Fantasy: 5 tips to help you nail your basketball drafts

Yahoo Sports provides some tips that could help you win your NBA Fantasy leagues this season.

Lebron James dribbling a basketball wearing a yellow Lakers uniform. He's being guarded by Mikal Bridges wearing a purple Suns uniform.

LeBron James and the Lakers will look to bounce back this season.

The NBA season starts next Tuesday, and if you’re like me, you will be knocking out your final fantasy drafts this weekend. Here are five tips below that will help you cram last minute and dominate your drafts!

Utilize Yahoo’s Draft Analysis Tool

Do you want to know where players are being drafted? The Draft Analysis tool is the easiest and best way to do so. By evaluating the Average Draft Position (ADP) for a particular player, Yahoo is essentially conducting a market analysis across their draft platform for when players are being selected. ADP is a valuable data point when constructing a fantasy team because you’ll want to make decisions based on the latest trends in the market. Which, at times, may be viewed as an overcorrection (an opportunity to capitalize on falling value) or a reaction to new information (such as LaMelo Ball’s recent ankle injury).

Check out my fantasy basketball ranks, tiers and sleepers!

Rankings are not one-size-fits-all but similarly to ADP, they are another data point that can help fantasy managers come draft time. It’s impossible to predict the correct outcome for every player. However, you can get a feel for which players are higher or lower than the ADP. If I’m higher on a person, there’s a good chance I’ve mentioned them in my positional tiers articlesmy guys, or sleepers columns.

Turn on Twitter notifications for Jake Fischer, Dan DevineChris Haynes, Woj and Shams

These guys are the NBA insiders that you’ll want to follow for the latest NBA news that may impact your fantasy draft. From injuries to player absences, projected starting lineups and more, it’s critical to get an understanding of the latest news so that you can go into drafts with the most updated information as possible.

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Per-game value versus the total value

I prefer to evaluate players on their per-game value instead of their total value because injuries are, unfortunately, part of fantasy basketball. Players like Mikal Bridges are often ranked higher in head-to-head leagues because of their ability to play in a majority of games each season. Using Mikal Bridges as an example, he finished last season 24th in total value, but if you look under the hood, he finished outside of the top 50 (54th) in per-game value. So he got a significant boost by simply playing more games.

On the flip side, if you look at LeBron James from a season ago, he finished fourth in per-game value versus 16th in total value. You have to be somewhat optimistic and look at the ceiling before heading into drafts. Several players in the first three rounds of fantasy basketball drafts will be load managed this year, but that doesn’t mean they won’t produce. Availability is certainly something to consider, but don’t bypass a player’s upside. Basketball Monster is a great resource that allows you to toggle between the per-game and total values from last season.

Evaluating player breakouts using betting odds

Are you wondering who might be the Ja Morant of last season? Or who makes the All-Star leap? Well, I often use betting markets to determine those candidates. Evaluating the player award markets and their respective odds of winning provides another data point for consideration. The markets I’d be most interested in viewing would be most points, assists, rebounds, steals, blocks, most improved player, MVP, rookie of the year and defensive player of the year.

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It may seem trivial, but I’m confident you’ll see several of the names listed for those markets emerge as viable candidates to win their respective awards and be valuable fantasy assets this year.