As I mentioned in Part I of this article, preparing for a fantasy league draft is a lot of work. Part I of this article discussed how to make a scoring category Cheat Sheet, but the real work is in making position based Cheat Sheets.
In Yahoo Fantasy NBA your roster consists of a Point Guard, Shooting Guard, Guard, Small Forward, Forward, two Centers and two Utility players. Each roster spot plays a full 82 game schedule. Additionally, you chose three bench players.
Obviously, you have to come up with some sort of draft order by position. This involves ranking your players by position using last season’s statistics. I consider every single scoring category when making my positional Cheat Sheets. I make a simple grid with the players name and statistical scoring categories for every player I would consider drafting. For the non-percentage based scoring categories I try to use per game averages to make it a little more clear what each player is going to give me every night.
For example, my Power Forward Cheat Sheet starts out with Shawn Marion – http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/3332 whose averages last season were: FG%: 47, FT%: 83, 3PM: 1.4 per game, Points: 19 per game, Rebounds: 11 per game, Blocks: 1.5 per game, Steals: 1.4 per game, Assists: 2 per game and Turnovers: 1.5 per game. If a player is in the top 5 statistically for a scoring category for that position, I try to circle or high light those specific numbers. A player like Marion has lots of circled and highlighted numbers. I also try to highlight especially bad numbers to consider, like Allen Iverson’s Turnovers or Shaq’s Free Throw Percentage. I do this for every player that I would consider drafting.
It is an exhausting exercise, and may lead to certain levels of alienation from your significant other (i.e. wife or girlfriend), but it’s what you have to do to win.
Once you have your grid made, you need to use it to decide on a depth chart for your choices of who to draft. This is the equivalent of the Draft Board that real NBA teams use when drafting. My Power forward list starts with Kevin Garnett and makes it’s way down to Mike Sweetney… I don’t just use last years numbers in deciding this order, you have to take into consideration all the variables for the coming season: potential for injury, player age, a new coach, off season trouble, the impact of free agent acquisitions or draftees on that players minutes and gut instinct. It’s important to know the numbers, but not be a slave to them.
Once I have each Cheat Sheet made by position, I start pre-ranking all my players for the draft, using the cheat sheet as a guide. I try to “spy” on some other Yahoo Fantasy drafts to get good estimates on what round each player will typically be drafted in to rank players. (See the Article “Spy on Someone Else’s Draft” to find out how to do this.) Make your Pre-ranking list completely exhaustive, because the draft will go over 140 players deep.
On draft day I have my Statistical Cheat Sheet and Positional Cheat Sheets close by for reference. The best part about spending all the time making Cheat Sheets, is after putting in all the time to make them, you don’t even have to look at them that much, because you have learned what each player offers by creating them.
Good Luck. Now get to work!