Fantasy Basketball Mailbag 1.0: Curry’s Value, Playing Time Questions, and More!
As part of Fantrax increasing their fantasy basketball scope, we will be getting our readers and listeners involved on a regular basis. Be it through twitter, Reddit, or our podcast, we will be engaging people, attempting to answer all your questions in kind of an old fashioned mailbag format. A few days ago I tested the waters, looking for any fantasy basketball junkies keen for information. I received a number of responses, all of which I will do my best to answer right here. Our aim will be to put together a mailbag piece every few weeks, dealing with the everchanging fantasy basketball landscape. The podcast will also regularly feature your questions as we go back and forth trying to help you out. For now, let’s dive into this edition of the fantasy basketball mailbag in the hope you can put yourself ahead of the pack.
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Fantasy Basketball Mailbag Questions
@Kanowins512 asks ‘Does Curry or D’Lo dip a little in production this season’?
Curry is likely to do the opposite and is certainly in discussion to be the number one overall player. During his last season without Kevin Durant, Curry was the number one overall player with averages of 30.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 2.1 steals, and 5.1 three-pointers. This all came on 50 percent shooting from the field and 91 percent from the line. Now, this is just a guide but even still, indicates he could be in for a monster season. Add in the fact the Klay Thompson is likely to miss the majority of the season and Curry has a strong case.
Russell finds himself in an unfamiliar situation and his production is a little harder to project. His playing time could, in fact, increase from 30 minutes per game last season. During the 2015-16 season, Klay Thompson finished as the 19th ranked player next to Curry, averaging 22 points per game. While Russell is not as strong of a pure scorer, he does offer a little more upside when playing with the ball in his hands. Russell only averaged 21.1 points per game last season and so that number could hold steady. Many people are expecting Russell to take a big hit playing next to Curry but the fact of the matter is, the Warriors don’t have a lot of scoring outside of those two. He also only finished as the 57th ranked player in 9-cat formats last season. That is a little lower than people would think and so there is a case for Russell to also increase his overall rank.
@steheri asks ‘Which team in most difficult to project concerning playing time’?
Any number of teams could fall into this category given the roster changes across the league. For me, the Lakers rotations are somewhat uncertain. There are basically questions at every position, outside of who starts. Alex Caruso could be viewed as a better option than Rajon Rondo by many people. They also acquired Quin Cook who is arguably the best pure scorer of the three. Avery Bradley had a strong finish to last season and certainly provides a defensive presence off the bench. Both he and Danny Green could split time depending on matchups. LeBron James is the obvious choice as starting small forward, but he can also play as a point-forward. This adds another dimension to the point-guard role as well as how Kentavious Caldwell-Pope fits into everything. Much like James, Anthony Davis will be the starting power-forward but can slide over to the center spot. The Lakers love Kyle Kuzma and so figure to feature him quite heavily in the rotation. That leaves DeMarcus Cousins and JaVale Mcgee to battle it out for the starting center position. With Davis also likely to see time there, their projected playing time is questionable.
@VP90244 asks ‘What are you doing when drafting spots 9 through 12 for h2h 9 cat leagues? Worst spots to draft from this year’.
I have already been in enough mock drafts to get a bit of a feel for this one. At this stage, there seems to be a consensus top-five followed by a second tier of three players. Outside of that, there have been varying trains of thought. Thus far I have seen three commonalities from people drafting at the backend of the first round. The first is to draft a proven veteran, hoping to play it safe and capitalize on having a high second-round selection. Players such as LeBron James and Russell Westbrook have been popular options. The second is to draft for upside in the hope of striking it lucky and ending the season with a top-five performing player. Kawhi Leonard and Joel Embiid are two very popular options here. The third is to take a flier on a somewhat unproven player, especially in this range. Jrue Holiday, Bradley Beal, and Jimmy Butler would all fall into this category. For me, I like to play the game of risk and I would take a chance on Leonard or Embiid. The games played factor is certainly present but that element could also impact players such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis.
@trained_gunslinger asks ‘Who do you think will outperform their ADP in this upcoming season’?
A number of players could prove to be strong returns on investment this season, depending of course on many factors. Veterans such as Chris Paul, Kevin Love, and Danilo Gallinari could potentially outperform their respective ADP’s. For these players, it simply comes down to games played. Both Paul and Gallinari finished inside the top-30 last season on a per-game basis. However, given what I have seen so far, both could slide in drafts due to the injury risk. The same can be said for Love who has the ability to put up top-20 numbers on a per-game basis. The injury curse can also be applied to younger players such as Lonzo Ball. Ball is yet to put together anything close to resembling a full season. He has the tools to be a fantasy-friendly player and perhaps the change of scenery is just what he needed. If he can continue to improve his percentages, the top-50 is not out of the question.
Once you get outside the top-70, there are plenty of players who could have value when compared to their ADP. Derrick Favors, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, DeJounte Murray, Gary Harris, and Dewayne Dedmon are just a few. A number of the rotations are unclear moving forward and so playing time is going to be key when projecting production. Many could exceed what is expected in terms of minutes, therefore providing a strong ROI.
Game6Klay asks ‘Who do you see on the Raptors breaking out’?
The obvious answer here would be Pascal Siakam who could realistically finish inside the top 25. It is hard to call him a breakout, however, given the massive strides he took last season. Fred VanVleet is in line for an uptick in production but is likely on many people’s radar already. He has shown the ability to put up numbers in games without Kawhi Leonard and so should flirt with top-100 value at least. For me, the potential breakouts are Norman Powell and OG Anunoby. Powell was strong for the Raptors during the playoffs, making crucial baskets during times they were struggling on the offensive end. He can provide points, three-pointers, and is a sneaky source of steals. Anunoby’s season was derailed by injury and an unscheduled trip to the surgeon. Head coach Nick Nurse is a huge fan of Anunoby and seems intent on getting him plenty of court time. His scoring needs work but he provides length and athleticism, both of which are sought after commodities.
cutthroatkitsch1 asks ‘Who are some players that points’ league managers should be paying greater attention to outside of the top 100′?
This really depends on how knowledgable your league is and the research they have done. You basically want to look for players with the potential to play in excess of 30 minutes, with defensive numbers obviously adding to their value. Larry Nance would fall into this category but as we have seen before, playing time is far from guaranteed. Elfrid Payton typically provides value in a points format but, again, may not see enough court time. Both he and Dennis Smith Jr will be vying for the starting spot and so should be monitored moving forward. Alex Len will likely begin the season as the starting center for the Hawks. Consistency has always been an issue for Len, capping his upside across all formats. He was a fringe standard league points player last season in just 20 minutes per game. If he can increase that to 26, the top-100 is within reach. Bogdan Bogdanovic has the tools to be a comfortable top-100 player. Much like Len, consistency was an issue last season, as was playing time. Gary Harris may fall across the board given his terrible 2018-19 campaign. He was a top-50 player only 12 months ago and is a very real bounce-back candidate.
Adam King joined FantraxHQ in 2018. He also currently writes for Rotowire and has previously written for Locked on Fantasy Basketball and Locked on Timberwolves. He has played sports his entire life with fantasy basketball becoming a passion over the past six years. By day, Adam is the service coordinator at the Autism Centre in Canberra, Australia. Adam was born and raised in Queanbeyan, Australia and currently resides in Bungendore, Australia with his wife and two children.
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