Chances are any fantasy article about average draft position (ADP) will have the phrase “It’s not just who you draft, it’s when you draft them” or something like it. In a perfect draft, you get the guys you want just a couple picks before someone else wanted them.
The more you know about the other owners in your draft, the easier it is to predict where your targets are going to go. Obviously, ADP can really help out, but recent trends of players having a higher demand could throw those numbers off. Furthermore, if you’re drafting with friends, you should have a pretty good idea who they like. For instance, I’m sure anyone who does a draft with me knows I’m going to reach for C.J. McCollum, Aaron Gordon, Meyers Leonard and Marcin Gortat.
In a lot of cases, you might be going into a draft without any idea who people will take. There are some people who will go into a draft with their own rankings, but probably more than half just use the default rankings. Even if they did some research, the order in the rankings could dictate who goes where. Even if you think Player A is going to be a top-50 player, if the default rankings has him at 150, you’re probably going to try to wait and pick up some others.
In hopes of helping you guys try to trust yourselves over the rankings, here’s a list of the players ranked higher than expected, ranked lower than expected and a list of players to scroll down for. The first edition will cover the ESPN rankings.
Before we get to the lists, I just wanted to say this is a lot of personal preference. I’m sure anyone could go through my ranks and write up a similar column. Heck, probably worse because I get way too caught up in moving up young players with breakout potential. Basically, it’s just a matter of taste. If I love spicy food and you hate it, I’m going to rank Thai food higher in my food rankings than you. If I don’t like cheese, I won’t be high on quesadillas or a fondue. I might even call it a fondon't.
One other quick thing I noticed on the mock drafts is that ESPN has some of their big men a little higher than you might think. That means you might want to be a little more aggressive in grabbing power forwards and centers. ESPN is also a standard eight-cat format.
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Ranked higher than expected
LeBron James (6) - He is going to miss too many games after the break.
Paul George (14) - This isn’t too high in an eight-cat, but I'd wait a little longer.
LaMarcus Aldridge (20) - Usage rate is coming down and too injury prone.
Nerlens Noel (22) - Like LMA, Noel’s usage rate is coming down.
Gordon Hayward (27) - Gordon is good, but Hood and Burks should help more.
Hassan Whiteside (28) - Too high unless you’re punting and we'll see how his body holds up this year.
Chandler Parsons (29) - Once he's 100 percent, he could be this good, but a lot of risk with knee surgery.
Jonas Valanciunas (41) - I love JV, but not at 41 in an eight-cat.
Ty Lawson (52) - Only has a 17.4 usage rate in preseason, low assists too.
Andrew Wiggins (59) - He’s not a category-type guy.
Derrick Rose (63) - He does not like his mask.
Dwight Howard (64) - You can’t really punt in eight-cat.
Jarrett Jack (66) - If he hit 3s or stole, he might be worth this.
Dirk Nowitzki (67) - He is only going to play 24-26 minutes.
J.J. Redick (69) - The Clippers added so much depth.
Arron Afflalo (84) - If his mid-range shots were 3s, he’d be a monster.
Wesley Matthews (86) - Beware of the Achilles injury.
Jahlil Okafor (90) - Not a shot blocker and an awful foul shooter.
P.J. Tucker (100) - T.J. Warren is coming for his minutes.
Mo Williams (105) - He will lose a lot of value once Kyrie Irving is back.
Jeremy Lin (107) - He looks great, but hard to draft a backup PG coming off a down year.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (108) - Stanley Johnson might be taking minutes from him.
Zach LaVine (116) - He can’t shoot 3s, his assists are coming down and his FG% will be ugly.
Trey Burke (118) - Alec Burks and Rodney Hood will take shots away from him.
Evan Turner (125) - Celtics have too much depth.
Josh Smith (127) - Bad percentages and not enough shots.
Gerald Henderson (129) - He is losing ground in a hurry and isn’t healthy.
Jared Sullinger (130) - He might be out of the rotation.
Ranked lower than expected
DeMarcus Cousins (7) - Easily should be higher than LeBron.
Eric Bledsoe (27) - Bledsoe in an eight-cat is easily worth a second-round pick.
Victor Oladipo (32) - Ditto.
Al Horford (47) - He’s a nine-cat superstar, but added 3s could help a lot.
Danny Green (50) - Could be a first-rounder in nine-cat, but should be top 40 in eight.
Mike Conley (56) - Back in 2012-13, he was a second-rounder.
Kemba Walker (58) - The addition of Batum should help his FG%.
Greg Monroe (60) - I’m not a Monroe backer, but he should go before the sixth round.
C.J. McCollum (71) - My guy.
Nikola Mirotic (79) - Another breakout candidate.
Ricky Rubio (80) - In an eight-cat, Rubio could be a top-25 guy even with poor shooting.
Michael Carter-Williams (89) - MCW is a Roto nightmare, but he’s better than this in eight-cat.
Trevor Ariza (92) -Should be a top-50 player.
Marcin Gortat (94) - Even in eight-cat, he was still a second-round guy post break.
Alec Burks (117) - If he goes back to making shots at the rim, big things are coming.
Scroll-Down Gang worth consideration in standard (guys after 130)
Al-Farouq Aminu (137) - Could be a mini-Draymond.
Darren Collison (135) - Even as a backup, there’s a good chance he cracks top 100. Very fantasy friendly.
Aaron Gordon (148) - Breakout special.
Frank Kaminsky (152) - Much better for points leagues.
Rodney Hood (182) - Love Hood.
Nik Stauskas (186) - Sauce is banged up, but the 76ers want him to thrive so badly.
T.J. Warren (293) - He is much better in points leagues, but worth monitoring in any format.
Doug McDermott (308) - He loses some ground off the bench.
Alex Len (351) - He’ll get his 23 minutes and put up top-100 value; needs to stay healthy.
Kyle O’Quinn (397) - One of the most impressive players this month; fantasy-friendly game.
Nemanja Bjelica (462) - Such tremendous upside and could be valuable with 24 minutes.
Patrick Patterson (466) - I’m not a 2-Pat guy, but he is worth a look as a starter.
Courtney Lee (513) - Very good guy for fantasy; started last year as an early-rounder.
Kosta Koufos (514) - More of a 14-team guy, but definitely on the radar as a late pick.
Stash guys or players to put on your watch list
Bobby Portis (222) - Super stash special. FREE BOBBY PORTIS.
Montrezl Harrell (230) - If Terrence Jones is hurt, we might get a lot of the Monster.
R.J. Hunter (231) - Should be in the rotation.
Joseph Young (249) - He’s the backup PG and George Hill is hurt a lot.
Nikola Jokic (277) - Great per-minute guy and Jusuf Nurkic is hurt.
Clint Capela (280) - Should be a good opener for him; looked great on Monday.
Jerami Grant (290) - He should get 24 minutes, but needs to shoot better.
P.J. Hairston (295) - He’ll probably start.
Dwight Powell (301) - Very nice upside and might get hot if Dirk misses time.
Joffrey Lauvergne (347) - Starting to put up numbers, but not a major upside guy.
Allen Crabbe (355) - If Gerald Henderson is out, Crabbe might get it going.
Tim Hardaway Jr. (363) - Apparently, the Hawks like him. For now, anyway.
Kelly Olynyk (366) - Should be in the rotation and doesn’t need many minutes.
Aron Baynes (375) - Very nice fantasy upside with good percentages.
Mirza Teletovic (386) - If Markieff is dealt, he could be a big pickup. Watch Jon Leuer, too.
Tyler Zeller (389) - Decent chance he starts.
Thomas Robinson (394) - Could be a sneaky points-league guy.
Kendall Marshall (403) - If you’re in a deep league with an IR spot, give him a look.
John Jenkins (408) - Killer preseason, but value hinges on Wes Matthews.
Moe Harkless (410) - Should be in the rotation sans Hendo.
Festus Ezeli (413) - When Bogut sits, Ezeli could be a top-150 guy.
Jae Crowder (416) - Should start, but still not a big upside.
Will Barton (417) - The Nuggets rotation is a mess right now.
Derrick Williams (431) - Don’t read too much into the preseason.
Cory Joseph (442) - If Lowry gets hurt, Cory Jo should be a nice pickup.
Tiago Splitter (453) - If Horford or Millsap go down, Tiago could be productive.
Jeremy Evans (454) - Might actually start if Chandler Parsons is out; very low upside.
Greivis Vasquez (456) - Is he a better fit at PG than MCW?
Patty Mills (478) - The Spurs are a lot thinner at guard than usual.
Jodie Meeks (490) - It was all good just a year ago.
Josh McRoberts (533) - Love the Heat offense with the interior passing.
Brandan Wright (529) - One injury away from being big time.
Jared Dudley (538) - The Wizards should use him a lot; John Wall can really help him.
Marco Belinelli (540) - A lot of this has to do with Ben McLemore.
Thabo Sefolosha (544) - Low usage rate, but could get steals, blocks, boards and threes.
Channing Frye (563) - I really really hope he doesn’t start.
Kirk Hinrich (590) - Starter?
Luis Scola (594) - Could start over 2-Pat.
Samuel Dalembert (608) - It won’t be long before he’s in the doghouse.
Andre Miller (614) - Prof. Dre!!!
Check back later this week for the Yahoo! breakdown.