Our New Fantasy Basketball Rankings Tool

If you’re one of our Fantasy Basketball subscribers, you’ve probably seen the new rankings tool that we put on the site a couple days ago.

While our primary goal was to create a simple interface that gave our users the best cheat sheets possible, in an effort to remove any questions, I thought it’d be a good idea to explain some of the features a little more in depth to answer any lingering questions our subscribers might have.

What is it?

The fantasy basketball rankings tool is a walk-through process of your league settings that results in a set of rankings (cheat sheet) that should put you in position to have a great draft.

If you’re playing in a head-to-head league or a rotisserie league, the way those two games are scored differently requires that you have a different set of rankings for each league. Even the specific categories you’re using are important to the rankings. Whether or not your league counts a specific category (turnovers for example) can impact the rankings greatly.

Our tool also helps give you a cheat sheet to properly draft in your league despite the different default rankings that are set on ESPN, CBS, and Yahoo.

ADP (Average Draft Position)

For those savvy players who have been using custom rankings for years already, another great feature on the rankings tool is the ability to select which site you’re playing on so we can pull in the average draft position data (ADP) from your league’s host site and show you where a particular player is being taken on the site you’re drafting on.

The reason that knowing the ADP of your league’s host site is important is because every site has a different default ranking set.

On ESPN, they set their default rankings with an 8-category league in mind (Pts, Rbs, Asts, Stls, Blks, 3PM, FG%, FT%). ESPN does not factor turnovers into their rankings.

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Yahoo uses a 9-category league setup when setting their default rankings (Pts, Rbs, Asts, Stls, Blks, 3PM, FG%, FT%, TOs). That slight difference in league settings, where ESPN choose not to use turnovers while Yahoo does can create such differences as Michael Carter-Williams’ ADP of 43.2 on ESPN as opposed to MCW’ ADP of 73.7 on Yahoo.

CBS uses an even more unique ranking system by setting their default rankings based on a Points league. MCW’s ADP on CBS is 25.1.

In an effort to find a good draft spot for MCW when taking into account RotoWire’s ranking in relation to where the player generally gets drafted, we created the recommended draft slot (RDS).

Recommended Draft Slot (RDS)

This is a very simple function, and while our ambition has greater things im mind for this aspect of our new rankings tool in the future … for the time being, the RDS is little more than a helpful reference point while drafting.

The number created by the recommended draft slot is simply 50-percent between the RotoWire ranking and the player’s average draft position on the site that has been selected (Yahoo, ESPN, CBS).

For instance, if you’ve selected Rotisserie [9-Categories (Pts, Rbs, Asts, Stls, Blks, 3PM, FG%, FT%, TOs)] and want to reference the Yahoo ADP, Michael Carter-Williams’ RotoWire rank is 63rd for that type of league. His ADP on Yahoo is 73.7, so the RDS would be the half-way point between 63 and 73.7, which is MCW’s RDS of 68.

Advanced Use of the Tool and RDS

This becomes more helpful when you start considering punting certain categories in Head-to-Head leagues. Our recommended draft strategy for standard 9-category head-to-head leagues is broken down in this article.

In short, what’s suggested in that article is that it’s more important to draft your team with the positive six counting stats (Pts, Rbs, Asts, Stls, Blks, 3PM) factored into your rankings than to worry about trying to compete in all nine categories.

When using this method of punting (or better said as ignoring) the FG%, FT%, and TOs categories, Michael Carter-Williams’ rank skyrockets. With only these six categories selected in the rankings tool, MCW’s RotoWire rank jumps up to 13th overall. If you’re still drafting on Yahoo, that means the RotoWire rank would be 13th on your cheat sheet; the Yahoo ADP would still be 73.7; but the RDS would now be the half-way point between 13th and 73.7, giving you an RDS of 43.

Essentially, what you can take away from this is understanding that each league needs to be treated differently depending on the league settings.

Knowing how much the league settings can affect the strategy of the different games is an intermediate concept in fantasy which doesn’t always get relayed to new fantasy players, so it’s something we hope this tool helps to illustrate quickly for novice fantasy players.

If I’ve left anything out, please reach out to me on Twitter, and I’ll clarify things there or add a new section to this post.

It’s dorky, but I genuinely care if the subscribers to RotoWire can use our tools to kick everyone’s butt in fantasy basketball.

Thanks, and if you’re into podcasts, check us out on iTunes, Stitcher, or just by streaming through the site here.

If you’re not a subscriber and want to check out the tool, you can sign up for a subscription here or get 10 free days to try out the tool here.

— Kyle McKeown

RotoWire.com NBA Managing Editor