The 2022-23 NBA Season is here, and we are kicking off the season with 2 star studded matchups that make for extremely intriguing drafts. For those who maybe haven’t played Battle Royale and Snake Draft contests for NBA before, let us be your guide. It’s extremely simple. You head over to either Underdog Fantasy or Drafters Fantasy, and you hop into one of their NBA Daily Draft tournaments.
You compete in a Snake Draft against 3 other individuals. On Underdog, you will draft 6 total players, and the positions do not matter. On Drafters, for opening night, you’ll be selecting between the Tuesday Night AND Wednesday Night games, and you will select a deeper roster – 1 Point Guard, 1 Shooting Guard, 1 Small Forward, 1 Power Forward, 1 Center and 5 Flex. For the purposes of this article for opening night, we’ll be focusing on the Underdog contests, but tomorrow we’ll have Drafters covered as well.
Let’s dig in.
NBA Battle Royale & Snake Draft Strategy for October 18th, 2022
With just two games on Opening Night, you would think the top players and overall draft strategy would be pretty straightforward… but the NBA is always throwing us for a loop. We have one big situations as the driving force behind the entire slate. First, we thought it would be Russell Westbrook possibly missing the game, but Russ has been ruled probable to play. Russ is slated to come off the bench, so it’s not so much about him as a pick, but more about the later in the draft type guys who would have gotten a huge boost in both minutes and production if Russ is not playing alongside them on the bench.
More importantly now is the fact that Steve Kerr came out and told us that the Warriors are not going to play their core players normal minutes because their conditioning is not where it needs to be to play 30+ minutes. The Warriors at full strength were already a bit tricky given they do have a lot of mouths to feed, and this just makes things much more difficult. We only have two games, so we can’t rule out the main Warriors, but it moves them down our rankings quite a bit.
The big thing this does is create a bit more of an emphasis on the first game despite the fact that it’s a slightly less appealing game environment, and it opens up some potential value in deeper options on both the Warriors and the Lakers.
However, if we are selecting our Top Options, we cannot ignore Lebron James and Anthony Davis. With Russ coming off the bench, these two are going to shoulder a HUGE load for the Lakers who are going to be fighting just to make the playoffs this year. Those two are both Top 4 options tonight behind number one player and MVP candidate Joel Embiid. Embiid should feast against a Robert Williams-less Celtics frontcourt and projects as our number one player. Meanwhile, the minutes issues for the Warriors moves Steph Curry down to 6th overall.
Undervalued and Overvalued Players
Al Horford – Without Robert Williams, Horford should shoulder the burden at center for the Celtics, and while Embiid is clearly a tough matchup, Horford can be a productive fantasy player especially at center. He should be in consideration right after the top 7 players.
Klay Thompson – We’ve already discussed the Warriors minutes issues, and there’s no one that impacts more in drafts than Klay. He’s already a shell of his former fantasy self after his injuries, taking a back seat to Jordan Poole now as well. But in limited minutes, he’s barely a top 20 option.
Injuries and Situations to Monitor
It’s opening night, so there’s very little. The main thing to keep in mind is, again, the Warriors minutes situation and their potential 2nd unit players that could really be the difference in some extended run. The Celtics are also without Robert Williams so their secondary players are more appealing, and the Lakers will be without Thomas Bryant, so the backup center to Anthony Davis is interesting if we get Damian Jones.