5 simple NBA Fantasy draft tips: Get the edge on your friends

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LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers are a very different fantasy basketball prospect this season, compared to last.
LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers are looking radically different this season - which will no doubt affect your fantasy team's prospects. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

Your fantasy football drafts are over. It’s time for fantasy basketball. 

The NBA regular season is fast approaching and fantasy drafts will be ramping up, so here's how you can get ahead of your mates before the big day.

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Whether you’re an experienced fantasy player or a novice, these 5 tips should give you a leg up heading into your draft.

1. Review your league settings

This is vitally important. You need to know whether you are playing in a points, H2H category, or rotisserie league. 

And when you figure that out, you need to know what the scoring system is. 

How many points are assigned for assists? Is it three, like in Yahoo default leagues, or has your commish changed it up? What categories are you using in a category league? Is it the standard nine categories Yahoo uses by default or are you including free throws made, or double-doubles, or three-point percentage?

If you don’t know the answer to these questions, then any research you do is basically useless.

Other things to work out - is it a snake or salary cap draft? How many players are on each team? How many teams are in the league? Do you have minimum requirements for each position? Or maximums? Do you change your lineups daily or weekly? The more detail you know, the better you will be.

2. Check which players changed teams in the NBA

Do you know how the NBA rosters look? I’m sure you know Russell Westbrook is the Lakers’ new point guard, but did you know Spencer Dinwiddie is replacing him in Washington? 

You know Kyle Lowry is now in Miami, but did you know Lauri Markkanen is now in Cleveland? Devonte’ Graham in New Orleans, and Steven Adams in Memphis? 

There are only so many minutes, shots, rebounds, and assists to go around in each game, so figuring out where opportunities have opened or where production may be squeezed due to player movement is important.

3. Who is not healthy to begin the season?

I despise drafting players who enter the season injured. 

So, you need to know which players will not be ready to begin the season and who could be looking at a temporary bump in minutes by replacing them. 

Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard is likely to miss more than half the season after injuring his ACL during last season's playoffs. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)
Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard is likely to miss more than half the season after injuring his ACL during last season's playoffs. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

Pascal Siakam, Thomas Bryant, Onyeka Okongwu, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Jamal Murray, Coby White, and Victor Oladipo are among the names who won’t be suiting up on opening night. 

Some, like Kawhi, may not play at all this season, while Dario Šarić will definitely be out for the year.

4. Which teams have hired new coaches?

We may not know the exact scheme that brand new head coaches will run, but what we do know is that when a new coach is brought in, some of the prior coach’s biases will not be present. 

So, in Boston (Ime Udoka), Dallas (Jason Kidd), New Orleans (Willie Green), Orlando (Jamahl Mosely), Portland (Chauncey Billups), Washington (Wes Unseld Jr.), and Indiana (Rick Carlisle), we have new coaches who may run things very differently to last season. 

That incorporates more uncertainty into drafting some fringe guys on these squads.

5. Look at Yahoo’s X-Rank and ADP data

Reviewing where players are being pre-ranked and where they are being drafted is important preparation. 

When you are putting together your draft board, if you see someone you have at number 40, say OG Anunoby, getting drafted outside the top 60, perhaps you can wait a little to get him in a lower round, strengthening your team. 

But, unless you do the research, it can be overwhelming to figure out that strategy on draft night. Work out who you have ranked higher than ADP and you are on your way to building a strong roster.

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