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1st Round Fantasy Basketball Draft Kit

10 October 2010 2 Comments

WMFL Fantasy Basketball Top-12: Who should go in the first round of a standard head-to-head league?

After the first pick, both Raju Byfield (Rizzla) and Justin Hasan (J-Has) have different outlooks on the top fantasy bball players and where they should be drafted.

Check out their draft order and in-depth justification below:

Rizzla:

J-Has

1 Kevin Durant – Kevin Durant is my favourite player in the league so I may be a little bit biased here, but with the creation of the Super Friends KD and Melo will be the ones competing for the scoring title from here on forward. KD’s line is a lot like LBJ’s minus the assists but as he builds trust in his teammates I expect these numbers to rise this season. KD is a flat-out monster on the basketball court and his value on the hardwood is now translating to fantasy. He is also one of the few players capable of contributing a 3, steal and a block per game. KD for #1 pick! Kevin Durant - There is no reason to believe that last year’s number 1 fantasy player cannot replicate his production. To the contrary, Durantula hasn’t even reached his ceiling, (scoring has increased by 5 points each year). He has played at least 74 games in all 3 of his NBA seasons, and with the exception of Assists, he produces in every category.  Ideal first pick, posing minimum injury risk and contributing across the board.
2 Chris Paul – If I was picking with my brain and not my heart Chris Paul would be my first overall pick, he is simply the most dominant fantasy force there is in all of basketball when we consider every standard category. You can not go wrong drafting Chris Paul #1 overall, and there is a good chance you will regret not doing so. Lebron James –  Yes, against fantasy consensus, I would take Lebron as my second pick.  His proven durability slightly trumps CP3.  Except for Free-Throw percentage, King James gives you a boost in every category.   Last year with Cleveland, Lebron shot 50% even though he was double-teamed on most possessions. Playing with Wade and Bosh may lower his scoring average slightly, but a bump in his field goal percentage will make up for it.  I also anticipate less turnovers while maintaining consistent assist numbers from last year.
3 Stephen Curry – Man how I wish my hometown Raptors landed this guy now. I was not a big fan coming out of Davidson but Nellie-ball in Golden State was the perfect fit and Stephen Curry is now a legitimate fantasy beast. There is simply no one with his triple double upside blended with his 3-point ability. If he can keep up the pace of 22.1 ppg, 7.7 apg and 5.5 rpg, 2.0 stl and 2.7 3ptm he averaged after the all-star break last year than I Curry will finish the season as fantasy basketball #1 overall player. Chris Paul – Yes, Chris Paul is ranked #2 by most fantasy bball gurus, including my colleague, Rizzla. However, as I alluded to above, injury concerns are a huge factor in my first round rankings.  I drafted CP3 first overall last year, and he had his second injury-filled season.  When your first-rounder goes down, it is tough to win week-to-week. I’m a huge fan of CP3, but I dropped him to number 3 because he has shown that he is more injury-prone than Lebron. If he stays healthy, his assists and steals will lead the league and he will regain his top ranked fantasy crown of two seasons ago.
4 LeBron James – LeBron James is taking his talents to South Beach and despite joining an all-star crew he should only lose minimal value, specifically from the points per game category but he should also see a decrease in turnovers which may help to balance the scales as far as it pertains to his fantasy value. 24, 7 and 7 seems like a lock. Stephen Curry – Throughout his college career, I was impressed with Curry’s performance on a mediocre Davidson team and made sure to draft him last year. In both my leagues I had snagged him 120th and 127th overall, respectively, and he turned out to be one of the top fantasy players last year.  Curry was on fire in the 2nd half of the season, and he should pick up where he left off this year. He will anchor the 3-point, assist and steal categories for your team.
5 Dwight Howard is a statistical beast and as pointed by yahoo sports if you are willing to punt FT% you have yourself the #2 most valuable fantasy player behind Chris Paul. He is a beast in every other category and is someone you will want to seriously consider anywhere after pick #4. Dwayne Wade – Similar to my point about Lebron, I don’t believe Wade’s production will drop off much from last year.  His percentages and increased assists will compensate for his scoring decrease.  Last year, he showed that he could shoot from downtown.  With Lebron commanding the attention, look for Wade to average over 1 three per game, while maintaining his 1.8 steals and 1.1 blocks that he averaged last year.
6 Deron Williams – Deron Williams is statistically pretty similar to Chris Paul as outlined here and I will be targeting him perhaps a little bit earlier than where I currently have him slotted. I would probably take Dwight right after LeBron and than D-Will, the upside is too hard to ignore and I firmly believe the addition of Al Jefferson and Gordon Hayward will allow D-Will to take a statistical leap than really opens a lot of eyes in the fantasy community. Dirk Nowitzki – Personally I have never drafted Dirk. He may be the least exciting of all the players taken in the first round.  He doesn’t provide multiple threes, steals, or blocks per game. He doesn’t even provide double digit rebounds.  So why draft him? Well, he does a little bit of everything (contributes across the board) and is extremely durable (played at least 76 games per year since 1999).  With the exception of Amare Stoudemire, Dirk takes more Free Throws than any other PF/ C. Considering he shoots 92% from the line, you have a good chance of locking up the FT% category each week. Year after year, the Mavericks preach that they will take the scoring burden off of Dirk, thereby scaring away fantasy owners.  But year after year, he scores between 23 & 25 points per game and finishes among the top 5 fantasy players.  This season should be no different.
7 Kobe Bryant – Kobe Bryant may arguably be the best basketball player on the planet but that doesn’t translate over into fantasy. Kobe is still a top-10 option and is averaging 27.8 ppg, 5.1 aog and 5.6 rpg over the last three seasons. To be quite honest with you I am a little surprised that there is actually 6 players I would draft over as dominant a talent, both in real life and in fantasy basketball, as this. Deron Williams – He is basically CP3 without the 2+ steals again (Deron had 1.3 per game last year). Once CP3,Curry, Wade, and Deron are off the board,  there is a serious drop in the next tier of Point Guards.  Unlike the aforementioned, the next PG’s each possess weaknesses: Rondo (FT%, threes), Kidd (FG%, pts), Nash (steals).  Deron is consistent and has a chance to improve on his scoring average of 18.7 with Boozer now out of Utah.
8 Dwayne Wade – Despite the addition of LeBron James and Chris Bosh amongst others this is still Dwayne Wade’s team and his stats will remain relatively unchanged with a slight decrease in points per game and a slight uptick in assists. I expect Wade to play PG when all three are on the floor and this will help his assist numbers to rise. David Lee – Last year, he was one of the only 3 players that averaged the infamous 20 points & 10 rebounds (the others were Zach Randolph and Chris Bosh). The big difference is that Lee also provided 3.6 assists per game, a result of being an integral component in the Knicks offense. Some contend that Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry will steal Lee’s production, but these people fail to realize that Lee will actually benefit from playing with play-makers. I have him ahead of Stoudemire because Lee produced without a real point guard, never-mind a player like Steve Nash facilitating the offense.  Look for David Lee to benefit from pick and rolls with Curry and Ellis.
9 Carmelo Anthony – Carmelo whether he is a Nuggett or Net is one of the premier scorers in this league and is a fantasy beast. He averaged 28.2 points and 6.6 rebounds and it still seems like he is getting no love. He made to the line 612 times and shot 83% from the stripe. It is time for Melo to start getting some first round recognition. Carmelo was top-11 last year player minus turnovers which I punt anyways; he was also a top-10 player in the Yahoo! game before Jan 1st. Dwight Howard – Once the most all around players are taken, it is time to snatch Superman.  It is clear that in Rotisserie leagues, you would be last in FT%, but the impact in Head-to-Head leagues is not as clear. But based on the fact that he had over 800 free throw attempts last year (most in NBA by far) seems like it would punt Free Throw percentage in head-to-head leagues as well (except the weeks when Orlando plays only 2 games).  Still, D12 counters this weakness with pure domination in rebounds and blocks.
10 Amare Stoudemire is rejoining Mike D’Antoni in New York and while Raymond Felton is no Steve Nash, Amare still has 25-10 upside in this offense with the ability to put up as much as 27 ppg for a month or two. Kobe Bryant – Off-season knee surgery, knuckle/finger issues will keep his minutes down in the first half of the season.  After the Lakers first exhibition game, Kobe said his surgically repaired knee was only at 60%. This off-season, the Lakers got even better, adding yet another player that Kobe hated playing against in Matt Barnes.  Barnes will play alongside Ron Artest, saving Kobe for the likely NBA finals versus the Miami Heat. The reduction in minutes and recent knee surgery have bumped him down my draft board.
11 Dirk Nowitzki – The always valuable Dirk Nowitzki may take a slight step back this season in PPG but the peripherals will stay the same and he is a better bet to be a top-5 performer when the season is said and done than other names mentioned above. 20 and 8 seems like a likelihood with the peripherals i.e. 3’s %’s to put him over the top. I originally had Dirk at #5 but I honestly would not draft him ahead of any of the names I have listed above. Danny Granger – This 3-point assassin may have been the 12th man on Team USA due to his lack of defense, but in the fantasy world, he is a beast. Per game averages of 2.5 three-pointers, 24 points, 6 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1 block is an amazing line worthy of a first round pick.  I love his production when on the floor but Granger has played less than 70 games over the last two seasons, thus moving him down to 11. (ESPN and Yahoo have him in the top 8). Also, keep in mind that your next picks need to have better field goal percentage as Granger 43% shooting hurts considering he takes over 18 shots per game.
12 Danny Granger is a top-10 fantasy player based primarily on the high volume of 3’s he drains and his points per game. These numbers will drop a little with the promising Paul George in town but Granger is still the best 3 point shooter and the addition of Darren Collison will help make up for some of the touches he will lose to George. Amare Stoudemire – He is extremely durable and will be the focal point of the Knicks offense. The problem is that he will be Nash-less for the first time in his career, which will reduce his field goal percentage.  If he can return to his 2007 form where he blocked over 2 shots a game, he could end up in the top 5 by year end.  But based on last year, he averaged 1 block and less than 10 rebounds per game, and that was with the defensive-less Channing Frye as his frontcourt partner. With Anthony Randolph starting at Center for the Knicks, and with Coach D’Antoni considering an 11-man rotation, I anticipate a slight drop in rebounds for Amare.

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