Perfect Fantasy Basketball Draft: What Dreams May Come
Fantasy basketball is a cruel mistress. As Week 8 begins, many of you will be looking back at what could have been. Draft season is a blur and your successes or failings may be as a result of a spur of the moment decision. A number of you could be struggling for mediocrity or simply trying to avoid ridicule from your fellow managers. Others are sitting pretty atop the standings although still looking at ways to improve your overall production. Here I will look at the perfect draft. Which players could you have potentially summoned on fantasy basketball draft day? Based on both the Fantrax ADP’s and current 12-team, eight-category rankings, who contributes to the ultimate lineup?
What?! You’re not hosting your fantasy basketball league on Fantrax? Inconceivable!! Check out all the features of Fantrax Fantasy Basketball Commissioner and we’re pretty sure you’ll come around to our way of thinking.
Fantasy Basketball Draft: The Perfect Players (Total Value)
James Harden – Rockets (Round 1: ADP-3 Rank-1)
Harden has been the number one player by quite some margin. There had been discussion leading into the season as to whether Harden would maintain his dominance with the arrival of Russell Westbrook. After a somewhat slow start, that discussion quickly ended. Harden is basically mirroring his numbers from last season, with only a couple of exceptions. His scoring has risen from 36.1 to 38.5 points per game. His free-throw attempts have also risen from 11.0 to an astonishing 14.6. He was typically going inside the top-three in every draft and those who had the chance to grab him have to be thrilled with the overall production.
Luka Doncic – Mavericks (Round 2: ADP 14 Rank 3)
Doncic has been simply incredible to begin his sophomore season. The increase in production across the board has been nothing short of a miracle. He is averaging near on a triple-double while chipping in 1.3 steals and 3.0 triples. He has taken his free-throw efficiency from 71 percent last season to 81 percent this season. Not to mention he is taking an extra 2.6 attempts per night. He has carried the Mavericks to the third-seed as we sit right now. Whether they can maintain that position remains to be seen, however, Doncic seems intent on doing all he can to ensure a playoff berth.
Fred VanVleet – Raptors (Round 3: ADP-100 Rank-13)
After the loss of Kawhi Leonard in the offseason, VanVleet has been touted as a sleeper heading into fantasy basketball draft season. With that being said, few would have expected this kind of production. An injury to Kyle Lowry certainly opened up additional playing time, something VanVleet was able to take full advantage of. His numbers are up across the board in what has been a meteoric rise for the undrafted superstar. The efficiency from the floor continues to be somewhat of a sticking point, especially given the increase in volume. However, all things considered, he has been one of the steals of the draft thus far.
Bam Adebayo – Heat (Round 4: ADP-47 Rank-19)
Much like VanVleet, Adebayo came into the season with high expectations. The departure of Hassan Whiteside opened the door for Adebayo to move into the starting lineup. Towards the backend of the 2018-19 season, Adebayo flashed his upside as Whiteside struggled with injuries. He has simply taken the ball and ran with it this season, exceeding even the most optimistic fans. His production on the offensive end continues to evolve, however, it is his defense and passing game that has impressed thus far. He is averaging a double-double to go with 2.6 combined steals and blocks. As soon as he corrects his issues from the free-throw line, his value could rise even further.
Devonte’ Graham – Hornets (Round 5: ADP-259 Rank-20)
Graham was undrafted basically everywhere outside of the deeper formats. The Hornets paid over the top for Terry Rozier during the offseason, taking the shine off Graham. During the 2018-19 season, Graham had moments of standard league relevance, however, consistency was an issue playing behind Kemba Walker and Tony Parker. With both now off the books, Graham took advantage of a depleted roster in the best possible way. The top-20 is likely a high-point for Graham, although given he was a waiver wire pickup, selling-high is not really an advisable strategy.
Brandon Ingram – Pelicans (Round 6: ADP-87 Rank-26)
Ingram arrived in New Orleans as part of the Anthony Davis trade. For some reason, the Lakers seemed intent on hanging onto Kyle Kuzma in preference to Ingram. Perhaps Ingram took that decision personally, something his production would indicate. The injury to Zion Williamson has certainly benefitted Ingram who shifted straight into the power forward position. When Williamson eventually returns, Ingram is going to have to make adjustments to his game. With that being said, he has shown enough to demonstrate he needs to be spending a lot of time on the floor.
Jonathan Isaac – Magic (Round 7: ADP-84 Rank-29)
The breakout took a while but we finally got there. Isaac has been threatening over the past couple of seasons, only to fall at the final hurdle. This season, everything appears to have clicked and it would appear his value is only going to strengthen from here. He is still averaging only 12.5 points per game, a number that does need to increase if he is to push for a top-20 finish. The defense has always been his calling card, demonstrated by his league-leading 2.8 blocks per game. The Magic have every incentive in the world to develop Isaac and there is no reason to think he can’t be a fantasy stud for years to come.
Richaun Holmes – Kings (Round 8: ADP-241 Rank-35)
Not unlike Isaac, Holmes has always possessed a fantasy-friendly game. The ongoing issue has been the lack of playing time. Coming into the season, the Kings went with Dewayne Dedmon as the starting center, once again relegating Holmes to a backup role. Fortunately, they soon realized Holmes was the superior player and adjusted accordingly. A long-term injury to Marvin Bagley certainly made the path to minutes a little easier for Holmes. Bagley is set to return this week and despite speculation, there is little doubt Holmes should continue to play big minutes on a nightly basis.
Spencer Dinwiddie – Nets (Round 9: ADP-113 Rank-37)
Dinwiddie began the season as the primary backup to the newly acquired Kyrie Irving. Fortunately for Dinwiddie, Irving only lasted 11 games before going down with a shoulder injury. Since that time Dinwiddie has been playing arguably the best basketball of his career. He has always been a sneaky source of points and assists and that is really what is buoying his value right now. Unlike a number of others in this list, the current production does seem unsustainable. As soon as Irving returns to the floor, Dinwiddie is going to shift back to a bench role. With that being said, the has been an element of mystery surrounding this injury. Until we get a firm timetable, Dinwiddie remains a must-roster player.
Jabari Parker – Hawks (Round 10: ADP-153 Rank-42)
The suspension to John Collins has been the driving force behind Parker’s fantasy resurgence. The Hawks basically had no choice but to run Parker out there. Accordingly, he has rewarded them with perhaps the best stretch of his career. The scoring and rebounding have always been there for Parker. However, it has been his effort on the defensive end that has come as a real surprise. His 1.5 steals per game have him inside the top-20 for that category. Something that would have been unthinkable prior to this season. Unfortunately, Collins return looms large and Parker is likely to shift back to the bench. Selling-high is certainly a strategy to employ here.
Evan Fournier – Magic (Round 11: ADP-122 Rank- 46)
Coming off a disappointing season, the hopes for Fournier were certainly kept in check heading into the current campaign. He was typically being taken in the final rounds of most fantasy basketball drafts as a cheap source of points and threes. Fournier has hit the floor running after an impressive world cup. He is averaging a career-high 19.7 points per game, coming on an impressive 49 percent from the floor. The supporting numbers are right around his career averages and so there is reason to think the current production is unsustainable. If his efficiency is to drop, the associated scoring numbers will take a hit, bringing him more in line with where he has been in the past.
Davis Bertans – Wizards (Round 12: ADP-161 Rank-53)
Bertans was viewed as a sleeper to many heading into the fantasy basketball draft. The Wizards are certainly not loaded with talent and appeared to be a nice landing spot for Bertans. After a shaky start, he has flourished despite coming off the bench. He is currently third in the league in three-point shooting, behind only James Harden and Paul George. Much like Fournier, Bertans garners the majority of his value from points and threes. If his scoring is to falter, the overall value could quickly decline. With that being said, the Wizards are going to be without Thomas Bryant for at least three weeks. Bertans should continue to log heavy minutes, resulting in plenty of opportunities moving forward.
Is Adam on track with his fantasy basketball analysis? Let him know in the comments below! Also, check out our waiver wire and all of our other fantasy basketball content.
Fantrax was one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites of 2018 and we’re not slowing down in 2019! 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.