We all make mistakes.
Overvaluing volume -- especially points per game -- over efficiency.
Undervaluing positional and categorical scarcity.
Overvaluing large market hype. Championship contender hype. Rookie hype. Free-agent hype.
Undervaluing international players who missed out on March Madness hype. Small-market players who get little to no hype. Players who contribute in underhyped categories ... like free throw percentage.
Most of all? We make the mistake of not doing enough of our homework. Reading up. Studying trends. Honing our own instincts headed into draft season.
If you blindly follow ADP, you're cruising for a fantasy bruising. And you're missing out on the fun of flying in the face of conventional wisdom. And ... you're probably going to lose.
Because you're drafting the same team that every other non-homework-doing manager is building. When you fail to challenge conventional wisdom, you are doomed.
Here are some of conventional wisdom's biggest mistakes so far ... this draft season.
I think Towns has a good chance at finishing the season No. 1 overall. About the same chance as James Harden, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis or Giannis Antetokounmpo. (Hey, it's a deep top 10). Towns has an even better chance of finishing No. 1 in points leagues.
Towns has no weaknesses. No red flags. No divots in his statistical profile. He's all unfettered upside.
Monster points per game and rebounds are a given (think 25 PPG and 10-12 RPG). But Towns supports his dominant volume-based stats with a numerical completeness I haven't seen from a big since peak Kevin Garnett.
Monster volume, supported by secondary stats: 1.5 BPG, 1.5 3PG and 1 steal. Decent assists. Great percentages.
If you're picking first in a double-double league? Look no further.
I'll pause to remind you that Towns hasn't missed a game in his career. No weaknesses.
And here's the kicker: It's early. As in he's 21. As in he's still expanding his value.
He's probably four to six seasons away from peak production. I like Towns early. Aside from being dominant in several areas, and reliable in several others ... there's upside here. Major upside.
For me, the durability nudges him into the top slot.
Everyone's been crowing about Ben Simmons' fantasy potential. That he'll be playing point forward as a rookie.
I'm excited, too. I crave out-of-position stats. I love nothing more than a big who banks you point guard-esque production.
But we haven't been talking enough about how special Jokic's actual production has already become. Jokic is already a point center, the complete 7-foot floor general package.
And he isn't just potential. Jokic is game tested.
Take a gander at Jokic's line for the last month of 2016-17: 19.0 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 6.2 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 0.6 3PG, 55.6 FG%, 88.2 FT%. Going into 2017-18, he has a nice, young core around him, anchored by Paul Millsap's veteran presence.
We project Jokic out at 17.7 PPG and 10.0 RPG. 5.2 APG. About a block, steal, and 3-pointer per night. I think that's conservative.
Jokic shot 58 percent from the field in 2016-17. He shot .825 from the line. The efficiency's there. Now he's going to get more minutes. More touches.
And don't forget Jokic's secret fantasy sauce: dual eligibility. He's a PF/C. Not only is he statistically diverse, but you can plug in Jokic at multiple slots.
In 2016-17, Fantasyland sort of pouted on Jokic for half a season. Just because we all touted Jokic as a serious sleeper ... only to watch coach Mike Malone anchor Jokic to the bench.
It wasn't us, people. Jokic just needed minutes. Now he's got them.
And you're half a round too late.
McCollum or Beal? It's an interesting debate: two rising young SGs, playing at a thin fantasy position. Both are second options, playing alongside ball-dominant PGs.
It's close, but I'd rather have Beal.
Their volume-based stats are nearly even. When in doubt, I lean toward efficiency, and Beal's true shooting percentage is just a hair better (60.4 TS% to 58.5 TS%).
McCollum's ADP is driven by his eye-popping points-per-game production. Yes, he's going to score points, but you're overrating him by about half a round. Plus, Beal is available for a more sober 26th overall.
All the signs point toward Turner making a substantial leap in his third season.
Last season's 3-point production was cute (0.5 per game at 34.8 3FG%). But I'd prefer two-plus blocks and a steal to go with double-digit rebounds. Above all ... I'd really like 10-plus rebounds.
The lack of rebounds (just 7.3 per game in 2016-17) trouble me. Rebounds tend to be a good hustle stat. If you're battling consistency issues -- like Turner -- improving rebounding is a good place to start.
Still, Turner is the future. He's a nice upside pick in the early third round.
Like Turner, Gasol has always been a soft rebounder. Except Gasol supplements the weak boards with out-of-position stats. He racks up more assists per game than most backup shooting guards. And unlike Turner, who's still at the dabbling stage with his 3-point shot? Gasol has become a real threat from deep (1.4 3-pointers per game at a 38.8 3FG%)
Quality centers start to become scarce after the third round. You're better off locking down a C before heading into the reeds of the middle rounds. Turner, Gasol and this next big finish off the third-round run.
I wrote at length recently on Embiid being fantasy's ultimate risk-reward player. First-round upside ... surrounded by dozens of little red flags.
Here's the thing: If you're going into your draft with an eye toward seriously taking Embiid, don't wait until 37. If you're comfortable enough with the attendant risks, don't wait. He's worth the extra round in draft value. Otherwise, you're looking at a block-less (but otherwise solid Nikola Vucevic) and overrated bigs like this next big.
DeAndre Jordan, C, LA Clippers (ADP: 39, CDP: 49)
"Wow factor" versus "scare factor." With Jordan, his awe-inspiring blocks need to cancel out his night sweat-inducing free throw percentage.
In 2016-17, Jordan averaged 1.7 blocks per game. That's elite.
He shot 48.2 percent from the line. That's not elite.
As careers advance ... blocks drop. And bigs (outside of Tim Duncan) don't tend to suddenly, radically improve their free throw shooting.
I just can't envision a scenario where I take a player who punts an entire category by default. I've never drafted Jordan or Andre Drummond (another overrated player in ADP). Let someone else take the poison pill and move on.
Assists are a position of extreme scarcity. Next to blocks, there isn't a tougher category to acquire during the season.
Rubio quietly had himself a little career year in 2016-17, finishing 35th on the Player Rater and fifth in assists per game at 9.1. As his ESPN profile will tell you, he averaged 16 points and 10.5 assists per game after the All-Star break. He finished the season with the best assist-to-turnover ratio of his career (3.50).
Rubio is still only 26. He's just entering his peak years. And while he'll never be a 3-point juggernaut, he managed to chip in a respectable (for him) 1.1 per game, along with an always gaudy (89.1%) free throw percentage last season.
And then ... there are the steals. It's an underrated section of Rubio's resume. He's elite. His 1.7 thefts per game last season was good for ninth in the NBA.
Rubio is going to a very slow-paced team in Utah. But it's still a borderline playoff team that needs Rubio to give it a ton of quality point guard minutes.
Elite assists. Elite steals. Good rebounding (about four per game) for a PG. Non-terrifying 3-point production.
And you're making him only 61st overall? Wake up!
Gary Harris, SG, Denver Nuggets (ADP: 109, CDP: 60)
Shooting guard is looking like a position of big-time scarcity. Harris isn't at the Beal/McCollum third-round level, but he's closer to them than any other player going in the 11th and 12th round.
Harris shot 42 percent from deep in 2016-17. Players who post that type of efficiency as rookies tend to take a jump in Year 2.
Denver is going to be a fantasy hotbed this 2017-18. Taking ADP into account, Harris, Jokic, Millsap, Jamal Murray and Wilson Chandler will comprise one of fantasy's most upside-laden lineups. Collectively, they'll be underdrafted by nine to 10 rounds.