I ran into one of the hazards of giving fantasy basketball advice this week. During one of my drafts, I ran into this dilemma: it was the ninth round, and I wanted Al Horford. I also wanted Andrew Bynum, but I wanted Horford more. But I was greedy…I thought that I could maybe get both. Bynum was ranked in the top few remaining players on the draft applet, while Horford was still way down the list. I decided that nobody was really thinking about Horford yet, so I took Bynum and planned to get Horford the next round. Horford was chosen with the very next pick. Then, after I screamed at my computer, the person that picked Horford gave me this gem…
"I was surprised you didn't pick Horford. I knew that you liked him because I read your sleeper fantasy article the other day."
That was just rubbing salt in the wound. This guy used my own advice to steal my own sleeper away from me. He then proceeded to do that on 3 of the next 4 picks, gleefully pointing it out each time he did it.
Now, outside of this being an offense worth fighting over, it also nails home a valuable lesson. In roto drafts, when you have a player that you really want, TAKE him right then. Don't get too cute or too greedy, as most of the people in your league are probably looking at the same sleeper lists and fantasy advice sites that you are. This is especially true in the mid-to-late part of the draft, as rankings lists get a lot less precise the further in you go. No one can say with any certainty that the player ranked 90th is necessarily better than the player ranked 110th. At that point you should be going with your gut, picking players based on your own team needs and/or value lists.
Nine times out of ten you'll be happier picking the guy that you really want, more-so than the guy that rankings lists tell you that you are supposed to take. Because if you wait and miss out on that player, it will hurt a lot more if it is the one you had your heart set on.