This year, the strategy for picking the first two picks in your draft should be the best player available. The consensus top eight are all considered great picks no matter where you take them:
- James Harden
- Russell Westbrook
- Steph Curry
- Kevin Durant
- Karl-Anthony Towns
- Giannis Antektokounmpo
- Kawhi Leonard
- Anthony Davis
But there is also a fairly set Tier 2 group at each position:
- Wings (Lebron/Butler/George)
- Guards (CP3/Wall/Irving/Dame)
- Bigs (Cousins/Jokic/Gobert)
No matter who you end up within the first round, you should be able to fill any spot in the second round. It seems that a ton of people are getting caught up with the perfect second-round pick to combine with those top eight for this or that punting strategy. When in reality, you can go in any direction.
Rounds 3-7 are where you will make your real choices. The added randomness of being later in the draft and the ability to reach down without passing over a top tier player will leave these rounds the most unpredictable. This is where you need to decide to balance out your weak categories, further strengthen your strong categories, or just blow up free throw percentage with DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond, or Hassan Whiteside. All of these decisions will need to be made on the fly, based on the players that are available. Your third and fourth picks should all have significant weaknesses in some category. This is where you should start to develop your punting direction. Not pre-draft.
Running through at least a few mock drafts will help you prepared for multiple situations. Be sure to try different player and strategies to see how they align with the players available in the later rounds. When it comes time for your actual draft, you will have the experience needed to adjust on the fly based on your previous mock drafts. This way you can adjust based on the direction your league is headed, and exploit the punting strategies that are made available to you in the third and fourth round, instead of hoping a player drops to you and getting screwed by a fellow league member.
Good luck and happy mock drafting!
For more fantasy draft strategy, check out this episode of the Watching the Boxes fantasy basketball podcast: