Roto Arcade - Fantasy

Throughout the week, we'll be mock drafting the first five rounds of a fantasy hoops league. The format should be fairly familiar to regular Roto Arcade readers - one round per day, with six managers drafting two teams each, adding their analysis for each pick along the way. As always, we look forward to your thoughtful discussion of the picks and analysis in the comments section. Assumed settings are 9-cat h2h.

Links to previous results: Round 1, Round 2

3.01 Al Horford(notes) FC, ATL – Applying the same logic as the Bosh pick, Horford provides classic big man contributions on good percentages to compliment Kevin Durant(notes). On the heals of a breakout season in 2009-10 (second round per game value, first round cumulative value) Horford enters his fourth season with a relatively stable roster in Atlanta, a new head coach and a chance to slide back to his natural power forward position. He’s a near lock to out-produce this draft position but I’d even be happy if he simply replicated last season’s numbers. With the first three picks in the history books, this team looks like a decent candidate to punt assists, having missed out on most of the elite point guards already. (Phil Londen)

3.02 Al Jefferson(notes), FC, UTH – With two quality point guards on board, this team can now focus on the areas it needs help the most: traditional big man stats. Prior to his ACL injury, Al Jefferson was a lock for 20 and 10 on a nightly basis. Now fully recovered and playing for a winning team, there is no reason to doubt that Jefferson will return to his studly ways. While there will likely be an adjustment period as Utah swaps out pick and roll specialist Carlos Boozer(notes) for Jefferson's elite post game, Utah doesn't have a realistic alternative to playing Al Jeff big minutes because of Mehmet Okur's(notes) achilles injury. Depending upon how the next few rounds play out, the best strategy for this team could end up beign a balanced strategy, similar to a roto build. This strategy can be effective in head-to-head leagues if most other managers are employing punt strategies, as you are essentially handed one or two categories every week. (Londen)

3.03 Monta Ellis(notes), G, GSW - Monta led the league in minutes per game last season, and in the Warriors system, that’s a pretty ripe combination for fantasy production. In fact, based on the five cats of PTS, 3PM, REB, AST, and STL, both LBJ and Ellis were top three in per game value and the rookie Evans clocked in at No. 20. (Brandon Funston)

3.04 Brandon Roy(notes), GF, POR - Roy fits this team's (Dirk Nowitzki(notes) and Andre Iguodala(notes)) profile as an efficient, across-the-board contributor. Unlike the others, though, you worry about durability a little bit. But if he plays close to a full season, he’s a good get this late. (Funston)

3.05 Carlos Boozer, FC, CHI - Strongly considered Nene here as well but felt I couldn't pass on Carlos' significant scoring output advantage. Unless Carmelo happens to land in Chicago, I fully expect Boozer to be in the close neighborhood of most of his career averages (20 points/10 rebounds). With new coach Tom Thibodeau at the helm, I expect the Bulls to end up in a lot of half court sets due to the teams likely defensive focus. Consequently, Boozer's usage should remain as healthy as ever (around 25%) as they play a lot of inside-out and Rose/Boozer tandem execute plenty of pick and rolls. This mock team now appears destined to punt FT% and turnovers - when factoring just the remaining seven categories, Howard ranks 2nd, Rondo 7th and Boozer 11th overall. (Oleh Kosel)

3.06 David West(notes), PF, NOR - David has been one of the most dependable power forwards both in terms of games played and production the last three years (9-category ranks of 24, 35 and 27). With a new coach in town, a healthy Chris Paul(notes) and Ariza/Thornton creating havoc on the wings, I'm expecting David to enjoy one of his finest seasons as a professional. Defenses won't be able pack it in against him like last season and I'm sure he will be eager to propel the Hornets back into the playoffs this season. This Curry/Melo led team now appears to have a solid base in all the counting categories (PTS, REB, AST, STL and 3's) outside of blocks and FT% is probably the best among the other mock teams. (Kosel)

3.07 Manu Ginobili(notes), SG, SAS - I was looking at several players here, namely Andrea Bargnani(notes) and Joe Johnson(notes), but settled on Manu because he was the best fit alongside Kobe Bryant(notes) and Brook Lopez(notes). Bargs' (lack of) steals are a huge drawback, while Johnson would have given me an excess of scoring and not enough elsewhere (plus I'm not crazy about him this year in that motion offense). Ginobili gives me a solid base in assists, steals, threes, and free-throw percentage without forcing me to reach for a point guard like Darren Collison(notes) or Mo Williams(notes), who are much better suited as fourth-round picks. Manu will continue to be a major part of that offense whether it be off the bench or as a starter, especially with Tim Duncan(notes) visibly aging and needing more and more rest with each passing season. I will continue to implement a more flexible strategy with this squad (Kobe, Brook Lopez, Manu) with an emphasis on points and free-throw percentage. (Justin Phan)

3.08 Nene Hilario(notes), FC, DEN - No player scored more points per 100 possessions last season than Nene, as his Offensive Rating of 124 led the league and ranked historically as one of the 50 best single-season ORtg's of all time. One of the best ORtg's of all time! To give you an even better idea of how efficient a scorer Nene is, he is fourth amongst active players in effective field-goal percentage (55.4 percent) and fifth amongst active players in true shooting percentage (59.5 percent). Nene is one of those players who doesn't need the ball often to make a significant impact, and because his value isn't heavily dependent on his usage, he is one of the safest third-round picks out there. Getting nearly 1.5 steals from a center is a huge deal, and further goes to cement this team's strengths in steals, blocks, rebounds, field-goal percentage, and points. I also think there is some sneaky upside here with Chris Andersen(notes) and Kenyon Martin(notes) both dealing with significant  injuries, and the Nuggets being a few trades away from blowing up their roster (Melo, Billups, JR Smith(notes)). This team's roster through three rounds: Dwyane Wade(notes), Gerald Wallace(notes), Nene Hilario. (Phan)

3.09 Troy Murphy(notes), FC, NJN - The first two picks here (Granger and Kidd) leave me wanting big-man stats (REB, BLK) without an emphasis on FG%. Murphy is typically a league-average player in terms of percentages (and a few other categories) while delivering huge rebounding and three-point totals. The Lopez/Murphy dynamic was discussed in Round 2, and I'm not expecting adjustment problems or a let-down from Murphy in a contract year, playing just a few miles from his hometown. Blocks and scoring need to be addressed during the next few rounds, and I'd like to add at least one more high-level contributor in FT%. (Matt Buser)

3.10 Andrea Bargnani, FC, TOR
- I considered one other player here but decided on Bargnani's versatile game to complement Deron and Amar'e. The expectation here is good points, threes, and blocks, with a few boards and a solid FT%. I'm not expecting a quantum leap in Bargnani's first season as the main attraction for the Raptors, but even moderate gains will make this worthwhile and substantial improvements are not out of the question. Steals are now the single-largest weakness for this team, and shoring up threes, blocks, and boards has become the short-term priority. (Buser)

3.11 Joe Johnson, GF, ATL - I'm not drafting the contract, just the stats associated with this dude in the year ahead. This mock fantasy team won't have to pay Johnson $27 million when he's 35 years old, so we're cool. Johnson is also the first 20-plus PPG scorer on this roster. At pick No. 35 overall, Joe is going almost exactly at his 2009-10 year-end fantasy value. We've maintained mock draft integrity, a victory for all. (Andy Behrens)

3.12 Tim Duncan, FC, SAS - The whole point of taking Tim Duncan is that you don't have to explain why you took Tim Duncan. And you get rebounds, blocks, reliability, and a second center who isn't a disaster. (Behrens)

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