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Fantasy Hoops, Keys to Victory (Part One: The Draft)

4/21/2006

Probably the most important determinant of fantasy success is the draft. After the draft, you can usually write-off about 3-4 teams right out of the gate. Since fantasy hoops is all about accumulating fantasy statistics, the goal is to acquire players that to do the best job of accumulating stats. Position and specific categories are an issue, but they're secondary. Accumulating assets should allow you to balance out positions/categories further down the road by having decent guys to deal.

When you have, say for example, the 23rd pick, you're expecting to get value in return consistent or above what a typical 23rd pick should deliver. Otherwise you wouldn't draft him (or would wait until the later round). Fantasy success depends on getting the answer right more often than not (ie, getting overall positive value in return for the picks that you make). Obviously there's a lot of luck involved due to injuries...ask anybody who drafted T-Mac in the first round (I did it twice). But with multiple teams, your luck should roughly even out, unless you're making a bet on the same guy across the board (*cough* James Jones *cough*).

With the 2005-06 season in the bag, I can compute what I call Fantasy Contribution (or FC) for each player, a cumulative measure of each players contribution in each of the 8 roto categories (hence the name). Then I can calculate what the expected FC is for each draft pick, 1 to 156. Then we'll see how well each team drafted and how that corresponded to their overall fantasy success.

First off, here are the top and bottom 30 players in terms of value relative to where they were picked on average. If you have more guys on the first list then the second list, give yourself a pat on the back.

Top 30 Fantasy Draft Values
Rk Name AvgPick ExpFC ActFC Diff Tm
1 James,Mike 118 113.9 229.7 115.8 67.4
2 Peterson,Morris 127 112.6 204.2 91.6 52.8
3 Kaman,Chris 152 95.9 183.4 87.5 65.6
4 West,David 145 94.4 178.4 84.0 50.3
5 Paul,Chris 60 162.1 245.6 83.5 49.0
6 Brand,Elton 16 224.0 306.4 82.3 54.5
7 Billups,Chauncey 40 183.1 262.8 79.7 63.2
8 Battier,Shane 134 102.4 181.8 79.4 55.8
9 West,Delonte 138 100.8 179.2 78.5 44.5
10 Marion,Shawn 5 266.8 341.8 75.0 59.1
11 Bell,Raja 122 111.8 186.2 74.3 65.2
12 Turkoglu,Hedo 137 103.6 177.6 74.0 58.0
13 Arenas,Gilbert 12 237.2 311.2 74.0 64.2
14 Okur,Mehmet 88 140.5 214.0 73.4 64.3
15 Bryant,Kobe 6 261.1 330.4 69.4 49.6
16 Wallace,Rasheed 60 162.7 230.4 67.7 60.7
17 Allen,Ray 20 214.7 281.4 66.7 67.8
18 Redd,Michael 44 179.2 243.6 64.3 57.7
19 Smith,Josh 88 139.9 202.7 62.8 54.4
20 Szczerbiak,Wally 113 121.7 183.5 61.8 64.2
21 Johnson,Joe 42 181.7 243.2 61.5 64.4
22 Nash,Steve 14 230.5 290.9 60.5 58.7
23 Wallace,Gerald 125 114.1 171.3 57.2 61.7
24 Odom,Lamar 44 179.3 233.4 54.1 42.3
25 Davis,Ricky 84 143.0 196.0 53.0 53.1
26 Miller,Mike 116 119.9 172.3 52.4 47.9
27 Butler,Caron 83 142.9 193.6 50.7 49.0
28 Villanueva,Charlie 122 111.5 159.8 48.3 56.8
29 Knight,Brevin 105 127.5 175.7 48.2 53.4
30 Felton,Raymond 123 110.9 158.7 47.8 48.0

'Diff' shows the difference between a player's actual contribution versus what would be expected from a guy drafted at his given slot. 'Tm' shows the average fantasy points for the teams that drafted him.

Bottom 30 Fantasy Draft Values
Rk Name AvgPick ExpFC ActFC Diff Tm
1 Stoudemire,Amare 66 161.5 3.6 -157.9 42.8
2 Okafor,Emeka 40 183.8 56.4 -127.4 51.8
3 McGrady,Tracy 7 260.5 135.9 -124.6 57.3
4 Maggette,Corey 49 174.2 65.6 -108.6 56.8
5 Hughes,Larry 38 187.1 78.6 -108.6 44.8
6 O'Neal,Shaquille 17 228.9 121.8 -107.0 32.2
7 Robinson,Glenn 134 103.7 0.0 -103.7 38.4
8 Hill,Grant 86 141.6 38.5 -103.1 43.5
9 Marbury,Stephon 15 229.4 127.4 -102.0 38.0
10 Hilario,Nene 140 100.4 -0.1 -100.5 55.4
11 Stoudamire,Damon 75 149.7 50.6 -99.1 54.8
12 Boozer,Carlos 61 162.0 78.0 -84.0 51.7
13 Jackson,Jim 132 99.8 18.8 -81.0 49.3
14 Mason,Desmond 86 140.8 60.1 -80.7 57.3
15 Tinsley,Jamaal 82 143.6 65.0 -78.6 52.8
16 O'Neal,Jermaine 17 221.6 145.0 -76.5 49.2
17 Lenard,Voshon 138 97.2 25.4 -71.8 55.0
18 Andersen,Chris 146 97.5 28.6 -68.9 62.1
19 Francis,Steve 22 211.5 143.4 -68.1 31.8
20 Artest,Ron 25 206.9 142.6 -64.3 47.8
21 Richardson,Quentin 102 129.0 65.0 -64.1 50.5
22 Smith,J.R. 117 119.0 58.0 -61.0 45.6
23 Martin,Kenyon 56 167.4 107.1 -60.3 37.1
24 Miles,Darius 118 119.1 59.0 -60.1 54.3
25 Davis,Baron 24 208.2 149.9 -58.3 53.4
26 Thomas,Kurt 73 152.1 95.7 -56.4 51.6
27 Swift,Stromile 98 132.0 77.1 -54.9 61.9
28 Rose,Jalen 71 152.3 101.1 -51.2 26.2
29 Randolph,Zach 46 176.1 133.3 -42.8 34.4
30 Van Horn,Keith 119 111.7 69.0 -42.6 24.8

Not a whole bunch of surprises on this list. If you drafted Kenyon Martin, Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis or waited all year for Amare and his 26 pts and 16 rebounds (total, not per game), I feel your pain. And if you were like Isiah Thomas and thought it was a good idea to pick both Francis and Marbury, I'm guessing you had the same fate as this year's Knicks. The moral of the story is...let somebody else draft Shaq.

The average team score for the guys on the top 30 is 56.5. The average team score for the guys on the bottom 30 is 47.4.

So, let's dig a little deeper and see how each team in my 6 leagues did with the draft. The +/- FC shows the average increase/decrease in value relative for all 13 picks.

TEAM PICK PLUS PTS GOODS (Round) BADS (Round)
DavisAggie 6 +31.7 79.0 James,M (11); Arenas (2); Marion (1) Hilario (12); Magloire (8); Chandler (7)
platinum D 5 +18.5 55.5 Paul (6); Redd (4); Smith,Josh (7) Andersen (13); Davis,B (2); Stojakovic (3)
Spencers 1 1 +12.5 80.0 Allen (2); Cassell (9); Jefferson,R (4) Swift (8); Jefferson,A (10); Garnett (1)
KOB Dunker 10 +11.9 77.0 Bryant (1); Okur (9); Nash (2) Okafor (3); Mason (8); Telfair (10)
SlackerS # 8 +11.3 67.0 Kaman (13); Billups (4); Villanueva (11) Stoudamire,D (7); Lenard (12); Jones,J (9)
pickup gam 7 -0.9 60.0 Peterson (10); Miller,M (12); Hinrich (4) Sura (13); O'Neal,J (2); Brown,PJ (7)
EZ Winner 2 -2.2 51.5 Bell (10); Johnson (4); Miller,A (5) May (13); Artest (3); Przybilla (8)
30 Foot Ra 11 -8.7 46.0 Szczerbiak (10); Butler (8); Wade (1) Hughes (3); Marbury (2); Thomas,Ku (5)
Master T 4 -19.0 41.0 Brand (2); Davis,R (9); Odom (5) McGrady (1); Maggette (4); Tinsley (6)
nc river c 12 -19.3 30.0 Kidd (2); Anthony (3); Gordon (7) Boozer (5); Martin (4); Warrick (12)
Direct Dep 3 -27.9 10.0 Knight (8); Camby (5); Miller,B (3) Hill (7); Francis (2); Duncan (1)
full court 9 -52.3 27.0 Gasol (3); Thomas,Ke (12); Crawford (8) Stoudemire (4); Robinson,G (9); O'Neal,S (1)

Comment: Burned by Stromile...don't worry, you'll notice a common theme. Jefferson and Cassell were great picks for rounds 4 and 9, and Ray Allen as the last pick in round 2 turned out to be a gold mine.

TEAM PICK PLUS PTS GOODS (Round) BADS (Round)
CRARHOPE#2 10 +20.8 67.0 Szczerbiak (11); Knight (10); Blount (13) Przybilla (8); Howard,Jo (7); Griffin (12)
LV Knicks 4 +20.1 42.0 West,Del (13); Paul (5); Smith,Josh (9) Artest (2); Stojakovic (3); Gooden (6)
DavisAggie 9 +14.9 67.0 James,M (10); Brand (2); Johnson (4) Richardson,Q (9); Sweetney (12); Chandler (7)
playazinc1 2 +9.8 67.0 Wallace,R (5); Davis,R (6); Richardson,J (4) Smith,Joe (12); Brown,K (10); Ratliff (13)
Instant Mo 12 +5.6 68.0 Arenas (1); Gasol (3); Miller,M (10) Hill (8); Tinsley (7); Jackson,M (12)
Easy$$ 3 -1.3 37.0 Peterson (11); Marion (1); Jamison (5) Sprewell (13); Hughes (4); O'Neal,J (2)
JD66 11 -1.5 53.0 Nocioni (13); Turkoglu (11); Redd (4) Mason (7); Lenard (12); Thomas,Ku (5)
Spencers 2 7 -11.2 69.0 Okur (10); Allen (2); Lewis (3) McGrady (1); Maggette (4); Boozer (5)
Double Dri 1 -14.9 40.0 Bell (11); Deng (10); Carter (2) Hilario (13); May (12); Abdur-Rahim (4)
NOTHING BU 6 -17.5 49.0 Billups (4); Bryant (1); Butler (8) Okafor (5); Stoudamire,D (7); Andersen (13)
The Gar He 8 -22.3 34.0 Odom (4); Jones,E (8); Anthony (3) O'Neal,S (1); Marbury (2); Jackson,J (13)
CELTICS 5 -30.7 31.0 Wallace,G (11); Nelson (10); Parker,T (4) Stoudemire (6); Robinson,G (13); Francis (2)

Comment: My only negative team, thanks to injury-ridden McGrady, Boozer and Maggette. Okur in Round 10 made for a nice recovery.

TEAM PICK PLUS PTS GOODS (Round) BADS (Round)
Giborim 2 +19.8 69.0 James,M (11); Okur (8); Allen (2) Andersen (13); Sweetney (12); Chandler (6)
Spencers 3 7 +18.8 84.0 Redd (5); Bell (11); Cassell (8) Hilario (13); Miles (12); Ming (2)
the hommie 9 +15.4 60.0 Brand (2); Billups (4); Turkoglu (12) McGrady (1); Brown,K (10); Jones,D (9)
Buggy Ball 11 +9.9 64.0 Peterson (13); Wallace,R (6); Felton (11) Hughes (4); Tinsley (7); Richardson,Q (9)
SlackerS-- 8 +7.9 56.0 Nash (2); Villanueva (10); LaFrentz (12) Thomas,Ku (6); Jackson,M (13); Jones,J (9)
Basketball 1 +7.8 49.0 Anthony (5); Butler (7); Nelson (13) Jefferson,A (8); Payton (4); McCants (12)
Beer Farts 5 +4.5 49.5 Paul (6); Johnson (4); Bryant (1) Maggette (5); Artest (2); May (13)
fargin ice 3 +0.4 42.5 Kaman (13); West,Dav (12); Parker,S (11) Stoudamire,D (6); Francis (2); Martin (5)
IH8DUKE 10 -3.7 51.0 Battier (12); Jamison (5); Jones,E (9) Marbury (2); Jackson,J (11); Boozer (6)
KOB Dunker 4 -12.6 50.0 Marion (1); Smith,Josh (7); Kidd (2) Okafor (4); Mason (8); Smith,JR (9)
G Strings 12 -22.6 29.0 Arenas (2); Thomas,Ke (12); Hinrich (4) O'Neal,J (1); Magloire (3); Curry (6)
jaggerz 6 -42.6 20.0 West,Del (13); Odom (4); Davis,R (7) Stoudemire (2); O'Neal,S (1); Hill (5)

Comment: Now we're talking. Redd in round 5 was a solid pick. Packaged him and Camby (7th round) for Dirk early in the season and never looked back. Results would've been even better had we picked anybosy but Nene in the last round.

TEAM PICK PLUS PTS GOODS (Round) BADS (Round)
Spencers 4 11 +19.1 74.5 Kaman (13); Bell (11); Johnson (4) Thomas,Ku (5); Griffin (10); Jones,J (8)
P.Galore 6 +19.0 54.0 Paul (5); Bryant (1); Battier (11) Hilario (13); Marshall (4); Miller,A (3)
platinum B 1 +9.3 60.0 Peterson (11); Wallace,G (12); Richardson,J (4) Andersen (13); Howard,Jo (7); Stojakovic (3)
NY BALLERS 4 +8.9 50.5 Marion (1); Redd (4); Davis,R (8) Smith,JR (9); Artest (3); Miles (11)
TOPH 10 +4.1 66.0 James,M (9); Billups (4); Nash (2) Maggette (5); Tinsley (8); Swift (7)
Big Mean S 2 +2.8 45.0 Miller,M (10); Anthony (5); Cassell (7) Martin (4); Francis (2); Brown,K (11)
Scrubs 12 +0.4 67.0 Arenas (1); Ridnour (8); Camby (5) Okafor (3); Jackson,J (12); Hill (10)
MMMM BANAN 8 -1.2 48.0 Allen (2); Szczerbiak (9); Jamison (5) Mason (7); Hudson (10); Davis (13)
Hansel 9 -16.5 19.0 Wallace,R (5); Deng (13); Odom (4) Marbury (1); Hughes (3); O'Neal,J (2)
Cape Cods 3 -18.6 57.0 Murphy (8); Ilgauskas (4); Brown,PJ (12) Stoudamire,D (6); Richardson,Q (9); Davis,B (2)
gramps tra 5 -23.1 40.0 Jones,E (8); Thomas,Ke (10); Hamilton (5) Boozer (4); O'Neal,S (2); Finley (6)
Arsenal 7 -28.6 43.0 Brand (2); Terry (5); Dunleavy (10) Stoudemire (7); McGrady (1); Robinson,G (13)
>
Comment: In hindsight, it's amazing that I picked Kaman and Raja behind Kurt Thomas, Eddie Griffin and James Jones. Unfortunately, I didn't end up holding either Kaman or Bell (or Thomas, Griffin or Jones for that matter).

TEAM PICK PLUS PTS GOODS (Round) BADS (Round)
THE PUNISH 2 +26.9 80.0 Okur (8); Allen (2); Szczerbiak (11) Lenard (12); Williams,J (7); Ginobili (4)
Cape Beach 9 +21.7 69.0 Kaman (13); Brand (2); Arenas (1) Mason (8); Abdur-Rahim (5); Jaric (7)
platinum B 7 +15.1 77.0 Marion (1); Billups (4); Wallace,R (6) Andersen (12); O'Neal,J (2); Brown,K (11)
Dead Money 4 +14.1 45.0 Battier (13); Paul (5); Villanueva (11) Hughes (3); Howard,Jo (6); Jones,J (8)
Spencers 5 11 +9.4 76.0 Peterson (11); Bell (10); Wade (1) Stoudemire (9); Swift (8); Marshall (6)
Massillon 3 +9.3 56.0 James,M (11); West,Del (13); Redd (4) McGrady (1); Hill (8); Magloire (7)
ROCKA FELL 10 -2.3 43.0 Turkoglu (11); Cassell (7); Kidd (2) Marbury (1); Curry (6); Smith,JR (12)
Run an Gun 1 -15.7 51.0 Miller,A (4); Howard,Ju (13); Walker (8) Robinson,G (12); Davis,B (3); Martin (6)
djscrew 6 -19.5 22.0 Anthony (4); Ford (8); Hamilton (5) Francis (2); Richardson,Q (9); Rose (6)
24s 12 -21.4 40.0 Nash (1); Childress (11); Richardson,J (4) Maggette (3); Stoudamire,D (5); Miles (10)
ceematics 8 -23.2 45.0 Haslem (12); Jones,E (7); Carter (2) Jackson,J (10); Boozer (5); Artest (3)
eearl1 5 -32.7 20.0 Bryant (1); Miller,M (11); Jamison (5) Okafor (3); Hilario (10); O'Neal,S (2)

Comment: Amare was too good to pass up in Round 9...however picking him and sticking with him all year probably cost me the title. My Mom always told me to be cautious of injured players...and anybody named Stromile. Dwyane Wade at pick 11 was great...do you think he'll slip that far next year?

TEAM PICK PLUS PTS GOODS (Round) BADS (Round)
The Enemie 12 +16.3 60.0 Billups (4); Szczerbiak (10); Nash (2) Stoudemire (7); Abdur-Rahim (5); Howard,Jo (8)
Fantasy Ac 5 +15.0 48.0 Paul (6); Smith,Josh (10); Bryant (1) Okafor (4); Artest (2); Chandler (8)
Mad Bomber 7 +13.8 73.0 Diaw (10); Battier (11); Arenas (1) Stoudamire,D (8); O'Neal,J (2); Gooden (7)
BigBoyz 6 +6.7 55.0 Turkoglu (12); Parker,S (9); Deng (11) Smith,Joe (10); Walker (4); Williams,J (7)
argh 8 +1.9 61.0 Marion (1); Allen (2); Howard,D (5) Miles (6); Sweetney (11); Ford (4)
Spencers 6 9 +0.3 75.0 Kaman (13); Johnson (4); Korver (9) McGrady (1); Maggette (5); Boozer (8)
Will's Squ 10 -2.8 52.0 Ridnour (10); Pierce (2); Miller,M (8) Sprewell (13); O'Neal,S (4); Richardson,Q (9)
kgticket 11 -2.9 47.0 Brand (1); Redd (3); Jamison (4) Mason (7); Ming (2); Calderon (11)
Hinrichs 4 -3.3 58.0 West,Dav (13); Wallace,R (6); Hinrich (5) Hughes (4); Tinsley (8); Davis,B (3)
Smush Fan 2 -11.7 35.0 Miller,A (5); James,L (1); Parker,T (4) Marbury (2); Smith,JR (11); Wells (7)
Invincible 3 -12.7 20.0 Peterson (10); Bibby (3); Gasol (2) Van Horn (9); Anderson (11); Hudson (12)
Knowspicke 1 -16.6 40.0 Butler (6); Okur (4); Howard,Ju (12) Robinson,G (11); Hill (9); Francis (3)

Comment: Hey, it's McGrady, Boozer and Maggette again. That's great. Same 'Bads' and Spencers 2, but somehow managed to squeak out a positive value. Kaman and Joe Johnson helped bridge the gap.

So what does all of this mean? Well, a team's draft success has a correlation of .76 with its end-of-season standings...a very strong correlation indeed.

One other thing...what's the value of having the first pick? This year, the curve was a little flatter than previous years given the tighter gap between the top 5-6 players, where previously it was Garnett and everybody else. Still, even with the snake draft, there's is benefit of having an early pick. Here's the average cumulative value by team depending on which pick they have in the first round.

Pick Avg Exp FC FC vs. Avg
1 2,082 +48.7
2 2,061 +28.4
3 2,049 +16.0
4 2,040 +7.2
5 2,033 +0.4
6 2,028 -5.0
7 2,024 -9.3
8 2,020 -12.8
9 2,017 -15.6
10 2,015 -17.9
11 2,013 -19.5
12 2,012 -20.6

Next week: Trades

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