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Fantasy Basketball Mock Draft: Category League, Late Pick (2022)

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Sep 6, 2022
Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson is a risky pick, but his upside makes his current ADP a value.

We are so used to the NBA moving at a rapid pace, transitioning from the regular season to the playoffs, to the NBA Draft Lottery, to the NBA Finals, to the draft, to free agency, that when there is a lull, we find ourselves asking “now what?”

And there’s not just a lull in the real-life NBA. No, not at all. There’s a lull in fantasy as managers are yearning for another season.

We are also seeing a lull in supporting resources around the industry for fantasy hoops, too, as we have early rankings at ESPN for points leagues and early rankings at Yahoo, which are always … interesting.

The initial Yahoo rankings always have people scratching their heads at certain placements, but they course correct — a bit.

To fill those gaps in the lull that’s happening a tad, we’ll be doing a series of early mock drafts over the next few weeks from different draft spots.

Before we get into the first one, a few notes:

  • We are using Yahoo rankings because, well, that’s what we have right now
  • We are going to do an 8-cat league because, as I’ve been very vocal about in the past, turnovers are the worst fantasy category to exist in any sport
  • It’s going to be a 12-team league
  • I’ll explain each pick and the reasoning behind it, as well as an end-of-draft recap

Let’s continue this series by picking from the No. 8 spot.

NBA DFS Lineup Optimizer

Round 1

Giannis Antetokounmpo (PF/C – MIL)

Remember when we said the Yahoo rankings were weird? Yeah, well, this is example No. 1, as they have Giannis No. 10 overall — and Kevin Durant No. 12, FWIW. I love LaMelo Ball and Tyrese Haliburton, but I wouldn’t take them No. 3 and No. 9 overall, respectively, — especially over Giannis. Let’s take advantage of the ADP here.

Round 2

Devin Booker (SG/SF – PHO)

Let’s run it back again, Phoenix. It feels like there is still a lack of respect put on Booker’s name from a real-life and fantasy perspective. I’ll take the elite scorer and three-point shooter on a team that loves to push it (ninth-ranked pacing at 99.75). The dual eligibility helps his case, too. I give a slight lean to Booker here over Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, who I think will take away from each other just enough in Cleveland to warrant passing on them here. Cade Cunningham is tempting here, too, but give me the threes after taking Giannis in Round 1.

Round 3

Scottie Barnes (SF/PF – TOR)

Let’s go with Barnes here, as I just missed Robert Williams and Ja Morant (lol) based on ADP. There’s a reason that Barnes was untouchable in any potential Durant deal, and he offers an all-around fantasy game that allows me to continue to build a balanced roster. I’ll have to chase some threes here soon, though.

Round 4

Zach LaVine (SG/SF – CHI)

I’m going to jump ADP a bit here and go with LaVine over the multiple guards — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jrue Holiday — that I like here to address some three-point deficiencies so far with my roster.

Round 5

Tyrese Maxey (PG/SG – PHI)

Maxey elevated his game last year and didn’t slow down with Harden’s arrival. We are seeing some correction with the rankings with Maxey, as he’s up about two rounds from where he was before. Capitalize on his value here for the third-year guard out of Kentucky.

Round 6

Zion Williamson (PF – NOP)

So Zion’s ADP dipped a ton since we started these mock drafts. During my last mock, I got Zion in Round 4. But here we are in Round 6 and it’s not just great value, it’s an exceptional value that basked in all risk and more. League-winning pick is a phrase that gets thrown around too often. It fits here.

Round 7

D’Angelo Russell (PG/SG – MIN)

I don’t like this part of the draft at all. I’m not a Russell fan at all and think he’s overrated in real life and for fantasy. However, the new-look Timberwolves are going to have him run the offense and he can help me with points and assists.

Round 8

Clint Capela (C – ATL)

Make that two straight picks I dislike and two straight mocks where I waited too long on my second big. Capela’s game doesn’t play well in this era of the NBA, and the Hawks would be well-served to clear room for Onyeka Okongwu. But until then, I get a big boost in blocks and rebounds.

Round 9

R.J. Barrett (SF – NYK)

Barrett is staying in New York, as the Knicks missed out on Donovan Mitchell. What’s more, they locked him up to a long-term deal. Look, he might not ever be the 1A guy on your team, but he can be 1B. For fantasy, he’s an underrated scorer who will contribute across the board as the offense’s focal point.

Round 10

Dillon Brooks (SG/SF – MEM)

I had to take a Grizzlies player here, right? We’ll go with Brooks, who is falling in ADP. Bias aside, it’s a good value for Brooks, who was quietly solid after an extended absence last year. With Jaren Jackson set to miss time and Ja Morant always missing 15-20 games, Brooks will be a key contributor for the Grizz early.

Round 11

Isaiah Jackson (PF/C – IND)

We saw glimpses of what Jackson could do last year when he got the run we wanted him to have, and while he won’t be starting, we could see him finishing. What’s more, with Myles Turner likely to be dealt — we’ve said this so many times before, I know — Jackson could take the starting role and run with it. It’s worth the upside here.

Round 12

Kelly Oubre (SG/SF – CHA)

Charlotte has play-in aspirations and has a void to fill for big minutes at the three. Oubre, as frustrating as he can be, will get those minutes. He’s one of the streakiest scorers in the league but when you catch him in the middle of a heater, you’ll forget about the duds.

Round 13

Collin Sexton (PG/SG – UTA)

This isn’t even fair. Sexton, the focal piece of the Mitchell deal, lost rounds upon rounds of ADP in Yahoo’s latest update. If you can get him in the last round, enjoy the huge W. We are looking around huge volume, huge scoring opportunities and a player I’d feel good about taking in Round 7.

Final Roster

PG: D’Angelo Russell

SG: Devin Booker

G: Tyrese Maxey

SF: Scottie Barnes

PF: Zion Williamson

F: Zach LaVine

C: Giannis Antetokounmpo

C: Clint Capela

UTIL: R.J Barrett

UTIL: Dillon Brooks

Bench: Isaiah Jackson

Bench: Kelly Oubre

Bench: Collin Sexton

Final Thoughts:

I don’t dislike this team. There are a ton of good values that I got, but I also don’t think I love it, either.

I still have some fun youth in Barnes and Jackson, and I’d rather Capela and Russell just not be on this team, but it could be worse for me.

I don’t have many risks on this team outside of Williamson and Sexton, to an extent, and it’s pretty balanced up and down the roster.

I feel OK with my scoring, and Booker will lead me in threes but I’ll get contributions from others.

I’m not really lacking anywhere and I have plenty of guys that can pop. But the taste of Capela and Russell is just hard to get out of my mouth.

In all, I give my team a B.


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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

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