Fantasy Basketball: What Are the Odds a Specific Player Will Fall to You in Your Draft?
They say patience is a virtue. And, in real life, it sure can pay off and lead to good things.
For example, why go see every new movie in theaters when these days you can just wait a couple months to buy, rent, or -- for those less morally inclined -- stream it (for no cost)? I know, I know -- there's something to the theater experience on opening night. But instead of paying more than $9 for a one-time showing, you can watch a movie in the comfort of your own home for roughly $2 or $3 a night or as many times as your heart desires for $15 to $25 (sometimes cheaper if you hit up the bargain bin at Target).
I'm not here to bash movie theaters. In fact, I'm usually one who pays the price to go see the latest Marvel movie on the big screen. But of all people (or fictional characters), Captain Steve Rogers best sums up the reality of patience.
Sometimes, patience is the key to victory. Sometimes, you wonder why you passed up something to only find disappointment on the other side.
As it is in fantasy sports and -- directly for our purposes -- fantasy basketball.
When you head into your draft lobby, more often than not you have a few players in mind; you know, those guys you really want to follow. So much so that you try to talk yourself into picking your boy -- a consensus fourth- or fifth-round pick -- in the third or maybe even second round.
Sure, the upside is worth it in some cases. Your guy could return the value required of him in that draft slot. But opportunity cost -- something we've heard a lot about in fantasy football circles -- sides with the waiting game. Why pick a guy in the second when you are almost certain he'll be there two rounds later, more importantly after you add the expected production of a surefire top-24 asset?
On the other hand, there's times when you want to grab the guy you want. Maybe the reach isn't so drastic, and maybe that guy wouldn't be there when the draft snakes back to you 5 to 10 picks later. And that's where average draft position (ADP) data comes in.
ADP varies from site to site. Depending on scoring, league types and sizes, you'll find different numbers for Yahoo!, ESPN and CBS leagues. The good folks over at FantasyPros make it easy for you to see the similarities and discrepancies between them using their consensus ADP page, and, in addition, each host site provides their own. However, in my research, I could uncover only the necessary high/low data from CBS.
With this data, I was able to -- using the assumption that the high is 2.5 standard deviations away from the mean ADP -- find the standard deviation (a measure of dispersion for a set of data values) for each player's draft position and then calculate his odds of being available at a certain pick.
If this process sounds familiar, it's because Jim Sannes used it to produce a similar table in the lead-up to fantasy football season. Now, obviously we are talking two different sports not to mention two different beasts entirely when it comes to fantasy. In his piece, Jim put together multiple tables using different settings, but fantasy hoops data isn't as accessible so we're left with one to help us gain an edge over the competition.
The list is made up of the top 200 by CBS ADP. You can click on the below link directly, but you won't be able to edit with the document set to public. Instead, what you can do is download the Excel sheet and tailor the pick numbers to your draft position rather than the default, which goes in increments of six, half-round by half-round for standard 12-teamers, and includes the player's position (eligibility differs from site-to-site), and high and low pick in drafts. Each cell is highlighted -- with red being very unlikely and green a near-lock -- so as to illustrate the drop-off from one checkpoint to the next.
For what it's worth, most of you are probably using the other two platforms. Keep that in mind as you head into your drafts. Use a blend of your site ADP and this chart to help make informed decisions when you're trying to wait it out or make sure that you get one of your top guys.
Speaking of top guys, here's a condensed first round preview of the top 12 players by ADP on CBS.
|Player||Position||Team||ADP||High||Lo||Std Dev||Pick 6||Pick 12|
The fringe guys look like Ben Simmons and Kawhi Leonard, who we have 28th and 30th, respectively, in our in-house ranks. They may or may not be available at pick 12, whereas the rest of the dynamic dozen are almost certain to be off the board by the end of the first round.
Notable drop-offs not seen here include Joel Embiid, whose availability odds go from 94.77% at pick 12 to just 15.65% at pick 18. Get him early in the second if not late in the first.
Paul George carries 86.67% odds of being available at pick 18, while he comes in at only 4.78% at pick 24. In seek of trade, Jimmy Butler's 95.6% sure to be available at 18 with those odds declining to 25.0% six picks later.
Donovan Mitchell -- our 45th-ranked player -- has an ADP of 25.7 and has 77.20% odds of being there at pick 24. But the window is tight, as shown by Mitchell's 2.96% probability of being on the board at pick 30 in the middle of the third.