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Draft Guide: Rankings & ADP

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

Show your work. That’s the guiding principle behind my pre-draft fantasy rankings. To create top-175 lists for 8-cat, 9-cat and the NBA’s new ‘official’ points scoring system, I rely entirely on projected statistics – and make them available to Draft Guide subscribers. If you want to know why I have Karl-Anthony Towns ahead of Giannis Antetokounmpo in 9-cat leagues, but not 8-cat leagues, simply refer to their projected stats in my Excel sheet.


Draft Guide members can view the full projections online, or download the file to punt categories with ease, trim to the top-150 or top-100 players, hunt for value in specific categories, and much more. If you think Kawhi Leonard will play 82 games this year (rather than the 66 games at which I've projected him), simply change that number in the spreadsheet – his fantasy values will update automatically.


If you're scandalized by the thought that Russell Westbrook could be ranked No. 8 overall in 9-cat leagues, or you disagree with my projections for Devin Booker (24.9 points, 2.1 threes, 3.8 boards, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.3 blocks and 3.2 turnovers, with 43% FGs and 83% FTs), go ahead and alter their projected numbers. By doing so, the means, standard deviations, z-scores and conditional formatting will update automatically, along with every category of fantasy rankings.


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Even simple adjustments to a player's projected minutes can have a profound effect. If you think Nerlens Noel will blow past the 24.0 minutes at which I've projected him, just increase his projected minutes and voila -- his fantasy value changes. Instantly updated rankings, a few clicks away. 


1) These are my personal projections for every statistical category, which do not reflect any sort of Rotoworld consensus. If you're interested in my methodology, email me or send a message on Twitter. Again, Draft Guide members can access the entire spreadsheet which is the basis of these rankings.


2) These are explicitly roto values, both per game and cumulative (weighted by projected games played). Owners in head-to-head leagues can use this as a road map to value, but your league settings and personal draft-day strategies are massive and unquantifiable X-factors. If you're punting free throws, to use an obvious example, Andre Drummond's absurd FT% anchor vanishes and he becomes an elite option in 9-cat.


3) You will disagree with me...and that's a good thing! Everyone has their own expectations for breakout players, declining veterans, etc. Even I won't draft this exact list like an automaton. Early round picks determine how to build your team in the middle and late rounds. League depth, individual opinions, the preferences of opposing GMs, league settings (e.g. injury-reserve spots, caps on waiver wire moves) -- it all has a huge impact on how to value players. CONTEXT IS KING. That’s why I created this spreadsheet in the first place.


With those explanations out of the way, here is a look at my top-20 players in 8-cat leagues, weighted by projected games played. The top-175 players are available in the Guide.



Projected 8-CAT Value (per game)

8-cat WEIGHTED by Projected Games

8-cat Weighted (x2) by Projected Games…in case you're very risk-averse and hate DNPs

James Harden




Giannis Antetokounmpo




Russell Westbrook




Karl-Anthony Towns




Stephen Curry




Kevin Durant




LeBron James




Anthony Davis




John Wall




Damian Lillard




Nikola Jokic




Kyrie Irving




DeMarcus Cousins




Rudy Gobert




Chris Paul




Paul George




Kawhi Leonard




Jimmy Butler




Kyle Lowry




Myles Turner





Notice that if you ignore games played and rank them strictly by per-game 8-cat value, the rankings look very different. Kawhi Leonard would jump from No. 17 to No. 9 for example, and Westbrook would leapfrog Giannis into the No. 2 spot. The picture changes even more dramatically if you sort by 9-cat values – and for risk-averse owners, I’ve included a column that doubles the weight of missed games. I’ve projected Isaiah Thomas as the No. 24 player in 9-cat on a per-game basis, for instance, but when you factor in DNPs he drops to No. 78 or (if you double the impact) No. 140.


Again, I highly encourage everyone to download the Excel sheet in the Draft Guide and play around with it for themselves! I tried to be lenient toward rookies, for instance, but am still stingier than many would be – even in 8-cat, I have Lonzo Ball at No. 66, Ben Simmons at No. 61, and Markelle Fultz at No. 131. Those projections encompass the entire season, of course, and (as with most rookies) I generally expect them to start slowly but finish strong after the break. If you’re confident that Fultz will be far better than I’ve projected him to be, there’s a simple fix – go in and change his numbers!


If you’re curious what the full spreadsheet looks like, here’s an idea – everything is linked with formulas, and changes to yellow columns (which include points, rebounds, percentages, etc.) will instantly update a player’s respective fantasy values.


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The Draft Guide is so much more than projections and rankings, of course – the list of content includes more than two dozen exclusive columns, a wide variety of mock drafts, top-200 ranks, dynasty ranks, format-specific strategies, schedule grid breakdown, ADP reports, and even Mike Gallagher’s imagining of what a ‘perfect draft’ would look like. The ADP report helps identify players undervalued in many drafts, whether due to a general oversight in the fantasy community or (more often) the influence of pre-draft rankings on sites like CBS, ESPN and Yahoo. Here’s an excerpt from that column:


“Today's column explores average draft positions (ADPs), providing insight into broad trends and perspectives on player values. If the hive-mind of fantasy GMs at ESPN have given Ricky Rubio an ADP of 62.5 (they have), you're less likely to need to reach for him in the 40-50 range. On the other hand, Rubio’s ADP on Yahoo is 46.7, meaning you’d likely need to grab him a round earlier than you could on ESPN.


If you know that Gary Harris has an (absurdly low) ADP of 107.9 in ESPN drafts, you’ll be more likely to steal him in the late-middle rounds. This also protects against over-reaching for guys you love – there’s nothing wrong with snagging Aaron Gordon a round early to ensure he’s on your squad, but why reach for him in Round 4 in Yahoo (ADP = 102) when you can most likely get him a round or two later?


…The list of players who failed to make the top-150 in Yahoo leagues is somewhat mind-boggling. To wit, you might notice that Taurean Prince is not on this list. ESPN does not include him in their top-200 ADP list, and as of Oct. 8 he was coming in No. 187 on Yahoo. This is a travesty that won’t be replicated in competitive leagues, but in more casual formats it looks like he’ll be a massive bargain for anyone aware of his sky-high potential."


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For the rest of the ADP data and analysis, all projected stats and fantasy values, and everything else, just get the Draft Guide. You’ll thank yourself on draft day.

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.