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Numbers Game: My 'Beer Sheet'

Alex Rikleen

Rikleen writes the NBA column "Numbers Game," which decodes the math that underpins fantasy basketball. A certified math teacher, Rikleen decided the field of education pays too well, so he left it for writing. He is a Boston College graduate living in Delaware.

One of my biggest pre-draft recommendations is to make your own rankings beforehand – never rely on your host site. But making rankings from scratch isn’t always an option, so I’m giving you mine.

Whenever I draft, this the spreadsheet I print out and follow. In it, I include overall rankings, positional tiers, and overall tiers.

Since I made it, I tend to follow it pretty strictly, but I encourage you to make alterations as you see fit. To facilitate that endeavor, I made it available as a shared Google Sheets file.

Feel free to click the link, make a copy, and modify at will.

Some notes to help you use this “beer sheet”:

- These are tailored to nine-category leagues

- Injured players – such as Isaiah Thomas, Joel Embiid, Rudy Gay, or Jabari Parker – are ranked where I would pick them. Their positional tier designations reflect what I expect from them once they are healthy.

- The Overall Tiers is a reflection of how far I’m willing to stray from my own predraft rankings. In most cases, I am unlikely to reach beyond someone’s letter tier – for example, only rarely will I take someone from Tier L if there is still a player from Tier K available. When I do reach, it is probably because of positional need. That’s when I turn to the positional tiers.

- My positional tiers are somewhat conservative by design. They are closer to a player’s floor than his ceiling, which is why there are a few cases like Jeremy Lin. I have Lin as a Tier-6 point guard, but I recommend drafting him after a handful of Tier-7 point guards.

- After the top-110 or so, these rankings become more of a general guideline than a strongly-worded-recommendation. At that point, pick the players you want, since most of those guys end up on waivers anyway. I feel good about my ranks, but feel free to use the 112th pick to grab someone I have below 140.

Positional tiers reflect players’ eligibility on Yahoo!, with two exceptions. I made the educated guess that Giannis Antetokounmpo would add PG and SG eligibility, and that Ben Simmons would add PG eligibility. Both are currently just SF and PF.

These are not projections. This is the order in which I would pick players. I expect James Johnson to finish higher than 115, but I have a hard time imagining him finishing inside the top 90. But the players I ranked between 101 and 114 all might break into the top 80, and at this stage in the draft I prefer upside to someone who’ll be stuck on my bench.

These are not RotoWire’s official rankings. To view those, go here.