The recipe for winning your fantasy leagues means not only do you have to hit on underrated NBA players for fantasy, but you also need to avoid overrated NBA players for fantasy. It’s hard to do both, but lucky you….you found me. Let’s break down five overrated players for fantasy basketball this year.
Five Overrated Players For Fantasy
Anthony Davis, LA Lakers, PF, C
Anthony Davis is someone I’ll never draft again. When he plays, you’re happy you have him. When he plays. He played 60 games once in the past four years. On top of that, his usage rate has declined every year since the 2016-2017 season (32.6% to 27.1% now). I don’t know if that means the injuries have been piling up, and he’s trying to take on a lesser load, but that’s certainly not what LeBron signed up for. Power Forward is also very strong at the top. If you’re thinking of spending a high draft pick on Davis, you’re better off drafting a player like LeBron, KD, or even Domantas Sabonis for cheaper.
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks, PG
I’m willing to go on record as the single biggest hater of the trade that brought Murray to Atlanta. I understand what Murray brings defensively, and the need for an additional ball-handler for the Hawks, but Murray is a high usage player (27% last year) and so is Trae Young (34.4%). That’s going to be incredibly difficult to navigate and I’m not sure Trae is a good off-ball player for more than just a couple possessions. Trae Young’s ability to get into the lane and draw fouls OR get hot from three is what makes him scary. If Young is just hanging out on the perimeter, because Murray has the ball, then teams will prefer him to shoot. His three-point percentage actually isn’t elite (36% for his career). My honest take is that people drafting Young are going to see a stat regression from what we saw from him last year. It’s going to take some time for them to gel if it’s even possible for Murray and Young to gel. If I’ve learned anything from the Westbrook/Lakers debacle, it’s that just because players are great, doesn’t mean they can make it work. Fit matters.
DeAndre Ayton, Phoenix Suns, C
Ayton has far too much risk for me to deal with. Especially at his price point. DeAndre Ayton averaged 17 and 10, with 1.5 stocks. He got benched in the playoffs, and was/is rumored to want out of Phoenix. Is he talented? Of course. I have him ranked as my C11 on the year. Could I see a world where he pouts or acts up because he wants out of his situation, and effectively kills his fantasy value? Absolutely. For the amount you’d have to pay in draft capital, I don’t think he’s worth the risk. You can find similar production later in the draft for far cheaper (e.g. some of the rookie names like Duren or Walker Kessler).
Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks, PG, SG:
Jalen Brunson has been the talk of the town in New York. Honestly, most of it has been slightly negative from my vantage point. Basically, he cashed in on one big year in Dallas to the tune of a 4-year/$104 M contract from the Knicks. If the Knicks thought he was that much of a game changer for them, they wouldn’t constantly be in rumors to add Donovan Mitchell to the mix. Oh, by the way, they just signed R.J. Barrett to an extension worth nearly $120M. So let’s recap. The team has Julius Randle with a 29% usage rate, R.J. Barrett with a 28% usage rate, and Immanuel Quickley with a 22% usage rate. Enter Brunson who played beside Luka Doncic, bringing his 22% usage rate to the Knicks. I’m smart enough to know that someone, or a lot of someones, are going to have to learn where they fit in in this new offense. We have no way of knowing who that someone will be. I’m not going to draft Brunson, assuming it won’t be him.
P.J. Washington, Charlotte Hornets, PF, C:
P.J. Washington has been a strong sleeper candidate in fantasy basketball with Miles Bridges’ exit, and Gordon Hayward’s potential trade. The forward spot isn’t very deep for the Hornets this year, and Washington has been someone that’s never been able to break through to a high usage role. I’m personally not that high on Washington. I see why he gets people excited, though. He’s a big that can shoot the three (37.5% for his career), he makes his free throws at a 70% clip, and gets you two stocks per game. However, I try to target higher usage players than Washington. Between Ball, Rozier, and Hayward, I can’t really see a scenario where his usage rises much above the 15.6% it was last year. He’s also not a great rebounder averaging 5.7, despite averaging 29.3 minutes for his career. Not great for an athletic 6’7″ forward/center. His price is rising, but I don’t think his opportunity to contribute more in fantasy is rising with it. He’s a bit of a fade for me.
For more great analysis check out all of our 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Team Previews!