I’m such a degen that I signed up for the first NFBKC Draft Champions league as soon as it came out back in late July. What can I say? I’m a pookie for the drafts. Anyways, it’s a 12- team, 8-cat league with a $150 buy-in and implements KDS and TRR. KDS stands for Kentucky Derby Style, which allows owners to rank their draft order preference. TRR is Third Round Reversal, so during the draft, the first two rounds proceed as a normal snake draft, but in the third round, the 12th team picks first. The starting lineup consists of 4 guards, 4 forwards, 2 centers, and 2 flex spots. There are no trades or waiver pickups, so what you draft is what you roll with for the entire season.

For this piece, I’ll provide the draft board and give you my thoughts on why I chose the player I did in each round. During the draft, I utilized a spreadsheet that tracked everyone’s picks and showed I how fared in each category based on my projections, which I will post in the middle. Finally, I recommend that you look at teams 2, 3, 5, 7, and 12, as all have won at least 3 contests in the past at the NFBKC.

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Last week, I unveiled my Top 10. Picking near the end of the round kind of sucks, but if you are blessed with that honor, at least you’ll have first dibs on finding a soulmate. If you select one of guards, then you’ll likely be pairing them with a big. And there are plenty of options in round two. I’m curious to see how many double down on bigs this year. You’ll be chasing assists and likely punt free throw percentage, but you could really get a stranglehold on those big man cats. The only player I don’t feel great about my ranking is Jrue Holiday, but I explain my thinking below. Anyways, the Top 25 truly needs to be put into context because so much will depend on who you drafted in round one. Remember, my rankings are based on overall value from projections. 

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Philadelphia fans were the beneficiaries of one of the luckiest, most physically-improbable moments in football history after Cody Parkey’s double-doink field goal miss allowed the Eagles to move on in the playoffs. Just four months later, physics turned right back around and crushed the City of Brotherly Love, as Kawhi Leonard’s heave from the corner looked like a video game glitch. It bounced away from the basket initially, only to turn around and define the Sixers’ season and entire plan for the future. But a new year is on the horizon. Kawhi is in the East no more. And the Sixers are revamped.

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Well, here we are. Hopefully, you guys are all wrapping up successful fantasy seasons, heading into the weekend leading your championship matchups. Beyond the silly season effect, winning in fantasy basketball can be a game of timing and patience. If you were patient with the rough start of future rookie of the year runner up, Trae Young, you’ve been rewarded with a near top 50 player over the last month and shockingly, a top 10 player over the last week. If you held Trae and started him here, you’re probably doing well this postseason.

Trae Young

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
10/25 5/5 1/8 26 9 7 1 0 3

While not very efficient, Trae continued to keep the haters at bay and was in the ballpark of messing around. The Hawks have one more game this Sunday, which should be a nice cherry on top for the surging Young.

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I used to enjoy watching Get Smart, a satirical secret agent show. Agent Maxwell Smart is a fumbling, bumbling, stumbling secret agent who always saves the day somehow. One of the catch phrases of the show is “Missed it by that much!” Which would’ve been appropriate to say whenever Marcus Smart jacked up a shot, as he could barely hit the side of a barn in past seasons. This season, though, he’s vastly improved the shooting and is therefore able to put up lines like this:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 6 4 3 1 1 2/5 8/14 3/3

The 21 points tied a season high! Smart is shooting 42% from the field and 36% from downtown this season. Over his first four seasons in the league, he had never posted a mark better than 37% from the field and 33% from downtown. As a result, while he always provided boards, dimes, and stocks, he was never able to crack the top 100 for fantasy on a per-game basis. This season, he’s a top 85 player and has had streaks where he’s been a top 60 player. Get Smart y’all!

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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Collin Sexton, the 8th overall pick of the Cavs in the 2018 NBA Draft, started the season off slowly. He came off the bench the first 10 games of the season, averaging 23 minutes, 10.5 points, and shooting 40% from the field. He was inserted into the starting lineup for game number 11 and has held onto that role all season. There were ups and downs, as the shooting efficiency was poor and the contributions in the other categories were minimal. For fantasy, he was a top 250 player. Something has clicked, though.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
25 2 3 0 0 4 4/7 10/18 1/1

Sexton has now scored at least 20 points in seven straight games. He’s been a top 35 player over that span. Maybe he ate a blue pill or something. Anyways, you know the warning: call a doctor if erection last longer than 4 hours. Well, Sexton has been going on for much longer than that and he’s in straight DGAF mode right now, averaging over 17 shots per game. Here’s the thing, though. He’s shooting 56% from the field. He’s not going to be able to maintain that efficiency forever. And when that comes down, you’ll be holding a limp biscuit because Sexton doesn’t contribute much in the other categories. Very miminal contributions in the D cats and around 3 boards and dimes each. Enjoy the hot streak, but this Sexton will not last forever.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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When you think of the great basketball players this season, who does your mind gravitate towards? James Harden? Paul George? Steph Curry? Karl-Anthony Towns? Giannis Antetokounmpo? There are likely 15-20 other players you would list before arriving at Andre Drummond. The free throw shooting stinks and he doesn’t provide treys, but you know what?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
21 21 5 2 1 1 0 9/20 3/6

That’s what’s up. Dre leads the league in dub-dubs with 58 and has posted a 20/20 game 12 times this season. He’s 10th in blocks per game, 11th in steals per game, 1st in rebounds, and 19th in field goal percentage. On the season, he’s a top 25 player for fantasy. Yes, the free throw shooting and lack of treys put a ceiling on his value, but he does so much in the other categories that…..we must never forget about Dre.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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O is the most important letter in the alphabet. Without it, we cannot spell food. It is so amazing that it can transform into a number without changing shape, and without 0, a game can never end. Before you saying anything, ties are stupid. Let’s not forget about the Big O, often elusive but well worth the wait. So, is there any wonder why Kelly Olynyk is today’s lede?

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
22 11 1 2 1 1 5/7 8/14 1/1

Continues to start and played a whopping 45 minutes! Since entering the starting lineup 12 games ago, Kelly O has averaged 26.9 minutes, 13.7 points, 5.2 boards, 2.4 dimes, 0.8 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 1.7 tres. He’s been shooting 52% from the field, 43% from downtown, and 95% on 1.9 attempts from the line. Over the last eight games, though, the minutes have rocketed up to 32.3 minutes and he’s been a top 25 player! Oh, Kelly O! You make me want to bellow and bestow good tidings for providing fantasy inferno. A few weeks ago, I was worried what would happy to Kelly O once James Johnson returned to the mix. I no longer have any worries from that angle. The one concern I do have is will Spoelstra stick with him if the shooting efficiency comes down, because Kelly O is not going to shoot 57% from the field forever. He’s more like a 48% shooter. Until that time, though, enjoy the ride.

Here’s what else I saw last night:

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If you grew up in the 90s, there’s no doubt you heard “Steal My Sunshine” by Len. The radio stations only played it five times every hour for months on end. Remember, this was before iPods, iPhones, Spotify, and XM Radio. It was also a time when MTV and VH1 would actually….you know…play music videos, so the inundation was widespread and impossible to eradicate. The song had a nice summer vibe to it and made one feel happy, but if you dig into the lyrics, it’s about depression…at least in the beginning, but the song is ultimately about overcoming depression and being happy. Well, Alex Len has been a source of depression for fantasy owners for a long, long time. We’ve always been tantalized by the potential but he could never put it together on a consistent basis. Last night, though, it all came together….

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
28 9 2 0 2 0 5/8 9/18 5/8

…at least for one night, a career-high night in points no less. Now, don’t get gassed because he received his first start since late December, as John Collins and Omari Spellman both did not play due to injury. He did play 36 minutes in the prior game and put up 24/10, but that game went to triple overtime. In addition, both games were against the Bulls. Put your head down in shame Bulls. Anyways, when the Hawks get healthy, Len will return to coming off the bench and receiving fewer than 20 minutes of run, but keep in mind that when injuries strike, Len does have some upside. He has eight dub-dubs on the season.

Here’s what else I saw yesterday:

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Whether it’s fair or not, Trae Young will always be compared to the future MVP-caliber player Luke Doncic. It’s not his fault that Atlanta made that draft day trade. While there were some seriously shaky runs earlier in the season, Trae has been on fire recently. He is just barely standard league relevant for the season, but over his last three games, he’s clocking in at a fresh #14 ranking in standard 9-cat leagues, averaging 31.7/3.7/8.7 with 4 3’s. He’s also shooting 93.9% on an insane 11 free throws per game. While he may never be at Doncic’s level, he can still make for an elite fantasy player and is showing off at the moment.

Trae Young

FG FT 3PT Points Reb Assists Steals Blocks TO
17/35 9/11 6/13 49 8 16 1 1 9

So close. I was hoping he could get the 50 mark in this one, but this is an otherwise amazing performance. The 49/8/16 is enormous. The efficiency and 6 3’s are killer. In fact, he is the first rookie to go for 45 points and 10 assists since MJ. The 9 turnovers are whack, but that’s the price you pay for playing a mind-boggling 55 minutes. Hopefully they can set him up in the hyperbaric chamber to recover.

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