Fantasy basketball — Strategies to help you win your salary cap draft

If you don’t have #1 in a Snake Draft, you’re going to have a hard time getting Nikola Jokic. However, in a salary cap scheme, you can certainly land the joker, you just have to move up.

The reigning two-time MVP has campaigned for an average of $70 of the standard $200 budget used in ESPN draft salary caps. You can even pair him up with his rival Joel Embiid for a cool $130 and create an incredibly talented, if awkward, MVP competition on your own fantasy roster. This strategy leaves you little to build the rest of your team, but speaks to the freedom managers have in this format.

With this freedom comes the responsibility to refine and define your strategy and player ratings. You Determine which players best fit your philosophy, not the draft spot you have. Longtime ESPN fantasy hoops analyst Jon Cregan even wrote an evergreen opus covering all aspects of the salary cap. If you want to dive into the details of budgeting strategies and team building philosophies relevant to salary drafts, start with this piece.

Some might call paying for Embiid and Jokic the start of a “stars and scrubs” approach, surrounding a handful of expensive Superstars with a range of sleepers and fringe fantasy options. The extreme version, regarding the snake design, suggests that you pay for two or three players in the first round and then 10 players in the late round.

This isn’t an ideal approach, mostly because there are so many high-profile NBA stars out there and so the scarcity isn’t in your favor if you’re aiming for a top-heavy build. Such an approach is more palatable in fantasy football, where there is a dearth of reliable elite skill players.

In basketball, it can be argued that statistically there are almost 20 players worthy of consideration in the first round. You should still be chasing multiple stars on your Hoops list, but it shouldn’t take up such a disproportionate chunk of your budget.

While snake designs can certainly surprise and create real pivot points that you might not have anticipated, the unique market volatility that develops in each salary cap design is more pronounced. Being informed allows you to be adaptable in the design, allowing you to discern where to spend and where to be patient.

Does space not value players on tanking teams? You can be that team. Do your buddies let older stars like LeBron James, James Harden and Kevin Durant go way below reasonable? They can and must adapt based on how the other members of your design are behaving.

What makes fantasy basketball so rewarding is how managers recognize and appreciate versatility. Points formats aside, most leagues are determined by categories. You need your superstar wings for production, but you also need rim protection specialists to complement the build.

You know who the high dollar superstars are, but can you get the best price? It’s good to have some price points that you really stick to. There’s not much strategy when it comes to bringing Durant and Dejounte Murray together to open your draft when the driving force was just value.

If you think Durant is still a bankable $55 player (who was worth more last season) and you can land him at $46, that’s highly advisable. If the room was too scared to pay market value for Murray amid the mystery of his fit with Trae Young, that may prove profitable. Some designs could unfold and see each player far exceeding expectations or projections. Variance from design to design is a feature of the format.

My favorite approach over the past few years has been to identify a collection of sleepers and specialists at each position that can serve to supplement the collection of higher dollar stars I’ve already built. That said, I’ll be more consistent in targeting and landing these players since their markets aren’t as fluid as the star players. I may not intend to design Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis, but I’m fine with that if the awards are true values. However, I intend to field Desmond Bane in almost every salary cap league this season.

Bane is springing up as an important value in salary cap drafts because he’s about to hit a career peak in minutes, he’s entering his prime in his third season, and the Grizzlies don’t have much depth behind them. If Bane drives more than 30 minutes a night, he’s well on his way to releasing premier Klay Thompson lines, with an average price point of just $8 on ESPN drafts.

Aside from Bane, I also like Herbert Jones for his incredible steal and block rates, and his scoring forces Jamal Murray and Collin Sexton. These are players going under $10 which could triple their current value this season. Guys like Devin Vassell, Gordon Hayward, Monte Morris, and PJ Washington won’t cost much more than a dollar in most drafts, but will be on almost all of my rosters. If you have a list of players you want, you will often land many of those players.

Being nimble during these early big-name nominations is crucial. value will develop absolutely; it just might not be in those first few names. Then you can track your own sleeper list and values ​​at each position. It sounds like something on a terrible motivational poster, but the balance between patience and preparation is what we strive for in salary cap designs. Fantasy basketball — Strategies to help you win your salary cap draft

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