The NBA is a player’s league, so it’s easy for some to get caught up in drafting long-time All-Stars over up-and-coming studs. Aging superstars have tons of mileage on their legs and if they play for a good team, may wind up relaxing on the bench during the fantasy playoffs.
On the flip side, you don’t want to use too high of a pick on unproven talent. Some younger players who broke out last year may not be in line for a repeat.
So who should you target? Who should you avoid? Today, the Fantasy Doctor shows you which players are in line to impress or disappoint. Up first are 10 overrated players.
MOST OF THE BROOKLYN NETS
The Brooklyn Nets are going to be one of the best in the league this season, but unless you’re capable of predicting who will go off on what night (in which case please send me the winning lottery numbers), I don’t love their fantasy prospects. Deron Williams has all the pieces around him to put together an incredibly efficient season, but I’m not sure if the consistency will be there in the scoring department. Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson will probably take turns shouldering the bulk of the scoring load, and even without Kevin Garnett’s presence, Brook Lopez had as many as 15 rebounds in a game last year, and as few as one. Jason Terry was barely fantasy relevant last season, and I don’t see him being any better in Brooklyn.
My issue with Iguodala has nothing to do with his game. He’s one of the most versatile players around, but I’d rather have the guy who specializes in a specific category. He’s not on my don’t draft list, it’s just that owning him is horribly frustrating. If you need him to get you some points, Iggy is going to come out facilitating and drop 10 dimes. If you’re behind in rebounds, there’s no doubt that he’ll be out on the three-point line, drawing his defender out of the paint. He’s a great player, but not worth the fantasy headache.
Leonard is a great, young piece for San Antonio, but for the most part, he’s horribly over-ranked. Yahoo! currently has him at 24, slightly ahead of guys like Larry Sanders, Nikola Vucevic and Pau Gasol. Leonard should have a pretty decent fantasy season, especially in rotisserie leagues, and has the potential for bigger things if he keeps up his trajectory. Still, I can’t condone using a second, third, or even fourth rounder on his services.
I’ve learned not to doubt Kobe one bit. However, leave it up to Lakers fans to inflate his average draft position. Bryant is currently ranked as a fourth or fifth rounder, but I don’t recommend taking someone who may not suit up for a couple months that high. He’s always getting dinged up throughout the year, and it’s going to be harder and harder for him to tough out those injuries. I’m not so concerned about the Achilles as much as I am about the risk of other injuries arising. If he’s there in round six or seven, I’m ready to pounce, but there are plenty of healthier, viable options available earlier than that.
Unless your fantasy team already has a big man who can knock down treys and someone like Chris Paul, who is a menace in the steals department, then Parker can only do so much for your squad. It’s easy to come across impactful players that contribute points, rebounds and assists, but it’s the threes, steals and blocks that take your team to the next level. A point guard who gets no threes and no steals? No thanks.
I think sometimes we get way too hyped about the one category that Ibaka is drafted for. Sure, having a stud who gets you 3-plus blocks give your team an advantage, but there are plenty of ways around it. Larry Sanders offers similar production, but is being taken a few round later. If Dwight Howard is fully motivated, it’s feasible that he can put up close to three blocks a game, and you can always pair two or three guys up who average 2-plus swats a game. Yes, Ibaka is dominant, but you shouldn’t burn a second rounder for him.
The Houston Rockets were bombing threes at an incredible rate last season, tying for first in the league in attempts per game. Parsons, who averaged 2.0 treys a game last year en route to a breakout fantasy season, may be featured in a different role this season. While Dwight Howard’s presence encourages more three-point attempts, Parsons will slide down to the third option when things get slowed down in to the half-court. He should still be plenty productive in rotisserie leagues, but it’s no longer his show to run. Expect Parsons to take a back seat to Howard and James Harden.
After falling off the map on the Brooklyn Nets last season, Wallace will have an equally difficult time in Boston. Jeff Green will be getting the bulk of the small forward minutes for the Celtics, who are rebuilding and looking for progress from some younger legs. Add in the risk of injury, and it looks like a disaster year for Wallace, whose best fantasy seasons may very well be behind him.
I like Green’s game as much as the next guy, but most are too caught up in his historical NBA Finals performance to realize that he only averaged 10.5 points and 3.1 rebounds last season. He’s a great rotisserie player who won’t hurt you in any category, but I want to see at least another season or two before I take him too high.
Outside of the three-ball, Matthews doesn’t have much to offer, and if Portland finds itself slipping out of the playoff race, it’s only a matter of time before rookie C.J. McCollum takes over. Back in 2010, he averaged a career-high 15.9 points, and while last year’s 14.8 points came close, he hasn’t the impact on the glass or in the percentages that he had that season. There are many more options at both shooting guard and small forward that present way more upside than Matthews.