Fantasy Basketball Draft Strategy for 2020-21
Winning a fantasy championship is quite the grind. I mean, where are our million-dollar GM contracts am I right!? The key to any championship is finding the perfect balance. In fantasy basketball, you don’t want to go all out on rebounders and leave out the guards for your assists. You need the right balance of both to make the perfect squad! You don’t want too many veterans or too many rookies not yet acclimated to the NBA playing style. This year in particular is a bit different due to the 71-day offseason which will be the shortest ever among the 4-major sports. This will lead to a condensed schedule that will lead to more load management than ever. So, let’s take look at the key aspects of a winning fantasy basketball draft strategy and pave the way to a championship in the coming season.
Feeling let down with the abrupt end to the last fantasy basketball season? Have no fear! The NBA is ready to get right back at it and you should be too. Whether you want to join an existing league or start one of your own, Fantrax Fantasy Basketball Commissioner has all the features that will make the upcoming season a resounding success.
Winning Fantasy Basketball Draft Strategy for 2020-21
Mock drafting is the first key step in building your fantasy basketball team. I know it can differ from your actual drafts quite a bit, but it still gives you a general case of where guys are being taken. It gives you the advantage of knowing where players are being taken and knowing when to take your sleeper and risers a round or two early. The main key to mocks is knowing the draft board.
One of the main keys in drafting is being able to adapt. Start with a plan of knowing who you want in the first few rounds. It’s impossible to predict who will be available for you after round 5 and onwards but you should have a decent idea of who to target in the first few rounds. If you’re gunning for rebound guys in the first round such as a Karl-Anthony Towns or Nikola Jokic it is imperative to adapt and not to settle for the next best rebounder if those guys are taken right before your pick. You need to pivot and change your focus to someone like a Trae Young or Damian Lillard who post some killer point and assist totals and then you can direct your focus to a plus rebounder in the second round.
Best Player Available and Positional Value
Taking the best player available is a great rule of thumb for your fantasy basketball draft strategy and when in doubt it’s the best decision to make, but there are plenty of examples to stray away from this. Drafting is a never-ending cycle of balance folks! You have to constantly adapt from one round to the next. You have to balance being safe in some rounds and risky in other rounds like Mr. George Costanza! Even if it’s taking risks in round 1.
Most of the time I like to start off round 1 with a guard because of positional scarcity with assists. It’s one of the harder stats to come by in the later rounds. If you’re debating between a Karl-Anthony Towns and a Stephen Curry or Damian Lillard. Give me the guard with the points, 3 pointers, assists, and steals! This leads back to knowing your draft board and realizing there’s a good chance I can still grab a very solid big man in the second round. There’s plenty of 20 and 10 guys I can get my hands on such as a John Collins, Deandre Ayton or riser Bam Adebayo. So now in the first two rounds you knocked off PTS, assists, 3PTM, rebounds, and blocks!
Don’t be afraid to take someone who’s a couple of ranks below a higher ranked player. Positional value is a vital role in building your roster. It’s a reason why Luka Dončić is such a high-ranked player for me. He probably will be the only player to finish top 5 in points and assists while coming close to the top-10 in rebounds. Nikola Jokic is another guy with a lot of great strengths in the first round. Once most of the lineup is getting filled and you realize you may be thin at a position it’s time to abandon the best player available format and take a position of need.
Speaking of not always taking the best player available. This term takes on an even greater importance this season due to the condensed NBA schedule. There is way too much risk taking on certain veteran players this season with higher potential of DNP’s (did not participate-rest). Imagine you’re in the fantasy playoffs and you have Jimmy Butler taking a key night off leaving your roster vulnerable. There is no harm drafting a Brandon Ingram who’s young and put-up top-32 fantasy numbers last season. This is the year to stray away from certain veterans and take the young upside route.
Knowing your Format
Sounds simple enough but make sure you check everything before drafting. Format and scoring settings can alter which players are most valuable. Majority of leagues consist of nine or eight-category leagues with the 9 including turnovers. I’m not one to care much about turnovers but it is something to keep an eye on. If you have a couple of high-turnover players like James Harden and Russell Westbrook, you might want to stay away from some high turnover players in the middle of drafts.
Punting a category is something to look into if you notice you’re lacking mightily in a specific department. Punting in fantasy terms meaning disregarding a total category completely. A lot of Power Forwards and Centers may have poor FT% and the strategy to punt that category comes into play. If you realize you’re struggling mightily in a category like that it gets to a point where there it is okay to punt it away and focus on your areas of strengths. It just goes to show that some big men with good percentages like John Collins probably deserve a small bump in the rankings.
This also is very key in knowing your scoring in format. Punting categories does not work in rotisserie settings as coming last in a category is an all-out disaster and you definitely need to take a more balanced approach with your fantasy basketball draft strategy.
Rounding out your Bench
Once you filled out all your starting positions in your draft it’s time to get a bit creative! Usually there’s only about 3-4 bench spots in most standard leagues. This is where you ignore taking the best player available and fill-out your more pressing categorial needs. If you went strong on rebounds and blocks this is where you grab assists and steals and vice versa. I always like to add a 3PT specialist with good percentages to add a good source of threes on the bench.
This is also where it imperative to take more risks where it’s not going to hurt you as much as it would earlier on in drafts. This is where you want to take a shot at players with upside and have breakout potential.
Taking players on “weaker teams” is a great approach as there should be plenty of opportunities for players to score on the Knicks and Thunder whereas it’s hard to find a sleeper on the LA Lakers because it’s the LeBron James and Anthony Davis show. Some may say Kyle Kuzma is a more talented player right now than RJ Barrett but the Knicks are definitely lacking in talent and scoring options so there is a great opportunity for RJ to make a name for himself this season where as things aren’t so bright for Kuzma in LA.
You have to be active and constantly checking the waiver wire while pursuing a fantasy basketball title! Every season there are waiver-wire adds who turn into great assets and locked into your starting lineups. This will be a crazy year with load management, and it will be vital to see who’s out of the lineup, and adding who’s starting can be the difference in winning a week and losing.
Maximizing your games played is another huge strategy to take your fantasy game to another level. This can be tricky because you do not want to be dropping any key contributors and is more concerning halfway through the season or if you find yourself off to a slow start. Looking ahead at the schedule is key and it can be pretty key picking up a player with a 5-game week compared to someone playing just two games. That’s three extra games of production! It is key to make sure you look at your roster and see if you have empty spots available as some days are full and there’s no room to fit any new waiver-wire adds! If this is the case, make sure to find the players that playing on off-days to maximize as many games played as you can for the week.
The more prepared you are the fewer mistakes you will make so good luck to all and start your draft prep today as we are just roughly 3.5 weeks away from the beginning of the NBA season!
Did you enjoy Mike’s take on Fantasy Basketball Draft Strategy? Then you’ll definitely want to check out his 2020-21 Fantasy Basketball Rankings!
Fantrax was one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites of 2018/2019 and we’re not slowing down in 2020! With multi-team trades, designated commissioner/league managers, and drag/drop easy click methods, Fantrax is sure to excite the serious fantasy sports fan – sign up now for a free year at Fantrax.com.