Draft Guide Features

The annual SportsEthos Draft Guide is a comprehensive piece that gets readers prepared for the upcoming season, and namely their upcoming drafts. My aim is to provide as much information as humanly possible and give people their money's worth; I intend to cover more players and go more in depth than anyone else in the fantasy basketball space. While the majority of the Guide is made up of team pages and individual player profiles, which you can check out here, each edition includes dozens of articles that cover topics like draft strategy, in-season strategy, roster building, sleepers and busts, potential breakouts for second- and third-year players, players entering contract seasons, players with specialist appeal for certain stats, team-level trends and schedule breakdowns. We also hold drafts with readers and write those up for review in addition to providing statistical tools like projections and rankings for category scoring, salary cap leagues and points formats. Below are some highlights over the years, showing a small slice of the work I deliver over a few weeks each summer.

Featured Articles

2022 Draft Guide: Out-of-Position Stats for Guards/Wings

Head-to-head leagues give managers plenty of options when it comes to building teams. You can react to the draft and make up for deficiencies in ways that you simply can’t in roto formats, and with even a little bit of planning you’re never out of it. The other beauty of that is that the stats are stats — unlike other sports, you can get production from anywhere. While certain stats generally cluster with certain types of players, the modern NBA has led to a break from that convention.

2022 Draft Guide: Sleepers

It’s time for everyone’s favorite subject!

Sleepers are the most fun thing to think about as we barrel towards opening night. Being able to get it right with sleepers is the proving ground — anyone can tell you that Nikola Jokic will be good, but not everyone gets a chance to draft him. When you pick the right sleepers, they’ll take you on to victory and give you the right to smack talk your entire league for letting such a valuable player fall in your lap.

2022 Draft Guide: Busts

It’s certainly satisfying when anything in life works out, and in most cases it’s doubly satisfying to credit that success to hard work. It’s a bit sweeter to know that your decisions — the things you chose to do — worked out as planned or better. On the flip side, sometimes success is about the things you don’t do. Limiting mistakes can be just as impactful as doing positive things even if it doesn’t bring about the same level of glory. Getting out of your own way is a good practice in any walk of life, and fantasy hoops falls under that umbrella.

2021 Draft Guide: Sleepers

Sleepers are basically everyone’s favorite draft season topic. It’s very hard to totally win or lose a draft with one of your first couple picks (barring catastrophe) but digging deep and hitting on some late picks can have a massive marginal benefit. That late zone is where the true knowledge gaps make themselves known. Not everyone gets a chance to pick the best players in the league, but real sleepers are sitting there for the taking. Picking the right ones — which is to say, the ones that your leaguemates aren’t paying attention to — can put a team over the top, and way, way over the top in some cases.

2020 Draft Guide: Shutdown/Rest Risks

This season is going to be a weird one, and fantasy GMs are hoping and praying for some consistency. It’ll be hard enough navigating a reworked schedule that could change in a flash, to say nothing of players disappearing from lineups for 10 days at the drop of a hat. Life is an abyss of unpredictability.

We’re here to focus on the things we can control; if not control, at least be aware of. Players sit out games. Sometimes they’re injured, sometimes they’re hurt, sometimes they’re getting a breather in a busy part of the schedule. Whatever the case, you’re going to want to know who’s at risk of those extra DNPs.

2019 Draft Guide: Contract Year UFAs

After a star-studded free agency that kicked off lots of player movement, the summer of 2020 looks like it could be a letdown. There are plenty of valuable players that look ready to hit the open market, but few that bring franchise-altering star power to the table. Even so, there will be players looking to cash in with the league appearing to enter more of a wide-open era where it can pay to be aggressive. Your shots at a title are extremely limited and you might want to spend whatever is necessary to get over the hump.

The thought is that players find that extra gear when the next check is on the way — that one big season can set them up in the long-term and they’re going to empty the tank to get there. It’s not something that can really be definitively proven but money is a great motivator and we have seen a number of players post big numbers that just so happen to coincide with hitting the open market. If you believe in it, this one’s for you. If not, here’s a list of guys who will/could be free agents next summer.

2019 Draft Guide: Deep-League Cash Counter Specialists

In a perfect world all of your players would contribute in every category, and on strong percentages to boot. Unfortunately the world is rarely perfect, let alone something as small as the final selections in fantasy drafts. Especially in deep leagues.

Everyone knows that the guys at the top of fantasy drafts can give you steals, blocks and threes, but it can be difficult to make up ground if the top of your roster lags behind for one reason or another. That’s where we come in.

The following is a list of players who can help you compete in the all-important cash counter categories. A lot of players can bring in points and rebounds, but rounding out a line with the scarcer stats is the best way to bring home the money.

2019 Draft Guide: Out-of-Position Stats for Forwards/Centers

Math is the great equalizer. Fantasy basketball is a numbers game in the purest sense. You have X number of lineup spots, and your goal is to maximize the stats that come out of each. How you get to those numbers is irrelevant -- if all your steals come from your centers, who cares? At the end of the day it’s all about who has how many.

Alas, our lineups are still constrained by the traditional positions, even as the game itself becomes increasingly seamless. As such, oftentimes fantasy managers will need stats from positions where they aren’t typically abundant. Let’s bounce around the league to see where you can make up the difference if your wings are poor shooters or your point guards aren’t near the top of the assist leaderboards.

2019 Draft Guide: Pace Report

“Pace and space” is all the rage in the NBA these days. League-wide, teams are looking for the accelerator and pumping out more and more possessions per contest. That’s great news for fantasy players, who see all those extra possessions turn into additional stats.

Our work needs to be done in determining which teams are primed for big relative jumps in an ecosystem where a rising tide is floating everyone’s boat. The fine folks at NBA.com have cooked up plenty of fun stats to look at that can help us suss out who is driving the bus and which players are just tagging along for a leisurely stroll. Let’s dive in.

2019 Draft Guide: Schedule Analysis

The NBA schedule has always provided the most dedicated fantasy owners a sneaky way to squeeze every last bit out of each roster spot, and that will continue even as the league continues to ease the schedule’s burden on its players.

Over the last few seasons we’ve seen a major cutdown on many of the schedule elements that fantasy owners target (back-to-backs, five-game weeks, etc.). Back-to-backs are down and four-in-fives are just about extinct at this point. While the extra onus on putting out the best possible product has cut down on some opportunity, fantasy owners still have some schedule wrinkles to exploit this year.

2018 Draft Guide: Busts

“Bust” can be a funny word, and before we jump into it we should really set the goalposts for what constitutes a bust here.

Last season there was no bigger bust than Kawhi Leonard, but who could’ve predicted just nine games and a ton of off-court drama? We’re not trying to pay nostradamus and pick out the guys who’ll get hurt and leave owners in the lurch, but rather the players who are looking likely to disappoint their owners given expectations and draft position. Some of the busts here can still be effective fantasy contributors, but you’ll need to re-evaluate the risk/reward equation rather than jump in blindly.

2017 Draft Guide: Percentage Pariahs

Very few fantasy players are the total package. In fact, you could probably count those guys on one hand and still have some fingers left over.

Nearly every player has a fantasy blemish, but percentages stand out as the categories where players can be actively harmful. A player might record zero rebounds, but it’s not like he’s producing negative output. The same can’t be said for the players below, who can undo the good work done by the rest of your roster with their woeful shooting.

We’ve taken a look at some of the most harmful shooters in the game, as well as some names you might not have expected to ding you and guys who could do some damage if their volume increases. Pretty much everyone here has another area they excel at, but whether the juice is worth the squeeze is going to be up to you and your roster build.

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