This year, a number of Armchair contributors and friends have come together to engage in the bloodsport that is Fantasy Basketball, with a twelve-person fantasy league running the duration of the regular season. We’ll provide weekly/bi-weekly updates on fantasy rankings and happenings throughout the year, but we’ll start with the post-draft pre-season power-ranking of the teams.
Each of the twelve members of the Armchair Superfriends League drafted thirteen players – three guards, three forwards, two centres, two utility players, and three bench players, with draft order reversed in each round. Teams match up each week over ten categories – points, 3 pointers-made, FG%, FT%, 3pt%, assists, rebounds, steals, blocks, and turnovers – with the victory going to whomever in each matchup claims the most categories.
The draft comes loaded with questions, only some of which we know the answer to: will Texas Granger’s bold strategy of not picking any natural bigs pay off? Will Simons combust from self-loathing after picking Dwyane Wade? Will Cam’s insistence on pissing off every other owner, at least once, end with his body being found in a dumpster come mid-March? Will Nice Pair of Slacks be successful in his avante-garde push to expand the permitted IR for each team? We’ll endeavour to answer some of those questions below as we rank the teams, with added commentary from Alex, Serge, and Cam.
Team Name: Twiggy Munson United
Drafted: 1st Overall
Lineup By Round Drafted: Lebron James (Cle – SF/PF), Kyle Lowry (Tor – PG), Al Horford (Atl – PF/C), Deron Williams (Bkn – PG), Brook Lopez (Bkn – C), Jabari Parker (Mil – SF), Ryan Anderson (NO – PF/C), Tyreke Evans (NO – SG), Eric Gordon (NO – SG), Gerald Green (Pho – SG/SF), Julius Randle (LAL – PF), Paul George (Ind – SG/SF), Corey Brewer (Min – SG/SF)
Alex: Taking Paul George in the second last round over players who may actually play this season will confound anyone but hey, if he makes a miracle comeback after beating his dogs one on one. At the end of the day who cares when you have The King. This team doesn’t have the pieces to make a run yet but it does have the trade pieces to potentially maneuver into the playoffs where you can swing for the fences.
Serge: If Paul George comes back before the end of this year and this team somehow manages to push it into the playoffs… Boy will everybody has been wrong though. Even so, this team has 2 Brooklyn players and 3 Pelicans players (1. Drafted back to back 2. none of the three are named Anthony Davis). So it’s really hard to see any reason to success. Even so, LeBron and Kyle are the kind of multi-stat guys that hold this kind of roster together. Even with those two however injuries and consistency for ANY category will be an issue.
Cam: On the one hand, any team with Lebron James is pretty solid and guaranteed so. many. buckets. On the other, this squad is one Brook Lopez injury and Deron Williams implosion away from being up shit creek. The reliance on the Pelicans and Nets is precarious, but could pay dividends if Anthony Davis manages to coax good numbers out of his teammates.
Julian: That’s also without mentioning Eric Gordon, who’s never played a full season in his career. 64 games last season ties a personal best since his rookie year… Lebron is likely to get some rest during the season and at last check, Brook is doubtful for the season opener. I think Jabari has the potential to be a nice pick, so far ranking #1 on everyone’s early ROY candidates. If this team can stay healthy, they could just sneak up on people.
Team Name: Kareem Abdul Jabari
Armchair Owner: Serge L.
Drafted: 2nd Overall
Quote: My brain says Anthony Davis but my heart says BOOOGIE”
Lineup By Draft Round: Anthony Davis (NO – PF/C), Joakim Noah (Chi – PF/C), Marc Gasol (Mem – C), Ricky Rubio (Min – PG), David Lee (GS – PF/C), Jose Calderon (NY – PG), Kevin Martin (Min – SG/SF), Isaiah Thomas (Pho – PG), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Mil – SG/SF), Channing Frye (Orl -PF/C), Draymond Green (GS – SF), Marco Belinelli (SA – SG/SF), K.J. McDaniels (Phi – SF)
Alex: Fear the Brow… Fear him now… Fear him until the end of days. This team is going to have some problems putting up consistent 3PT numbers despite a high percentage and the same thing can be said for points.
Serge: I can’t really say much since this is my team, but I’ll just say that I wanted all of the bigs. Always. It’s a two center league so having bigs up front will be good. I tried to stack other stats such as 3PT%, dimes and steals later, but at some point I will need to move one of my man-monsters for some points. Just need to see how fast this team gets off the ground.
Cam: I face this team in the week 1 matchup, and I’ve effectively written off winning any of the big categories. This team is heavy on big stats, while the versatility of Marc Gasol makes up for the lack of big-name point guards – that and the fact that Jose Calderon doesn’t get dinged for sucking at defence. It’s a frontcourt-heavy squad, but dominance of those stats in a two-center league should prove a strong strategy.
Julian: Hey Serge, maybe if there was a damn big on the board I wouldn’t have rostered Greg Monroe… jerk. All I’m saying is that if this was a real life team, all the other teams would have to just chuck from half, nobody is getting near the paint. Also, as previously pointed out, it’s going to be hard to put up points and 3’s, but this team has plenty of trade assets. The only thing risky about this roster, is that the owner only sets a lineup about once every leap year.
Team Name: New Wolves Order
Armchair Owner: Alex S.
Drafted: 3rd Overall
Lineup By Draft Round: Stephen Curry (GS – PG/SG), Andre Drummond (Det – PF/C), Klay Thompson (GS – SG/SF), Kenneth Faried (Den – PF), Dwyane Wade (Mia – PG/SG), Larry Sanders (Mil -PF/C), Roy Hibbert (Ind – C), Jeremy Lin (LAL – PG/SG), JJ Redick (LAC – SG), Trey Burke (Uta – PG), Mason Plumlee (Bkn -PF/C), Mirza Teletovic (Bkn – SF/PF), Dion Waiters (Cle – SG)
Cam: Any hope of Simons not winning the 3s categories was immediately dashed when nobody stopped him from taking Klay Thompson, JJ Redick, Mirza Teletovic, or Dion Waiters. Seriously, everyone should just abandon hope of winning those categories when they play this team. Drummond and Faried are guaranteed to pull down rebounds by the keg as well, though FT% is going to walk a fine line between “shaky” and “completely screwed.”
Serge: I called the man out for being ridiculous, but then he added JJ and Mirza right before I could take them and made this team pretty solid. There is no winning 3PTM or 3PT% when you face these guys. Rebounds and blocks shouldn’t be an issue until you come across one of the really stacked teams at bigs. Overall, well rounded and an early pick for favorites. Free throw categories are in the f*ck-it bucket with Faried and Drummond right away.
Alex: As this is my team I’ll have anyone reading this know that this team is destined for greatness and a return to the hallowed championship halls after a disastrous draft last year… All these things considered, there is a real chance I either commit Sepuku or spend my season in a depressed state of self loathing for violating myself and drafting Wade.
Julian: I’m going to be honest, this is going to be a fun team to watch. There’s a lot of things I’m excited to see play out – how many games is Wade playing this year? Will Larry kill a man in a club? Will Roy Hibbert step it up? Can Jeremy Lin help lead this Lakers squad in a competitive West? One of the better rounded teams in the draft, but don’t count on the roster looking like this for long – Alex tends to get bored easy.
Team Name: Nice Pair of Slacks
Drafted: 4th Overall
Lineup By Draft Round: Kevin Durant (OKC – SF/PF), Chris Bosh (Mia – PF/C), Goran Dragic (Pho – PG/SG), Gordon Hayward (Uta – SG/SF), Pau Gasol (Chi – PF/C), Greg Monroe (Det – PF/C), Jamal Crawford (LAC – PG/SG), Elfrid Payton (Orl – PG), Arron Afflalo (Den – SG/SF), Omer Asik (NO – PF/C), Danny Green (SA – SG/SF), Nene Hilario (Was – PF/C), Tony Wroten (Phi – PG)
Quote: “Monroe and Durant to the promised land!”
Cam: Either last year’s fantasy champion wanted to give other people a chance to taste victory, or he just forgot that you can only have one player on your injured reserve at a time. Between Durant (out until December), Nene, Pau Gasol (aided by coach Thibideau) , and Omer Asik, it’s conceivable that half the team could be in the injured reserve come late November.
Serge: Taking Durant with the 4th overall pick could come back good come playoff time, until then, this team is held together by a big number of maybes. There really isn’t category dominance anywhere to be seen. It’s a collection of nice stat guys around the NBA, but they all hit against a certain category. While %s would have been nice, Bosh, Crawford, Payton will kill it there. Rebounds aren’t really on the table. Neither are threes. This whole endeavor hinges on Durant coming back sooner rather than later.
Alex: As this man robbed me of my second consecutive championship, I couldn’t care less about his thought process and I cant wait to watch this team circle the drains….. Okay its not quite that bad but still…
Julian: See as this is my squad, and everyone wants to know the thought process, here goes – I decline to answer pursuant to my fifth amendment rights. No seriously – I’m not a big fan of stacking individual categories, never have been. I like to choose well rounded players. Yes, I’m banking my whole season on Durant coming back quickly and playing well. People don’t realize JUST how good he is in fantasy land. My bigs are a combination of lack of quality bigs vs the needs I need at the time (thanks Serge) and the target on my back as league champion, in which people snubbed me of picks (aka all I wanted was Robin Lopez / Sideshow Bob). I’m hoping I come out looking like Billy Beane come mid-season, with undervalued assets like Payton, who I think can give Jabari a run for ROY and with Oladipo out the first month. Time will tell…
Team Name: The Replacements
Drafted: 5th Overall
Lineup By Draft Round: Chris Paul (LAC – PG), Kawhi Leonard (SA – SG/SF), Paul Millsap (Atl – PF/C), Derrick Favors (Uta – PF/C), Nerlens Noel (Phi -PF/C), George Hill (Ind- PG/SG), Jimmy Butler (Chi – SG/SF), Tyson Chandler (Dal – C), Paul Pierce (Was – SF/PF), DeMarre Carroll (Atl – SF/PF), Miles Plumlee (Pho – PF/C), John Henson (Mil – PF/C), Boris Diaw (SA – PF/C)
Alex:No idea whats going on here in terms of categories to win but i’m going to focus on my issue that Chris Paul was selected ahead of James Harden who has every sign pointing to him having a nuclear year…. The last round selection of Boris Diaw just to prove fantasy irrelevant fat guys need love too was a nice touch.
Serge: I’m confused. I like the Chris Paul pick, he’s a multi-stat guy, but he doesn’t win you FTs the way Harden does. Harden is a category killer. Kawhi is never a 2nd rounder, unless we get #FreeKawhi trending at any point this year. This team will struggle for points from the start, same with percentage and I really can’t see ANYWHERE it can get threes from. Even assists fall off after Chris Paul.
Cam: I’m mostly mad because The Replacements poached several of my late-round picks, but I’m not broken up about it because of how CP3-reliant this squad is. Chandler makes FT% a write-off and, if Paul Pierce’s flagrant foul-laden preseason is an indicator, he’ll be sitting out significant time as well through suspension or inevitable old man rest.
Julian: I love Kawhi, think he’s a great player, deserves the max even though SA won’t give it too him – but I’m always scared to take players in a Pop system. He deligates minutes based on performance and needs, which makes Kawhi a bit of a reach in the 2nd round (yes I took Danny Green in the late rounds, but that was for a lack of 3’s). George Hill is out to start the season, but someone on that squad needs to score and I think he’s poised for a breakout season.
Team Name: The Leaky Fawcetts
Drafted: 6th Overall
Lineup By Draft Round: James Harden (Hou – SG/SF), Damian Lillard (Por – PG), Dwight Howard (Hou – PF/C), Thaddeus Young (Min – SF/PF), Jrue Holiday (NO – PG), Robin Lopez (Por – C), Markieff Morris (Pho – PF/C), Joe Johnson (Bkn – SG/SF), Jared Sullinger (Bos – PF/C), Darren Collison (Sac – PG), Enes Kanter (Uta – C), Rodney Stuckey (Ind – PG/SG), Wilson Chandler (Den – SG/SF)
Quote: “I knew Nice Pair of Slacks needed a big, so I took ‘em all just before he could.”
Alex: Really solid team here, Dwight is going to bring down FT% despite Lillard and Harden but they may just be enough to make it competitive. This isn’t a team anyone wants to match up with on a given week.
Serge: Great for PTs and FT categories with Lillard and Harden up front. The addition of Holiday should keep things interesting in assists, as well as the flyer on the Collison pick (someone has to run point for the Kings, although I still secretly hope it’s Boogie). Rebounds and blocks will be okay thanks to some late round picks. Could be a sneaky team to compete with a trade or two.
Cam: Poached Thaddeus Young from me in the fourth round. Harden is set to have a monster year offensively, while Lillard provides you with excellent percentages while remaining competitive with assists. Couple of bold picks that could come good or could implode in Joe Johnson and Darren Collison. If this team’s stats click, they’ll be an unpleasant encounter for pretty much anyone.
Julian: I agree with a lot here, this is going to be a tough team. Absolutely love the team name by the way. Damian Lillard is one of my favorite fantasy players, you really can’t go wrong with anyone on POR’s starting line-up. All I wanted in life was Robin Lopez, damnit. I think Sullinger is poised for a big season too, that Celtics squad is a mess. This is going to be a nice squad to watch.
Team Name: The Parsons Project
Drafted: 7th Overall
Lineup By Draft Round: Russell Westbrook (OKC – PG), Al Jefferson (Cha – PF,C), DeAndre Jordan (LAC – C), Chandler Parsons (Dal – SF,PF), Rajon Rondo (Bos – PG), Trevor Ariza (Hou – SG,SF), Zach Randolph (Mem – PF,C), Brandon Jennings (Det – PG), Andrew Bogut (GS – C), Kelly Olynyk (Bos – C), Manu Ginobili (SA – SG,SF), Gorgui Dieng (Min – C)
Quote: “Why did nobody take Tim Duncan in the top five?”
Serge: Russ is primed to have a monster run early on. He will bottom out your percentages, but jesus is he going to be on some level 35 barbarian sh!t to get going. Even when he’s back, this team is good with big Al doing his 20-10 routine every night. Team is fairly well rounded. It won’t really get you threes at all, but with Rajon it has a shot at assists and steals (+ JENNINGS) almost every % will also be good (except for three and FT). I really like the Dieng pick at the end. I wanted to make that pick. Dieng is going to be a factor.
Alex: Another year, another solid draft the The Parsons Project, Westbrook is going to be a monster until at least Christmas and this team is well rounded in every sense. Should see this team playoff bound by the end of the season.
Julian: Until about Christmas? Even after KD’s back, Russ is going to do Russ things. You can bet I’m going to have the Russ Heat Check Alert on League Pass this month, his usage is going to be outrageous. Dieng was a huge flier out the end, really rounds this team out as he’s show to produce in limited mins (more so if Pek can’t stay healthy).
Team Name: Zero Darko Thirty
Drafted: 8th Overall
Lineup By Draft Round: Carmelo Anthony (NY – SF/PF), Kevin Love (Cle – PF/C), Eric Bledsoe (Pho – PG/SG), Monta Ellis (Dal – PG/SG), Tim Duncan (SA -PF/C), Lance Stephenson (Cha – SG/SF), Nikola Pekovic (Min – C), Michael Carter-Williams (Phi – PG), Tobias Harris (Orl – SF/PF), Reggie Jackson ( OKC- PG,SG) Timofey Mozgov ( Den-C), Avery Bradley (Bos – PG,SG),Tristan Thompson (Cle – PF,C)
Quote: “ I don’t know any of these people but they’re all insane”
Alex: Solid draft here, love the combination of Melo, Love and Bledsoe. Pekovic’s back will be an issue as always and the proposed minute limit of 28 from coach Flip Saunders will limit his production but his contributions should still be solid. FG% will be a thing of the absolute past and assists are for sissies but tell that to 30 PPG. Team is going to need 3’s in a bad way in a league with two three point categories each week but absolutely has the trade pieces to get there.
Serge: POINTS! That’s pretty much the mantra of this team. There is no way this squad ever comes to a respectable percentage number. Just too many chuckers and overall poor shooters. I would have enjoyed supplementing K-Love rebounding dominance with another big who won’t take 2 out of 3 nights off on Pop-related reasons. Once again, this team has no 3s, and until MCW return no steal potential. Blocking could work, but that’s a toss up, as none of the bigs are nearly dominant enough. Just won’t kill enough categories to compete without a trade.
Julian: Huge top half of this team picked – Bledsoe is going to be a beast, and Melo is going to score no matter if the rest of the team figures out the triangle. Going to lose some games with Timmy getting rest, and MCW out for a couple weeks, not to mention Pek. But when it all comes together there’s no way you outscore this team. None. Going to need to make a play for 3’s – a solid winger player who can 3 and D, provide a couple steals and this squad is set.
Team Name: The Durantula
Armchair Owner: Cam C.
Drafted: 9th Overall
Lineup By Draft Round: John Wall (Was – PG), Dirk Nowitzki (Dal – PF/C), Nikola Vucevic (Orl – PF/C), Wesley Matthews (Por – SG/SF), Jeff Teague (Atl – PG), David West (Ind – PF), Josh Smith (Det – SF/PF), JR Smith (NY – SG/SF), Jordan Hill (LAL – PF/C), Josh McRoberts (Mia – PF/C), Mario Chalmers (Mia – PG), Vince Carter (Mem – SG/SF), Samuel Dalembert (NY – C)
Quote: “I’m just here to ruin people’s days.”
Cam: As a Fantasy Basketball Virgin, I had a tough time making up my mind on whether to balance or overload. In the end, I settled on holding the line in rebounds while overloading assists and steals with Wall, Teague, and Chalmers (even if picking Chalmers made me physically ill). I’ve got reliable shooting bigs in Dirk and Vucevic, even if their FT% largely balance. McRoberts’s injury is a potential problem, while my late-round strategy got hurt by a combination of erratic picks further up the draft order and certain unnamed owners stealing my picks in front of me. My main concern is that my failure to pick up most of my preferred bigs (Chandler, David Lee, Valanciunas, Amir Johnson) will cost me in matchups against other guard-heavy squads. That, and my determination to ruin everybody’s week could see my body end up in a dumpster come playoff time.
Serge: Too much banking on Dirk being Dirk again. Carlisle is a genius, so for sure Nowitzki will find ways to score, but 2nd round is too early, especially since he really won’t win a category all on it’s own. This team will struggle to get boards and shooting percentage won’t be quite what it is. There are enough good Guards here to push assist and steal categories in nearly every match-up, but it will definitely need to be beefed up, especially as injuries hit.
Alex: If Dirk continues to average 50/40/ 90 with 26, and 7 this team will be set aside from rebounds and FG%. If he doesn’t ( which is more likely with the addition of Parsons and Chandler) midseason trades and some work on the waiver wire will be necessary.
Julian: Agreed, this team is a couple trades from doing some damage. Vuc in the 3rd was a bit of a stretch for me, but I counter that with the David West pick. With George Hill out, and Roy being Roy, David is primed for a big season – I think a lot of people undervalue him. Dude is the most competitive person in the league not named Kobe.
Team Name: Slam My Balls
Drafted: 10th Overall
Lineup By Draft Round: LaMarcus Aldridge (Por – PF/C), Nicolas Batum (Por – SG/SF), Rudy Gay (Sac – SF/PF), Ty Lawson (Den -PG), Kemba Walker (Cha – PG), Marcin Gortat (Was – C), Terrence Jones (Hou – SF/PF), Taj Gibson (Chi – PF/C), Patrick Beverley (Hou – PG/SG), Jeff Green (Bos – SG/SF), Brandon Knight (Mil – PG/SG), Ersan Ilyasova (Mil – SF/PF), Randy Foye (Den – PG/SG)
Quote: “Is Wilt Chamberlain still on the board? he scored 100 touchdowns that one game”
Serge: Guard heavy from the start with Ty and Kemba. Having Rudy Gay on any team pretty much means you’re throwing in the towel on percentages come regular season time. Steals and assists shouldn’t be a problem, but rebounds will be. Terrence has Dwight taking up the space, Taj has Noah and Pau, Ersan doesn’t rebound. I always like Batum’s fantasy upside, but he isn’t really a category winner and he doesn’t pair nicely with anyone here.
Alex: Agree with all the points made above by Serge, although again we have a team with more than enough quality pieces to maneuver themselves into a position to win specific categories every week. The talent drafted is fine, the statistical focus is lacking, this ship can be righted.
Julian: As mentioned, I’m a sucker for all-around value (word to Hayward), so I love the Batum pick. But I’m always always hesitant to take two players on the same team, let alone same starting line up. POR rides their starting 5 longer and harder than any other team in the NBA, but there’s only so much ball to go around. FG% was banished to the closet under the stairs – Kemba, Jennings, Rudy…. I actually want to see what Ersan does this year, has anyone figured out what the hell happened to him last season?
Team Name: Walker Texas Granger
Drafted: 11th Overall
Lineup By Draft Round: DeMarcus Cousins (Sac – PF,C), Serge Ibaka (OKC – PF,C), Mike Conley (Mem – PG), Kobe Bryant (LAL – PG,SG), Kyle Korver (Atl – SG,SF), Bradley Beal (Was – SG), Victor Oladipo (Orl – PG,SG), Carlos Boozer (LAL – PF,C), Amir Johnson (Tor – PF,C), Danilo Gallinari (Den – SF), Terrence Ross (Tor – SG,SF), C.J. Miles (Ind – SG,SF), Tiago Splitter (SA – C)
Quotes: ” If you touch it? Shoot it, dont think just shoot”
Alex: Field Goal percentage is dead and this team killed it
Serge: BOOGIE!!!!! Seriously though, Ibaka is a category winner. Even on his own, this is the team to probably have a strong shot at blocks almost every night (except for when they face my three-headed dragon). It does well to compete in all other categories, and honestly, I even like Ibaka over Westbrook (mostly because that’s the role getting most reduced).
Julian: It’s crazy to think I took Boogie as the first pick in the 3rd round last year… It’s crazier that nobody mentioned KOBEEEEE yet. How many games is he getting? I have no doubt he’s goign to score, afterall the Lakers need something. Anything. I’m hoping that Oladipo can bring his TO’s down, which I can see given that Payton will now handle the ball more often than not. Korver in the 5th as a 3pt specialist…. just says the direction the league is headed.
Team Name: Hustle Board
Drafted: 12th Overall
Lineup By Draft Round: Blake Griffin (LAC – PF,C), Kyrie Irving (Cle – PG,SG), DeMar DeRozan (Tor – SG,SF), Derrick Rose (Chi – PG), Jonas Valanciunas (Tor – C), Andrew Wiggins (Min – SF), Luol Deng (Mia – SF,PF), Tony Parker (SA – PG), Anderson Varejao (Cle – PF,C), Andre Iguodala (GS – SG,SF), Spencer Hawes (LAC – PF,C), O.J. Mayo (Mil – PG,SG), Gerald Henderson (Cha – SG,SF)
Quotes: “We’re going to fight them in the trenches!”
Alex: I don’t even know what the hell is going on here.
Cam: This team is riding on a lot of unknowns working just right: what kind of minutes will Hawes get this year? Will Derrick Rose’s knees do what Rose’s knees are pretty much guaranteed to do? How will Wiggins adjust to the NBA?
Serge: Kyrie was a reach (Ibaka was still on the board). OJ Mayo is a lifetime subscriber to the McDonalds cheap menu diet, and Wiggins is still going to struggle. Blake Griffin is kind of okay, but he will not dominate a single category the way you would want him to.
Julian: I kinda knew a lot of this picks were happening before they happened, some people are creatures of habit (shoutout to my boy Hayward, again). I counter Serge though, I think this is the year Griffin proves he’s a top 5 player in the league. People praise Demar for improving on something each year, and I think Griffin has slowly done that as well. He’s no longer just dunking on every or anything. I feel like this team may be a victim to the injury and resting gods – Rose, Deng, Parker, Varejao…. Even Wiggs finds himself in a crowded wing positioned Minny team. I wish OJ was the OJ was all knew and loved from college… regardless, this is my League Pass team hands down.
The Final Word with Uncles Serge and Simons:
This was a weird draft. People seem to still be drafting to fill out a rep team instead of challenge for fantasy. You really don’t have to fill out every one of the starting five positions with five picks. This isn’t 2K. You’re not actually fielding this team. This is REAL GODDAMN FANTASY LYFE (I felt that Y would communicate my point more appropriately). Players need to attempt to stay more focused on trying to win each of the 10 statistical categories on any given week as opposed to filling the team with an arbitrary group of players with well known names. That realization will assuredly come as the season progresses and should lead to some interesting trades and player movement.
This is probably why no team will absolutely squeeze a category this year (except for the 3PT related madness). At the same time this league does have a penchant for 4 way blockbuster trades, and free agent fistfights which should allow even some of the weaker drafts a chance to right their ships.
We’ll be back next week with week 1 Power Rankings