Positional Scarcity: What You Need To Know for a Winning Fantasy Basketball Draft Strategy

August 17, 2019 By Dave Sun
Dave Sun provides tips and strategy for using positional scarcity to dominate your upcoming fantasy basketball drafts.

If you’re formulating your fantasy basketball draft strategy to dominate your league, you’ve got to be thinking about Positional Scarcity. By the end of this article, you will be able to draft a solid starting 5 (or 6), from any draft position, from which you can build a season-winning lineup.

What?! You didn’t host last year’s 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.

What is Positional Scarcity?

By Positional Scarcity we are referring to the availability of quality players likely available in each round of your fantasy basketball draft, analyzed by position. What we’re focusing on here is going to help you build a strong team that has depth at every position and this is going to help you win!

Positional Scarcity: A tool for building a winning team…

Your fantasy basketball draft strategy is already on the right track because you’ve utilized Fantrax’s ADP and the appropriate rankings from our fantasy basketball draft guide. If you’re new to fantasy basketball on Fantrax, also be sure to check out my Fantasy Basketball 101 piece… now read on!

I could try to explain and provide you with a whole bunch of statistics and rankings analysis and it might help. If you’re anything like me though, you’ll get the hang of this better by trying it for yourself, so let me show you first, but after that, I’m going to invite you to put what you’ve learned into practice and help me complete the middle and late rounds of a mock draft!

The Mock Draft…

I used Fantrax to draft all 12 teams of a standard 9 category league, on my own, to show you that it doesn’t matter what slot you’re drafting from. You can build a competitive team that has a shot at a championship. For 11 lucky readers, by the end of this two-part article, you’ll be drafting like an expert with a hands-on tutorial as you complete the article mock draft as a team owner and play out the season against myself! We should get started…

The First Round: Choose Your Weapon!

You probably have your own opinion on the top 3 players (or top 5, or top 10) in fantasy basketball this season. Are you picking early? What’s your best big-man pick; Davis or KAT? Or do you start your draft with strong counting stats from Harden or Giannis, then chase your bigs later? What if you’re picking in the middle or late first round; better to go Jokic or Embiid? Will Point-LeBron return to top-10 value, or will Jrue Holiday crack the first round? Whoever you choose or whatever your opinion, your pick here will affect your positional scarcity draft strategy for the rest of the draft. So, your next pick better be a good one. Here are my picks from the first round based on expert consensus rankings and… just how I felt on the day:

  1. James Harden SG (Team Harden)
  2. Anthony Davis PF (Team Davis)
  3. Giannis Antenokounempo PF (Team Giannis)
  4. Karl Anthony Towns C (Team KAT)
  5. Steph Curry PG (Team Curry)
  6. Nikola Jokic C (Team Jokic)
  7. Damien Lillard PG (Team Lillard)
  8. Lebron James PG (Team Lebron)
  9. Joel Embiid C (Team Embiid)
  10. Russell Westbrook PG (Team Westbrook)
  11. Paul George PF (Team PG13)
  12. Kawhi Leonard SF (Team Kawhi)


The Second Round: Consolidate or Diversify?

Positional scarcity changes as rankings change from season to season and depend on the supply or scarcity of each position as the draft progresses. For the second round, here are a couple of strong strategies you can employ.

First, you can consolidate. By this I mean you draft to build on the strengths of your first pick to try and dominate one or more categories. I drafted Nikola Vucevic at center for Team Harden (draft position #1), to consolidate strong points and free throws and because quality centers are more scarce this year in the middle rounds. Another example is pairing Jokic (pick #6) with center Rudy Gobert (Team Jokic), consolidating rebounds and FG% and then drafting for the guard positions from the next round. What about diversifying? Team KAT had the #4 draft position, so the choice of point guard Kyrie Irving in round two starts to strengthen the more traditional guard categories with threes and assists and some steals. It also secures a quality point guard before they start to become scarce.

Here’s the entire second round:

  1. Team Kawhi: Donovan Mitchell SG
  2. Team PG13: Jimmy Butler SG
  3. Team Westbrook: Andre Drummond C
  4. Team Embiid: Bradley Beal SG
  5. Team Lebron: Jrue Holiday PG
  6. Team Lillard: Trae Young PG
  7. Team Jokic: Rudy Gobert C
  8. Team Curry: Devin Booker SG
  9. Team KAT: Kyrie Irving PG
  10. Team Giannis: Ben Simmons PG
  11. Team Davis: Kemba Walker PG
  12. Team Harden: Nikola Vucevic C

What’s your favorite pairing? Comment your thoughts at the end of the article!

The Third Round: Establish Your Identity

In round 2 Team Lillard (draft position #7) pairs Dame with point guard Trae Young to consolidate a solid position in points, assists, steals and free throws. Here, you’ve insured against the point guard shortage after round two but now have a gap in the big man area that needs to be addressed. Vuc, Gobert, Drummond, Zion, and Turner are already off the board, so I grab center Bam Adebayo at a spot that may seem a tad early. However, I want quality big man stats before they get too scarce and I need to maintain my strong free throw percentage! Team Westbrook (draft position #10) has established an identity by punting free throws but is strong in counting stats with the pairing of Westbrook and Drummond. I choose power forward Blake Griffin, who has a top 25 upside (for more on upside see the 5 Tips I wish I knew before my first draft). I’m not worried about his free throws, and I fill the third position with a top-quality big.

Comment below your favorite from these round three picks:

  1. Team Harden: Nikola Vucevic; Zion Williamson C
  2. Team Davis: Kemba Walker ; Luka Doncic PG
  3. Team Giannis: Ben Simmons; John Collins PF
  4. Team KAT: Kyrie Irving; De’Aaron Fox PG
  5. Team Curry: Devin Booker; Myles Turner C
  6. Team Jokic: Rudy Gobert; Chris Paul PG
  7. Team Lillard: Trae Young; Bam Adebayo C
  8. Team Lebron: Jrue Holiday; Mitchell Robinson C
  9. Team Embiid: Bradley Beal; D’Angelo Russell
  10. Team Westbrook: Andre Drummond; Blake Griffin
  11. Team PG13: Jimmy Butler; Lamarcus Aldridge
  12. Team Kawhi: Donovan Mitchell; Deandre Ayton

That’s all for Part One, guys. Check back next week for Part Two to graduate to be an expert on fantasy basketball draft strategy for positional scarcity.

The first 11 people to comment below or reach out to me on Twitter will be invited to draft the final 7 rounds of this article mock draft and play the season out against yours truly!

Tweet me @absolutesun or share your questions or ideas for future articles, below in the comments.

Dave is a weekend fantasy pro, passionate about the NBA and convinced that you don’t have to sacrifice your day job and life responsibilities to compete in your fantasy league. Dave focuses his writing on 101 interpretations of expert analysis so you don’t just know what is going on, but you know exactly what to do with that fantasy basketball strategy knowledge to help you win!

Ready to jump in a fantasy basketball league? Check out our early 2019-20 Fantasy Basketball Rankings!

Dave is a weekend fantasy pro, passionate about the NBA and convinced that you don’t have to sacrifice your day job and life responsibilities to compete in your fantasy league. Dave focuses his writing on 101 interpretations of expert analysis so you don’t just know what is going on, but you know exactly what to do with that fantasy basketball strategy knowledge to help you win!

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Dave Sun :