OK. Nerd alert! I have completed my second fantasy basketball draft of the year. My first auction draft was so much fun, I wanted to hustle myself another all-star team.
Grab yourself a Friday arvo beer. This is a long post…
Firstly, in response to fellow basketball geek Lorenzogate’s comment on the previous post, I want to clear the air.
The last-ditch picks in my last draft of Jesus Shuttlesworth and Channing Frye saved me in threes. But it won’t do any good against teams that look like my second drafted roster. Team 2 will not compete in blocks and FG. Honestly, I will surely lose every week in those cats, meaning a maximum 6-2 win matchup every go-round. No sweet 8-0 victories but I can live with that come the month of May.
So to give you a better idea of the playing field, here are the key differences with my recent drafts in public leagues.
1. Shallow League
The standard format on ESPN is for 10 teams. Here you are drafting from the top 130 players as opposed to 260 in a deep 20-team league (like The Good Life annual league). There is a plethora of talent in the middle rounds and great sleepers at the tail.
2. Betting on a Strategy
Some people call it luck when everything comes together. I believe it’s a combination of betting on the least played strategy plus good execution. Look for evidence early. You will easily get the right players for your strategy if nobody else is taking the same approach.
3. Punting Cats
Smart managers recognise that in H2H you have the option to punt specific cats and therefore have a willingness to draft players that are substantially terrible in those chosen categories, without dealing with repercussions. I never employ this tactic in deep leagues, purely because there are too many other teams and such a long draft that its impossible have confidence in punting. The auction format obviously helps punting as well since you can time your picks and ensure you get your targeted guys.
During this second sitting, I was placed last in the draft order, which allowed me to see everyones cards by the second round. They all went hard for the best and most popular players, often overpaying and leading to a broken budget by the time it came to the notorious bomber known as Danny Granger.
I took Danny then but my feet up and watched managers quickly empty their wallets, knowing that I could grab all second tier guys under cost price with all the money I had left. An added bonus was that it was obvious nobody was punting FG. The other 11 managers could do nothing else but watch me during one period since I was ‘all in’ on FG-adverse players that they did not want to touch. No competition means factory outlet prices… And a lot of them!
There was one funny moment during my run when Manager X challenged me in a one-on-one bidding war for Stephen Jackson. I quickly recognised that it didn’t suit his D12-led roster, looking more like a moment of “I can’t just sit here and watch this happen”. I folded when it got too expensive and happily shifted my attention to the gazillion other available wing types. Good luck to him and S-Jax’s 40% shooting this season.
Early in the piece I also made the executive decision to partner my high-scoring backcourt with power forwards that do not block shots. These guys are infamous for being severely overrated that here they were undervalued. Got them with outrageous ease. Merry Xmas!
Side note: Teams were allocated a $200 budget to fill 13 position-fixed spots. The top 3 picks can go for high 70’s. The next 10 are $50 upwards. It is easy to get down to $80 with 11 spots left to fill.
Brandon Jennings (17-8)
Devin Harris (20-7)*
Aaron Brooks (19-6)
Russell Westbrook (17-7)
Mo Williams (21-5)*
Kevin Martin (22-4)*
Danny Granger (25-7)*
Hedo Turkoglu (20-4-5)*
Antawn Jamison (23-9)
David West (20-8)*
Carlos boozer (20-12)
Zach Randolph (22-11)
Troy Murphy (16-12)
The end result is an absolute masterpiece for Head-to-Head competition. Deep and crazy scoring. Scintillating free throws (*). Massive boards. Great assists. Steals galore. Long bomb frenzy. Championship ring before the season starts. Proud moment of glory.