Josh Lloyd is a Fantasy Basketball expert for Yahoo Sport based in Melbourne, Australia. His weekly articles will give you the edge on your opponents. Get in touch with questions for Josh on Twitter where he's always active.
We are under three weeks away from the start of the NBA season and that means that fantasy basketball drafts are heating up in a big way.
Mastering your draft isn’t a guarantee of success in your league, but if you mess it up, it can be tough to recover from. So, with that said, what sort of mistakes have I been seeing so far?
Most ADP (Average Draft Position) and ranking data is based on nine-category leagues. But, that info gets imported into the draft room for standard points league, and therefore, Damian Lillard is getting consistently overdrafted.
Lillard has an ADP of eight at the moment and I’m seeing him go at seven in a lot of drafts. But, the pure fact of the matter is that it is an egregious overdraft to take Liillard that high.
Last season, on a per-game basis, Lillard ranked 17th in fantasy points leagues and the Blazers went with a much more offensive team this season, losing both Al-Farouq Aminu and Moe Harkless from their starting five.
Lillard has also seen his usage drop for four consecutive seasons and I think it takes a slight step back again this season, making him more of a second-round player than a first-round talent.
Paul George is going to miss the beginning of the NBA season. We know this. But, when he returns is still up for debate. He has said ‘November-ish’ when asked for his return date, but is that November 1 or November 30? Spending the number 13 pick, or even any second round selection on George is risky.
He is still weeks away from taking contact and a mid-late November return seems more likely than early November at this stage. Factor that in with the fact that he is likely not a top 20 player on a per-game basis anyway for standard points leagues, and wasting your second-round pick (or perhaps your first!) on PG13 is a big error.
Speaking of screwing up a second round pick, Kemba Walker is being drafted in the top 20 in lots of drafts I am doing. Walker played 35 minutes per game last season for Charlotte and all 82 contests, but now, he is in Boston, on a much better team.
Brad Stevens also doesn’t let his players play 35 minutes. Walker now has to share the ball with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Enes Kanter, instead of Cody Zeller, Marvin Williams, and Nicolas Batum, Walker will not be able to maintain a usage rate of 32 percent.
His efficiency should rise in Boston, but for a standard points league, that doesn’t mean anything and I see Walker as a guy who is more likely to be out of the top 30, than inside the top 20.
Victor Oladipo has a rank if 68 on Yahoo, but inexplicably to me, his ADP is actually higher, coming in at 63. Last season, before he ruptured his quad, Oladipo was the 37th ranked player, a big drop from his 15th rank the year prior.
Now this season, we are pegging his return from injury as either late December or January, so investing a fifth or sixth round pick in him sees inopportune.
Even when Vic returns, he won’t be back in a 32 minute a night role initially and will likely sit games for a few weeks, minimum.
We also haven't seen any player in the NBA return from this injury in their prime, so how he recovers, from a very serious injury, is up in the air. I wouldn’t want Oladipo on my team this season unless I get him in round nine or later.
Brook Lopez - Milwaukee Bucks
Last season was fantastic for Brook Lopez, rebounding from his terrible year with the Lakers. But, for standard points leagues, he wasn’t even a top 100 player.
Lopez also played for Team USA in August and is another year older, so the 29 minutes a game he played last season seems like a 99th percentile outcome.
His brother Robin is in town to back him up, so I don’t even see Brook replicating his playing time for last season. That brings me to the error. Lopez is getting drafted at pick 55 at the moment. If you waste your fifth-round pick on Brook Lopez, it could be a catastrophe for your season.
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