This is where the men get separated from the boys. True decisions have to be made. Do you draft for need or best player available? Do you take a shot at that rookie, even though historically, it hasn’t been a good bet? What about the good players who have fallen due to injury concerns? Decisions, decisions, decisions. Speaking of decisions, there have been around 10% of NBA players who are choosing not to get vaccinated. Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins, and Jonathan Isaac are the most known out of the group. Irving and Wiggins are in danger of not being allowed to play in their home arenas due to protocols. So be wary of drafting these players.

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Rookies. The shiny new toys. The next generation of stars. We all get pumped and excited for the next batch of players every season, but do we overrate them for fantasy? Since 2000, a rookie has never finished in the top 10 for fantasy in 9-cat leagues. Only three have finished in the top 20, nine in the top 50, and 44 in the top 100. That’s out of 593 eligible players. I’m not saying to eschew drafting rookies, as the allure of the unknown is intoxicating, but be price conscious. Below is a sheet with all the rookies since 2000. The columns should be self explanatory, but if there are any questions, just holler in the comments.

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This is the time of year when I’m curled up in a dark cave, with a sliver of light protruding from a tiny hole in the wall that illuminates the ground like the scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark, marking the wall with chalk one day at a time. Water is dripping down….plop…..plop…..plop. I count them like a shepherd counts his sheep, writhing in anticipation for the start of this new hoops season. Each iteration of the Top X brings us one week closer to glory. Last week, I wrote up the Top 10. This week, I’m going into players 11 to 25. 

THIS IS NOT A RANKINGS PIECE. The order I have players is based on my projections and overall value for category leagues. Where I’d draft a player depends on ADP, categorical need, and roster construction. Keep that in mind when going through all my Top X pieces and when choosing who to draft in your leagues. The FG and FT numbers are weighted for volume.

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Imagine finding out your crush actually liked B.O. Nasty, but hey…everyone has their thing. If you didn’t shower for weeks and asked him/her out, would that guarantee anything? Of course not, but it would put you in a better position for success. That’s what this post will be. Another piece of information to help you solve the fantasy puzzle. 

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I did welcome everyone back when I introduced all the writers this season but when I drop my Top 10 is when I feel things get real. Plus, I will use any excuse to post this song. Always gets me so amped.

Before I get into each player of the Top 10, I wanted to write a disclaimer: THIS IS NOT A RANKINGS PIECE. The order I have players is based on my projections and overall value for category leagues. Where I’d draft a player depends on ADP, categorical need, and roster construction. Keep that in mind when going through all my Top X pieces and when choosing who to draft in your leagues. The FG and FT numbers are weighted for volume.

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I often lose track of where I’m at in certain categories when drafting. Maybe it’s all the trees I smoked or the magic mushrooms I ate in the past. Whatever the case may be, I’m a dummy and can’t remember things too well. Therefore, I made a very basic draft tool on Google Sheets which keeps track of everything and lets me know how close/far I am away from certain benchmarks. This can also be helpful post-draft, as you can see how your team stacks up in each category. Please click HERE to read about how I ascertained said benchmarks. So, the data compiled over two years gave me an average for what it took to win each category on a weekly basis. From there, I divided that number by 3.15 (the average number of games each team plays per week) which gave me a per-game target number. Then, I submitted the sheet to Rudy (who is a real-life wizard by the way) and he did his magic. Rudy was able to link all the players from my projections sheet so that the data wouldn’t have to be inputted manually. Rudy! Rudy! Rudy! The sheet is pretty self-explanatory. The row with the colors will show you how far away you are from the target number. Keep in mind that the projections are based on my numbers and that the TARGET numbers are based on winning a category. In the future, I may change that to 50% or 75%. Modify them to suit your needs. Hopefully, this helps you guys out pre and post-draft.

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During the summer months, I try to predict the rotations and minutes allocations for each team. Then, I go to each player and figure out the per-minute production in each category. Multiply those numbers by the minutes played projection and…POOF! Per-game value of each player. Last season, I felt per-game wasn’t enough so I added totals to the equation. I weighted the total z-scores by 75% and the per-game z-scores by 25%. I’m continuing to learn, grow, and refine my process so we shall see how it comes out this season. After all that, the sheet is sent to the Wizard of Razzball, Rudy, who packages all the data and produces the aesthetically-pleasing and user-friendly sortable table that you have all become accustomed to at Razzball.

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I just started doing my own projections a few years ago, so I apologize for any naivete. I’m still learning and growing in the process. While my process has matured over the years and I’ve figured out things, one thing that I’ve always had difficulty doing is projecting incoming rookies. There’s been plenty of work in the past about how college or Euro stats correlate to NBA stats. Click HERE, HERE, and HERE. They have all been helpful but I wanted more. I wanted a baseline to give me a general idea, so I went back and looked at all the rookies from 2010 to the present and jotted down the percentage increase or decrease for each category from pre-NBA to their rookie season and averaged everything out. It’s not the most scientific research and volume wasn’t incorporated so it’s far from perfect, but it gives me a general lay of the landscape. Hope this helps and, if there’s any way to improve upon it, please comment below.

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It was a wild and wacky season. The rush to prep in the offseason was intense due to the quick turnaround from The Bubble. The compressed schedule instituted some quirks. COVID and injuries, in general, ravaged the player landscape. But we made it through another season. Congrats to everyone who won a chip. Spew your glory in the comments below. And I want to give thanks. Thank you Grey for allowing me a platform to project my voice. Thank you to all the writers who contributed this season. You all did excellent work and were instrumental in making Razzball Hoops what it is. And finally, thank you to all the readers. Without you, we do not exist. The Razzball community is one of extraordinary magnitude. We laugh. We cry. We help each other out. For you lurkers out there, don’t be shy. I’ve already made tweaks to my projections model, so I’m excited to get into things for next season. Anyways, I enjoyed getting to know all the writers and interacting with all the commenters. Until next year…..

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