You are up in the draft. Hurry up. Time is ticking. Make a pick. Make a pick. Make a pick.
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Just about every Fantasy owner has had it happen to them at some point. You get forced into making a rash decision and spend the rest of the season thinking about the players you could have had if you'd only had the chance to think about it a little longer. But in a timed draft, time is of the essence and you'd better do a lot of your thinking before your draft ever starts.
That's right, if you want to be good at this whole Fantasy thing and want to be more than just an annual contributor to your buddy's bank roll, you've got do do your homework.
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That's where we come in.
We are in the business of getting you as prepared as possible for your draft. Consider us like the nerd in your high school algebra class who you got to do your homework by promising an invite to the party on Friday night.
One of the most successful draft strategies we recommend and subscribe to ourselves is the use of tiers when drafting.
What it boils down to is grouping players at each position into clusters of similar players. At each position, there are different levels of players. The trick is to group a series of players who you feel could conceivably finish in the same relative production level by season's end.
By mapping these players out and having them in front of you while you draft, you can give yourself a better visual guide as far as what is really left at each position in order to make a better decision. For example, if your pick is up and you see that your list still has more than a few players available at a certain position that you'd be comfortable with and only a couple at another position then the decision is clear.
The idea is to come up with a "last-resort" player for each tier. This is the last player you'd be comfortable drafting at a certain level. The levels can be determined in different ways. One way to do it is by breaking down players into position slots. Decide who the very last player you'd be comfortable with as your No. 1 forward, your No. 2 forward, etc.
Cross off the players in each of your tiers as your draft goes on and make a move when you start running out of names. It's simple and it works.
We've taken the liberty of coming up with our own tiers for you at each position. While we always recommend coming up with your own based on your league's format and your own notions and research, rest assured that a lot of thought and research was put into our set of tiers. We've got a lot of time to think about Fantasy hoops, time that you may not have considering that pesky job or family thing you've got going on.
So print them out, take them with you to your draft and cross off players as picks are made. You'll make much smarter picks and will come away with a much more balanced team as a result.
You are welcome. We're still on for Friday night, though, right?
Players denoted with a (*) indicate players who may not be eligible at the given position in your league. Check your position eligibility rules accordingly. Players denoted with a (inj) tag indicate players who are expected to miss time going into the season.
Chris Paul gets his own tier at the guard position. When healthy, he's been head-and-shoulders above all other guards in overall production the past few seasons and should be selected ahead of all others at the position.
The "elite" class has a couple of newcomers this season in Stephen Curry and Tyreke Evans. Curry's stock may have taken a small hit when Don Nelson stepped down as coach of the Warriors, but we still expect him to see a high volume of shots even if Golden State does slow things down under Keith Smart this year. Curry and Evans belong.
Injury and general wear-and-tear concerns about Kobe have caused him to slip some in drafts and we've seen him go anywhere from fourth to eighth in a lot of drafts. Many Fantasy owners may consider Deron as the new leader of the "elite" tier, but we're going to stick with Kobe for at least one more year. After all, Williams comes with some injury concerns considering his recent history as well.
If you compare tiers at the guard and forward positions, there appears to be more depth at the top at the guard position. You may choose to make a move at forward early and still find yourself in a position to land a high quality No. 1 guard like a Russell Westbrook or Brandon Roy.
Super-elite: Chris Paul
High-end starters: Brandon Jennings, Baron Davis, Darren Collison, Aaron Brooks, Jason Kidd, Devin Harris, Stephen Jackson, Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler, John Salmons, Rodney Stuckey, Raymond Felton, Andre Miller
Quality reserves: Carlos Delfino*, Jeff Teague, Corey Brewer*, Mike Conley, Kirk Hinrich, Beno Udrih, Jrue Holiday, Jose Calderon, Ben Gordon, Ramon Sessions, Terrence Williams, James Harden, Josh Howard (inj) Michael Redd (inj)
Low-end reserves: C.J. Watson, Anthony Morrow, Anthony Parker, Randy Foye, Tracy McGrady, Shaun Livingston, Delonte West, George Hill, Mario Chalmers, Rasual Butler, Wesley Matthews, D.J. Augustin, Ty Lawson, Courtney Lee, Arron Afflalo, Steve Blake, Derek Fisher
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