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Welcome to another edition of Value Based Drafting, the Fantasy Basketball version.

In case you have not read anything I have written before, my Fantasy Sports name should just be Mr. Value. No matter what Fantasy Sport I am partaking in, I am a devote Value Based Drafting follower.

I have said it before, and I will keep saying it until I am done writing: we all are working with basically the same information now that information is so easily accessible.

The only way to get an advantage with that information is find the spots where guys are under-valued, which is utilizing Value Based Drafting.

Well, without further ado, let’s discuss some Value Based Drafting.

Fantasy Basketball: Value Based Drafting

 

The Principle Idea of VBD

The basis of the drafting philosophy is to find guys who are under-valued in rankings or Average Draft Position, even though their projected statistics and output should have them higher.

The best example is someone like Julian Edelman of the Patriots. His final ADP for Point Per Reception leagues was near the beginning of the fourth round, even though his consensus projections had him around 100 catches for over 1,000 yards. He was picked after running backs such as Melvin Gordon, Alfred Morris and C.J. Anderson because you “have to take running backs early.”

How do those Gordon and Anderson owners feel now that Edelman is a Top Three receiver in points per game? It could have all been avoided if they just stayed with the best value available, regardless of position.

 

Flexibility

This is where basketball starts to deviate from baseball and especially football. The majority of players are eligible at multiple positions. Yes, there are still a good amount of point guards and centers that are eligible in just those positions, but there really is a good extent of flexibility.

What gives the drafter even more options is the roster setup? Most leagues roll with some sort of PG/SG/G/SF/PF/F/C/UTIL/UTIL lineup. This means that a combo SG/SF is eligible at six of your nine roster spots.

That type of flexibility gives more value to a combo G/F such as an outfielder in baseball that is LF/CF/RF eligible in leagues with the distinctions in their roster construction, or an infielder that is SS/3B eligible in leagues with Corner Infielders and Middle Infielders.

 

Scoring

Fantasy Basketball is played in both the Roto-category matchups as well as head-to-head points. Either you are competing for different category “wins” or each individual statistic from your player gets a certain amount of points.

Since (from what I can discern) the majority of the leagues are split down the middle on scoring, I tried to come up with a strategy of determining value that can encompass all forms of the game.

 

Determining Value

The prevalent categories for scoring in Fantasy Basketball seem to be points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, turnovers, three-pointers made, field goal percentage and free throw percentage.

After playing around with different formulas and strategies, I realized that it’s best to use a very basic points-per-statistic format to truly determine each player’s overall value. So I went with getting a single point for each point scored, rebound, assist, block, steal, field goal made, free throw made, three-point field goal made and negative one point for each turnover, field goal missed and free throw missed.

This incorporates both percentage categories and helps give you players that are well rounded. The strategy is more for your first seven or eight rounds, and with your last few picks you can select specialty players that are great at a few categories and bad at others to help balance your statistical output (if you are in roto leagues, that is).

So by using this formula for “points,” you can assign a quantitative value to each player that can help you compare across position and ADP. All you have to do is use a set of projections, combine a few sets or create your own and assign each player his value.

 

Using the Strategy

Once you have your values assigned to each player, you can compare their ranking by ADP against your rankings by value. This will help you make smart, value-based decisions rather than falling for a certain position or flashy player.

By having each player’s ADP with his value number, you can also see which guys you might be able to wait until after the turn of a snake draft to pick up. Odds are that the majority of your league has not done the necessary research usually done for football or baseball since the latter season just ended and the former is kicking into full swing.

 

Observations

The biggest takeaway I have here is not falling in love with high scorers. There are the obvious scoring leaders who fill up the other parts of the stat sheets like James Harden or LeBron James, but the sub-tier of top scorers like J.J. Redick, Kevin Martin, or Bradley Beal do not offer much value other than scoring. Guys like this also don’t give great field goal percentages, but do help your 3-pointer category.

Another observation is the value of the big man in Fantasy Basketball. I have 23 of the Top 45 overall players listed at power forward or center. If you think about it, the categories for Fantasy Basketball favor the big man in general.

Post players can score just as much as wing guys, but will definitely have more blocks and rebounds. Big guys also normally have a higher field goal percentage, and now most of the top rim protectors are at least average free throw shooters as well. They also are generally have low turnover totals since they don’t handle the ball as much.

So these guys are really just lower in assists and 3-pointers made, but I think that the PF/C positions are still under-valued overall.

 

Best Values

Here are some players that I see as being drafted too low. In auction leagues, their prices are too low as well and as I have seen, they end up going for extremely cheap prices.

  • Andre Drummond, (ADP) 36, (My VBD Rank) 10: I have Drummond projected to lead the league in rebounding, Top Five in blocks/FG% and upping his scoring to 17 a game without Greg Monroe next to him.
  • Reggie Jackson, 44, 18: They won’t all be Pistons, but once Jackson got to Detroit he averaged over 17 points and nine assists a game. I have him creeping towards 20/10 and the amount of guys that do that can be counted on one hand.
  • DeAndre Jordan, 33, 19: Almost the same exact player as Drummond and just as under-rated. The Clippers will be forced to use him more on offense to keep him happy and his scoring will see an uptick.
  • Al Jefferson, 45, 23: Injuries slowed Jefferson down last season, but it has to be remembered he is just 30 years old. In a full season he puts up 20 points, 10 rebounds and shoots 50% from the field. I will take that in the fourth round.
  • Andrew Wiggins, 48, 33: I think Wiggins makes a leap this season into an elite player. I think 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists is not out of the question.
  • Markieff Morris, 85, 42: I don’t see why he is so under-rated. I project him at 18 points, 8.5 rebounds, three assists and decent percentages. A steal that late in a draft.
  • DeMar DeRozan, 64, 39: Another player coming off injury, I have him getting back to the 20 points, five rebounds and four assists level.
  • Mason Plumlee, 143, 62: Another double-double guy that is being criminally under-rated.
  • Josh Smith, 167, 73: He may do stupid things on the basketball court, but he still puts up stats. His FG% will be low, but he brings a ton of blocks and rebounds.

For my full set of rankings, please check out the Top-200.

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