Unlike the Lakers, the NBA season is off to a fun start with surprises everywhere. The Nets, Lakers and Sixers stink, and the Jazz are in 1st place in the West. The chaos has been huge for Underdog Fantasy Battle Royale and Drafters Snake draft tournaments where many of these assumptions are baked into ADP and projections, and if we lean into some of that anarchy, we can get a huge edge.
Before we dive in, don’t forget to check out our FREE Rankings for NBA Battle Royale and Snake draft tournaments every day. These rankings are where a lot of the analysis here gets derived from, and they’re based off both median and ceiling projections to put the most accurate rankings together for your chance to win these tournaments.
Let’s get it.
NBA Underdog Fantasy Battle Royale & Drafters Snake Draft Strategy for October 28th, 2022
As Joel Embiid gets off to a slow start, there has become a bit of a gap between he and the top 2 options – Giannis Antetokounmpo & Nikola Jokic. The Sixers are struggling to start the year, and the Raptors, despite a lack of size, play Embiid tough.
We’ve officially moved Embiid down our rankings beneath Lebron James, Jayson Tatum, and teammate James Harden. Trae Young‘s insane usage also gives him an insane ceiling in a nice matchup with the Pistons that boosts him just a tick ahead of Embiid today. I mention all of this about Embiid because he’s 3rd by ADP, and we’re leaning more into the other superstars tonight.
You can continue to lock & load Pascal Siakam as well against this bad Philly defense, but after him is where things really flatten out. From Kevin Porter Jr. down to Cade Cunningham is a giant tier where players project VERY similarly both in the mean and in the upside case. This is where I think we can mix and match a bit if we are drafting multiple teams, or if you have a strong take on one of these guys (maybe Anfernee Simons without Damian Lillard, Paolo Banchero/Franz Wagner with no PG for Orlando, or DeMar Derozan with Zach Lavine questionable).
Undervalued and Overvalued Players
Franz Wagner – The market is buying Paolo Banchero here, but totally overlooking the huge boost to Franz here with all of the Magic point guards hurt. Franz and Paolo will essentially tag team the playmaking & ball handling responsibility here, and the matchup with the Hornets woeful defense is as good as it gets.
Julius Randle – With the Knicks bringing in Jalen Brunson and some other weapons emerging, Randle is not the same fantasy asset as the last couple years. He is not tasked with the same responsibility ball handling or on the glass, which makes him just a fringe top 30 player in a tough matchup with the Bucks. If you drafted NBA Best Ball teams, you likely saw this reflected in our low NBA Best Ball ranking of Randle.
Injuries and Situations to Monitor
Damian Lillard – As mentioned above, Dame is out for a few weeks, so Anfernee Simsons should take the reigns of the Blazers offense. In nearly 600 minutes without Dame (& McCollum/Powell), Ant posted nearly a 30% usage rate and 1.11 fantasy points per minute.
Anthony Davis– In the least surprising news of the night, AD is questionable to play. Frankly, who knows with this guy, but if he does miss Lebron is going to have to shoulder even more burden. Westbrook is also questionable, and as bad as he is, would be a draftable player late in drafts if AD were to miss and he were to play.
Pelicans – Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum are questionable tonight, and Brandon Ingram is out. Herb Jones is also questionable, and this is huge to monitor because Jonas Valanciunas would get a huge boost if Zion does not play. Jose Alvarado could become draftable without CJ, and Trey Murphy comes into play without Herb and Zion.
Zach Lavine -The Bulls are load managing Lavine, at least early in the year, so he is questionable to play tonight. DeMar Derozan goes from a decent pick to one of the best picks in all of drafts if Lavine misses, so clearly this is a huge deal. Nikola Vucevic also gets a big boost without Lavine.