22/23 Nine-Category Top 150
1) Nikola Jokic (C) – Jokic is the clear top pick in all category leagues as well as any points leagues using the default scoring systems on Yahoo and ESPN. There is no argument for anyone else. In fact, the Nugget is so dominant that he should make leagues reassess their draft rules. The two-time MVP is breaking snake draft leagues in a way that no other player has. The combination of elite durability and historic box score numbers that he brings all but guarantees that a Jokic team in the hands of an experienced fantasy player becomes an elite fantasy squad. To get around the unfair advantage that Jokic creates for whoever wins the draft lottery in a snake league, leagues should consider a third-round reversal. For those unfamiliar with the term, a third-round reversal is when the team with the first pick in the draft picks last in the third round instead of first like in a normal snake draft. The team with the final pick in the first round picks first in the third round instead of last. While this doesn’t completely nullify the advantage that Jokic provides, it will create a little more parity in the league. Switching from a snake draft to an auction draft will also do the trick, as that gives everyone an equal shot at Big Honey.
In 2021-2022, Jokic finished first in all punting builds in both eight- and nine-category leagues. He produced above-average to historically elite numbers for his position in every category during his successful defense of the MVP award. The return of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. makes a repeat of last season’s numbers unlikely, but the drop-off should not be significant. His numbers before and after Murray’s injury in 2020-2021 are nearly identical. Due to his all-around dominance, Jokic can fit well into any punting strategy with punt threes and punt blocks being the most obvious fits for the big man. Of the two, punt threes tends to be the better option. It is slightly easier to pull off and boosts Jokic’s value more. When threes were ignored last year, Jokic was 30 percent more valuable than the second-ranked player in the build in the nine-category version of the strategy and 34 percent more valuable than the second-ranked player in the build in the eight-category version of the strategy. The lone drawback to starting your team with Jokic is the Nuggets’ playoff schedule. Denver has a two-game week in both Week 19 and Week 22 this year. One of those weeks will be a playoff week in almost all leagues. To get around the poor schedule, make sure that your other early-round picks are very busy during those two weeks.
Best Builds: Punt Threes, Punt Blocks, Punt Points, Punt FT%
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