How to complete the perfect Fantasy Basketball draft

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Whether you’ve had your fantasy basketball draft already, or you’re planning out your strategy ahead of the big day, we all want to nail our selections to dominate our league mates. So, what would a perfect fantasy basketball draft look like in a Yahoo standard scoring league? I’m about to show you.

In a points league, getting a top three pick is the way to go, if you luck your way into it. In fact, I think the best spot to have is pick three in a 12 team league. So, I’m going to go through a draft, picking from pick three and using Yahoo’s current ADP data as a guide to which players I would choose at each spot.

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Round 1

I believe Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis, and Karl-Anthony Towns are the top three players for a standard points league format. Therefore, considering Giannis and Towns have ADPs of four and five respectively, they will both be available at pick number three for me. For my perfect draft, I will take Antetokounmpo here, even if my projected per game scoring on Basketball Monster between the two is almost the same.

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Antetokounmpo’s eligibility at small forward, a thin position, gives him the edge here. He is the reigning NBA MVP who can still get better by hitting his threes and free throws, and things have looked good in that regard through preseason.

Round 2

My next pick in round two will be at number 22 in a 12 team standard league. Using my ADP rule, Andre Drummond isn’t available for me given his ADP is 21, so I’ll grab Ben Simmons here. His ADP is 26 meaning he is likely to be around at this spot and could very easily return top 12 value per game for standard leagues. I’m not worried about him hitting or not hitting threes this season, but he should see his assist numbers go back up with Jimmy Butler now in Miami.

Round 3

My next pick is at number 27 and it’s time to load up on the frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year award, Zion Williamson. In the preseason so far, Zion is averaging 37.25 fantasy points, which puts him eighth in the league in 27 minutes a game. He has been a force, barely missing a shot and can get to the rim whenever he wants. In some leagues, he will go higher than round three, but his ADP makes him available here, so I’m all over it.

Round 4

At pick 46, there are a couple of names staring at me - Kevin Love and Julius Randle. Love could easily beat this ADP, but the concerns over his injuries and the fact that he may be traded away from Cleveland would normally make me jump on Randle. But, given I pick again at pick 51, Randle is still going to be there. So, I look down my projections list and see Zach LaVine with an ADP of 53.

Yahoo's fantasy expert Josh Lloyd found value in later rounds by picking Chicago's Zach LaVine (left) and New Orleans' Brandon Ingram (right). Pictures: Getty Images

LaVine has looked great in the preseason, and along with small forward, shooting guard is the hardest position to fill out. That bumps LaVine’s value for my squad, and I’ll add him here.

Current team

  • PG - Ben Simmons

  • SG - Zach LaVine

  • SF - Giannis Antetokounmpo

  • PF - Zion Williamson

  • C

  • C

  • G

  • F

  • UTIL

  • UTIL

Round 5

Randle is the best player on the New York Knicks and his game is suited to fantasy points formats, where you aren’t punished for his lack of defense and poor free-throw shooting. He is another big man on my team, so I need to make sure I fill out my other positions soon. So, given his ADP is 61, I’ll jump all over him at pick 51 here and he has centre eligibility as well, meaning he can fill one of my open centre spots. I worry how David Fizdale will handle the Knicks’ rotation, but I’m not that worried about Randle’s role.

Round 6

At pick 70, I’d really love to grab a guard. Both Ja Morant and Terry Rozier have an ADP of exactly 70, so one of that duo should be available. Given the X-rank of Morant is at 72 and Rozier’s is at 73, it seems a little more likely that Rozier will be there for me, which is perfectly fine. Rozier is averaging over 24 fantasy points per game over the first three preseason games in just 24 minutes and I think he smashes through this ADP to be a top 50 player this season.

Round 7

It’s time to fill out my other centre spot at pick 75 with Hassan Whiteside of the Portland Trail Blazers. Jusuf Nurkić is out until March, most likely, and may not return at all this season, leaving Whiteside to take on that juicy role. He played just 23 minutes a night last season for Miami, but the role should balloon in Portland

Current team

  • PG - Ben Simmons

  • SG - Zach LaVine

  • SF - Giannis Antetokounmpo

  • PF - Zion Williamson

  • C - Hassan Whiteside

  • C - Julius Randle

  • G - Terry Rozier

  • F

  • Util

  • Util

Round 8

We are at number 94 now in our draft, and this might be considered a reach, but I’m taking Andrew Wiggins. His game is much better in points leagues versus categories leagues and despite his struggles, he still ranked 71st last season. His ADP is 98 this season and he has that great SG/SF eligibility. Pair that with the fact that the Timberwolves are leading the NBA in pace throughout the preseason and I like the pick of Wiggo here in round eight.

Round 9

Another player who is maligned in category format leagues is Brandon Ingram. He is 94th in the preseason so far, so at pick 99 in this draft, Ingram is the choice to fill out one of my utility spots. He has looked pretty solid in New Orleans, although he has had a tendency to overdribble at times. Ingram’s poor free throw percentage isn’t punished in this format, so he is a strong points format selection in round nine.

Round 10

I’m a bit disappointed that I missed out on RJ Barrett here, but his ADP of 108 is before my next pick, which comes in at 118. That doesn’t mean there aren’t strong options. I like Justise Winslow here a lot. Like Ingram, who I picked one round earlier, his poor free throw percentage isn’t an impediment to returning fantasy value and it looks like Winslow will be the Heat’s starting point guard on opening night.

Current team

  • PG - Ben Simmons

  • SG - Zach LaVine

  • SF - Giannis Antetkounmpo

  • PF - Zion Williamson

  • C - Julius Randle

  • C - Hassan Whiteside

  • G - Terry Rozier

  • F - Andrew Wiggins

  • Util - Brandon Ingram

  • Util - Justise Winslow

Round 11

Now, it’s time to fill out my bench. With one or two of these bench guys, I am going to be swinging for upside - young guys with a chance to significantly improve their production as the season goes on, but at pick 123, Zach Collins is the guy I’m taking. He is the Blazers’ starting power forward and will also get backup centre minutes behind Whiteside. Collins has looked solid in preseason as well and is only in his third season. This is an upside pick, but also a really solid floor selection. It pains me to pass on Kevon Looney here, but my confidence in Collins is just a little higher.

Round 12

The Hornets are going to be one of the worst teams in the NBA, but that just means that people will sleep on their players. I’ve already grabbed Terry Rozier and here at pick 142 I’ll take their starting shooting guard Dwayne Bacon. Like so many of these picks, I am taking advantage of the fact that ADP is catered toward category leagues, where Bacon is a much worse player. He takes a lot of shots and is going to have the green light o do more of that in Charlotte and could easily crack the top 100 this season.

Round 13

My last pick is at pick 147. PJ Washington doesn’t even have a listed ADP and his X-rank sits at 553. He has been one of the most impressive players in Hornets’ camp (another Charlotte player) and has a chance to start opening night. Even if he doesn’t start, he will be the first guy off the bench and his role should grow as the season goes on.

So, here is my perfect team, picking from the three slot in a 12 team draft.

PG - Ben Simmons

SG - Zach LaVine

SF - Giannis Antetokounmpo

PF - Zion Williamson

C - Hassan Whiteside

C - Julius Randle

G - Terry Rozier

F - Andrew Wiggins

Util - Brandon Ingram

Util - Justise Winslow

Bench - Zach Collins

Bench - Dwayne Bacon

Bench - PJ Washington