Ryan Knaus

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Mock Draft Preview

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Rotoworld's Draft Guide is brimming over with toosl to help you win your leagues, and you can get a taste of it all with our recent preview column. We'll continue to add content until the regular season begins, too, including new ADP reports, Abusing the Default Ranks, and mock drafts.


There's a fresh draft going into the Guide today, in fact, and you can sample the first few rounds below. For the complete mock write-up, plus dozens more columns, 300+ player projections, schedule grid, Top-200 lists and way more...get the Guide!


This draft took place on Oct. 2 and offers a nice realistic mix of owners and picks. I was joined by my colleague Mike Gallagher and a group of Rotoworld readers, and since it was a Yahoo league it defaulted to 9-cat settings. There was one 'autodraft' spot for an owner who didn't show up, but as I said in the draft room, I don't mind having one auto. It's a good reminder that you simply cannot trust a site's pre-rankings if you hope to compete in a real league. Even the savviest waiver-wire moves and most aggressive streaming are unlikely to save you.


I'll offer brief comments on each round as we progress. For clarity's sake, here are the default Yahoo roster requirements: PG, SG, G, SF, PF, F, C, C, UTIL, UTIL, Bench x3


Round 1
(1) Odaie - Anthony Davis (NO - PF,C) 
(2) Upper - Karl-Anthony Towns (Min - C) 
(3) Michael Gallagher - James Harden (Hou - PG,SG) 
(4) Ned Ryerson - Giannis Antetokounmpo (Mil - SF,PF) 
(5) djmotwister - Nikola Jokic (Den - PF,C) 
(6) Ryan Knaus - Kevin Durant (GS - SF,PF) 
(7) blaise - Stephen Curry (GS - PG,SG) 
(8) Ben - Kawhi Leonard (Tor - SG,SF) 
(9) AutoDraft - LeBron James (LAL - SF,PF) 
(10) M - Russell Westbrook (OKC - PG) 
(11) Elijah - Damian Lillard (Por - PG) 
(12) David - Victor Oladipo (Ind - PG,SG) 

Anthony Davis going No. 1 overall is predictable. He's simply a fantasy behemoth whose usage should be sky-high without DeMarcus Cousins competing for touches. KAT at No. 2 is far less common, but I'm 100% on board. You don't often see Jokic at No. 5 but that's a reasonable spot for him, and I opted to grab KD over Steph at No. 6. I intentionally chose the sixth pick because you'll rarely draft the same player in consecutive mocks in this position -- it all depends what happens with 1-5.


Biggest surprise: Kawhi Leonard at No. 8. We were forced to drop him into the 15-20 range earlier this summer due to sheer uncertainty. Was he healthy? Was he willing to suit up for the Raptors, despite a clear preference to be playing in L.A.? That's changed due to his recent preseason debut and subsequent declaration that he's 'pain-free', but there's still inherent risk here, and No. 8 is the absolute highest I'd take him -- I'd prefer to go 'safe' with Lillard.


Best value: Speaking of Lillard, I love him at 11. But unless something goes haywire, it's hard to declare a real 'value pick' in the first round!


Reaching: Westbrook at No. 10 is sketchy. This is a 9-cat league so you're already taking a big hit for percentages and (especially) turnovers. Throw in WB's recent knee surgery and I'm not interested in him as a first-round pick.


Round 2
(1) David - Paul George (OKC - SG,SF) 
(2) Elijah - Joel Embiid (Phi - PF,C) 
(3) M - Ben Simmons (Phi - PG) 
(4) AutoDraft - Kemba Walker (Cha - PG) 
(5) Ben - Rudy Gobert (Uta - C) 
(6) blaise - Devin Booker (Pho - PG,SG) 
(7) Ryan Knaus - Donovan Mitchell (Uta - PG,SG) 
(8) djmotwister - Jimmy Butler (Min - SG,SF) 
(9) Ned Ryerson - Kyrie Irving (Bos - PG,SG) 
(10) Michael Gallagher - Kyle Lowry (Tor - PG) 
(11) Upper - Bradley Beal (Was - SG) 
(12) Odaie - John Wall (Was - PG) 


Biggest surprise: Kemba Walker being ranked so high on Yahoo. Don't get me wrong, I love Kemba and think he's an easy top-20 value. That said, at No. 16 there's no 'value' to me -- you're paying for his ceiling rather than his floor.


Best value: Jimmy Butler at No. 20 overall is a calculated gamble. He could burn owners if his holdout extends into the regular season, which increasingly seems like a possibility. Tom Thibodeau and the Wolves have staunchly refused to trade him without receiving tons of assets, but potential suitors aren't eager to unload young talent and draft picks -- Minnesota has no leverage and teams can always vie for Jimmy in free agency next summer. When he's active, though, he's basically a lock for top-20 value in any uniform.


Reaching: Ben Simmons at No. 15. Again, this is a 9-cat league...and Simmons made ZERO 3-pointers last season (0-of-11) while committing 3.4 turnovers and shooting 56.0% from the line. This owner previously took Westbrook, so the triple-double categories are stacked. Punting TOs is perfectly reasonable, but this already a punt-TOs-and-FT% build, so the margin for error as the draft progresses is extremely narrow.


Round 3
(1) Odaie - Andre Drummond (Det - PF,C) 
(2) Upper - Clint Capela (Hou - PF,C) 
(3) Michael Gallagher - Khris Middleton (Mil - SG,SF) 
(4) Ned Ryerson - Chris Paul (Hou - PG) 
(5) djmotwister - Jrue Holiday (NO - PG,SG) 
(6) Ryan Knaus - Myles Turner (Ind - PF,C) 
(7) blaise - Jarrett Allen (Bkn - PF,C) 
(8) Ben - Kevin Love (Cle - PF,C) 
(9) AutoDraft - CJ McCollum (Por - PG,SG) 
(10) M - LaMarcus Aldridge (SA - PF,C) 
(11) Elijah - Klay Thompson (GS - SG,SF) 
(12) David - Eric Bledsoe (Mil - PG,SG) 


Biggest surprise: Andre Drummond at No. 25. This is a strong pick, don't get me wrong -- Drummond lapped the league in rebounding last year, stepped up his dimes at 3.0 per game, and was a terrific source of defensive stats (1.5 steals, 1.6 blocks). Due to the 'if you draft him you're punting' factor, though, he's typically available a round or two later in 8-cat/9-cat leagues. With another team already punting FT% (Westbrook & Simmons) you know you'll be squabbling over the same poor-FT% guys the rest of the draft, which is why I didn't expect Drummond to come off the board so early.


Best value: Kevin Love. There's a case to be made for Chris Paul since he's a per-game beast who will crush his ADP if he stays healthy. With a combined 45 DNPs in the past two seasons, though, that's anything but assured. K-Love has his own injury concerns but is in a simply delicious spot for fantasy in 2018-19. He's in his prime and was just paid a mint to serve as the Cavs' No. 1 go-to guy -- it's not even close. Seriously, coach Ty Lue said recently that Rodney Hood might have to be the team's second-leading scorer. If Love stays healthy he could be an absolute monster.


Reaching: Jarrett Allen is built for fantasy, in certain respects. He's the rare center who won't hurt your FT% (77.6% last year) despite providing a huge boost in blocks and FG%. His game is still developing and the Nets want to feature him this season. My mild concerns stem from a lack of versatility. Allen won't hit 3-pointers, which is fine. But he also won't give you any assists, and he averaged a mere 0.7 steals per 36 minutes last season. I also doubt he'll approach 30 minutes per game, so I'm capping his upside (this season, at least) around top-50. To take him at No. 31 overall seems unnecessary, at best. Mike Gallagher vehemently disagrees with this paragraph. (The biggest reach in this round was C.J. McCollum but that's to be expected from the auto-draft.)


Head to the Draft Guide for instant access to the rest of this round-by-round recap, and so much more! If you have any questions or comments, you can always find me on Twitter @Knaus_RW. See you there.

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 since 2007. You can follow him on Twitter.
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