Fantasy Basketball Roundtable: What would our experts do differently if they could redraw today?
As we head into Week 4 of the NBA season, it’s clear that some things in the league are going much differently than anyone expected. For example, the Warriors are struggling. And the rebuilt Jazz are near the top of the Western Conference standings. All of this, as well as the players behind it, has a huge impact on fantasy basketball.
So what would our fantasy basketball experts do differently if they could redraw their teams today?
Here are André Snellings, Eric Moody, Eric Karabell and Jim McCormick to offer their biggest draft picks.
Hand it to Kawha
In the War Room league, in the 3rd round, I was hoping to get one of Darius Garland, Jalen Brunson or Paul George. I even had Julius Randle in my lineup, thinking this would be a bounce-back season for him, and with the No. 7 pick in the third round of a 14-team league, he would be value. Of course, my queue emptied before my pick, and I was stuck watching Kawhi Leonard.
I usually don’t pick Leonard, because even healthy he sits about 1/4 of the games to manage the workload. That’s what I expected from him this season, 16 months after ACL surgery. But after taking a solid but unspectacular player in the second round (DeMar DeRozan, the pick after LeBron James was taken), I swung for the fence upside down.
Of course, Kawhi is still struggling with his knee and it’s unclear if/when he’ll be able to return to even 75% game status at any near full strength. Also, two picks after I took Kawhi, Donovan Mitchell went. I thought Mitchell would lose value this season playing on such a deep, talented Cavs team…and probably slow down a bit now that Darius Garland is back…but Mitchell was one of the fastest risers in my rankings this week because his production was so stellar. As Kawhi struggles, my team is off to an 0-3 start. If I had taken Mitchell over Kawhi, I might only be 3-0, and I would certainly be looking at a more positive outlook going forward. — Snellings
Find a way to get SGA, Fox and Banchero
The first thing that comes to mind is to prioritize Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in fantasy drafts. He already has five games with 65 or more fantasy points this season. De’Aaron Fox also exceeded expectations with 26.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 4.8 APG, showing a much improved rebounding game.
Another name I wish I had taken the chance to get – Paolo Banchero. He was supposed to be an exception to my rule of not reaching for rookies in fantasy basketball. Banchero recently became just the second Magic rookie to average 30 points and 10 rebounds over a two-game span, joining Shaquille O’Neal (1992-93). There is no question that all three players exceed their ADP expectations. — Moody
Don’t be shy about Shai
I wish I was bolder in my pursuit of Gilgeous-Alexander in drafts. I mentioned in the preseason roundtable that the fade was probably too strong for tanking teams, especially “SGA,” as a vague knee ailment cast some doubt on his start to the season. It’s clear that Gilgeous-Alexander is a statistical superstar, as evidenced by his third place on the player list. Similarly, those who made bold investments in theoretical lottery-bound lists like Utah and Orlando were rewarded. — McCormick
Pick it up
I would invest more in a few Utah Jazz players. Lauri Markkanen burned me for a few seasons in his Bulls days, because I thought he could hit enough threes to average 20 PPG. What’s interesting here is that he’s hitting fewer threes, but he’s taking so many shots that it works, and he’s getting more rebounds. Looks legit. Mike Conley is mostly about the plays, but I like that he’s more of a playmaker — he’s never averaged 7 APG! — and less of a shooter. And who knew Jordan Clarkson could average 5 APG. So much for it being a hollow fantasy option. — Carabell
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