especially on the defensive end. I am hoping to see DeRozan take another step forward this year after developing a bit of a chip on his shoulder.

3.10 - Marc Gasol - Kent Shen

In round three, I’m happy to defer my decision a little while longer on what exact punt to choose by taking Marc Gasol, who is an excellent pivot for both punt FG% and punt rebounds, and adds to a solid core for either of those 2 builds. At this point of the draft, I am locked into one of those 2 builds, leaving me with a good amount of flexibility for the next two or three rounds.

3.11 - Myles Turner - Milos Zvekic

By the time the third round rolled around I was falling behind in 3PM, and if I aim to punt FG% and TO, I will have to be at least competitive in most other categories. I had several options available with Otto Porter Jr, Eric Bledsoe and CJ McCollum. As only Jake’s two picks were in between my two I knew at least one of them would be available so I decided to go with Myles Turner instead and address the 3PM need on my 4th rounder. I thought there will not be many bigs available later around my picks who will get blocks and still have decent FT% and contribute in several other cats. Also, I am a big Turner believer!

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