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Keeper Draft: 9-cat, Auction

by Jared Johnson
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

The “mock” draft below isn’t actually a mock draft at all; it’s the actual results from one of my 9-cat, ultra-competitive, head-to-head, 12-team keeper leagues. We’ve been doing this league for nine years now, and our roster goes 16-deep (including an injury-reserve spot).

 

If this is your first time doing an auction draft, here are some general pointers:
 

  • Until the dollar rounds, you should never nominate the person you’d like to draft. Why? The longer your targets sits on the board, the lower the money pool gets, and conversely, the price point of this individual will continue to decline. Early on you should be nominating either the big-money guys (Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry, etc.) or those aging superstars that will likely be drafted based on their name more so than the actual fantasy value they offer (i.e. Kobe Bryant). The object is to try and get people to spend their budget on guys you’re either not very high on, or simply do not fit with your strategy.
     
  • Be willing to adapt to the draft. You should go into the draft with a general idea of the team you’d like to construct, and have some predetermined price points for these players. However, you shouldn’t be afraid to go a couple bucks over that evaluation if this player is integral to your team’s strategy. At the same time, you don’t want to be stubborn. If one of your favorite targets starts to go into a price range that you’re not comfortable paying, move on to Plan B.
     
  • Try and secure a solid first and second option at each position.
     
  • There are two general strategies which you will see unfold in the draft below: Stars-and-scrubs, a high-risk strategy involving building your team around a top-5 talent. Or a balanced approach, in which you try not to exceed more than $40 on any one player.

 

Below is a list of the players that were kept for the 2015-16 season, in parentheses I have the estimated value that these guys will likely go for in a 9-cat, head-to-head leagues.

 

Keepers

Rudy Gobert 

$11 ($40-$45)

Jeff Teague 

$20 ($20 - $25)

Hassan Whiteside

$11 ($25 - $30)

Kawhi Leonard 

$55 ($50 - $60)

Chris Bosh 

$11* ($25 - $30)

Carmelo Anthony 

$11* ($35 - $55)

Andrew Wiggins  

$16 ($8 - $13)

Stephen Curry 

$84 ($75 - $85)

Danny Green 

$12 ($12 - $15)

Paul George  

$11 ($35 - $40)

Khris Middleton  

$11 ($8 - $12)

Jimmy Butler 

$17 ($40 - $50)

Draymond Green 

$13 ($25 - $35)

Kevin Durant

$64 ($65 - $75)

Gordon Hayward 

$24 ($20 - $25)

Brandon Knight  

$12 ($10 - $15)

Pau Gasol 

$24 ($20 - $30)

The rules in this keeper league are as follows:

A player’s keeper value is set by tacking on $10 to said players auction draft price from the previous season.

 

Players swooped off waivers cost $11 to retain.

 

We also have a unique rule where if someone is dropped, their auction draft price resets, which is why both Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh were able to be retained for $11 this year.

 

Rudy Gobert, Hassan Whiteside, Khris Middleton and Paul George were all waiver wire swoops last season, which explains their value.

 

Out of the keepers retained, I was not a fan of Andrew Wiggins at $16. Yes, Wiggins had an impressive stretch of play after the All-Star break last season, posting averages of 20.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.7 blocks per game on 44.6 percent shooting from the field and 78.3 percent from the stripe, but that was only good enough for 11th round value in 9-cat leagues. Perhaps he takes another step forward during his sophomore season, but I think Wiggins would have very likely gone for less than $16 on draft day. If you’re in a keeper league and debating whom you should keep, consider the value saved as the most important quality. Maybe there’s a guy that you believe is necessary for the strategy of your team, but if you’re keeping him at a price that exceeds his average auction cost, I’d recommend letting his value play out in the draft room and guarantee you save money on someone else.

 

Aside from Stephen Curry $84 and Andrew Wiggins $16, all these keepers were retained at a value either around their expected auction day price or significantly below it. Jimmy Butler $17, Draymond Green $13, Rudy Gobert $11, Paul George $11, Carmelo Anthony $11 and Chris Bosh $11 are all obvious steals, so when I break down the draft below, I will not be including these keeper picks as “steals” in my breakdown as they technically were not a part of the auction draft.

 

Rather than simply run down the list of auction prices, I will be going into each team’s strategy and identifying the steals, value picks, overbids, risk/reward selections and my favorite low-budget targets of each squad. I’ll be defining a steal as someone who went for less than they should have and will more than likely greatly exceed their draft price; whereas a value pick will be defined as a player that I’ve seen consistently go for a low price ($10-$15 range) while having the potential to greatly exceed expectations. However, it should be noted that not every team had each one of the these characteristics, so if you don’t see the “overbid” category under a team, it’s not because I forgot it, but because I didn’t feel this owner overbid on any one player.

 

The Draft Results:

 

Pick

Player

Cost

1.

Anthony Davis

$89

2.

Paul Millsap

$35

3.

LeBron James

$67

4.

Chris Paul 

$60

5.

Kobe Bryant 

$10

6.

Reggie Jackson 

$24

7.

James Harden

$72

8.

DeMarcus Cousins

$65

9.

Russell Westbrook 

$73

10.

Nikola Mirotic 

$17

11.

Damian Lillard 

$62

12.

Karl-Anthony Towns 

$16

13.

Klay Thompson

$48

14.

Victor Oladipo

$29

15.

Nikola Vucevic 

$35

16.

LaMarcus Aldridge 

$40

17.

Kevin Love 

$32

18.

Blake Griffin 

$38

19.

John Wall

$46

20.

Eric Bledsoe 

$29

21.

Marc Gasol 

$33

22.

Mike Conley

$21

23.

Serge Ibaka 

$31

24.

Jordan Clarkson 

$8

25.

Al Horford 

$31

26.

Kyle Lowry 

$32

27.

Rudy Gay 

$23

28.

Kyrie Irving 

$27

29.

Tim Duncan 

$16

30.

Zaza Pachulia 

$1

31.

Nerlens Noel 

$30

32.

DeAndre Jordan 

$25

33.

Derrick Favors 

$18

34.

Kenneth Faried 

$15

35.

Brook Lopez 

$15

36.

D'Angelo Russell 

$10

37.

Dwight Howard 

$18

38.

Andre Drummond 

$31

39.

Trevor Ariza 

$23

40.

T.J. Warren 

$1

41.

Al Jefferson 

$21

42.

Elfrid Payton 

$12

43.

Kemba Walker 

$24

44.

Jonas Valanciunas 

$9

45.

Dirk Nowitzki 

$8

46.

Isaiah Thomas 

$15

47.

Marcin Gortat 

$8

48.

Josh Smith 

$5

49.

Tobias Harris 

$10

50.

Giannis Antetokounmpo 

$16

51.

J.J. Redick 

$9

52.

Jeff Green 

$1

53.

Dwyane Wade 

$12

54.

Tyreke Evans 

$15

55.

Danilo Gallinari 

$9

56.

DeMar DeRozan 

$10

57.

Monta Ellis 

$18

58.

Ricky Rubio 

$16

59.

Greg Monroe 

$17

60.

Zach LaVine 

$4

61.

Jrue Holiday 

$10

62.

Bradley Beal 

$9

63.

DeMarre Carroll 

$12

64.

Chandler Parsons 

$14

65.

George Hill 

$6

66.

C.J. McCollum 

$11

67.

David Lee 

$4

68.

Kyle Korver 

$16

69.

Goran Dragic 

$17

70.

Robert Covington 

$7

71.

Zach Randolph 

$16

72.

Julius Randle 

$8

73.

Jahlil Okafor 

$5

74.

Terrence Jones 

$6

75.

Derrick Rose 

$8

76.

Nicolas Batum 

$19

77.

Tyson Chandler

$11

78.

Gorgui Dieng 

$8

79.

Robin Lopez 

$5

80.

Thaddeus Young 

$9

81.

Ty Lawson 

$8

82.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 

$8

83.

Deron Williams 

$7

84.

Emmanuel Mudiay 

$9

85.

Enes Kanter 

$7

86.

Joakim Noah 

$7

87.

Jabari Parker 

$4

88.

Wesley Matthews 

$14

89.

Michael Carter-Williams 

$6

90.

Luol Deng 

$2

91.

Meyers Leonard 

$11

92.

Ryan Anderson 

$14

93.

Roy Hibbert 

$6

94.

Rajon Rondo 

$2

95.

Brandon Jennings 

$4

96.

Lance Stephenson 

$1

97.

Kevin Martin 

$3

98.

Joffrey Lauvergne 

$2

99.

Brandan Wright 

$1

100.

Ersan Ilyasova 

$3

101.

Jae Crowder 

$2

102.

Markieff Morris 

$11

103.

Timofey Mozgov 

$2

104.

Darren Collison 

$4

105.

Tony Parker 

$4

106.

Evan Turner 

$1

107.

Eric Gordon 

$4

108.

Trey Burke 

$4

109.

Paul Pierce 

$1

110.

Jared Sullinger 

$1

111.

Willie Cauley-Stein 

$2

112.

Joe Johnson 

$4

113.

Amir Johnson 

$1

114.

Al-Farouq Aminu 

$4

115.

Stanley Johnson 

$9

116.

Jusuf Nurkic 

$4

117.

Andre Iguodala 

$1

118.

Wilson Chandler 

$3

119.

Marcus Smart 

$2

120.

Andrew Bogut 

$2

121.

Frank Kaminsky 

$1

122.

Ben McLemore 

$2

123.

Rodney Hood 

$1

124.

Myles Turner 

$1

125.

Jarrett Jack 

$2

126.

Aaron Gordon 

$3

127.

Dennis Schroder 

$1

128.

Corey Brewer 

$1

129.

Lou Williams 

$1

130.

Alec Burks 

$2

131.

Patrick Patterson 

$1

132.

Harrison Barnes 

$2

133.

Jamal Crawford 

$2

134.

Otto Porter 

$2

135.

Mason Plumlee 

$1

136.

John Henson 

$1

137.

Avery Bradley 

$3

138.

Evan Fournier 

$1

139.

J.R. Smith 

$3

140.

Kristaps Porzingis 

$1

141.

Nikola Pekovic 

$1

142.

Tony Allen 

$1

143.

Jeremy Lin 

$1

144.

Will Barton 

$1

145.

Gerald Green 

$1

146.

Jerian Grant 

$1

147.

Andrea Bargnani 

$1

148.

P.J. Tucker 

$1

149.

Jose Calderon 

$1

150.

Steven Adams 

$1

151.

Doug McDermott 

$1

152.

Anderson Varejao 

$1

153.

Arron Afflalo 

$1

154.

Isaiah Canaan

$1

155.

Devin Harris 

$1

156.

Manu Ginobili 

$1

157.

Boris Diaw 

$1

158.

Nik Stauskas 

$1

159.

Ed Davis 

$1

160.

Mo Williams 

$1

161.

Justise Winslow 

$1

162.

Langston Galloway 

$1

163.

Gerald Henderson 

$1

164.

David West 

$3

165.

Patrick Beverley 

$1

166.

Marco Belinelli

$1

167.

C.J. Miles 

$1

168.

Bojan Bogdanovic 

$1

169.

Courtney Lee 

$1

170.

Nemanja Bjelica 

$1

171.

Marcus Morris 

$1

172.

Iman Shumpert 

$1

173.

Kyle O'Quinn 

$1

174.

Kosta Koufos 

$1

175.

Jordan Hill 

$1

 

Below is the breakdown of each team starting with the one I assembled. When “K” replaces the draft pick it is to indicate that that player was a keeper player.

 

Team Jared

1.

Victor Oladipo 

$29

2.

Kyle Lowry 

$32

3.

Brook Lopez 

$15

4.

Andre Drummond 

$31

5.

Trevor Ariza 

$23

6.

Marcin Gortat 

$8

7.

Danilo Gallinari 

$9

8.

Goran Dragic 

$17

9.

Terrence Jones 

$6

10.

Rodney Hood

$1

11.

J.R. Smith 

$3

12.

Gerald Green 

$1

13.

Arron Afflalo 

$1

14.

Mo Williams 

$1

K.

Danny Green 

$12

K.

Rudy Gobert  

$11

While this wasn’t precisely the team I had intended to draft, I was very pleased with how everything played out. I’m not a big risk taker, so I’m not much a fan of the stars-and-scrubs strategy. $50 is usually my max for a player, and saving money during the early spending allows you to come away with a lot of value picks late when everyone else has spent most their money. The key to my strategy was pairing Rudy Gobert and Andre Drummond, which will make my squad dominant in rebounding and shot blocking each and every week. Additionally, because these guys shoot such a high percentage from the field, they allowed me to add some low-percentage, 3-point bombers without taking too much of a hit to my FG%.

 

Risk/Reward Picks
Kyle Lowry $32, Brook Lopez $16, Danilo Gallinari $9, Terrence Jones $6

For Jones and Gallinari, at that price point, the reward greatly outweighs the risk. I’m thinking Jones is going to have a breakout season as the starting power forward in Houston, and I would have gladly gone into the $10-$12 range for him. Gallinari was a first-round stud after the break last season, and as one of the only guys that can really create his own shot in Denver, I think he’s in for a monster season (pending health). For $9 bucks, I’ll gladly assume the risk.

 

Kyle Lowry was my backup plan to Damian Lillard. I really wanted Lillard this year (had him and won a championship with him last year), but once he went $60+ I had to duck out of the bidding war. Instead of going all in on Lillard, I broke up that $60 bucks (well, $61 actually) between Victor Oladipo ($29) and Lowry ($32). Yes, the injury history of Lowry makes him a bit of a risk by having him as the best point guard on my roster, but he’s looked amazing through the preseason, and perhaps that 20 pounds he dropped during the offseason will help him stay healthy this year.

 

I also think by only spending $16 on Brook Lopez, the reward outweighs the risk. Yes, Lopez has been a bust in two of his seven season of professional basketball, but he made it through 72 games last season, putting up second-round value in the process (top-10 after the break). The bone graft procedure he underwent has an extremely high success rate, and I think as Brooklyn’s leader and franchise player, BroLo could be in for a career-year.

 

Steal
Marcin Gortat $8

I couldn’t believe that no one bid up Gortat, he was a first-round guy after the All-Star break last season, and playing in Washington’s new uptempo system can only help his value. I didn’t go into the draft with Gortat as one of my primary targets, but once I saw that the league wasn’t that interested in him, I bid up to $8 and came away with the steal.

 

Overbid

Trevor Ariza $23

Ariza for $23 isn’t a huge amount, but it is slightly over his average draft price. However, I viewed him as a necessary component to my team, and I was happy to spend a bit more expected for his elite contributions to the steals and 3-point categories. Also, with Andre Drummond, Brook Lopez, Marcin Gortat, and Rudy Gobert, his 40.2 percent shooting from the field is pretty much negated.

 

Favorite Low-Money Targets

J.R. Smith $3, Arron Afflalo $1, Gerald Green $1

J.R. Smith has been under-drafted in just about every draft I’ve participated in this year, so he should definitely be on your radar towards those later rounds. Playing next to LeBron James can do a player wonders, and Smith was a third-round guy after the All-Star break last season. He’s a slow starter, but I love his ability to go off for 10 three-pointers on any given night.

 

I think Afflalo gives me some nice value as a low-end, points and 3-pointers specialist. He’ll be one of the better players in New York this season, and I think he’s in for a nice year. Gerald Green could have a ton of opportunity playing in Miami, particularly on those inevitable rest days for Dwyane Wade.

 

Team Adam

1.

Damian Lillard 

$62

2.

Marc Gasol 

$33

3.

Jordan Clarkson 

$8

4.

Zaza Pachulia 

$1

5.

Derrick Favors 

$18

6.

DeMarre Carroll 

$12

7.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 

$8

8.

Emmanuel Mudiay 

$9

9.

Amir Johnson 

$1

10.

Stanley Johnson 

$9

11.

Jusuf Nurkic 

$4

12.

Myles Turner 

$1

13.

Alec Burks 

$2

14.

Mason Plumlee 

$1

K.

Paul George 

$11

K.

Jeff Teague 

$20

Adam outbid me for Lillard, and while he did pay a bit much, he came away with one of my favorite teams. I like the Damian Lillard/Paul George combo, and I think from top-to-bottom he built a pretty solid team, successfully balancing his risk/reward selections with solid value plays in Marc Gasol, Derrick Favors and DeMarre Carroll.  

 

Risk/Reward Picks

Emmanuel Mudiay $9, Stanley Johnson $9, Jordan Clarkson $8

While I think all these guys have the potential to put in a solid 2015-16 season, I thought their respective price points were a bit high for what could be considered unproven players. Nothing wrong here, but there is some risk given the money spent.

 

Value Pick

DeMarre Carroll $12, Marc Gasol $33

Adam said he spent a little more than he wanted to on Carroll, but I thought this was a solid acquisition. Carroll was a low-key, top-30* guy after the All-Star break last season, and he even stepped into a feature role on offense during Atlanta’s playoff run. My favorite part of Carroll’s game is that he really doesn’t need the ball in his hands to put in solid fantasy value (which is good for a guy playing next to Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan), and I think he could be in for a career-year in his first season with the Raptors.

 

Gasol for $33 was slightly above his average draft day price, but that’s some solid value for a second-round center that doesn’t hurt you in any one category. He also made it through 81 games last season, and in general, is a guy that tends to stay healthy.

 

Overbid

Damian Lillard $62, Kantavias Caldwell-Pope $8

The only reason I’m including Damian here is because at $62 I think you’re kind of paying for his ceiling. He’s going to be a stud, but if he’s not a top-8 stud, that $62 could feel like a bit much.

 

KCP on the other hand, no thank you sir for $8. I think that’s $7 too much. He basically only scores inefficiently (40.1 percent from the field, 69.6 percent from the line), and he could potentially lose some playing time to Stanley Johnson this season. Yeah he put in 1.9 three-pointers per game last season, but his high-volume, low-make approach to shooting severely weighs down his value. This was one of my least favorite picks for Adam.

 

Favorite Low-Money Targets

Myles Turner $1, Alec Burks $2

I’m not extremely high on Burks, but he’s a good bet to exceed his draft day value of $2 if he can remain healthy. I love Turner and was sad to see him go during the $1 rounds. He’s a big man that can swat shots, drain triples, and knock down his free throws at a solid rate. While he may start slow coming off the bench behind Ian Mahinmi, there’s plenty to love about this young man’s game.

 

Team Daniel

1.

DeMarcus Cousins 

$65

2.

Al Horford 

$31

3.

DeAndre Jordan 

$25

4.

Zach LaVine 

$4

5.

Kyle Korver 

$16

6.

Markieff Morris 

$11

7.

Willie Cauley-Stein 

$2

8.

Joe Johnson 

$4

9.

Marcus Smart 

$2

10.

Jarrett Jack 

$2

11.

Aaron Gordon 

$3

12.

Jamal Crawford 

$2

13.

Otto Porter 

$2

14.

Avery Bradley 

$3

K.

Khris Middleton 

$11

K.

Jimmy Butler 

$17

I thought Daniel put together a very competitive squad. The DeMarcus Cousins, Al Horford, DeAndre Jordan combo is solid, and he came away with some real nice low-budget guys in Willie Cauley-Stein, Jarrett Jack, Otto Porter and Aaron Gordon. He didn’t take too many risks, and most of his targets were right on value. My only criticism for this team is I think he could have spent a bit more money earlier. I think one more guy around $10, or a guy with a bit more upside than Korver ($16) would have been better than the multiple low-budget buys on his squad.

 

Risk/Reward Pick

Markieff Morris $11

To say Markieff Morris’ offseason was a bit chaotic would be quite the understatement. Not only is he demanding a trade from the team that gives him the best opportunity to perform, he’s also dealing with some very serious legal allegations regarding an alleged assault that took place outside of a youth center in Phoenix, Arizona. Who knows how the trade market will play out for Kieff, but if he’s moved, it’s tough to see him landing in a situation better than Phoenix. As for the legal troubles, if he’s found guilty of felony assault, he could be looking at a massive suspension from the league. Still, $11 isn’t a whole lot, and if everything works out, Morris is a solid mid-round guy.

 

Overbid

Joe Johnson $4

$4 obviously isn’t a huge amount of money, but with Johnson far removed from his best days, I just though this price was slightly too much. I actually nominated Johnson in the hopes that Daniel would bite, and it resulted in me being able to steal J.R. Smith for $3 later on.

 

Favorite Low-Budget Targets

Daniel had the most money when we got into the dollar buys, so he stole a lot of people’s dollar nominations. I think he got excellent value in Willie Cauley-Stein, who could be nice source of blocks and boards if he wins the starting gig in Sacramento. And I also believe that Avery Bradley is an excellent value-buy at $3, Jarrett Jack at $2 could turn out to be a steal, and Otto Porter at $2 is most excellent. These are all high-upside guys that Daniel got at a discount.

 

Team Bry

1.

Nikola Mirotic 

$17

2.

Tyreke Evans 

$15

3.

Ricky Rubio 

$16

4.

Nicolas Batum 

$19

5.

Meyers Leonard 

$11

6.

Ryan Anderson 

$14

7.

Jared Sullinger 

$1

8.

Frank Kaminsky 

$1

9.

Jeremy Lin 

$1

10.

Doug McDermott 

$1

11.

Nik Stauskas 

$1

12.

C.J. Miles 

$1

13.

Nemanja Bjelica 

$1

14.

Kyle O'Quinn 

$1

K.

Andrew Wiggins 

$16

K.

Stephen Curry 

$84

If there were ever a model for how to build a stars-and-scrubs squad, Bry supplied it (minus the Wiggins selection). He spent a ton of money on Stephen Curry, but he had some solid under-the-radar, low-budget targets that brought his team together.

 

Risk/Reward Picks

Ricky Rubio $16, Ryan Anderson $14

Ricky Rubio for $16 was a massive risk/reward pick, and while I’m not much a fan of that selection, he does fit the team he’s on. If he’s able to stay healthy this season, Bry will benefit from his elite contributions to the assist and steals categories.

 

Ryan Anderson struggled to do much last year, averaging 13.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 three-pointers per game (amounting to a 10th round valuation in 9-cat leagues) but I think he has the potential to step up in a big way playing in Alvin Gentry’s run-and-gun system. I was surprised to see him go all the way up to $14, but given the upside, the semi-high dollar amount is justifiable.

 

Value Picks

Nicolas Batum $19, Nikola Mirotic $17

Bry was really good about being patient throughout the draft, and when Nicolas Batum finally came on the board with the 76th nomination, Bry had the most money to spend. If you’re going to employ a stars-and-scrubs strategy, you have to make an effort to sit back and watch all the other big names come off the board. Batum has been seriously undervalued this year, but I think he has all the tools to return to early-round production in his first season with the Hornets. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist going down with a season ending shoulder injury will likely result in Batum being forced into massive minutes, so the arrow is pointing up for the Frenchman.

 

Nikola Mirotic could also be in for a massive season with the Bulls, and if he’s able to realize his potential, the $17 spent will be an afterthought for Bry. Once Mirotic became a regular part of the rotation last season, he put in averages of 16.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.7 three-pointers, 0.9 steals and 0.9 blocks per game which was good enough for fifth-round value in 9-cat leagues. Treys from the power forward position are always nice in fantasy hoops, and I don’t think Mirotic will have any trouble hitting mid-round value during his second year in Chicago.

 

Overbid

Andrew Wiggins $16

I touched on this earlier, so I won’t go into too much detail here. Wiggins was my least favorite pick by Bry, and he didn’t even have to spend that much money. Choose your keepers wisely, not just guys you like.

 

Favorite Low-Money Targets

Doug McDermott $1, Nik Stauskas $1, Jeremy Lin $1, Nemanja Bejlica $1

Doug McDermott has the potential to explode in his second season in Chicago. He’s been going off during the preseason to the tune of 16.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.2 three-pointers per game, and I think even when Mike Dunleavy comes back, McBucket’s value will be safe because it looks like Fred Hoiberg is grooming him for the sixth man role.

 

Nik “Sauce Castillo” Stauskas is loaded with upside, and because our league has an injury reserve slot, I loved this pick. He is dealing with a stress reaction in his leg and playing for a team that absolutely will not push the injury, but for a $1-flier, this is a solid pick.

 

Jeremy Lin has looked great in Charlotte, and I think he too will be having some increased opportunity with the injury to MKG. Again, for a $1, this is an excellent pick.

 

Nemanja Bejlica is a bit of a mysterious late-round $1 pickup, but he looked really good during the EuroBasket tournament, so why not spend a buck on him late?

 

Team Kevin G

1.

Anthony Davis 

$89

2.

Kobe Bryant 

$10

3.

Jonas Valanciunas 

$9

4.

Dirk Nowitzki 

$8

5.

Isaiah Thomas 

$15

6.

Dwyane Wade 

$12

7.

Bradley Beal 

$9

8.

Jahlil Okafor 

$5

9.

Ty Lawson 

$8

10.

Brandon Jennings 

$4

11.

Paul Pierce 

$1

12.

Ben McLemore 

$2

13.

Patrick Patterson 

$1

14.

Harrison Barnes

$2

15.

Tony Allen 

$1

K.

Gordon Hayward  

$24

If Bry was an example of how to successfully employ a high-risk, stars-and-scrubs strategy, Kevin G. gave a good example of what can go wrong when blowing nearly half your budget on a guy like Anthony Davis. I also think he just went far to risky by drafting Bradley Beal, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and Brandon Jennings. Spending $89 on Davis he was already risky, coupling that with spending money on low-end guys that have spent a significant amount of time on the sidelines over the years could end in disaster.

 

Risk/Reward Picks

Bradley Beal $9, Ty Lawson $8

We all know the story with Beal. He’s a solid mid-round guy when healthy, but the problem is that he hasn’t been healthy for his entire career. Maybe he gets it together, but I thought $9 was a bit much for a guy that often finds himself on the sidelines often.

 

Ty Lawson could certainly pan out with a fresh start in Houston, and I think the risk is largely negated by the fact Kevin only had to drop $8 on him.

 

Value Picks

Jonas Valanciunas $9

We often talk about Valanciunas’ upside, but we’ve rarely seen it materialize over the past few seasons as he simply has not earned head coach Dwane Casey’s trust and was regularly benched during fourth quarters. However, fresh off signing a big money, four-year extension, there’s a strong possibility Casey is pushed by the Toronto front office to finally unleash the Jonas. For just 9 bucks, this pick could look like a steal at the end of the season.

 

Overbid

Kobe Bryant $10, Dwyane Wade $12, Brandon Jennings $4

Unless you’re a diehard Laker fan, I think it’s very easy to accept that Kobe is well past his prime. Over the past two seasons, he’s only made it through a mere 41 games, and his horrific field goal percentage (37.3 percent shooting on 20.4 shots per game) and ridiculous turnover rate (3.7) had him outside the top-100 last year. I can get behind spending around $4 on The Black Mamba for what will likely be his final year, but $10 is just too much.

 

Wade at $12 is particularly bad considering how little money Kevin had. He’s another guy that’s had major issues staying healthy over the years, and his lack of a 3-point shot (0.5) and high turnover rate (3.4) limits his upside. Wade used to be elite because he could give you 1.1 blocks per game from the shooting guard position, but the 2015-Wade averaged a mere 0.3 blocks per contest.

 

Brandon Jennings at $4 was $3 too much. He’s coming off an Achilles injury, won’t be ready for the season opener, and he’ll be brought along slowly as he’s eased back into the rotation. He also has a guy named Reggie Jackson in front of him holding down the starting point guard position, so there are plenty of reasons not to draft Jennings this year, particularly for $4.  

 

Team Zev

1.

Karl-Anthony Towns 

$16

2.

Serge Ibaka 

$31

3.

Rudy Gay 

$23

4.

Nerlens Noel 

$30

5.

Dwight Howard 

$18

6.

Monta Ellis

$18

7.

Greg Monroe 

$17

8.

Chandler Parsons 

$14

9.

George Hill 

$6

10.

C.J. McCollum 

$11

11.

Thaddeus Young 

$9

12.

Evan Turner 

$1

13.

Andre Iguodala 

$1

14.

Wilson Chandler 

$3

15.

Corey Brewer 

$1

16.

P.J. Tucker 

$1

 

Zev constructed a nice team, and getting Serge Ibaka for just $31 bucks in a 9-cat league is a stupid steal. My only real criticism for this team is that it doesn’t really have a proven, top-tier point guard, and pairing Dwight Howard with Serge didn’t make much sense to me.

 

Risk/Reward Picks

Chandler Parsons $14

Chandler Parsons is the ultimate risk/reward pick this season, and if he’s able to stay healthy, he could make us all look stupid for not spending more on him. He’s going to be a major factor in Dallas’ offense this season, and the only thing holding him back from elite-value is health. However, we shouldn’t discount the health factor. The problem is that the Mavs have been sparse on the updates with Parsons, who underwent a modified microfracture knee surgery this offseason, and that’s not a great sign. He’s also playing on a team that may very well be eliminated from the playoff hunt early, which could result in him spending the end of the year on the sidelines. Risk/reward.

 

Steal

Serge Ibaka $31

When the clock ran out on Serge, and he was won for $31, I really regretted not bidding him up some more. Serge started the year slow last season, but that was largely due to Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant beginning the year on the sidelines. He’s not comfortable being the No. 1 option on offense, but with the Thunder’s group back together and healthy for the 2015-16 season, Ibaka should have no trouble returning to first-round value. In seven games after the All-Star break last season, Serge averaged 17.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per game on 54.7 percent shooting from the field and 84.0 percent from the stripe. Yeah, $31 is a stupid steal.

 

Value Pick

C.J. McCollum $11

C.J. McCollum is one of Rotoworld’s most hyped young prospects, and he could be in for a fantastic season as one of Portland’s building blocks. He’s been a monster throughout the preseason, averaging 19.2 points, 5.4 assists and 2.2 three-pointers per game. He’s going to be a stud, and $11 is a solid price.

 

Overbid

Dwight Howard $18

I can't wrap my head around why Zev paid so much to land big D12, and suddenly turn his squad into a free throw punting team. His big man trio of Serge Ibaka, Karl-Anthony Towns and Greg Monroe are all solid free throw shooters, and while Noel isn’t great from the line (60.9 percent) he only goes to the stripe 3.1 times per contest, which isn’t exactly going to destroy you. Howard on the other hand goes to the stripe 6.6 times per game while making just 52.8 percent of those attempts, pretty much guaranteeing you a loss in free throw percentage each and every week. Partner that with the fact that he turns the ball over 2.8 times per game, and $18 bucks seems like a heavy price to pay for Howard, particularly on a team that did not have to punt.

 

Favorite Low-Money Targets

Wilson Chandler $3, P.J. Tucker $1

I love Wilson Chandler’s multi-category production. He averaged 14.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.6 three-pointers, 1.0 steal and 0.3 blocks after the All-Star break last season, although if he doesn’t start, his value could take a hit.

 

Tucker was a sneaky mid-round guy last season, averaging 9.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.1 three-pointers and 1.4 steals per game on 43.8 percent shooting from the field and 72.7 from the stripe. As long as he’s starting for the Suns, he should be a nice source of steals for Zev. Although with how well T.J. Warren has played during the preseason, Tucker starting is no certainty.

 

Team Josh

1.

Nikola Vucevic 

$35

2.

LaMarcus Aldridge 

$40

3.

John Wall 

$46

4.

Kyrie Irving 

$27

5.

J.J. Redick 

$9

6.

Jrue Holiday 

$10

7.

Tyson Chandler 

$11

8.

Wesley Matthews 

$14

9.

Brandan Wright 

$1

10.

Will Barton 

$1

11.

Anderson Varejao 

$1

12.

Ed Davis 

$1

13.

Patrick Beverley 

$1

14.

Bojan Bogdanovic 

$1

15.

Marcus Morris 

$1

16.

Kosta Koufos 

$1

Josh’s team is heavily built on risk, but I do like his big man combo of Nikola Vucevic, LaMarcus Aldridge and Tyson Chandler. If the risky buys of Jrue Holiday $10, Kyrie Irving $27 and Wesley Matthews $14 produce, he could have himself a nice squad, but there are a lot of “ifs” there.

 

Risk/Reward Picks

Kyrie Irving $27, Jrue Holiday $10

Irving remains without a timetable to return, and there’s a chance he remains on the sidelines in Cleveland until January. The injury-reserve spot in our league makes the $27 spent a little more understandable, but that’s a lot of money to spend on a guy with no clear return date.

 

Holiday is going to be on a 15-minute-limit until January, and a stress reaction in his right leg has limited him to a total of 74 games over the past two seasons. However, when Holiday is on the court, he’s a top-30 guy, it’s just that he hasn’t been on the court very often in recent memory.

 

Value Pick

Tyson Chandler $11

While $11 is a bit over Chandler’s average auction price ($7.2) this is still a solid buy. He’s a guy that can rack up the rebounds while shooting solid percentages and chipping in some defensive stats, so I’m fine with the $11 spent.

 

Overbid

Wesley Matthews $14

$14 was a huge amount of money to spend on a guy that is coming off an Achilles injury and playing for a team that could be out of the playoff hunt early. Wesley was pretty awesome before the Achilles injury, compiling averages of 15.9 points, 2.9 three-pointers and 1.3 steals per game, but Achilles injuries can sometimes be career-enders. I like Matthews, and hope he proves me wrong, but $14 is just way over budget in my opinion.

 

Favorite Low-Money Targets

Marcus Morris $1

Morris is unlikely to be a difference-maker in fantasy leagues this season, but he makes for a nice, cheap source of 3-pointers late.

 

Team Bryan

1.

Chris Paul 

$60

2.

Tim Duncan 

$16

3.

Kenneth Faried 

$15

4.

T.J. Warren 

$1

5.

Jeff Green 

$1

6.

Derrick Rose 

$8

7.

Jabari Parker 

$4

8.

Michael Carter-Williams 

$6

9.

Kevin Martin 

$3

10.

Ersan Ilyasova 

$3

11.

Jae Crowder

$2

12.

Darren Collison 

$4

13.

Eric Gordon 

$4

14.

Trey Burke 

$4

K.

Hassan Whiteside  

$11

K.

Kawhi Leonard 

$55

 

 

 

Bryan has a very nice base with Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard, Hassan Whiteside and Tim Duncan. However, he also has some of my least favorite players in Derrick Rose, and Michael Carter-Williams, and I think he overspent on Jabari Parker at $4. I’d say Kenneth Faried will be the biggest X-factor in determining whether or not this team will truly be competitive. 

 

Risk/Reward Picks

Kenneth Faried $15, Kevin Martin $3

The Manimal isn’t your traditional risk/reward guy, but $15 could be high if he again fails to reach his potential this season. However, that’s much less likely to happen this year. He has a new coach in Mike Malone that is committed to running, which is really Faried’s strong point. He was a mid-round play after the All-Star break last season, averaging 14.3 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.0 block per game on 51.1 percent shooting from the field and 70.3 percent from the stripe. It’s now or never for Faried.

 

Kevin Martin can be early-round asset when healthy, but he’s been injured more often than not throughout his career. His value could also take a small hit this season coming off the bench in Minnesota, although I see him changing teams by December. For just $3, the reward pretty much outweighs the risk here.

 

Overbid

Derrick Rose $8

We all know the story with Rose; he’s gone from a former-MVP, to a guy seemingly struggling to truly find his role in Chicago. Through 51 games last season, Rose compiled averages of 17.7 points, 4.9 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 1.5 three-pointers and an unfortunate 3.2 turnovers per game on 40.5 percent shooting from the field, which only amounted to fifteenth-round value on a per-game basis in 9-cat leagues. He has the absolute worst luck with injuries, and his high turnover rate and low-field goal percentage is a killer to his value. $8 is just too much for a low-assist, high-turnover point guard that offers minimal defensive stats (0.7 steals per game). He’s also questionable for the regular-season opener. No thanks.

 

Favorite Low-Money Targets

Jeff Green $1, Darren Collison $4, Ersan Ilyasova $3

Green isn’t really a high-upside guy, but for just $1, I’ll take his averages of 15.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.2 three-pointers per game.

 

Darren Collison has been tearing it up during the preseason, averaging 15.3 points, 5.5 assists, 1.2 three-pointers and 1.7 steals per game. Head coach George Karl likes him, and he’ll spend some time playing alongside Rajon Rondo, meaning he shouldn’t have much trouble getting minutes in the mid-20s. I like him in this price range.

 

Ersan Ilyasova is the ultimate risk/reward guy, but for just $3, Bryan is hardly assuming much risk. He’ll be the starting power forward for the Pistons, and if he can finally stay healthy, he could be a nice source of 3-pointers from the power forward position while putting up mid-round value in the process.

 

Team Jonathan

1.

Reggie Jackson 

$24

2.

James Harden 

$72

3.

Elfrid Payton 

$12

4.

Tobias Harris 

$10

5.

Giannis Antetokounmpo 

$16

6.

Julius Randle 

$8

7.

Robin Lopez 

$5

8.

Roy Hibbert 

$6

9.

Joffrey Lauvergne 

$2

10.

Timofey Mozgov 

$2

11.

Al-Farouq Aminu 

$4

12.

John Henson 

$1

13.

Jerian Grant

$1

14.

Isaiah Canaan 

$1

K.

Brandon Knight 

$12

K.

Pau Gasol 

$24

 

Stars-and-scrubs teams are all about the value gained in the low-money picks, and Jonathan did a nice job of this, particularly with Robin Lopez $4, Roy Hibbert $6, and Tobias Harris $10. Add James Harden, Pau Gasol, and Brandon Knight to the mix, and we have a solid team.

 

Risk/Reward Pick

Roy Hibbert $6

Jonathan went slightly over Hibbert’s average draft day price ($3.4), and with how horrible Hibbert has been after the break for two consecutive seasons, he assumed a bit of risk with this selection. However, Hibbert really fits Jonathan’s team as a shot blocker that doesn’t tank your free throw percentage, and perhaps he can finally have a solid season from start-to-finish during his first year in Los Angeles. He’s also in a contract year, so while I wasn’t looking to draft Hibbert, I like this pick.

 

Steal

Tobias Harris $10

Tobias Harris for a mere $10 was an absolute steal, as his average auction day value is listed at $16.9. Health is a bit of a concern for Harris, he made it through just 68 games last season and 61 the year before, but I’m fine assuming that risk for a guy that averaged 17.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.3 three-pointers and 1.0 steal per game last season. He could very well be in for a career-year during his fifth NBA season. 

 

Favorite Low-Money Targets

Robin Lopez $4, Al-Farouq Aminu $4

Lopez is coming off a down year, and has been severely underrated in all drafts I’ve participated in. He should be able to return to mid-round value as New York’s starting center, and I think Jonathan got some solid value here for just $4.

 

Al-Farouq Aminu is going to start for Portland, and he could be in for a career-year as a building block on a rebuilding team. He’s been solid throughout the preseason with averages of 12.7 points, 6.0 boards, 1.0 three-pointer, 0.7 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. This is a very high-upside guy to take as you approach the dollar rounds.

 

Team Julian

1.

Klay Thompson 

$48

2.

Mike Conley 

$21

3.

Al Jefferson 

$21

4.

David Lee 

$4

5.

Gorgui Dieng 

$8

6.

Deron Williams 

$7

7.

Tony Parker 

$4

8.

Andrew Bogut 

$2

9.

Dennis Schroder 

$1

10.

Evan Fournier 

$1

11.

Andrea Bargnani 

$1

12.

Devin Harris 

$1

13.

Justise Winslow 

$1

14.

David West 

$3

K.

Draymond Green 

$13

K.

Kevin Durant 

$64

Julian had some of the best keepers in the league with Kevin Durant $64 and Draymond Green $13, and he added Klay Thompson for just $48 on draft day, giving him a phenomenal base. However, I think he could have done a better job at adding blocks to his squad, as Gorgui Dieng and Andrew Bogut (risk) are his only true shot blockers. The X-factors on this team will be David Lee $4 and Al Jefferson $21.

 

Risk/Reward Pick

Al Jefferson $21

If Al Jefferson can stay healthy during a contract season, the $21 Julian spent is going to look like a steal. He did drop around 20 pounds this offseason, and aside from last year’s 65-game season, he’s been fairly healthy throughout his career. He’ll need to improve on last year’s averages of 16.6 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game for the $21 spent to be worth it, but that’s certainly not out of the question. Risk/Reward.

 

Value Picks

Mike Conley $21, Gorgui Dieng $8

Conley could potentially be a steal for just $21, and he makes a ton of sense as a low budget, PG1 for a team that’s punting assists. Through 70 games last season, Conley compiled averages of 15.8 points, 5.4 assists, 1.5 three-pointers, 1.3 steals and just 2.2 turnovers per game. He’s kind of boring, but I think he’s a perfect fit on Julian’s team, and there’s no reason to not believe in a bounce-back year for “One-Eyed Willie.”

 

Gorgui Dieng for $8 is excellent value for a guy that averaged 10.4 points, 8.2 boards and 1.8 blocks per game after the All-Star break last season (fourth-round value). His stats may take a slight dip with Karl-Anthony Towns potentially chipping away at his minutes, but the blocks will be there either way.

 

Overbid

Deron Williams $7, Andrea Bargnani $1, David West $3

Deron Williams has really, really, really struggled to stay healthy over the years, and the fact that he’s now questionable for the regular-season opener with a calf injury (an injury that has kept him out of multiple games in the past) isn’t encouraging for his season outlook. I don’t mind taking Williams for around $2-$3, but $7 is way too much in my opinion.

 

That’s right, I included Andrea Bargnani for $1 on the overbid list. He’s missed around half the games of the basketball season for four years, and is already dealing with a hamstring injury. As Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young’s backup, there’s not much upside here.

 

David West gave up $12.5 million this offseason to compete for a championship with the Spurs, and he’ll be coming off the bench behind LaMarcus Aldridge in San Antonio this year. Despite starting for the Pacers last season, West was only able to compile averages of 11.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 0.7 blocks per game, amounting to just ninth-round value in 9-cat leagues. His numbers will head south with the Spurs, and I foresee him eventually finding his way to the waiver wire in this league. In my opinion, the $3 spent was $3 too much.

 

Favorite Low-Money Targets

David Lee $4

Yes, David Lee is entering a very crowded rotation in Boston, but head coach Brad Stevens loves him, so he should be one of the few guys to see consistent minutes out of the group. He’s not a shot blocker, but I think he could be a nightly double-double threat for the Celtics, and there’s a chance he can return some mid-round value on the year. For $4, this is a solid buy.

 

Team Cody

1.

Russell Westbrook 

$73

2.

Kevin Love 

$32

3.

D'Angelo Russell 

$10

4.

Kemba Walker 

$24

5.

Robert Covington 

$7

6.

Zach Randolph 

$16

7.

Enes Kanter 

$7

8.

Luol Deng 

$2

9.

Rajon Rondo 

$2

10.

Lou Williams 

$1

11.

Kristaps Porzingis 

$1

12.

Jose Calderon 

$1

13.

Manu Ginobili 

$1

14.

Langston Galloway 

$1

K.

Chris Bosh 

$11

K.

Carmelo Anthony

$11

Cody had the ultimate advantage heading into the draft with keeping Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony for a mere $22 combined, and he added Russell Westbrook for $73 and Kevin Love for $32 on draft day, making his team ultra-competitive in points. However, I think he made a mistake by neglecting blocks, and I think he could have done a better job in adding role players to his roster. Still, his top-tier guys will obviously make his team competitive.

 

Risk/Reward Picks

D’Angelo Russell $10

I thought Russell for $10 was a bit pricey, but this can be expected if you’re in a league with a bunch of Laker fans. I’m pretty low on Russell, as he’ll be fighting for touches with the likes of Kobe Bryant and Jordan Clarkson, two guys that need the ball in their hands to perform, so I wasn't crazy about this pick. However, Russell could certainly prove me wrong. He was the No. 2 overall pick, and the Lakers will give him every opportunity to succeed as they look to groom him to be their point guard of the future. His outlook would greatly improve if Kobe Bryant goes down with an injury.

 

Value Pick

Robert Covington $7

Covington found his way into the starting lineup on the Sixers’ last season and established himself as a mid-round asset behind averages of 13.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 2.4 three-pointers per game. There’s some risk here, as there’s no telling if Covington will be able to repeat last season’s success, but he also has very little competition for playing time in Philadelphia. For just $7, I think this is a solid buy.

 

Overbid

Kemba Walker $25

I didn’t understand why Walker went so high in this league. His average auction day price is just $10.5, which is largely due to the fact that he’s a career 39.5 percent shooter. Yes, he does score points and his 1.4 steals per game are nice, but in my opinion, $25 for a guy that will tank your team’s field goal percentage is just too much.

 

Favorite Low-Money Targets

Lou Williams $1, Luol Deng $2

Lou Williams just has a knack for scoring, and he shouldn’t have any trouble again vying for Sixth Man of the Year honors with the Lakers. He was a mid-round guy last year in just 25.2 minutes of action, and he’ll be a quality $1 target on draft day for those seeking some scoring, 3-pointers and steals.

 

Luol Deng is a low-upside $1-target, and there's no reason to believe he won't at the very least return to last year’s averages of 14.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 1.1 three-pointers per game.

 

Team Kevin B

1.

Paul Millsap

$35

2.

LeBron James 

$67

3.

Blake Griffin 

$38

4.

Eric Bledsoe 

$29

5.

Josh Smith 

$5

6.

DeMar DeRozan 

$10

7.

Joakim Noah 

$7

8.

Lance Stephenson 

$1

9.

Nikola Pekovic 

$1

10.

Steven Adams 

$1

11.

Boris Diaw 

$1

12.

Gerald Henderson 

$1

13.

Marco Belinelli 

$1

14.

Courtney Lee

$1

15.

Iman Shumpert 

$1

16.

Jordan Hill 

$1

Kevin B hit his marks early with Paul Millsap $35, LeBron James $67, Blake Griffin $38 and Eric Bledsoe $29, but that left him with just $31 to construct the rest of his roster, and I think he struggled because of it.

 

Risk/Reward Picks

Joakim Noah $7

Noah disappointed plenty of owners last season, suiting up for a mere 67 games to go with averages of 7.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 0.7 steals and 1.1 blocks per game, and he’s currently in danger of losing his starting job to Nikola Mirotic. The assist numbers are very nice coming from the center position, and he is a solid rebounder, but the lack of points and drop off in blocks hurt his value. Maybe he can turn it around with head coach Fred Hoiberg at the helm, but Kevin took a lot of risk here by committing $7 to a player that was outside of the top-100 last season.

 

Value Pick

DeMare DeRozan $10

DeRozan’s fantasy game is limited by his 41.3 percent shooting from the field (16.5 attempts per game), and his lack of a 3-point shot (0.4). However, $10 for a 20+ scorer isn’t terrible, and he was able to put up mid-round value after the All-Star break last season.

 

Overbid

Josh Smith $5, Lance Stephenson $1, Nikola Pekovic $1, Boris Diaw $1

There’s not a lot to like about these late-round targets, which is unfortunate for a team that got off to such a solid start. I have no idea why Josh Smith, who is going to come off the bench behind Blake Griffin went for $5, and the other $1 nominations of Lance Stephenson, Nikola Pekovic and Boris Diaw weren’t any better.

 

Stephenson has looked pretty awful during the preseason, and playing off the bench in Los Angeles is going to make it difficult for him to have a relevant fantasy season.

 

We still don’t even have a timetable for Nikola Pekovic’s (Achilles, ankle) return, and he’ll be losing playing time to Karl-Anthony Towns and Gorgui Dieng this season. He failed to crack the top-140 on a per-game basis last season, and his arrow is pointing down. Even a $1 is too much for the oft-injured big man in most leagues.

 

Boris Diaw was a semi-decent DFS target on the days the Spurs rested their starters last season, but with the additions of LaMarcus Aldridge and David West, he could have a tough time getting consistent playing time. There were higher-upside guys to take with these selections.

 

Jared Johnson

A hoops fanatic, Jared Johnson has been a member of the Rotoworld team since 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Jae_Tha_Truth, and feel free to send him your questions regarding trades, draft strategies and all things fantasy basketball.