Ryan Knaus

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DRAFT Strategy Thursday/Friday

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


This column covers daily rankings and strategy for Draft.com's DFS games. If you aren’t familiar with DRAFT, it’s an innovative DFS game with a live draft feature -- instead of building within a salary cap, you're participating in snake drafts that typically last 2-5 minutes. The scoring system is identical to FanDuel, and anyone you draft is yours alone -- if you luck into LeBron James with the top pick, nobody else in your league can have him.

 

You can find more information at Draft.com or quickly join a contest from anywhere after downloading the app!

 

The DRAFT.com format enables owners to build lineups throughout the postseason, even on light nights with just 1-2 games. Tonight's slate includes a pair of critical Conference Finals games -- the Warriors and Rockets square off in Houston for Game 5, while the Celtics and Cavaliers will meet in Cleveland for Game 6 on Friday.

 

LeBron James is coming off a quiet night on Wednesday, opening the door for James Harden as a potential No. 1 pick in this slate. The separation between the three viable centers continues to dwindle, and some health concerns have complicated matters for Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala. We'll discuss strategy, projected values and DRAFT's pre-rankings by examining a draft I participated in this afternoon.

 

Note that because of the small slates, DRAFT is only running head-to-head, 3-team and 'Dream Team' leagues right now. That means no more than 15 total players will be drafted -- five guards, five forwards and three centers. If you want more information about the league sizes, scoring system and overall settings, just click here!

 

 I built a half-dozen 3-team leagues this afternoon, and these are the results of one fairly typical draft (15 players total)...I am 'Team 3', drafting from the 3rd position in a standard snake-draft style:

 

Team 1 - LeBron James (DRAFT Projection: 62.4 fantasy points)

Team 2 - James Harden (54.4)

Team 3 (me) - Kevin Durant (47.6)

 

I did see Harden go No. 1 in multiple drafts, to my surprise (and delight, since I had the No. 2 in both instances). As I mentioned above, LeBron was relatively quiet in Game 5 with 26 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, one steal and six turnovers. He's now averaging 5.8 turnovers in this series, but that hasn't prevented him from racking up the most DFS points per game in the Conference Finals -- his 52.2 FP per game are comfortably ahead of Harden (48.3) and Durant (42.2). Owners may be concerned by LBJ's obvious fatigue during Game 5 (Ty Lue said afterward that LeBron "looked tired"), but I'm not betting against him in a must-win home game.

 

This is the order most drafts went in the top three. My ideal scenario is getting the No. 1 pick and taking LeBron, but I'm fine with any position for this two-game slate. Grabbing the second-best forward with Durant was an easy choice for me at No. 3, especially since I could pair him with...

 

Team 3 (me) - Stephen Curry (39.2)

Team 2- Draymond Green (41.9)

Team 1 - Chris Paul (43.4)

 

Draymond Green is a strong pick once LBJ and Durant are off the board, but with KD in hand I went with Curry to secure an elite guard. As you can see, DRAFT's pre-ranks have Chris Paul comfortably ahead of Steph, which induced some owners to take CP3 first in a few of my drafts. I don't get it. So far in this series, Curry is outpacing Paul in DFS points per game, and he's done so in two straight games. We've seen flashes of his explosive self and should have silenced concerns about his knee injury after erupting for 35 points with a second-half flurry in Game 3. I'm going with Steph every time here.

 

 

Team 1 - Clint Capela (32.5)

Team 2 - Terry Rozier (33.5)

Team 3 (me) - Jaylen Brown (28.0)

 

This is where things get interesting, and owners start to draft for position rather than raw value. Clint Capela's DRAFT projection of 32.5 FP is way too optimistic for my tastes, and appears based on his playoff-long success rather than his mediocrity vs. the Warriors. Draymond Green has effectively neutralized Capela for long stretches, and coach Mike D'Antoni has responded accordingly -- Capela is averaging only 23.0 minutes over the past two games. For at least a week, I've been content to let owners reach for Capela in Rounds 2 or 3, while I scrape up whoever falls to me in Round 5 -- either Tristan Thompson or Aron Baynes.

 

With that strategy in mind, I used my back-to-back picks here to finish my Guard and Forward spots with the two best remaining players -- Jaylen Brown and Kevin Love. I would have taken Brown over Klay Thompson even if Klay were fully healthy, which he isn't, although I'd also prefer to have landed Terry Rozier. Rozier struggled early in this series but he's found a groove lately with games of 48.7 FP and 32.2 FP. His rebounds, assists and steals are all up and that's crucial, padding his value even if his shots aren't falling. Jaylen's case is strengthened by his team-leading 27.7% usage rate, and he'd be going higher if he weren't shooting 43.8% in this series.

 

Team 3 (me) - Kevin Love (33.9)

Team 2 - Al Horford (34.3)

Team 1 - Jayson Tatum (31.9)

 

Three forwards in quick succession here, and I can't fault any of the picks. I went with Love ahead of Horford and Tatum but it wasn't a simple decision. Horford has actually out-performed as a fantasy asset in the Conference finals (33.6  FP compared to Love's 32.0), but Horford and the Celtics have struggled on the road all postseason. Meanwhile, Love has been better in Cleveland throughout the season, averaging more points (+0.6) on better shooting (+2.9%), with more rebounds (+0.9), assists (+0.3) and steals (+0.4). He's even averaging fewer turnovers at home, and it all adds up -- plus, there's a hard-to-quantify edge I give players in desperation must-win games.

 

Tatum, meanwhile, is coming off a massive game with 24 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks. That added up to 54.4 FP and stands as perhaps his best game of an already-impressive playoff run, but his fantasy production has been too inconsistent in this series to fully trust him. Even with that massive game factored in, he's well below Love and Horford in DFS production per game (29.3), and his usage rate of 21.0% is way below Love's 26.4% -- all reasons I'll take Love over Tatum every time.

 

 

Team 1 - George Hill (20.7)

Team 2 - Tristan Thompson (26.2)

Team 3 (me) - Aron Baynes (21.2)

 

George Hill was a big surprise here, despite his big minutes and strong 28.3 FP performance at home in Game 4. The main alternatives at guard were Klay Thompson, Eric Gordon and Marcus Smart. Neither Klay nor Gordon have made strong cases for themselves in this series, and Thompson also has the lingering knee injury to worry about. I get that. Still, I'd rather roll the dice on Smart, who is averaging 26.2 fantasy points in the past two games. LeBron James is going to straight dominate touches for the Cavs in Game 6, and I expect Hill to be a passive bystander more often than not, which lowers his already-low ceiling.



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 Rotoworld.com since 2007. You can follow him on Twitter.
Email :Ryan Knaus



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