As a longtime fantasy sports enthusiast, I’ve rocked my fair share of fantasy drafts – NFL, NBA, MLB. Whether it’s in a league of college buddies, colleagues from work or total strangers, whether it’s a league I won, came close to winning or failed miserably (sure, that happened once), there’s one thing all the fantasy leagues have in common:
I never went into the draft unprepared.
So it was very interesting this week when I embarked on my first-ever BIG3 Fantasy draft. How prepared could I be – could anyone be – to draft in a league that just started playing? Who knows which players will emerge as the BIG3’s fantasy studs?
No sweat. There’s still an easy way to formulate a pre-draft strategy and prepare to build your BIG3 Fantasy juggernaut. So without further ado, here’s my secret to success:
For starters, keep in mind that the public league I joined was a small one – just three teams. So it would have been next to impossible for me to draft three players that weren’t awesome. Leagues can have as many as five teams. From a strategic standpoint, it really doesn’t matter how many teams are in your fantasy league.
A big consideration is that there are only three rounds in a BIG3 Fantasy draft, because the game is set up so that teams have three “franchise players” that are drafted, plus five more players that are interchangeable on a weekly basis.
The key consideration is this: EVERY WEEK, YOUR FANTASY TEAM MUST CONSIST OF ONE PLAYER FROM EACH OF THE EIGHT BIG3 TEAMS. Meeting this requirement must drive your every move in the draft.
After that, your own player evaluation comes into play. You need to look over all eight BIG3 rosters and ask yourself one question: Which teams have more than one player that I’m definitely going to want for my fantasy squad?
For example, look at the 3-Headed Monsters. Rashard Lewis could easily be one of the league’s top scorers – who wouldn’t want him? But if you draft Lewis, then he’s the only member of the 3-Headed Monsters you can have on your fantasy team (at least until Call-Up Week following the Week 4 games). What if teammate Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf emerges as a fantasy stud? What if you need a rebounder and Kwame Brown is the guy you want? Draft Lewis and you’re handcuffed.
So I looked at the rosters and decided there were four teams I would try to avoid in the draft: Killer 3s, Trilogy, 3-Headed Monsters, Tri-State. As long as the draft played out favorably, I would make sure not to draft any players from those teams.
With that plan in mind, here’s how my draft played out. I had the third overall pick. Because it was a public league and I don’t know the other team owners, we’ll keep them anonymous. Also worth noting: There were a couple of picks by those two teams that were made by the draft robot.
1. Team A Cuttino Mobley, Power
2. Team B Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, 3-Headed Monsters
3. Team Ellenport Allen Iverson, 3’s Company
Comment: Just as Iverson said it was a “no-brainer” when he was asked to join the BIG3, I knew it was a no-brainer to take him here. And that’s no disrespect to his 3’s Company teammates. As long as Iverson stays healthy, it’s hard to imagine you wouldn’t always want The Answer to be your representative from that team.
4. Team Ellenport Corey Maggette, Power
5. Team B DerMarr Johnson, 3’s Company
6. Team A Brian Cook, Killers 3s
Comment: With Iverson as my big scorer, I wanted my next pick to be a well-balanced guy who can get me points and rebounds. Based on the Historical Player Rankings – an algorithm featured in BIG3 Fantasy that accounts for players’ NBA stats (along with age and years removed from the game) – Maggette was one of the highest-ranked players available that wasn’t on a team from my “don’t-draft” list.
7. Team A Andre Owens, 3’s Company
8. Team B Mo Evans, Ghost Ballers
9. Team Ellenport Josh Childress, Ball Hogs
Comment: Sticking with my plan to avoid four teams completely, my last pick had to come from either the Ghost Ballers or Ball Hogs. I thought about Ghost Baller teammates Mike Bibby or Ricky Davis … but that got me back to the original strategy – if I draft Bibby, then I can never pick up Davis. And vice versa. Childress, one of the younger players in the BIG3, could be a versatile pickup.
With my three franchise players set, it was time to fill out my roster for Week 1. Of course, I’ve got a few weeks to do that, but here’s what I think would be an awesome 8-man roster:
Allen Iverson, 3’s Company
Corey Maggette, Power
Josh Childress, Ball Hogs
Stephen Jackson, Killer 3s
Rashard Lewis, 3-Headed Monsters
Mike Bibby, Ghost Ballers
Xavier Silas, Tri-State
Kenyon Martin, Trilogy
Comment: Most of the free-agent pickups are pretty obvious – and in a league with more teams, chances are guys like Lewis, Bibby and K-Mart would be franchise players. So the pick of note here is Silas. He’s definitely a fantasy sleeper heading into the start of the BIG3 season, and he could be a guy that everyone is picking up a few weeks into the season. So if there’s a chance that I’m in the minority starting Silas in Week 1, that could be a bonus for me.