All 3 BBS writers already described the auction draft and each of our teams, so check that out for league info and rules. I was looking for a way to project how good (or bad) each team will actually be this year.
I'm starting with these ESPN rankings of the top 175 fantasy players.
I wanted to see where each my of players fall on that list, and how that stacks up to the rest of the league.
First thing I noticed from the ESPN list is that I have 2 guys in the top 10 (KD, 5; Amare, 9) and 3 in the top 20 (J. Johnson, 18). Seems like I was off to a good start because had this been a draft rather than auction, I would have only had 2 picks in the top 18 (9 person fantasy league).
The problem is that I have a pretty significant drop off after that. My next best players (both projected starters for me) show up in the mid-40s (Westbrook, 43; LmA, 46). My utility spot will either be a big man (Emeka, 60) or PG (Chalmers, 94) if Westbrook is not getting enough assists.
My team finishes out with a Bull (Salmons, 69), a second-year player that is out 6-8 weeks (K. Love, 121) and a rookie (Flynn, 139). Not sure how that will play out, but I expect Love's stats to jump in year 2 (when he returns). I also expect Flynn to be competitive with Blake Griffin for ROY, which would be a great rookie season. Basically taking a flyer out on those two, now I have to wait and see if it pans out.
Doing this made me realize that my team is pretty top-heavy. I would rather have a more well-balanced roster because one injury could cripple me, but there's something to be said for getting top-tier players. There is a big drop from the elite NBA players to the mid-level guys. Once you get out of that top group, there is some variance, but everyone is pretty much the same. You can fill out the stats with 2-3 random guys who do one or two things well.
I was curious how my team stacked up, and whether the other teams in the league were top-heavy or balanced. So here's a look at the the league based on the ESPN rank of the projected starters. I will lay out each team (add up the total - so lower numbers are better), give a quick analysis of strengths and weaknesses, then project where each team will finish (9 team league, so I will project 1-3, 4-6, 7-9).
My team - Sum of 6 starters' ranks: 191 (Rank: 3/9)
Joe Johnson 18
Kevin Durant 5
Read the analysis above. Realistically, I see my team somewhere in the middle of the standings because I lack a premier PG, but how could I not pick my own team to win the league?? Projected finish: 1
Derek - Sum of 6 starters' ranks: 199 (Rank: 5/9)
Dwight Howard 11
Devin Harris 27
O.J. Mayo 54
Tim Duncan 20
Ron Artest 71
Andre Iguodala 16
Very good team at every position - having 3 players in the top 20, but none in the top 10. Definitely not winning FT% with Howard and TD on the roster, but they fill up the other big-man stats. Harris should see his numbers jump as a he takes a bigger role with Vince gone. Would expect a similar jump from OJ, but who knows where minutes/shots will come from in the Grizzlies' backcourt. Projected finish: 4-6.
Gasser - Sum of 6 starters' ranks: 231 (Rank: 9/9)
Kobe Bryant 4
Tony Parker 64
Carmelo Anthony 19
Gerald Wallace 23
Al Harrington 80
Nothing to love about this team, but sneaky good. Only 2 players in the top 20, but it's a legit 2 players - unless Kobe's age/games finally catch up with him. Plus, Gerald Wallace is possibly the most unheralded top 25 guy. With that top 3, should have no problem filling up the scoring, FT%, 3s. Not sure where the big stats (blocks, rebounds) with Nene and Big Al. Looks like a back-of-the-middle-of-the-pack team. Projected finish: 7-9.
Kmart - Sum of 6 starters' ranks: 179 (Rank: 2/9)
Brook Lopez 30
Dwyane Wade 3
Chauncey Billups 17
Vince Carter 26
Al Horford 72
Kevin Martin 31
Looks like a good team with a top 3 player and another in the top 20. Feels like there are a lot of questions: Will D-Wade stay healthy or was last season a fluke? Will Lopez jump in year 2? Is Chauncey finally going to start slipping? Will Vince flourish finally playing on a good team? If everything goes right, this is a legit team, but I'm not convinced that all of the "ifs" work out positively. Projected finish: 4-6.
PC - Sum of 6 starters' ranks: 193 (Rank: 4/9)
Mehmet Okur 51
Steve Nash 15
Gilbert Arenas 44
LeBron James 2
Kevin Garnett 24
Rudy Gay 57
This is a very solid team, but not built on a very solid foundation. Two players in the top 20, including #2 overall, and potential for two others with Arenas and Garnett. Really dependent on some bad knees (Arenas, Garnett) and an old PG (Nash). It would be impossible not to be in the mix with LeBron, who could potentially win the league by himself. Projected finish: 1-3.
Sacks - Sum of 6 starters' ranks: 214 (Rank: 8/9)
Andrea Bargnani 61
Deron Williams 8
Eric Gordon 68
Danny Granger 6
Josh Smith 22
Marcus Camby 49
Overspent on Granger, but ended up with 2 players in the top 10. Those 2 with Josh Smith make for a very good core, but the role players look pretty weak. If Eric Gordon makes the leap in year 2 this team could be better than anticipated. Projected finish: 7-9.
DC - Sum of 6 starters' ranks: 208 (Rank: 6/9)
Chris Bosh 10
Chris Paul 1
Monta Ellis 39
Hedo Turkoglu 45
Carlos Boozer 38
Andrew Bynum 75
Great start both big and small with Chris and Chris, both in the top 10. I see Hedo having a major decline in Toronto. Depending on potentially-splitting-minutes-with-Milsap Boozer and an always-potentially-out-for-the-season Bynum for big stats might be risky. Projected finish: 4-6.
Big Fil - Sum of 6 starters' ranks: 143 (Rank: 1/9)
Al Jefferson 13
Jason Kidd 21
Brandon Roy 14
Paul Pierce 25
Caron Butler 36
Troy Murphy 34
Quietly put together a good team that will be absolutely no fun to cheer for (other than B-Roy). No top 10 players, but no one ranked below 36 (this is the balanced approach to contrast with my top-heavy team). Could struggle to get the big stats (blocks, rebounds) with only Big Al working down low, but a better fantasy than real-life team. Projected finish: 1-3.
Catron - Sum of 6 starters' ranks: 210 (Rank: 7/9)
David Lee 37
Jose Calderon 29
Michael Redd 58
Dirk Nowitzki 7
Pau Gasol 12
Jason Terry 67
Love D. Lee in real-life and Pau in fantasy, but not much else. Dirk is a legit fantasy player who will carry this team, and Calderon should rack up some assists. Other than Lee, this team seems to lack anyone to fill up the big stats. No real weaknesses shooting, so this team could kill in the 3 % categories. Obviously the best odds we have for a white-wash in the entire league. Projected finish: 7-9.