We are back for another season of Basketball Monster. I’m sure lots of you have been here before, but I’m equally sure we will have a bunch of new users on the site, and firstly, we say welcome.
The core of everything we do at BBM is projections. Myself and Kyle McKeown project every single NBA player for season-long stats, and then we also make game-by-game minutes projections once the season is underway. It powers all of our tools, all of our analysis, and all of our thoughts on fantasy basketball. It’s a long process to put them together, and we are proud of what comes out. These will be updated every day in one way or another as we push to opening night and try to figure out what will happen in the NBA this season.
But, if you are new to the site or just need some assistance, it’s essential to know what these projections are, what they aren’t, and what they can do.
Projections are not rankings. We have a rankings page that tells us what has happened. It’s not a draft list; it’s not how we think players will finish; it’s a ranking based on your parameters of how players have ranked for the season to date or for previous seasons. You can check out the rankings for last season here.
As with everything on the site, the projections and rankings will change based on your league settings. You should immediately import your league or set up a league with the correct settings. This is where you adjust if your league is a categories or points league, activate the categories in your league, or assign the points values. It’s where you state how many teams, how many players are on each team, what the roster construction is and so on.
The page you will use the most leading up to a draft is the Projections page. This is where you can see our projected stats for every player for the upcoming season. But, I must implore that you understand this is not a ranking list. This is not a list of what order you draft players. Yes, the players get ‘ranked’ based on their fantasy points or cumulative value across the active categories in your league, but drafting in fantasy, more in category leagues, is never about going down a list and picking players.
If you go to the projections page, without any nuance, in a standard nine-category league, you’ll see Robert Williams at number seven. You’ll see Luka Doncic at 23. Kristaps Porzingis at nine and Kyrie Irving at four. Under no circumstance should any of these players be picked at these spots. This is where the statistical Z score value for all nine categories spits these players out on a per game basis. I will never tell you to pass on Doncic in the first round. Or to take Williams ahead of Trae Young, James Harden or Steph Curry, yet if you strictly use the projections as a list, that’s what it says, and that’s where you will go wrong.
To get those numbers looking a little more normal, I will always turn the turnovers category to punt, and I weight down the low volume stats like threes, steals, and blocks to a weight of 0.8. This pushes Doncic to 7, Williams to 23, Harden to 5 - things that make more sense. But, even then, you then have to truth and account for games played. We do our best, and we have a new system this year to try and label players’ injury risks, but predicting injuries is impossible. It cannot be done. The correlation year over year for games played ranges from low to non-existent. But, we are right to be sceptical of guys like Irving and Porzingis and even Kevin Durant or Joel Embiid, who occupy two of the top three spots on the list. To try and account for our basic estimation of games played, you can use the ‘replacement player’ button, which subs in the games missed with a waiver wire quality player to try and show the player's value with presumed missed time included.
But, again, if you just look at the projection set at total value and draft off that list, you will go wrong because, as I said, injuries cannot be predicted. Drafting needs to be multi-faceted. You need to weigh the risk of injury, consider statistical and positional scarcity, and balance projections versus the player’s pre-rank and ADP on your site of choice to understand when you should be picking a player. You need to understand how that player fits in with your already selected players and how valuable they are to you. Throughout the preseason, we will attempt to highlight information to help parse through that data, whether here or on my fantasy basketball show.
One last point. It must be re-stated that myself and Kyle do not go in and just place players in order on the projection page. So, if you look at a player and say, ‘he is ranked too high or low’, look at the individual stat projections and see what you disagree with on a granular level. Fantasy basketball can be a challenging game with many variables and ways to go about it, but we hope to provide the tools to navigate those stormy waters up to draft night and then through the rest of the regular season.
Have a great year