Oh man, this has to be my overall favorite topics when it comes to the NBA, fantasy! To start, I feel like I should tell you a little bit about myself and my experience with fantasy sports. I started playing fantasy sports (NBA and NFL mostly, with some MLB) last year on DraftKings and FanDuel. Since I’ve started, I have been able to multiply my bankroll (the amount I deposit to play with) of $300, on each site, by a little more than 1200%.
So, if you do the math, I’ve been able to turn $600 into $7,200 which isn’t that much compared to other professional players, but it is pretty good for someone just entering into the fantasy sports realm. Currently, 3-0-0 in my NFL season-long fantasy leagues I figured I’d write this article so all of you beautiful people can shove your undefeated record in your friends’ faces.
Now, the way I’ll be writing this will follow the ESPN Season-Long Fantasy app format, which is essentially a snake draft where a person is randomly selected to pick a player first, the person at the bottom of that list gets the last first round pick, but, in turn, gets the first second round pick as well. Now that that’s explained, let's jump into it huh? [DISCLAIMER: Study the way your league scores players! If a league like ESPN gives -1 point for each FTA and FGA you might not want to draft a player like DeAndre Jordan in the First Round.]
Tiers for PG
1. Russell Westbrook (OKC)
I hope I don’t have to start explaining my top picks this early on in the article! The sheer volume Westbrook will have as the season begins will be unbelievable! Westbrook is going to be a man on a mission and very little people are capable of stopping him.
2. James Harden (HOU)
Yes, you read this correctly. The Rockets confirmed that this upcoming season Harden will be moving to the one. ‘Why?’ you may ask… well think about this way: Who is the better defender in Golden State, Curry or Klay? Of course, it’s Klay!
If Harden moves to the one Curry will have to be the one to guard him and we all know how abysmal his defense is. Look for Harden to put up huge numbers and be a piece you could trade later on for some other big names in case of injury to other players on your roster.
3. Chris Paul (LAC)
Okay, so hear me out. In a season-long league like the ones on ESPN where you get -1 points for FTA and FGA you definitely wouldn’t want to put all your faith in a Westbrook or Harden who could easily go 3/30 one week and completely ruin you that week. That’s where guys like Chris Paul could really help you. He could completely go off one week for a triple-double, but in the event, your starting point guard goes 3/30 you need someone who can get you points in another way. In case you haven’t realized yet, I mean via rebounds, assists, steals, etc.
Paul is the type of player who will realize early in the game if it’s not a shooting night for him and pass the ball to Griffin, Jordan and Reddick racking up those assists.
1. John Wall (WAS)
Draft this man! The only ones who ever get passed the ball a consistent amount on the Wizards are Wall and Beal and this man can not only get you points, but he can get you assists, rebounds and steals just as easily too. He will play a huge role for Washington and in fantasy we have a very important rule: Volume + Production = Cash.
2. Rajon Rondo (CHI)
Okay, so definitely getting lower on this list now, but when you reach the league leader in assists in the mid-tier you’re having a pretty good drafting night wouldn’t you say? We don’t get many field goal attempts from Rondo (and expect less now that he’s on the Bulls with Wade and Butler) but what we do get is a massive amount of assists. Look at who his teammates are!
You think if Wade and Butler are masterfully passed the ball from Rondo that they’re gonna miss? Expect several 15+ assist games from Rondo this year.
3. Kyrie Irving (CLE)
Okay, so we’ve gotten to this point. Kyrie isn’t exactly what we would call a dandy in the fantasy world. He’s sporadic with his performances cause Lebron, Love, J.R and Thomson all take their turns in the spot-light. Although, he certainly has the potential to perform big. I’d rank him equally with Isaiah Thomas and Damian Lillard.
Low-Tier (aka ‘Sleepers’)
1. Derrick Rose
In the fantasy world, a ‘sleeper’ is someone who is low on everyone’s radar. Someone who no one is looking at, but who definitely has enough potential to be a top-tier player. I believe Derrick Rose is that sleeper. We do not know yet what role he will play with the Knicks just know that he WILL get passed the ball a lot to test out his abilities. Everyone is going to pass up on Rose because of the uncertainty of his role and because of his injury prone past so this is the time to buy low and potentially sell high.
What if Rose ends up getting to put up 15-20 shots a game and is actually making a good amount of them? Could you imagine trading a Derrick Rose for a Zach Lavine later in the season? As I said in my MVP article [link here], the Rose has a chance at blooming in The Garden.
2. Goran Dragic
Here we have another player who we don’t know what he’s capable of. Although, last year in the playoffs, Dragic showed up! So much so in fact that it led to an incredible amount of NBA articles asking “in Game 7 of Toronto and Miami, Miami is down by 1, who takes the last shot? Wade or Dragic?” In recent statements made by the Heat, they have been quoted as saying that their offense will run through Dragic and remember what I said earlier: Volume + Production = Cash.
3. Mike Conley
All I gotta say is, look at the pitiful Grizzlies roster. Do you see any circumstance where the man with a five-year, $153 million deal doesn’t get all the touches he could dream of and isn’t on a mission to prove to the entire NBA why he was offered such a large contract? Cause I don’t. This dude has a huge chance this upcoming season. The only reason he is this low is because of a person gripe I have with him as a fantasy player where I have been in circumstances where my entire roster has done well and the only slacker was Conley. Although, I do have a little more faith in him going into this season.
If you want more of this kind of material make sure you share this article and spread it like wildfire! If we can get a responsive feedback on this type of article, I can make similar ones for all other positions and perhaps even do a weekly segment where I give you my best picks for daily fantasy websites (i.e. DraftKings and FanDuel) so we can make some money together!