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Draft Guide: Abuse the Ranks

by Ryan Knaus
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

The NBA season kicks off earlier than usual for 2017-18, with a two-game slate on Oct. 17 -- the Celtics face the Cavs, followed by the Rockets vs. the Warriors. The accelerated start to the season means fantasy owners have less time to prepare cheat sheets, analyze rotations and position battles, and organize lengthy pre-draft player queues.


That's where the Rotoworld Draft Guide comes in!


We've already previewed auction values ($), ADP reports, busts & sleepers, strategy columns, the schedule grid, projected stats, top-175 rankings, dynasty rankings, points-league advice, and much more. If you missed those Draft Guide previews, you can find them here, here and here.


One of the most potent tools in a fantasy owners' arsenal, however, is knowing how to take advantage of a site's default player rankings. Mike Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher) explains the importance in his Abusing the Default Ranks columns:


"Ideally, we want to take our targets as late as possible. Conversely, we want to know which guys will fall and eventually become values after our targets are gone.


With that, the default rankings for the [draft room] applet can be very telling. If the site ranks a guy very high, fantasy owners will continue to see his name as they go through the draft, which will cause them to think about them, even if it’s for a second. This isn’t exactly Inception, but it naturally makes those players get drafted before the guys that are thrown into the 200s."


Here's a sampling of Mike's takes on the Yahoo default ranks, identifying players listed too high or too low. There's a separate column breaking down ESPN ranks, and each column has dozens upon dozens of draft-day recommendations.


"Players listed higher than expected (players I’d prefer to take later than listed)


Russell Westbrook (2) - He is awful for two categories and you do have to worry about him meshing with Melo and PG.

Kawhi Leonard (8) - That quad injury is scary, especially after he had a similar problem in 2012-13.

LeBron James (9) - Rest concerns are too high for me.

Paul George (18) - Gonna be a tough adjustment and he will probably have some bad games.

Eric Bledsoe (29) - Injuries and getting shut down for tanking reasons make him too risky.


Players listed lower than expected (players I’d prefer to take earlier than listed)


Karl-Anthony Towns (6) - No. 1 player for me.

Rudy Gobert (14) - Looks like a monster and should go first round.

Damian Lillard (17) - Diet likely helps and is expected to up steals.

Myles Turner (25) - Should be 10 spots higher.

Bradley Beal (28) - First round value after the break last year.


Who to scroll down for after 100 in shallow leagues and should be 30-70 spots higher


Jamal Murray (104) - Buzz slowed down, but upside still there.

Gary Harris (107) - Got paid, should still ball out.

Tim Hardaway Jr. (111) - Should flirt with 20 points.

Allen Crabbe (121) - Nets offense will lead to some major output for several guys.

Taurean Prince (132) - Big chance to break out."


To make things even simpler for fantasy GMs, there are lists of rankings -- both league-wide and for each position -- which can be printed out and/or viewed online as a cheat-sheet on draft night. And if you're not in a straight-forward 8-cat or 9-cat league, no problem. With our 'Custom Scoring System' you can modify your league size, roster depth, categories, and (if it's an auction) salary cap.


In addition to the Draft Guide, this is a great time to check out Rotoworld's premium Season Pass! Throughout the year, the Season Pass is your one-stop destination for domination. In it, members can access:


Top-200 Values (rest-of-season)

Weekly Stat Projections

Weekly Position Rankings

Playing Time Reports

Updated Dynasty Rankings

The 'Oracle' Report with info specific to your team(s)

Exclusive Live Chats w/ @Knaus_RW

'Pickups of the Day'

Exclusive Columns

Schedule Breakdown

...and more!


Whether your leagues' championships come with bragging rights, a tidy payday, or both, the Draft Guide & Season Pass are designed specifically to help you crush the competition. Let’s get started.

Ryan Knaus

Despite residing in Portland, Maine, Ryan Knaus remains a heartbroken Sonics fan who longs for the days of Shawn Kemp and Xavier McDaniel. He has written for NBC Sports Edge since 2007. You can follow him on Twitter.